Monday, March 05, 2007

And Another One Gone ...


It's one thing for Disney to shutter an attraction whose success has been dubious (well, Horizons notwithstanding!) ... but it's quite another when Disney suddenly announces that it's going to close down one of the most popular attractions in a theme park.

That's what has happened with L'Originale Alfredo di Roma Ristorante, which has been a mainstay of EPCOT Center (and Epcot) dining since 1982.

Seeking, it would seem, to continue erasing all traces of what made EPCOT Center such a special place, Disney management has announced that Alfredo -- where fettucine Alfredo originated ... well, at least in its Rome location -- will close on Aug. 31. When I read this report on Mouseplanet.com, I was flabbergasted, and when I checked with friends at Disney, it was confirmed.

No one can explain why.

No one believes for a moment that the restaurant company was unhappy with the business it enjoyed at EPCOT. No one believes for a moment that guests felt they'd like to see another character dining location (after all, there are already two "Italian" character dining expereinces at Walt Disney World).

This one is a head scratcher, and a genuine cause for sorrow. If you'd like more information about it, including a telling cast-member "cheat sheet" from Disney that promises Alfredo's will be replaced with a "strategic partner" (groan), visit John's site, TheDisneyBlog.com.

L'Originale Alfredo di Roma Ristorante will be sorely missed at EPCOT. Its authentic Italian dining was one of the highlights of many a visit to the theme park; its immersive experience was one of the prime examples of what EPCOT Center did so well.

And this latest announcement, until someone can offer a plausible explanation, just smacks further of an insatiable greed Disney has to homogenize its parks, get more money (from both vendors and guests) and dishonor anything that has a history, legacy and creative success.

Arrivederci, Alfredo ... it was a most wonderful 24 years, 11 months. You will be sorely, tremendously missed!

35 comments:

John said...

My guess is that Alfredo's fell victim to the expanded use of the Disney Dining Plan. This plan has two evil side effects. First, it requires a hurried service approach as you have to churn more guests per hour to earn the same profit you earned when everyone paid full price for the mail. Second, it requires a much simplified version of the menu. I suspect that the owners of Alfredo's felt that they guest experience no longer reflected in a positive manner on the brand name.

-John
http://www.thedisneyblog.com

Epcot82 said...

That's a sadly plausible explanation, John ... so, what does it say about Disney?!

Tom I. said...

The Disney Dining Plan sounds downright un-American. Why must every restaurant fall under the umbrella of this bizarre voucher system? It seems as though people who would pay more for better options are being penalized by fewer options and busier restaurants. (Will the guests staying at the Four Seasons want to carry around a coupon book for sustenance? I think not.) I think the scope should be limited to only certain restaurants, perhaps grading the restaurants like Disney does the resorts. Would that be unfair?
And I am sorry to hear about Alfredo's. I never got a chance to eat there as it was always booked solid and I figured that it would always be there. I hesitated to get on board your anti-Epcot (current style) bandwagon (due to my inordinate fondness of all things WDW), but this makes me want to hop right on. Alfredo's, to me, was one of the most authentic pieces of World Showcase. Italy (the fake on the lake) will be the worse without it.
Now if they mess with the Brown Derby, it'll be all out war.

John said...

Sorry to disappoint, but they messed with the Brown Derby some time ago. It started with the removal of the live pianist and continues with a reduced menu and the hurry-up service attitude.

FoxxFur said...

I don't know, I find it sad to get upset about losing one of the most overpriced (for the food you recieved), most banal, and most hated restaurants in EPCOT. Although my expirence there a few years ago was ok and I wasn't paying, the place was cramped, loud, and hardly a pleasant meal. I know a lot of people who absolutley hate it.

Oughn't we be excited about the fact that this means a probable significant overhaul to the kitchen and dining facilities and, if the new establishment is as nice as Disney's track record suggests it can be, a resusitation of interest in what is probably the least interesting and poorly attendended pavilion? Losing a 2 star eatery which charged 3 star prices is hardly something to get upset about. Especially when we know that Disney can pull out all the stops and deliver a 4 star dining expirence (Jiko? Citricos? Flying Fish? Bistro de Paris?) when they're actually motivated enough.

