Published: June 22, 2010 at 1:31 PM
Exactly, Robert. A typical rebuttal to this debate, which I'm very (maybe overly) opinionated on, is that there are fine dining and healthy eating establishments outside of the park. Go there. Why? Why lose customers to venues outside of the park?
Theme park crowds are often associated with... well, stupidity. These are people who would rather herd like cattle for hours to experience seconds of cheap thrills rather than, say, hike the Appalachians or visit a museum. Admittedly, theme park crowds aren't always the brightest, but there are people who genuinely appreciate the little details and technological advancements in parks.
I've had some excellent dining in Orlando. California Grill and Jiko, for example, are two of the best restaurants I've ever eaten at. In terms of in-park establishments, I loved the meals I used to get at Mythos. I also have enjoyed several Epcot restaurants, though they, too, have had similar adjustments. Akershus, Norway's restaurant, used to be the best establishment in World Showcase, offering delicious, authentic Scandinavian food in a relaxed, dimly lit stave. Now they've converted it to a character dining experience, probably due to lack of attendance. Then there's Tokyo Dining, a newer establishment that serves Japanese tempura and sushi. Tempura is a pretty safe dish - who wouldn't love something battered and fried? - but they weren't too adventurous with the other dishes, adding deep fried tofu to the miso soup.
I'm not saying we should eliminate fast food from theme parks. There will always be guests who would rather eat a burger and fries than sushi or salmon, and that's fine. I love a good burger and fries, but after eating fried food for a day or two, I start to feel uncomfortable. I also love the experience of table service establishments, especially when the atmosphere is as nice and the setting is as cool as Mythos'. I don't, however, like paying table service prices to get another burger and fries dish.