Mobile Order Showdown: Woody’s Lunchbox and Ronto Roasters

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We recently updated and republished our guide to Mobile Ordering at Disney World, and a reader left an interesting comment. They suggested that we should test Mobile Order against the regular counter process to see how they compare. We thought that was a pretty good idea! Last Saturday our park reporter Chrissy visited Hollywood Studios, and she and her trusty sidekick Gigi collected some comparison times.

The Setup

On Saturday, September 17, Hollywood Studios was predicted to have a crowd level of 5. The actual crowd level was a 4. Crowd levels are not going to be the whole story of how many people are ordering food, but they do tell us a little something.

Here’s what Chrissy measured:

Infographic showing where times were collected during the ordering process for both Mobile Order and the standby line.
Some times are collected with a timer, some are collected based on the time shown on phone.

Woody’s Lunchbox, Breakfast

The line at Woody's lunchbox at about 9:20 a..m
The line at breakfast. It took Chrissy about 5-6 minutes to get through this line.

At breakfast time the line at Woody’s Lunchbox doesn’t look that long. Here’s how the contest played out.

workflow comparing timing of each ordering step for mobile order vs. standby at Woody's Lunchbox, breakfast
Mobile Order placed at 8:45 a.m. for window beginning at 9:25 a.m.

Overall, 8 minutes of savings might not seem like that much. But at that time and on that day, the posted wait for Alien Swirling Saucers was 10 minutes. Which line would you rather be waiting in? Those ride lines aren’t going to stay that low forever …

If you’re paying attention you might notice that the Mobile Order window scheduled for 9:25 a.m. seems to have opened a few minutes early. Chrissy finds that Mobile Ordering windows opening early is pretty routine, sometimes by as much as 10 minutes.

Woody’s Lunchbox, Lunch

Partial view of Mobile Order pickup and standby lines at Woody's Lunchbox around noon.
You can see that there are quite a few people in the Mobile Order pickup line on the left.

Chrissy and Gigi were back to Woody’s at lunch. This is a peak time, and the standby line was much longer — but so was the line for Mobile Order pickup. That shows in the results below.

workflow comparing timing of each ordering step for mobile order vs. standby at Woody's Lunchbox, lunchtime
Mobile order placed at 10 a.m. for window starting at 12:10 p.m.

This lunchtime experience highlights something important: using Mobile Order doesn’t mean you might not have a small wait. The busier the restaurant is, the more people will (probably) be showing up to collect Mobile Orders at that time, and the more likely you are to have a wait as a result. This happens partly because preparation capacity has to be divvied up to keep both lines moving.

Saving 3 minutes might not seem like much, but you could also call it 25% faster. It’s all in your perspective here.

Order from Woody's Lunchbox - one sandwich from Mobile Order, one from the regular line
One sandwich from Mobile Order, one from standby, both delicious!

Ronto Roasters, Lunch

The line at Ronto Roasters, about noon time
The line at Ronto Roasters around noon.

Before going back to Woody’s, we also ran this test at Ronto Roasters.

workflow comparing timing of each ordering step for mobile order vs. standby at ronto roasters, lunchtime
Mobile order placed at 10 a.m. for window beginning at 12:05 p.m.

Ronto’s is a little different because you order right at the counter where you get your food. That line looks pretty intimidating, but it actually moves pretty fast as evidenced by the 4-minute wait. Orders are clearly getting filled very quickly, which might be because the small menu makes it easier to bang them out – or it could be a result of staffing.

Ronto Wrap from Ronto Roasters
Maybe it’s from the standby line. Maybe it’s Mobile Order. Can you tell the difference?

Wrapping Up

We compared how long it takes to use Mobile Order vs. the standby line at two locations on a low-medium crowd level day at Hollywood Studios. In every case, Mobile Order was faster, although the savings weren’t always huge in absolute terms. Breakfast was the biggest winner, with Mobile Order coming out ahead by 8 minutes. Here are some things to keep in mind when using Mobile Order:

  • Mobile Order might not seem like it’s saving that much time, but being able to set it and forget it on the bus ride over to the parks might be priceless. And you should order early if you’re planning on eating at a peak time; if you wait until noon to order you might find that the earliest window opens at 2:30 p.m.
  • You can’t rely on the length of the line at the registers to estimate your wait. Just like an attraction that might add trains (capacity) when the crowds pick up, differences in staffing can make the same line move faster at different times of the day.
  • You might still have to wait in a bit of a line to pick up your Mobile Order, although it’s usually not very long. And just like attractions where the Lightning Lane needs to be balanced with the regular standby, you’re probably going to find that the longer the line at the registers, the longer your Mobile Order pickup is going to take.