Other EPCOT dining establishments that need to be seriously rethought: Coral Reef (Red Lobster food, Citricos prices), Nine Dragons (I can't count with both hands the number of people I know who have gotten food poisoning here), Rose and Crown (being a pub is no excuse for being a half-assed foodery). And how about throwing us a bone and letting The Odysessy return as a full time fast food place? Or how about, horror of horrors, not serving just Fast Food at the American Adventure? Although it is, I must admit, brilliant social commentary.

I don't know. When I read this particular news item I had the same reaction every one of my Disney friends had when I told them: "HA!"

Jeff Pepper said...

I'm equally puzzled about reactions this has been receiving. In the 35+ year history of WDW, restaurants have come and gone. It will likely be replaced with another similar venue.

According to the Unofficial Guide, it was a 2 1/2 star eatery that was significantly overpriced. And I as well had numerous folks warn me off of it.

Epcot82 said...

It is interesting that there are differing reactions, just as there have been differing responses to many of the posts here at EPCOT Central.

My own experiences at Alfredo's have been inordinately memorable, from the first time I ate there in 1983 to the last in 2006. The service has been fantastic (and fun), the ambience wonderful, the un-rushed attitude welcome. Since I began visiting EPCOT as an adult, I've always made a point of booking dinner at Alfredo's afer the pre-Illuminations "rush," and the experience has always been beyond perfect.

As for Coral Reef, well, I've never tasted piranha at Red Lobster! Just as you've always been able to get mediocre tacos and enchiladas at Cantina San Angel but have also had the opportunity to be more adventurous, Coral Reef has been kind enough to offer "bland" seafood and exciting options, as well. Nine Dragons? Ever since the "dim-sum" overhaul, it's much improved.

This is one of those examples of EPCOT being what you put into it. If you're going to simply go off of guidebooks, then you're going to miss so much of what EPCOT has (or had) to offer.

I lament the loss of Alfredo's not because it was the best restaurant in Walt Disney World (it may not have been), but because it tried to offer an authentic experience, a more-than-run-of-the-mill Italian dining option that truly reflected the "original Originale." It was indeed a little bit of Rome in Italy, and when I finally visited the actual restaurant a few years back, I was delighted to have an experience that was both familiar and new.

(For a delightful image, visit the restaurant's website at http://www.alfredos.com and look through the gallery of images for a shot of Walt Disney with "Alfredo.")

Alfredo's and EPCOT go hand-in-hand in my book. You may disagree, and I welcome that -- but for me, this is a remarkably sad turn of events that underscores how little Disney wants to pay heed to EPCOT's first quarter-century. Of all the things they could have done in EPCOT's milestone year, this one really feels to me like a slap in the face. Again, you are very free to disagree, but it is a sad, sad development.

FoxxFur said...

I'm not going off guidebooks, I'm going off personal expierence. Pirhana is no longer offered at Coral Reef, incidentally - the most flavorful fish I could get there was a Salmon, which was subpar. And the service was shameful. Perhaps I had an unusually negative expierence there (I ate while Nemo was still being installed), but I will never go back. I've had two better recent meals at the compartivley blah Garden Grill, for example.

I'm glad Alfredo's means something to you, and again, my meal wasn't bad, but it wasn't justifiable for the price (and I'm the kind of person who wouldn't think twice about plopping down $45 for a good cut of meat). The food, while suitably authentic, wasn't any better than my expectations for above par Italian. While comparisons I've heard to the Olive Garden aren't fair, for a park which offers some genuinley great and unusual food options, I think Alfredo's was one of the worst.

San Angel Inn greatly improved around 2003 thank goodness, although I think the Chicken Mole' vanished around the same time, which is a shame, since Mole' is an insanley difficult sauce to make from scratch. Akershus really needs a shot or two in the arm and some de-Princessifying, and Biergarten is just about what it's always been.

Disney Dining Plan, when used right, can get you some great meals for great prices, but it has resulted in the dumbing down of a lot of food establishments which used to offer some unusually ballsy stuff. If it's actually inside a park it seems, it's up for grabs. I was fortunate enough to hit Brown Derby before the DDP and loved it.

My favorite place for lunch is a little establishment called the Grand Floridian Cafe, underneath Citricos, for a slow and tasty meal on certain December afternoons before heading to Downtown Disney for some Christmas shopping. I really hope that the closure of Alfredo's and the refurbishment of Mitsukoshi Teppanyaki means these two troubled '82 originals are getting food upgrades, not downgrades. Time will tell.

kcnole said...

