In an effort to improve traffic flow and the dining experience of its customers, Walt Disney World has initiated a new program at some of its busiest counter service restaurants in the Magic Kingdom. Under the new program, guest access into the restaurant is restricted, but seating guaranteed, during the busiest meal times.
In order to accomplish this, all arriving customers are directed to one entrance so that Disney Cast Members are able to gauge the influx. Once in, a Cast Member informs the guests that they should place their food orders first before sitting down. After they have received their orders, another cast member directs them to an available table.Before the new program, it was common for families to split up and have one part of the group hold a table while the other went for food. This proves in-efficient as tables are being held by people who are not yet eating. It is estimated that this practice ties up as much as 1/3 of the capacity of a restaurant.
For now, the pilot program is only being tested at 4 of the busiest Magic Kingdom restaurants; Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Café, Columbia Harbour House, Pinocchio Village Haus and Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café. It is only activated on the busiest days during the meal rush time, otherwise the seating is offered as usual.
Other steps have been taken to improve operations as part of what Disney calls “The Basics.” Under this new initiative, Cast Members are encouraged to develop ideas to re-emphasize customer service.
One example of this change is the replacement of the high back chairs at Pecos Bills. Based on an employee suggestion, the chairs were replaced with smaller stools enabling more seats to be placed at most tables, increasing capacity.