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The Loss of the Leisure Suit

Wildberry Margarita From the WDW Lounge Standard Menu

In the post text and comments of our recent Tony’s Town Square review — and in the comments sections of a few other recent posts — the subject of homogenization of menus and condensation of purchasing down to just a few vendors across Disney’s restaurants has become a frequent topic of conversation.

Studios Central’s Matt Hochberg suggested a while back that I cover this issue and has since written a great post about it himself. I’ve also had some reader comments and emails that make it clear that this type of “uniform” experience might be making a dent in the magic for many of us.

There’s a concern that this is happening across the food and beverage service in Disney World and may be starting in Disneyland as well. But nowhere do I feel it more than where I first noticed the switch — the Disney World pool bar and lounge menus (you can see pics of the standardized lounge menus here and the standardized pool bar menus in this post). Those who have been reading the blog for a while will remember this post, where I finally gave up the ghost of my favorite Disney World drink, the 8 Trax Leisure Suit, because very few of the CMs were able to make it for me. (Thanks to those who submitted their favorites.)

Leisure Suit and Disney World's CURRENT Pool Bar Drink Menu

Since then, I’ve come to accept that menus across the Disney World-owned bars and lounges are going to be similar, with an addition of a specialty drink here and there (interestingly, Dawa Bar in Animal Kingdom is an exception). And as a result, it’s seemed as though it’s not easy to get your old favorites, or even some old standards.

Page from Newest Common Drink Menu

Recently, a Disney Food Blog reader and friend, Alan H., summarized in an email some of his experiences regarding this subject. To preface, Alan says, “I know change happens. I like change; it is what makes returning fun. All of these words are to say that [this is to be taken as] constructive criticism born of a deep love for the ‘Happiest Place on Earth’:”

Paradiso 37 Tequila Bottle Bar Focal Point

On a rainy night just a couple of years ago we decided to blow off fireworks and french pastry at Epcot and instead catch Bob Jackson’s act at the Port Orleans Riverside resort, where we were staying. My wife has been getting Mississippi Mudslides there since the early 90′s. It’s one of their signature drinks. I ordered a stinger as I like retro cocktails and I always remember Cary Grant ordering them in some of his movies. The waiter came back and said to my wife, “You’re lucky — we were able to find the mudslide on one of the computers. (All they do is sub Chambord for Kahlua.) But I’m sorry we don’t have all the ingredients for a stinger.” Brandy and white creme de menthe? I said, “how about a sidecar?” A questioning look made me say, “Just a draft beer.”

What made this more upsetting was that the previous day we went to the Tambu Lounge at the Polynesian resort (an old favorite), which we have been visiting since our honeymoon in ’89. I ordered a Mai Tai (what else in the South Seas). I didn’t read the menu, which mentioned it had pineapple and orange juice. Trader Vic Bergeron invented the Mai Tai after a long trip to the south sea islands and started serving it in his pub in Oakland, CA, in the 1940′s. Good rum and some tropical flavorings. The only juice is from one lime. I also notice that the fancy new drink menu was, after the first page or so, very similar to all the other drink menus I had seen in the resorts recently.

Tune In Lounge

Let’s face it. WDW has great cocktail lounges and bars. New places like La Cava del Tequila in Mexico; the new Via Napoli in Italy, which has some good looking and different drinks; the frozen Grand Marnier and Grey Goose drinks in France; the great pub blends in England; some of the drinks at the Prime Time restaurant at the Studios; and the fairly new Paradiso 37 at the somewhat forlorn Pleasure Island. But several of these are not Disney run places. It seems the old corporate “We can save money by putting the same liquor and equipment in all our lounges” mentality has taken hold. They do have all the currently hip, shiny, brightly colored drinks that people who only drink on vacation want, but wouldn’t it be nice if they gave their bartenders the things they need to make drinks not on the menus? Maybe one of them will come up with the new big thing. That would be a feather (or a swizzle stick) in the Walt Disney World mouse ears cap.

Thanks to Alan and to the others who have commented on this topic in the recent weeks. I’m opening this up for discussion and would love to hear your feedback. Are we just too picky? Are you seeing the “standardization” situation on your visits as well? Would love to hear some thoughts about this.

Quick Edit: This article is, by no means, meant to criticize Disney bartenders or other CMs. Many of my best experiences at Disney parks and resorts have been a result of bartenders going out of their way to ensure guests were well taken care of — pool bars especially. Petals, Banana Cabana, Trout Pass, AKL, and all the rest: thumbs up.