I agree with many people I've heard on this front. We frankly don't care. I've eaten here once, was very excited to do so because I love good italian food, and left disapointed. I am able to get a much higher quality italian food at the local restaurant where I used to live for much less money. It just wasn't worth it in the end.

I am hoping that Disney has begun to see the negative complaints of this restaurant (Which out of my experience outway the good compliments) and is bringing in a much better experience for us.

Now if all we get is Olive Garden or something equally ridiculous like that then we have cause to raise hell, but until I see what its replaced with I'm not too concerned with this move.

Epcot82 said...

The strange thing is, for all of your complaining about the other restaurants, you're not seeing the pattern Disney is developing: Replace unique dining experiences in EPCOT with dull ones; charge those NOT on the meal plan exorbitant prices so those ON the meal plan will feel they're getting a deal. It's getting crazy.

Please revisit my original post. You're getting caught up in the specifics of the food. That has little to do with why I'm so sad that Alfredo's is closing. It's the principle of the thing that bothers me tremendously. The ominous news that a "strategic partner" is coming in does NOT bode well for a creative, exciting, authentic Italian experience, frankly. I wouldn't at all be surprised to find out it IS Olive Garden.

I don't know if a lot of guests complain about Alfredo's. Given that they eat overcooked hamburgers, funnel cake and Coke as the "American" dining experience, I can't imagine they do.

J Gall. said...

My mother has always been a fan of this restaurant only b/c a buff Sicilean hit on her here with me and my father in '83. Being Sicilean ourselves it was a good experience to know that "our people" can just tell each other by looking at them. And maybe that would be a good idea for a restaurant, something that talks about Southern Italy and the islands, where most Italian food in America comes from anyway. Maybe even have something that reflects the volanic history of that part of the country. The pavilion is too Venician if you ask me :P

Jeff Pepper said...

Ok, I'm a bit confused. Wasn't Alfredo's essentially a third-party "strategic partner" anyway?

And I'm not entirely sure why this has turned into an indictment of sorts of the Disney Dining Plan. Disney has offered inclusive meal packages for years. While some of the points are well taken, why are we not seeing similar fallout at other high end venues? Raglan Road is on the DDP and it certainly doesn't seem to be experiencing these same issues.

And frankly, the DDP is not really about "value" as it is about convenience. If you do the math, the savings isn't really all that significant. The problems were more rooted in the "free" DDP offers that Disney has done in the past couple of years, that were more successful than anticipated and ended up being problematic for the stresses they placed on the theme park-based restaurants.

And the exorbitant prices at Alfredo's were in place long before the current Disney Dining plan.

FoxxFur said...

I'm ducking out of this one. This argument is becoming insane.

Anonymous said...

This is the WORST restaurant I've ever eaten at in my life. Good riddance.

Anonymous said...

I heard they're going to replace it with the "Lady and the Tramp's Bella Notte Italian Buffet."

E83 said...

Ok I’m an expert. Well sort of. I’ve had many trips and hit many WDW restaurants so I’ll summarize.

Everything is pricey. Prepaying with the dining plan allows you to take the hit up front and allows you to keep your eyes from popping out of your head when you see pasta in the Sci-Fi Theater for $27. It also allows you to enjoy more park dining instead of thinking how much you can save if you jump on international blvd.

I’ve had excellent service at many WDW places, but the combination of sky high prices, “Disney Perfect” expectations and the reality of running restaurants with incredible volume means that every now and then a perfect storm dining disaster happens.

Finally everyone has different dining preferences. The key is to find which restaurant fits yours. The best bet is to find menu’s online to plan your trip. You can find who is playing it safe “mama Melrose’s” or letting it rip “spoodles”.

Finally I would say the American Dining pavilion is an embarrassment. I realize it is hard to represent any country’s entire cuisine in a single restaurant, but to serve burgers and fries within a few hundred feet of all those international options is sad.

Jahosifatz said...

It's prolly being replaced with a 4 Seasons restaurant, just like everything else. My disgust w/ Disney is turning into contempt.

Geoffrey said...

it would seem as if they are setting themselves up for failure, unless they are replacing the restuarant with another authentic Italian Resuarant perhaps a popular Italian Restuarant with a gourmet chef for some good Italian food.

Mr. Willard said...

