TouringPlans subscribers generate a lot of data. There are data sources that are used to generate crowd predictions, and Lines App submissions, and post-visit surveys … lots of numbers. Up until now, most readers and subscribers don’t interact with those numbers unless it’s to select days to visit parks or to generate a touring plan. That’s all about to change! In this new series my goal is to make all of this data more accessible and useful to more people. And don’t worry – you don’t have to be a numbers geek like me to follow along.
Did you know that TouringPlans has been collecting post-visit surveys for over 10 years? There are more than 55,000 surveys that we can draw information from. And each of them can tell us things about hotels and resorts, dining, attractions, where people are visiting from, who is in their party … that’s a lot of data!
This week I’ll use some of those surveys to investigate a claim recently made by Bob Chapek. In an interview on March 17, 2021, he said, “Our guest satisfaction scores since we’ve reopened across the world have shown that, indeed, our guests are even more satisfied than they were prior to the pandemic.” A bold claim! And the good news is that we have the satisfaction scores from surveys to see if subscribers agree with him.
Comparing Dining Scores Pre-Pandemic and Post-Reopening
In post-visit surveys, you can give each restaurant you visit a thumbs-up or a thumbs-down. For now let’s call thumbs-up “satisfied” and thumbs-down “not satisfied”. The parks re-opened about 9 months ago, and even though attendance is down, we still have 2500 surveys since reopening. And in those 2500 surveys there are more than 33,000 dining reviews!
At a high level, the results don’t look good for supporting Bob Chapek’s claim of higher satisfaction scores. Pre-pandemic, 89.1% of dining reviews got a thumbs-up. After reopening, that number has dropped to 86.8%. That difference may not sound very big at first glance. But I can run some fancy statistics to figure out how much we should trust that difference. Thanks to the large number of surveys, we are more than 99.999% confident that visitors are less satisfied with dining now than they were pre-pandemic. Oof.
Let’s give Disney the benefit of the doubt. We’ll take Mama Odie’s advice and “dig a little deeper”. Good data always makes me ask more questions. So now I wonder if certain types of dining are performing better (or worse). Or maybe even particular restaurants have seen a significant shift in satisfaction.
Satisfaction by Dining Type
- Bars and Lounges decreased from 92.1% satisfaction pre-pandemic to 89.7% satisfaction post-reopening. I can be 99.996% confident that guests are less satisfied at bars and lounges now.
- Counter Service locations decreased from 87.7% satisfaction pre-pandemic to 87.3% satisfaction post-reopening. Now that doesn’t sound like a big difference. You’re right. I can’t be quite as confident anymore – only about 85% sure that guests are less satisfied at counter service locations now.
- Table Service locations decreased from 87.5% satisfaction pre-pandemic to 87.2% satisfaction post-reopening. Again, not a big difference. I can only be about 80% confident that guests are less satisfied at table service locations now.
- What about everything else? Markets? Room Service? EPCOT booths? All of these other locations decreased from 93.0% satisfaction pre-pandemic to 85.4% satisfaction post-reopening. Ouch. I’m back to being more than 99.999% confident that visitors are less satisfied now.
Satisfaction by Specific Location
Now I’m tempted to investigate whether there are certain dining locations that have performed significantly better or worse on their own after re-opening. I ran the comparison on 464 different dining locations across the WDW property. Let’s look together at the biggest stand-outs in each category. I won’t be include my confidence with each of these. Just know that in order to show up, I had to be at least 95% confident in the difference.
Table Service Locations
Which table service restaurant experienced the biggest drop in satisfaction post-reopening? This is an easy call, by a long-shot. Crystal Palace dropped from 90.2% satisfaction pre-pandemic to 69.0% satisfaction post-reopening. Ouch! But this probably isn’t a big surprise, given TouringPlans’ staff experiences on opening weekend and more recently and a Buffet with Character that is lacking, well, a buffet and characters.
- The second-highest drop in satisfaction happened at Enzo’s Hideaway in Disney Springs. Diners at this location were 87.3% satisfied pre-pandemic, but only 74.2% satisfied post-reopening.
Not all news is unhappy! One table service restaurant has remarkably higher satisfaction now compared to pre-pandemic. Maybe Bob Chapek has only talked to guests that have visited this particular location? This one may come as more of a surprise, but STK Orlando improved from 62.2% satisfaction pre-pandemic to 73.9% satisfaction post-reopening. 74% still may not be very great compared to other dining options, but it’s certainly much better than it was.
- Close behind in improved satisfaction is Ale & Compass Restaurant, which has improved from 80.6% satisfaction pre-pandemic to 88.6% satisfaction post-reopening.
Counter Service Locations
The biggest loser out of all counter-service locations is El Mercado de Coronado, which dropped all of the way from 80.2% satisfaction pre-pandemic to 52.5% satisfaction post-reopening. Yikes. We have a review coming out soon that will justify that dip.
- The second-highest drop in satisfaction is at Landscape of Flavors. Visitors to this location were 87.0% satisfied pre-pandemic, but only 72.7% satisfied post-reopening. Perhaps if you’re considering booking a stay at Coronado Springs or Art of Animation and expecting excellent counter-service meals like in the past, you should reconsider.
Where are the bright spots in counter service dining? The biggest winner is ABC Commissary, which has improved it’s 76.4% satisfaction pre-pandemic to 86.2% satisfaction post-reopening. Once again, this isn’t a surprising result. You can read about Dani’s positive experiences shortly after re-opening, and on a follow-up visit, if you need to be convinced.
- A more surprising second-place is the BoardWalk Pizza Window, which had 78.8% satisfaction pre-pandemic. It has improved to 88.0% post-reopening.
Do any of these results surprise you? Do you have any predictions about what resort satisfaction will look like when we explore it next week? Let us know what you think in the comments.