Thanks to DisneyContemporary.com for the use of the menu page photo

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32 Comments

  1. justin says:

    I wrote one of the lengthy comments on the Tony’s review, so I really appreciate this article.

    To give you a bit of background on the liquor/bar menu situation… To save money, Disney actually doesn’t make these liquor menus at all – this started in about 2003-4. The menus are provided to Disney by a liquor vendor who Disney buys their liquor from. This vendor basically has sponsorship deals with various liquor brands, both for cash and steeply reduced product costs. It is this factor that explains why when you’re reading one of these menus, it will drop a name brand (Absolt® Vodka rather than just saying “vodka” or whatever). In turn, the liquor vendor can offer Disney a sharply reduced price if they agree to carry these menus at their owned/operated bars. I could be wrong, but I don’t think these aren’t even customized to Disney at all anymore. If so, it is just one page page. The same vendor provides this exact same menu, Glow-tini and all, to other hotel chains, restaurants and bars – Disney or otherwise.

    While it might be nice for their bottom line, it is unfortunate for the guests who have to endure basically the same menu they will find at the Airport Hilton at every single Disney bar nowadays. I remember back in the day one of the treats of staying at the various hotels was to have a classy (and themed) signature cocktail at their bar (the Grand Floridian and DAK Lodge lounges come to mind), now I feel like I’m drinking at a TGI Fridays no matter which hotel I’m at.

  2. Dana says:

    I don’t drink much, but my fiance would appreciate this article. He used to live for the Wasabi Bloody Mary (blech…..) that they served at the Polynesian. In years past, someone somewhere was able to recreate it, but in past years, they just look at you like your nuts and kind of hint at the menu sitting on the table.

    Now who would want a Wasabi Bloody Mary is beyond me….lol

  3. Kelly says:

    I mentioned this on Matt’s article too, but between Iger being a former CFO, and the struggling economy, it’s not surprising to me that they’re looking more and more at the bottom line. Ironically, if I could get special drinks at different bars & lounges, I might actually go around and drink more.

  4. Bravo AJ! I don’t think you’re being too picky. Rather, we’re feeling the pinch by Disney who is trying to cut anything and everything to save a dollar or two.

    If you know the bar menu is the same everywhere, to me there seems less incentive to go and spend my money at the bars. If there was a wider variety of drinks (like there used to be), exploring a bar and having a drink seemed to be much of a tantalizing opportunity and I felt like I spent more money at bars in the past than I do now.

    While not everyone may enjoy the WDW bars like you or I, the fact of the matter is what has happened to the bar menu is indicative of what’s happening to the food menus as well.

  5. Kudos, AJ, for a fantastic post. I’m like you and Matt, I enjoy exploring the lounges around property, and some of my favorite things were the unique drinks to be found at each one. But imagine my disappointment last year when I stayed at the Poly for the first time ever (a lifelong dream), and went to the Tambu Lounge for a drink, only to not find the Lapu Lapu on the menu.

    Sure, I asked the cast member, and they made it for me. But I shouldn’t have to do that! That’s not the Disney way. Disney seems like a cutting edge company, so you would think they understand that word about certain drinks would get out on the Interwebs, but apparently they either don’t know or don’t care.

    I agree with Matt, there’s no reason to go explore the bars anymore (Dawa Bar excepted), because I can get the same thing at Pop Century that I can at the Polynesian. That’s sad, and I hope it changes soon.

  6. Valerie says:

    I’m one of those who only drink on vacation. And I’m not a huge drinker at WDW. With that said…come on people. You can’t make a Stinger? I mean really, would it be that big a deal to stock the bar with something that isn’t an Appletini. I may only drink on vacation, but that doesn’t mean I want the latest and greatest. Sometimes the classics are classics for a reason…Disney of all companies should know this.

    It seems like a large part of society, Disney included, is starting to forget the concept of balance. Why must all the old be tossed aside for the new. Why can’t there be a little of both? Or maybe they need a Leisure Suit lounge where those who want the selection can find it. I really hope they take a moment to consider getting rid of everything that isn’t neon colored and remember that sometimes Disney is for the adults too.

  7. NT3 says:

    I’ve never had a chance to really explore Walt Disney World bars. I’m kind of sad that now I have no reason to bother.

    This having been said, I’m a beer drinker and boy does the beer selection at Disney World sink too. Thankfully I really enjoy Budweiser and it’s lighter cousins (more than Coors or Miller) but I don’t see why they can’t include a few different themed choices. I guess what I’m saying is, don’t forget about us beer drinkers who like variety, because we don’t get much either.