I can't believe it! I just cannot believe it! This is terrible! I am ok with Disney replacing attractions. In some ways, I actually encourage it. (Walt always wanted the parks to change.) But only if the new attraction is better than the one before it, which lately Disney seems to be having a hard time accomplishing. L’Originale Alfredo di Roma Ristorante was one of my favorite restaurants in EPCOT (opps... Epcot). No, Walt Disney World. No, just about anywhere. It's one thing I look forward to every vacation to Walt Disney World. I make sure it is ALWAYS booked when I go. My good friends once payed for an extra ticket just to eat there! It was a couple of years ago, but still one day ticket just to eat at a restaurant!?! They said that they'd pay any amount to eat a meal there.

Disney sure had one heck of a restaurant in their park and now they are getting rid of it. I shake my head in amazement/disgust that Disney is allowing this happen.

dean said...

I remember once having a wonderful dinner in Colonial Williamsburg. Perhaps that's what the dining experience at the American pavilion should be more like??

I can empathize with those who feel they are losing a favorite dining spot in Alfredo's. I'm guessing that the restaurant itself is going to stay pretty much the same while the menu is updated to reflect the new establishment. Unless it goes to tray service it might be a worthwhile improvement.

As for all these marketing-speak terms like "new strategic partner" and "dining concept", it really makes me wonder how much further out-of-touch Disney relations can get. These terms are definitely intended more for investors to get excited over than the everyday guest. It speaks volumes about their current corporate mindset.

dbknight said...

I'm ready for something new. My last visit I felt hurried, there were no musicians, and the food was mediocre. There are much better World Showcase restaraunts in my opinion.

Do you think Alfredo's can pack that wand up with them?

Epcot82 said...

I just want to say this again: It's not about the food.

kcnole said...

I'm just going to wait and see what it's replaced with before I get worked up. If it's another authentic experience then I don't see any harm here. If however it's a watered down italian place, maybe carabba's or Olive Garden type experience then I'll be outraged.

I just don't know enough about what is happening here yet to share your frustration. I can vent for hours about the horrors that the dining plan has brought upon the parks, but that's a different subject than this restaurant closing.

I just want to wait and see who this strategic partner is and sample their wares (or at least hear from some people I trust who sample them) before I give my final verdict. It could be very very good bringing in a high quality place even better than Alfredo's has been of late, or it could be very very bad.

There's just not enough info to make an informed conclusion yet.

E83 said...

I’ve had their alfredo and it is rich beyond belief (wonderfull). Since everyone has an opinion on what an Italian restaurant should be, I’m sure it has delighted and disappointed hundreds of thousands of guests.

Once again we are left with the question of intent. This probably was the result of a pissing match over rent and dining plan credit/rates. In the end what goes into that spot? If it is something authentic and unique, I’ll go there. If the only thing that matters is how much rent the new restaurant pays to Disney……….then this is every bit the travesty that E82 expects.

St. Chris said...

Echoing Epcot82: It's not about the food -- that's a matter of personal taste. (I love the Alfredo at Alfredo's. Wouldn't miss it. Others hate it; so it goes.)

What hits me about this is: On the 25th anniversary of EPCOT Center, will I be looking at a boarded-up restaurant in World Showcase? They're closing Alfredo's one month before the silver anniversary. And no, I don't care whether they're "celebrating" or not; it's a significant date.

Can they completely replace a World Showcase restaurant in 30 days? If not, this is one more huge slap in the face of Epcot enthusiasts.

Anonymous said...

OH MY GOD. I can't believe what I just read! This is huge! I just received a bucket of ice cold water in my face. I am Italian and I used to work at Alfredo l'originale di Roma in the Epcot Park in 2004. I'm so bombed by these news. I really would like to know the real reasons of this sudden and unexpected change. I guess the restaurant really suffered from bad reviews due to the new service rhythm imposed by the Disney's Dining Plan. In this moment a thought goes to my ex managers....and my ex coworkers. Maybe the working atmosphere wasn't always the best, but the time spent during my international exchange program, was certainly a good time. I remember the words of my manager Cary during the daily briefing: "Treat every guest as a top VIP! Every bad review or complaint could cause big damages to the restaurant. If the guest is not happy about our service anymore, we can all go home and lose our job!". Hard to believe when you come from Europe, where the quality standards are not as high as the ones in the USA. And here I am, 3 years later, reading the astonishing news, that th restaurant where I learned what top quality service means, where I took my first steps in the food and beverage industry, is being closed down end of this August. What can I say, you'll be missed Alfredo! They will probably open an Olive Garden and totally spoil the TRUE Italian experience available in the resort. Good luck to the managers and current employees of the restaurant. With a little tear in my eye, revisiting all the memories attached to this place, i can only add: Grazie di tutto e arrivederci Alfredo (thank you for everything and goodbye, Alfredo). Osvaldo Del Mistero, cast member class of 2004

Anonymous said...

