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Alfredo’s to close at Epcot, victim of Disney Dining Plan?

L’Originale Alfredo Di Roma in the Epcot Italy Pavilion is closing this August. When it does another little bit of what makes Epcot a unique experience will fade away. The Rome restaurant was the the place where Fetticine Alfredo was created. A restaurant so famous in the 50s an 60s that Hollywood Stars would fly across the sea just for dinner.

I never experienced the Epcot version of Alfredo’s in what must have been its prime. My first visit was last year during the holiday season when Disney was including its Dining Plan for free with extended hotel stays. The restaurant was over crowded, the service rushed, and the food barely edible. This was a less than magical experience for my family and our out of town guests who were visiting the park for the first time.

I can’t say for sure why the famous restaurant is moving out now. 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 meal. Second, it requires a much simplified version of
the menu to prevent guests from taking too long to decide what to order. I suspect that the owners of Alfredo’s felt that the guest
experience no longer reflected on their brand in a positive manner. That was certainly my experience. With a restaurant in New York and one opening in Las Vegas, Alfredo’s management couldn’t afford to risk the brand image like that.

I’m sure the Disney Dining Plan is a money maker for Disney. But it’s seriously cutting into the show quality one expects to get when dining at a sit down restaurant in Walt Disney World. Hopefully Disney will figure out what fixes are needed to return to full menus and a casually paced dinner in a setting where the party sitting next to you isn’t so close you can smell the garlic on their breath.

Finally, for your entertainment look below the cut to see the cast member fact sheet if a guest has questions regarding the changeover:   

Exciting new changes are coming to the Italy Pavilion at Epcot that will further enhance the Guest experience.

Our contract with L’Originale Alfredo di Roma Ristorante will reach its
conclusion on August 31, 2007. While we have enjoyed working with the
Alfredo’s Group since Epcot opened, we are finalizing plans to develop
a new Italian restaurant concept.

This builds upon the original vision for World Showcase, which was
designed to continually evolve and offer new Guest experiences that
showcase cultures, traditions and immersive entertainment from around
the world.

We look forward to announcing more details in true Disney fashion once all the particulars are finalized.

Q1.Why are you making this change?

We have an opportunity to further enhance the Guest experience and
build upon the original vision for World Showcase, which was designed
to continually evolve and showcase cultures, traditions and immersive
entertainment from around the world.

Q2.Why after so many years?

Although it has been a privilege to be the home to Alfredo’s Restaurant
for more than 20 years, Epcot is transitioning to a new Italian dining
experience where Italy’s rich history and vibrant culture will continue
to enrich the Guest experience.

Q3.When will Alfredo’s close?

Alfredo’s is currently scheduled to close at the end of August 2007.

Q4.When will the new restaurant open?

Although details are still coming together, we expect the restaurant to close temporarily during the transition process.

Q5.What is coming in its place?

While we are not ready to announce this new restaurant, we are
currently finalizing negotiations with a strategic partner. We look
forward to sharing more details once they are finalized.

Q6.Will this change impact the Food & Wine Festival?

No. Everything will operate as normal for this year’s International Food & Wine Festival.

Q7.What will happen to the existing employees?

All affected employees will be presented with options, which will vary
based on their current job function and individual set of circumstances.

Q8.What if a Guest already has a reservation booked for the
restaurant (that occurs after its last day of operations); what should
they do?

As of this time, there are no dining reservations booked that will be impacted by this change.

Q9.Has Alfredo’s Restaurant relocated in the local area?

While Alfredo’s has an established restaurant in New York City, we have
not received any information about a venue in the Central Florida area.

Q10.Will the new Italian dining experience be a part of the Magic Your Way dining plan?

Yes, we expect the new Italian dining experience will participate in the Magic Your Way dining plan.

Q11.Will the new Italian dining experience continue to have Cultural
Representatives from Italy to lend to a truly genuine Italian


Q12.Will this change impact any other venues within the Italy Pavilion or World Showcase?