  8. AJ says:

    Justin — Thanks for the insights. As a former nonprofit fundraiser, I’m keen to the “promotional beverages” schtick, but I had NO idea that these companies don’t even customize the drink menus for Disney. I’d think that would be a given that they’d create specialized menus for what must be one of their largest accounts.

    Additionally, I have seen this menu at the Hearthstone lounge in Disneyland’s Grand Californian, so it’s pervasive across DL and WDW.

    Dana — Different Strokes for Different Folks! I’m not a bloody mary girl myself, either — I’m more “sour mix and midori,” unfortunately, which probably loses me a LOT of credibility around here! ;-) However, I can appreciate the finer things once in a while (looking forward to the Moet & Chandon seminar at the F&W fest!)

    Kelly — Interesting point. I can’t help but feel that those of us who are Disney die-hards and WOULD go out to the bars and lounges more if we could get a variety of specialty drinks don’t represent the masses. :-(

    Matt — Something I DO like is that some restaurant bars are trying some excellent themeing — screw-cap wines at The Wave, South African wines at Jiko, etc. It’s like they’re going in the right direction in some areas, and the wrong direction in others. Once again, feels like Disney’s right hand isn’t aware of its left hand…

    Ryan — I couldn’t believe the Tambu didn’t have the Lapu Lapu on the menu, either! That was a big shocker for me. That is a clear Disney classic… Thanks for your comment — it’s a great example of what we’re talking about here. You KNOW they’re making the Lapu Lapu for the folks at ‘Ohana, where it’s still listed on the menu. Why in the world wouldn’t it be listed on the Tambu menu?

    Valerie — Maybe we’re moving ahead way too fast, eh? I love your discussion of the concept of balance!

    NT3 — Not forgettin’ ya! I know you’re in the mix! Have you tried the Safari Amber in AK or the blends in the UK pavilion? Raglan Road has a few interesting ones as well. That said, I feel your pain!

  9. Liz says:

    I was wondering about those standardized menus! I was very underwhelmed when I came across them the last time we were there. They do seem very generic and very out of character for Disney. We first came across them at the Polynesian, and then the Contemporary Resort. I understand the whole idea of cutting costs, but having the same drinks available at all of the resorts takes away from the uniqueness of each resort. My husband and I love to hotel hop, but that maybe become a thing of the past if all the hotels start selling the exact same stuff.

  10. Brenda says:

    Preaching to the choir here! The homogenization of the drink (and food) menus at WDW during the last 5-7 years has been a real sore point for my husband and me. And we also first began noticing at the pool bars, which used to have wonderful drink variety. Hurricane Hannah’s had some awesomel drinks that we still make at home but which bartenders at Disney have no clue about. With as many lounges and bars as the resort has, the push to standardize the drink menu is puzzling – as a guest I don’t want the same drink everywhere I go. I want to try new things and get new ideas, I don’t want to be forced into some corporate drink box. Oh, and I would like to start a movement to ban glow cubes from bar drinks – they just take up more space that should be allocated to alcohol!

  11. Liz says:

    I forgot to mention that I really don’t get those light up plastic ice cubes. I really don’t feel like it adds anything to the drink and is just a waste.

  12. Allison says:

    I agree with your insights/compilation, AJ. I would find it strange to ask the bartender to make me a classic cocktail and get a strange look instead.

    Our Tambu bartender showed us the Lapu Lapu on the menu when we stopped in for drinks and wings in March – maybe this was a fluke? Either way, it would be unfortunate for signature drinks like the Lapu Lapu to disappear in favor of homogenized menus.

  13. Liz says:

    LOL Brenda! We posted our hatred for the glow cubes at the same time :)

  14. Brenda says:

    great minds, Liz! :-)

  15. JulFromMD says:

    Eeep. Say it ain’t so…

    I am not a big drinker. In fact, the only time I tend to drink is when I’m on vacation. A few trips back I found my favorite drink hidden away on the menu at Kona Cafe–the Malibu Macaw (Malibu coconut rum, Midori melon liqueur, pineapple juice, cranberry juice). It would be a shame if that disappeared because it is the perfect match to go with the food at Kona. I can’t imagine fine diners being pleased if the wine list was standardized in all of the restaurants on property, so why would those of us who are mixed drink fans be happy about standardization? (That is unless they’re going to offer the Malibu Macaw at all pool bars…then I’d be quiet at least for a little while!)

