Americans love food delivery. Certain societal changes of the last year notwithstanding, per capita spending on food delivery doubled between 2017 and December 2020. That’s a lot to keep up with! Don’t worry though. Apparently, Walt Disney World and services like Grubhub have you covered.
Or do they?
Grubhub was recently called out by Twitter users and an article in Food & Wine for creating inaccurate restaurant locations within the Walt Disney World Resort. These real restaurants are real locations, but Disney has never made an agreement with these delivery companies that would suggest they can fulfill orders. One could expect that the locations within Disney Springs would be capable of accepting delivery orders for those living nearby. No tickets are required to enter, after all, but the location is hardly the sort of place a driver can easily enter, acquire food, and exit.
Even so, Disney Food Blog tested out a few options. Disney Springs locations were capable of delivery, albeit in a less-than-desirable time frame. Those restaurants inside the Parks were unsuccessful. Makes sense, right? To get into a Disney park these days, you not only need to have a park ticket but also a reservation. Grubhub is unlikely to have people with either. How then, are drivers supposed to pick up food from Tiffin’s in Animal Kingdom or the Skipper Canteen at the Magic Kingdom?
These situations are actually occurring! Locations around the Disney World Resort have shown up in delivery apps like Grubhub. Users in resort hotels and around the Orlando area have selected these restaurants, placed orders, and waited only to find that their orders were canceled soon after. Most of these sites look a bit off, with easily-sourced images of food items that might not correspond with the menu or no pictures at all. The sort of thing that should set off your internet scam alarms.
Grubhub and other similar services have ways around direct agreements with restaurants, it seems. Restaurant selections like these in Disney Parks make it clear they do not care if they have a direct agreement. Neither do they screen their selections very well. Imagine the frustrated driver who shows up at the gates of the Magic Kingdom expecting to pick up a dish of spaghetti from Tony’s Town Square Restaurant only to find they have to take a boat or a super-cool monorail there.
We all know that the food of Disneyland and Disney World are a huge part of the parks’ appeal. There’s a whole episode of EarzUp dedicated to this discussion. Even though this whole effort from delivery services seems to be a gimmick to expand their reach, it does bring up an important thought: would Disney food stay as special if you could order it at home? Would you be as excited to visit the parks for their food and wine festivals if you could order a taste to enjoy at home?
Disney restaurants are special places, packed with detail designed to immerse you. Food quality has improved so drastically over the years and this is part due to the exceptional locations in which we can enjoy a meal. What use is it, dining atop the Riviera Resort as the sun sets in the distance if Topolino’s Terrace serves boring food? If you can’t get beer from the Karl Strauss truck at DCA, is it even Karl Strauss beer? Location and the theme park experience are everything. Even spectacular restaurants like Epcot’s Monsieur Paul and Pizzeria Napoli would lose a lot if delivered to your home, lukewarm in styrofoam containers.
That’s a lot of questions that beg serious answers. Lots of Disney fans would love to have this food available outside, and thankfully this is just a thought experiment. Grubhub isn’t going to be able to sell you a burrito from Rancho del Zocalo any time soon. Still. It’s worth a few thoughts. Let us know what you think in the comments!