I live in New York and go to Alfredos once a year with my family, we love much of the resort. But things are changing for the worse. Disney wants the park to have more of an "Eatery" style restaurant in Italy as opposed to one all encompassing restaurant. Also, "they will not be inserting an Italian company, but a commissary style American restaurant, such as PF Changs. This lowers the cost of food and staff, because everything is frozen somewhere else and reheated on location. No chef is required and any cook can do the work". I just read that on a memo sent to our Italian restaurant association here in New York. Alfredos made their own pastas and sauces, which is expensive and probably the reason they are being forced out. Disney wants someone that will profit from cheap product and stop complaining to them for a bigger cut. I heard they are hiring a lot of Italians now in Italy to replace ALL the Italian kids that are there now, apparently no one will keep their positions. The company that hires for them in Europe is scrambling to hire anyone. I doubt Alfredo's has been making a profit since the creation of the Disney Dining Plan. Our waiter told us that things have been difficult for the company in these past few years, Italians are proud of their food and Disney recommended for Alfredo's to Buy more pre-made ingredients to save money, the owner said "no". Creativity hit the bottom line. I hope Disney stops leasing off all its own properties to just any company, Iger is just an Eisner clone and not a very creative one. I'll stick with New York and the real thing in Italy.

Epcot82 said...

Anonymous, that's a horrible report -- but it sounds so horrible it's got to be true. Lacking any further explanation by Disney, it seems reasonable to think that Disney wants to increase its profit margins over providing a great experience.

I happen (as you can probably tell) to be one of those who have always loved Alfredo's. The idea that I'd be going to dine there and NOT be getting freshly made food with good ingredients is a travesty.

Sad to say, there are more and more reasons lately NOT to go to Walt Disney World.

Anonymous said...

For those of you who do care about saving this wonderful restaurant, there is something that can be done. Write Disney and tell them what is on your mind and in your heart. Disney really listens to their guests.

The address is:

Guest Relations
Walt Disney World Resort
P.O. Box 10000
Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830-1000

Anonymous said...