    A good happy medium would be to offer a standard bar menu at all bars, but then also have “daily specials” themed to the bar at each location on a dry erase board or a table flyer. For places that serve appetizers, there could also be daily specials for the food, too.

  16. Thanks for another great post, AJ! Add me to the list of people for whom a favorite drinks has disappeared. Mine was the Kungaloosh, if for no other reason than I loved, loved, loved Adventurers Club. (Truthfully, I find sweet drinks best in moderation…except at Disney.)

    Beyond that, I just have to say “hear, hear!” to this post. Like Matt’s post at studioscentral, this one strikes at a couple of the things I don’t like about WDW: homogenization and outsourcing. (But thanks, Justin, for the informative post.) Especially on vacation, I like to try new drinks – perhaps it’s my low-key sense of experimentation and adventure. But I have no interest, none, in another version of the -tini drink or the slushies. (No offense to those who do.) Let along glowing ice cubes. :P

    What I expect from Disney is that they do offer me a notch above what I can get at any decent airport bar. Something that’s unique & which I associate only with them. The Dole Whip of drinks, if you will. And that’s not at every restaurant or lounge in the World.

    Barring that, I certainly expect that they can make a stinger on request.

  17. Amy says:

    OK, I just whined about the lacking lapu lapu on twitter, but had to also chime in here. It’s silly and somewhat depressing that they’ve standardized to the point of making WDW and Disneyland feel like TGI Fridays. And I’m saying this as one who has enjoyed a light up ice cube drink in the past, much to the embarrassment of my traveling companion (younger brother) – ha ha! I like the idea mentioned above for daily specials.

  18. Gray says:

    This is a FANTASTIC article! I couldn’t agree with you more. If all the lounges are going to start serving the same beverages, there’s no motivation to go exploring new experiences around Disney property. It renders the monorail crawl obsolete. And makes it difficult for any particular lounge to stand apart from the others. (Although, from what I understand, they aren’t allowed to publicize themselves by their alcoholic offerings anyway; Disney corporate policy. Still, word of mouth is usually enough.)

    And I am a bit of a purist when I go to a bar. I expect the bartender to mix the drink from scratch and to be knowledgeable enough to know how to make anything I ask for. It must be incredibly boring for the bartenders to not be able to experiment a little, or branch out from the standardized menu. If Disney is going to force all bartenders to only make the same 10 or so drinks, why hire a bartender at all? Why not just let people help themselves from a vending machine? (I probably shouldn’t have said that, now it’ll give Disney ideas…) I just find it all a shame, really. It’s not just about the loss of a particular drink to me, it’s about the loss of a kind of bar experience.

  19. I agree on the drink menus – and I actually find irritating how they add the Lightning McQueen and Tinkerbell drinks to each menu (no matter how nice the restaurant).

    In addition to drinks, I know that french fries, chicken nuggets, and many other items are pretty much standard across the board (and not standard in a “wow, that is great! way). That is why I don’t go too often to Disney restaurants – I prefer Wolfgang Puck Express, Earl of Sandwich, off-property restaurants that have higher quality at lower prices. If I want french fries, the Yorkshire County Fish Shop at Epcot is one of the only places at WDW I’d go.

    Denise

  20. Betsy says:

    AJ – great article. This is something my family and I have been lamenting for the past several years. As passholders, we tend to go barhopping (or at least to one bar) during our trips. Since we make it on property about once every six weeks, it is nice to have variety of choice from bar to bar. There is one place on property that I’ve found allows something a bit beyond the standards. If you ask, Mizner’s has a rolodex and Tammy always seems to be willing and able to make anything. My brother was thrilled that he finally had someone who would make a cherry daiquiri for him that met and even exceeded his expectations. I would so love it if each bar would at least have daily specials that aren’t on other menus. I have seen this as recently as last weekend at the Crew’s Cup Lounge in the Yacht Club.

  21. Jeni says:

    I’ve been to quite a few different resort bars in the past, but before I started my website, I never realized that the same drinks were at the same bars (for the most part). Definitely takes some of the “fun” out of researching if we know they will all likely be the same. And don’t get me started on the prices to pour quality ratio.

    There still are a few that have unique offerings (Tambu, Dawa, Tune-In, to name a few) but the selection is definitely shrinking, and that worries me too. It’s sad that a bar can’t or doesn’t know how to make any typical cocktail on request. I’m afraid we’re also starting to lose actual bartenders to cast members that can mix simple ingredients.

