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Disney + Food + Technology = :-D

Disney’s been sampling how technology can enhance theme park dining for years. One of my earliest memories is stopping at the Epcot WorldKey under the golf ball to make dinner reservations via the talking head on the screen.

Today, Disney’s continuing to make progress in the information age. The recently launched online Advanced Dining Reservations system and the following tech-y installments are good examples.

Computerized Ordering
You’ll recall a previous post on the Food Blog about the Contemporary Resort Contempo Cafe’s new computerized ordering system. It resembles the made-to-order (“MTO”) ordering system from my favorite gas station chain, Sheetz, and I thought it was fantastic when I got the chance to use it for the first time in February.

As it turns out, Disney’s been adding these ordering systems in several spots throughout the parks and resorts. I’ve got some photos from Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe in the Magic Kingdom and Captain Cook’s quick service restaurant in the Polynesian Resort, as well as the Contempo Cafe photos.

Contempo Cafe Ordering System Instructions

Contempo Cafe Ordering System Instructions

Contempo Cafe Ordering Computer Stations

Contempo Cafe Ordering Computer Stations

Contempo Cafe Ordering Screen

Contempo Cafe Ordering Screen

Computers for Ordering at Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe

Computers for Ordering at Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe

Computer Order Screen at Captain Cooks

Computer Order Screen at Captain Cooks

Captain Cooks Order Screen

Captain Cooks Order Screen

Online Ordering
One tech advancement I’m very excited about is Wolfgang Puck Express’ online ordering system. While this isn’t a “Disney innovation,” it is a way to take advantage of technology when dining at Downtown Disney.

If you’re planning on heading to Wolfgang Puck Express in Downtown Disney’s Marketplace, simply visit their online ordering website in advance. No need to log in, just click on “browse menu” and set a date, then make your choices — even substitutions — online.

Wolfgang Puck Express in Downtown Disney

Wolfgang Puck Express in Downtown Disney

Online Ordering advertisement at Wolfgang Puck Express

Online Ordering advertisement at Wolfgang Puck Express

Even if you’re headed to Disney World in a few days, you can pre-order what you’d like for lunch when you arrive and have it waiting for you at Downtown Disney as soon as you land at MCO. Brilliant.

Where have you seen technology at work?
If you’ve experienced online or computerized ordering, or have a comment about another dining technology at work, I’d love to hear your story! Contact me via the email form button above!

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8 Comments

  1. jolynn mccormick says:

    We used the self ordering kiosks at Pecos Bills a few times and they were always open to use-it was so easy and fast-even with the Dining Plan-we loved it!! What a great idea! It sure beat waiting in the long lines to order!

  2. AJ says:

    Thanks for your comment Jolynn! I was impressed to hear they’d been there for a while — guess it’s been a long time since I’ve been at Pecos Bills!

  3. Nina Dean says:

    California Adventure has had this for a few years in one of their restaurants. It can be easy or a problem depending on the day and who is trying to order on it.

  4. Armand Usagi says:

    I have tried the kiosks at the Contempo Cafe and did not like it. While the technology is interesting but why do we need it? It does not eliminate the need for a working Cast Member because you still ahve to pay a cashier. My dislike for the system is purely for the lack of Guest interaction with the Cast Members. When we did it, it was a rather disappointing experience. First step we used the kiosk to choose the meal we wanted which gave us no choice for customizing our meal as I do not like onions, it is a big thing that there be none in my food. we go our ticket and stood at a counter waiting on our food. The Cast Member placed the food on the counter and called out our number and walked away. We picked up our food and proceeded to the cashier who merely took our ticket as we paid for our food and said “Enjoy.” It may sound stupid to some but Guest Interaction is what Disney is known for with it’s cast members. Why are they sacrificing that to save a small amount of time in the counter service restaurants?

  5. Rae says:

    Can you see an overall menu with prices on the ordering kiosks? Or is the price revealed later?

  6. AJ says:

    Armand: Thank you for your comments and experience! I’ve always liked computerized ordering because it makes meals customizable, but it sounds like you didn’t have the same experience with the onions. Good point regarding customer service, too.

    Rae: You can see the pricing and everything on the menu. It takes a bit of getting used to, but once you figure it out, it’s easy. :)

  7. Lillian says:

    We had lunch at the Contempo cafe last year. I was surprised to see the computer screens to order our food but of course, it’s the Contemporary hotel… way cool and the cafe was empty… no waiting in long lines to get something to eat.

  8. AJ says:

    That’s good to hear, Lillian. Sometimes it can get crowded there, but if you hit it at the right times, you’re good to go.

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