DEAR AMERICAN FRIENDS
MY NAME IS MARCO AND I CAN TALK AS AN INSIDER OF ALFREDO, WHERE I HAVE BEEN WORKING 15 MONHTS. LET'S START TO SAY THAT IT HAS BEEN A GREAT EXPERIENCE AND I HAVE GREAT MEMORIES OF THAT. WITH THIS SAID, LET ME TELL YOU SOME UNFORTUNATELY TRUE FACTS : DISNEY IS NOT A VERY NICE PLACE WHERE TO WORK, THEY TREAT YOU LIKE SLAVES, IF YOU ARE WORKING AT THE MERCHANDISE, YOU GET PAID 7 $ AN HOUR, AND YOU GET TERMINATED IMMEDIATELY IF YOU ACCEPT A 1 $ TIP......SO THE POOR GUYS THAT HAVE THE BAD LUCK TO WORK THERE, HAVE TO LIVE WITH 200 $ PER WEEK.........AND THEY COME FROM EUROPE FOR THAT.....I HAD THE LUCK TO WORKING IN THE RESTAURANT, AND LET ME TELL YOU : THE FOOD IT WAS REALLY SHITTY, IF YOU ONLY TRY TO GIVE SOMETHING LIKE THAT LASAGNA OR SPAGHETTI MEATBALL , (THAT BY THE WAY DOES NOT EXIST AT ALL IN ITALY) IN ITALY, SOMEONE WILL SHOOT YOU..THE KITCHEN IT WAS ALWAYS DIRTY AND THE FOOD IT WAS MADE LIKE A FACTORY, USING A LOT OF PRODUCTS FROM SYSCO, AND REALLY IT WAS NOT REALLY FRESH.......AND THE ONLY GOOD THING WERE PROBABLY THE VEAL CHOP AND THE FILET, AND THE ANTIPASTO AND MOZZARELLA.....THE PASTA WAS MADE IN THE HOUSE, BUT THE LAYER WERE COMING FROM SOMEWHERE UNKNOW FOR US.INSIEDE THE RESTAURANT, WERE EVERYBODY IT WAS NICE WITH YOU FOR YOUR TIPS,THERE WAS LIKE A MILITARY DISCIPLINE, AND THE MANAGERS WERE THERE JUST TO TELL US TO SELL MORE AND MORE AND MORE AND WE WERE ALWAYS IN COMPETITION.....OUR MAIN GOAL WAS TO SELL MORE AND MORE IN ONE DAY AND IF A TABLE IT WAS CHEAP, SHOULD LEAVE VERY QUICK....AND YOU COULD NOT EAT ANYTHING, EVEN IF AT THE END OF THE SERVICE THERE WAS SO MUCH FOOD LEFT TO FEED ALL THE STAFF( USUALLY 50 PEOLE PER SHIFT) BUT THE WERE THROWING AWAY EVERYTHING....COMMON DISNEY POLICY, DO NOT FEED THE CAST MEMBER FOR FREE IF HE CAN PAY....WHO CARES ABOUT THE PEOPLE THAT ARE STARVING IN AFRICA, THE KIDS DYING ...THE IMPORTANT IS THAT THE PAYING KIDS ARE HAPPY AND THEIR PARENTS TOO...THAT WAS A CLEAR INSULT TO THE POOR PEOPLE...ANYWAY, THE COULD TERMINATE YOU FOR ANY REASON, KNOWING THAT YOUR RIGHT WERE 0, AS THEY WERE SENDING YOU HOME RIGHT AWAY.....SO ALFREDO CLOSING...DISNEY HATED ALFREDO, ALFREDO WAS MAKING 15 MILLIONS OF DOLLARS PER YEAR, THANKS TO THE HIGH PRICE, 17 DOLLARS FOR A FETTUCCINE ALFREDO????( DOES NOT EXIST TOO,NOBODY IN ITALY EAT PASTA AND BUTTER AND CHEESE....MAYBE WHEN WE ARE SICK ......)THAT COST 50 CENTS????
SO OF THOSO 15 MILLIONS, DISNEY WAS TAKING ONLY COUPLES OF THOSE, AND THEY ALWAYS THINK : WHY 5 AND NOT 15???? BUT THEY HAD A VERY STRONG CONTRACT , SO THEY COULD NOT BREAK IT LIKE THAT.....BUT BELIEVE, THEY TRY EVERYTHING TO SEND ALFREDO'S OWNER( RUSSEL BELLANCA ) AT HOME, AND EVERY GUEST COMPLAIN IT WAS A GOOD EXCUSE TO SAY : YOU ARE NOT GOOD , SELL IT TO US OR GO HOME......BUT NO NO NO, NOBOY LEAVES A 15 MILLION DOLLAR GOLD EGG, SO THEY KEPT GOING TILL THE END OF THE CONTRACT............DON'T BE SAD THAT ALFREDO IS CLOSING, THERE ARE THOUSAND OF MUCH BETTER ITALIAN RESTURANT IN USA, AT MUCH LOWER PRICE...........THAT RESTAURANT IT WAS DIRTY, BAD FOOD, BAD MANAGEMENT AND BAD ATMOSPHERE.....AND BAD SERVERS TOO, ONLY SMILING FOR THE TIPS...I WAS ONE OF THEM AND I MADE A LOT OF MONEY, CLOSE TO 200 $ IN TIPS DAILY.....BUT I SAW A LOT OF SNOW IN THAT RESTAURANT, EXPECIALLY SOME MANAGERS, CHEFS AND SERVER..IF YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN.......ANYWAY I HAD A LOT OF FUN BUT I PROMISE MYSELF TO NEVER GO BACK TO THAT HELL. SOMETHING POSITIVE??? IT TEACHED ME HOW TO WORK WITH AMERICANS AND OPEN MY EYES TO THE HOSPITALITY WORLD OF DISNEY
CIAO FROM AND INSIDER

CTzy said...

Grazie davvero Marco. That explanation made the most sense. Who's next? Les Chefs de France? Disney greed!

Anonymous said...