    The lounges have a separate sheet tucked into the front and back covers of the drink menu with their specialty drinks and appetizers listed – if available. Rest assured that the Lapu Lapu IS still on that menu. Just last week we watched the Tambu bartender unpack 2 boxes of pre-cut pineapples, so they’re not making that drink as a “favor” to anyone. They make up to 5 dozen a night.

    I would love to see a happy hour at the hotels, but I think that’s way too much to ask!

    …and PartyThroughTheParks completely stands behind this statement:
    “Oh, and I would like to start a movement to ban glow cubes from bar drinks – they just take up more space that should be allocated to alcohol!” – Brenda

  22. We’re NOT being too picky at all! I try to scope out the non-homogenized menus as much as I can. Lapu Lapu’s and Backscratchers at Tambu Lounge, Black & Tans at the UK, ANY margarita at La Cava de Tequila, etc, etc. I remember hearing about all of these amazing drinks over the years and it’s sad that we can’t find them anymore. It’s really NOT that hard to make any of these drinks, which makes me scratch my head as to why Disney can’t serve the normal dumbed-down menu as well as all of the classics. They’ll still make money because people will still order off the new menu but the old drinks have their following as well. Alcohol has a decent shelf life so it’s not as if they’ll be wasting serious money having alcohol ‘go bad’.

    I read Matt’s previous blog about the decline of some Disney things and couldn’t agree more with his reasoning. *sigh*

  23. Alan says:

    There’s nothing wrong with a drink menu to show new and different drinks especially for occasional drinkers. But I think they should be able to make almost any classic drink and should be able to make the signature drinks at their particular lounge.

  24. nora says:

    We had noticed this starting in 2003-2004, about the same time that we became friends with a few pool-bartenders at WDW. Frankly, they didn’t like the homogenization much either.

    I can only think of a few semi-valid reasons for Disney to do this…
    1. saves money because you can just get everything in bulk from your liquor distributor (for however long you may be under contract to that particular distributor)
    2. makes it easier to “float” bartenders around property – after all, it’s not like you have to know how to make anything unique
    3. makes the experience more consistent for guests (well, that may not be a good reason)

    Frankly, when thinking about staying at different resorts (which already have great theming in terms of architecture and decor), why in the world WOULDN’T a guest expect to have different, uniquely themed choices for food and beverage. I’m not arguing that there can’t be some level of homogenization – but the powers that be seem to be carrying it too far.

    These little special things you (used to) find at the various resorts encouraged you to resort hop and you’d think that Disney would want that to happen when it comes to food and drink and entertainment – doesn’t that little taste encourage you to try different resorts AND to try “upgrading” to a higher level resort?

    It’s distressing (not in a major way, it’s not immediately life altering or anything) and when added with the other small, creeping cost-saving changes — it does remove some of the wonderous-ness and joy of staying at WDW. If the whole resort experience is cheapened and dumbed down, why not stay off property for less money? It makes WDW less about being at The World and more about the theme parks…

    (btw: I’ve cross-blogged this to our website with links to AJ’s article and Matt’s article)

  25. nora says:

    Oh shoot, you can find us at frugaldinks.com

  26. Josh says:

    Well, according to American Laws (Now back in England…) I’m not allowed to drink for a few more years. When we did go to Disney World though, I don’t remember really seeing anyone drink.

    I’m pretty sure I have seen a story on the Glow-tinis here before and those are the ones that interest me the most with there mesmerizing Glow Cubes.

  27. Heather says:

    I’m a bartender for a corporation that employs thousands of bartenders world wide. Recently we were given a book of corporate drink recipes, created by the corporate office. I’ve found that many of the recipes are NOT true to the original or classic drinks and some of them just aren’t very good. However, what the “office” has required is that we include some of their recipes in our drink menus and given us the freedom to include our own specialty drinks. I like the ability to pick and choose which of their drinks we’re going to highlight and the bonus of being able to showcase our talents.

    I understand the reasons for “the book.” Its the same reason that the company chooses the wine and liquors we HAVE to carry. It provides consistency across the brand. It also means we get a great deal on wine–as the company is buying such huge quantities.

    In the case of the Disney “book.” It is probably being printed for them for free by the company that supplies the liquors highlighted in the drinks, however, it is being printed just for them–you won’t find the Magic Star on other menus anywhere else. Most distributors offer some kind of volume discounts and I’m sure with the sheer number of bars–keeping the menu consistent provides enormous discounts for the purchasing department. (The discounts usually look something like buy 12 cases we’ll send you a free case or buy 1 case and we’ll give you 1 bottle of something we don’t sell tons of ex. buy a case of bacardi and get a free bottle of bacardi limon.)

