As stated in my previous blog entry (and a good number of tweets on Saturday) I stayed at the Port Orleans Resort at Walt Disney World over the weekend. I am pleased to report that zaniness did, in fact, ensue and I plan to post pics from the adventure in the next day or so.
Now on to that bad part – Saturday night I met about fourteen friends to go see a movie… And I learned first hand how downhill Downtown Disney has gone.
THE HOUSE OF BLUES: I was at the opening of the very first House of Blues in the world. Around 1992-3 a few friends of mine and I had some great peanut butter cheesecake at the small (and freshly built) House of Blues in Harvard Square in Boston, Massachusetts. The novelty of the place was catchy enough, but what amazed me was how good the food actually was.
Since then, I have been to the House of Blues in Los Angeles (on the Sunset Strip), New Orleans, Las Vegas and Orlando. I even had one of the greatest concert experiences of my life at the HOB Orlando – I got to see Wilson Pickett.
In short: I have always considered The House of Blues to be the best of the "touristy" chain restaurants.
Last Saturday I met some of the group early for dinner at the HOB Orlando before seeing a movie. Key points of the experience:
-Six of the nine members of our party arrived and were ready to be seated for our 8:45 PM reservation… But they refused to seat us regardless of the fact that we were attempting to see a movie that evening and were on a "time crunch".
-They no longer have chicken fingers on the menu. Now I don’t pretend to be any sort of dining industry expert – but I know a lot of parents. Aren’t chicken fingers one of the key kid friendly foods for tourist places to serve? Are chickens suddenly really expensive?
-Unique foods make places like this more of a draw… And sweet potatoe fries were something that really made the menu interesting. So (of course) it is an item that they no longer serve.
-Nine people were at the table and the kitchen messed up two of the orders. Kim and Shannon both had their food brought back out fairly quickly – but come on! A high volume place like that shouldn’t have that many screw ups. This point is that much more shocking since it was a SATURDAY NIGHT and the staff should be used to running at high volume that evening!
-While our server was nice enough, the food runners seemed offended when the orders they delivered were wrong. You know – because it was OUR FAULT that the food was not what we ordered.
-Lastly, I ordered the same thing I have ordered from that place for over ten years: The Elwood. It is a blackened chicken sandwich and this time it tasted bland compared to the ones I have had a dozen times before.
So to recap: Food quality has gone down; menu has changed for the worse; service at the place is now sub par.
I am truly disappointed because I was an avid fan of the House of Blues for years.
AMC THEATRES: I will skip this story because it would make the blog entry waaaay too long. In short: if you are a manager and I explain that my friend has had a major service issue with up to four people on your staff in less that ten minutes OFFER TO MAKE IT BETTER. Do not shrug at me and blame it on the fact that you have "so many new employees." With folks fighting hand over fist for jobs in today’s market you should be able to secure fairly competent staff unless 1.) your Human Resources sucks or 2.) your training program sucks.
Either case – not my problem.
So when I visit Orlando ( which I do about once a month) I will start asking my friends to meet me downtown in Orlando or at Pointe Orlando.
Downtown Disney is dead – and no longer worth my money.