Have you used Mobile Order at these locations? What was your experience? Let us know in the comments!

 

 

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Jennifer Heymont

Jennifer Heymont has a background in math and biology, but since she couldn't pick between the two she ended up in Data Science where she gets to do both. She lives just north of Boston with her husband, kids, and assorted animal members of the family. Although it took three visits for the Disney bug to "take", she now really wishes she lived a lot closer to the Parks.

6 thoughts on “Mobile Order Showdown: Woody’s Lunchbox and Ronto Roasters

  • September 23, 2022 at 10:20 pm
    Permalink

    I think you’re missing an important nuance. Mobile order can be great if ordering ahead. However, if I’m hungry now and near a counter service I’m interested in, it’s a different experience. On multiple occasions mobile order would only let me order for pickup 30-45 minutes from current time while I could walk up to a kiosk with 1 or 2 parties ahead of me and be served in 5-10 minutes.

    Reply
    • September 24, 2022 at 9:19 am
      Permalink

      Hey Joel, I’m going to agree to disagree with you on this one. We did note that you might find the nearest window is a while away, but TouringPlans is all about knowing whether waiting an hour is going to save you 20 minutes in line or just 5. Which was exactly the point of this test!

      Reply
  • September 24, 2022 at 9:00 am
    Permalink

    In the Woody’s Lunchbox example at lunchtime, it seems the mobile order food was ready and sat around, waiting (cooling off? under warming lights?) for 6 minutes. It’s not just people who have to wait, so does the food. In that situation, I’d get fresher food by ordering at a register.

    Reply
    • September 24, 2022 at 9:17 am
      Permalink

      Hi Sarah – that’s a good point, but in practice I haven’t found this to be an issue. I suspect that when there’s a line at Mobile Order, they build in a little slack to the notification so that your food is actually set up close to when you get to the front of the line. Of course, any person’s experience is just that – a single experience, so your mileage may vary. I’m sure there are occasions where people have gotten food that has been sitting for a little bit.

      Reply
  • September 24, 2022 at 9:37 am
    Permalink

    Two things.

    I would also add that there are likely some lost minutes in using the mobile order app that did not get added. it is more so if you are not familiar with the menu. We all know how inconsistent the app is. The person waiting in line can browse the menu and determine what to order using that time while waiting where the person clicking “I’m here” has already spent time scrolling and determining what they want which does not appear to be counted.

    Second point is in mobile ordering, you are trusting the app has all that is on the menu. One day at AK Flame Tree BBQ we walked up and saw Cornbread as a side on the menu. It was not on the mobile order app so we would have missed it. (it is there now).

    It was good and the best bargain I have seen at any park with it being only $2 for a decent sized piece.

    Reply
    • September 24, 2022 at 4:44 pm
      Permalink

      Hi Edgar,

      The time to enter the order was intentionally omitted, for two reasons.

      First, it’s going to vary some with the size of the order and how much you need to customize, although this is true of the cash register too. But it’s also going to vary, much more than the register with how familiar the person entering the order is in the app. It’s not realistic to count that variation.

      But the second reason is the more important one. You say that a person waiting in line can browse the menu and determine what to order using that time while waiting – what we view as otherwise “wasted” time. Part of the benefit of Mobile Order is that you can do all that browsing and ordering while waiting in line for a ride, or driving to the parks – using that same “wasted” time to get the whole order in. Many people view the cost of that time as free, because they’re not doing anything else with it, unlike the time they spend waiting in line at the restaurant when they could be spending that time waiting for a ride.

      I definitely agree that the menus haven’t always been accurate, but I think that was much more of an issue pre-COVID when Mobile Order was less popular. I’ve more often (but not often) had an issue with something that I put in Mobile Order being out when I got to the location.

      Reply

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