FINALMENTE. Grazie davvero, Marco for saying almost exactly what I was about to say and giving it credibility as an actual Italian from Italy (as opposed to 3rd gen Americans who somehow think that Italian genes gives them authority on authenticity). I lived in Rome for 20 years. No there is NO SUCH THING as pasta Alfredo or spaghetti & meatballs (the only meatball-like food I ever had in Italy were breaded and fried and served as a meat course, not over pasta and not with sauce). In my somewhat educated opinion, Alfredo's restaurant rivaled Olive Garden for bad food - only Olive Garden was cleaner and some of their food is actually fresher although still the WORST FOOD IN THE WORLD and my own pet peeve. Neither of them have one authentic Italian recipe on the menu. All of it has been dumbed down for the American palate.
I think it is hysterically funny that you don't see that NOTHING at Epcot is AUTHENTIC! To begin with, Epcot's Europe is a reproduction which by definition will be the builder's version of the real thing, tweaked to meet Disney's business model, which also by definition will exclude the fresh, the original, the unique. It is ALL about marketing. Disney's version of Europe was designed to appeal to the lowest common denominator in American tastes - from decor to food to service. Don't forget that the main demographic for all of this is families - families with kids (ie: kids who like white or bland familiar food and familiar, repeated experiences. These objectives had to be met while maximizing the almighty dollar, for which I don't blame them - they are in biz to make as large a profit as possible. I blame the customers who have no idea what good food tastes like anymore and keep coming back and to boot (see commenters above) and think that somehow this is authentic Italian food. For actual authentic Italian food, you need to go to Italy. Not New York. Not New Jersey. And definitely NOT EPCOT. This is an amusement park at best, not a dining experience. Think the old Carnation food stands a Disneyland, not Maxim's of Paris.

Alfredo's is no loss, believe me. What is frightening , as was originally pointed out here, is what it will be replaced with, which will most certainly be even worse in order to maximize turnover and profit.

Truly, if you were looking for authentic anything, would you go to Disney to get it?

That said, those that enjoyed it for what it was, will probably enjoy the replacement as well.

For the rest of us, we wouldn't be eating there anyway.

PS: The closest thing to Alfredo in Italy is Paglia & Fieno - a mix of spinach and regular egg fettucini with a LIGHT and flavorful cream sauce (not Elmer's glue) with fresh peas and prosciutto (not ham). Real Italian food is a lot simpler than what you see in the US - and for God's sake, they really don't use that much oregano and I never had fennel in a sausage until I moved back to the US.

anna l'americana

Joey said...

It is sad to hear that Alfredo's has gone down hill like it has. I went to it over 10 years ago, and at that time I really enjoyed it. Even if the food wasn't exactly authentic, I appreciate that the waiters and atmosphere were. My ex and I would always go to a new restaurant at Epcot, every year, and we really loved Alfredo's the most. And people don't forget to have that child like spirit when you go to Disney. It kinda helps to forget all the crap that us adults have a tendency to complain about.

Anonymous said...

Marco is pretty much right on regarding the restaurant. I worked there for 10 years and what he states about management is correct. The restaurant managers and its owners treated staff like a military and like dirt. The happy faces put on for the guests was a complete fake. It was to make the tips. Certainly not because employees were having any fun. Mistreatment of the staff made it to Disney executives almost monthly. Labor issues as well as a very dirty kitchen and an owner only interested in making the most amount of dollars led to conditions where Disney probably decided enough was enough. They did not need this headache anymore. It may have needed a known Italian restaurant to start in 1982 but once EPCOT was established it no longer needed Alfredo's and the headaches it brought Disney over the years. So, again most of Marco's inside information is absolutely correct. I most likely worked with him during the years so I know what he saw is correct. Sad but true. All is never as it seems behind the scene at Disney.

Joe said...

Marco is pretty much right on regarding the restaurant. I worked there for 10 years and what he states about management is correct. The restaurant managers and its owners treated staff like a military and like dirt. The happy faces put on for the guests was a complete fake. It was to make the tips. Certainly not because employees were having any fun. Mistreatment of the staff made it to Disney executives almost monthly. Labor issues as well as a very dirty kitchen and an owner only interested in making the most amount of dollars led to conditions where Disney probably decided enough was enough. They did not need this headache anymore. It may have needed a known Italian restaurant to start in 1982 but once EPCOT was established it no longer needed Alfredo's and the headaches it brought Disney over the years. So, again most of Marco's inside information is absolutely correct. I most likely worked with him during the years so I know what he saw is correct. Sad but true. All is never as it seems behind the scene at Disney.