    It would be relatively easy to create “table tents” for each bar with that bar’s specialties outside of the regular offerings. Disney would probably require, however, that those drinks be made with items they already carry to decrease purchasing costs!
    (Whew!)

  28. Kaniala says:

    I am going to Disney World in a couple of months and while I understand the reason for homogenizing the drink menus I am a bit disappointed to hear that it is taken so far. I love mixed drinks and one of the main reasons is different flavor combinations that is possible.

    I don’t think having a base drink menu is a bad thing for the resorts, after all if someone isn’t very adventurous then they can have what they like at each place. What I feel would be a good balance is to have the base the drink menu but, add in some specialty drinks that highlights the resort or places at the park. Some examples would be having some African inspired drinks at Animal Kingdom Lodge as the specialty while the Polynesian resort has several tropical drinks, and Grand Floridian can have something classic and elegant. They wouldn’t have to make a whole lot of drinks maybe 2 or 3 for each theming and I am sure some of them can use the alcohols that they already purchase for the “base” drink menu

  29. Lori Abramson says:

    I think the one thing Disney keeps forgetting in their efforts to cut costs is what makes Disney special.

    If I want what everyone else is having, I can go to Six Flags, thank you very much. I go to Disney because its magical, because there is no one else like it. I go because not each and every hotel room is the same. Don’t get me wrong, Hilton is a very nice company, but I like being greeted with Aloha when I stay at the Poly, and I love the way we dress like they did in bygone days at GF. I am paying premium for this experience and if they can hide Mickeys in the custom designed carpeting and throughout the attractions in an effort to carry the theme, then they could sure spend a couple of dollars more to allow each a hotel a few speciality drink.

    Attention Disney: I know its a novel concept but I am sure there are more than a few companies that would bend over backwards to meet your needs just for the chance to say, “Hey, I’m with that guy”. Use your clout. Look outside the box and demand people meet your high standards. Your guests do the same with you every day and you usually rise to high standards we set for you.

  30. Alex says:

    I find it very depressing that this standardized liquor promo menu has taken over. I think it would be nice if it were a base menu, and each hotel and restaurant had a specialty drink as well. It would also be nice if people could make classic drinks (a sidecar by the way consists of 3 ingredients! 3 ingredients!) I have been a bartender for special events at a sports bar my brother part owns since I was of age to, and it is, being a sports bar, generally a beer kind of place, yet every single bartender in there knows how to make the classics, and if you order something they don’t know they will dig into the now barely bound bartenders black book to find it and make it for you. I have to hold Disney to my brother’s beer swilling sports bar standards.

  31. Shayne says:

    So, so late chiming in here! I also noticed the same homogenized drink menu this weekend at Disneyland.

    I guess I’m starting to understand why, when we ate at Hollywood Brown Derby last January, both the hostess and our waiter kept emphasizing to us that the restaurant has a full bar and could make anything we wanted. At the time, it struck us as odd, and so we decided we should order a cocktail before we moved to wine with our dinner. For some reason, the old Hollywood atmosphere made us both think of a Harvey Wallbanger. The waiter had no idea what that was, but he went to the bar to inquire and they responded that it was no problem. A couple of minutes later, a Harvey Wallbanger arrived at the table!

  32. Sara says:

    Frankly, I think standardized menus epitomize everything that is wrong with the Walt Disney Company today.

    While too young to enjoy them, I recall childhood trips where my parents would stop at the contemporary resort’s lounge for the various monorail drinks (monorail pink was mom’s choice beverage!)

    Now, one can find the same drinks on every menu, same merchandise in every shop, and similar experiences at every resort. Remember the wonderfully themed check-in newsletters? The Sassagoula Express newspaper comes to mind from what was then Dixie Landings. Those have all been replaced by tiny pocket maps.

    Granted, drinking out of my refilable “celebrate today” mug does make my monday after a wdw trip more enjoyable, but remember when every resort had it’s own mug??? What great memory-invoking souvineers were those!

    What all of this boils down to is Disney attempting to cut costs, yet discontinuing some of it’s most magical elements. When on vacation, I want a specialized, quality experience. I can only hope that WDW will realize that assimilation, with the hopes of saving money, cheapens the feel of the resort as a whole.

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