Disney is just over a month away from starting its 25th Birthday celebrations. Like everyone who hits their mid twenties, they begin to reflect and think what they are going to do better this year. While the new Maleficant parade dragon is stealing the headlines the new hotel arrangements have gone under the radar. The end of complimentary breakfast.
Since I have been going to Disneyland Paris, breakfast has been included when you book a Disney hotel. Who doesn’t love a free breakfast? Well it turns out everyone loves it and this was always the problem during any stay. People are keen to get value for money and few turn down the offer of breakfast. This leads to a huge operation each day trying to satisfy the hoards.
The pleasure of being on holiday is often that you can do things at your own pace. Unfortunately, Disney can’t have hundreds of people descend for breakfast all at once, so each person is issued a time slot. This tends to put pressure on most families leading to quite a tense atmosphere. But it is free!
The range on offer is limited. The initial buzz of excitment when you reach the buffet is quickly deflated by the lack of choice. The Santa Fe uses its restaurant as its breakfast room. Unsurprisingly, the free breakfast doesn’t fill up all the space like the 30 euro per person evening buffet. This makes the experience feel disappointing as you are left expecting much more. But remember, it is free!
On the way to the buffet, I passed many people with a plate full of croissants. Either these were really good or there was no real choice available and people went for quantity over quality. The breakfast is all centred around bread. Croissants, toast, pain au chocolat and petit pain. The other items available were simply there to fill your bread. Cold cuts, jam, butter and Nutella. Intriguingly, rather then slices of cheese only cubes of cheese where available. This was not good for filling a crossisant but perfect for any young child to build a tower with. A range of cereals finished the buffet selection. But come on, its free!
As I went back to my table with my plate full of croissants I wondered if anyone cared about the lack of selection. It is rare to get breakfast included and this was always seen as a perk. However, my most recent experience left me agreeing with Disney that a paid service is the way to go.
Although I am not a fan of extra charges, I feel this chaotic breakfast experience is not the magical atmosphere Disney is trying to create. Less people, more selection and perhaps the introduction of characters would transform this into an experience worth travelling for. Anyone looking for a relaxing start to the day will soon be able to pay extra to have that experience.
Equally, for those who want to get up and get going straight away, no longer will they feel guilty about missing out on a free breakfast. Starbucks soon arrives at Santa Fe ready to fuel those get up and goers.
Although this review will be soon out of date, I believe that is has shown the need for change. I hope Disney can bring the same magic it achieves in its parks to its breakfasts each morning.