Disney World dials back theming in its Star Wars restaurant

October 17, 2019, 12:06 PM · Hungry for some Kaadu, Shaak, or Tip-yip? Star Wars fans and other visitors to the Galaxy's Edge lands at Disneyland and Disney's Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World might know these exotic names as the meats served inside the Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo restaurant in those lands. But starting today, you won't find them at Walt Disney World.

The same dishes remain on the menu, but Disney has stripped them of their themed names, according to the menus listed on DisneyWorld.com and the official Disney World app. The original, themed names remain on the menu at Disneyland.

Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo Disneyland menu
The original menu names, from Disneyland

Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo Disney's Hollywood Studios menu
The new names, from Walt Disney World

The new names certainly are easier to understand, especially if you are an international visitor with limited English and perhaps limited knowledge of Star Wars canon. But using the "Terran" names for these entrees dilutes some of the storytelling and placemaking for the land.

Though, to be honest, I hadn't remembered any of these names before the restaurant opened, and I've seen all the Star Wars films, read several books and comics, and seen a few of the TV shows. So it's not like Disney is renaming the Millennium Falcon or anything like that. Other then the Blue and Green Milk, none of the food or drink that Disney is offering inside Galaxy's Edge comes from the Star Wars canon, so it's all park-specific plussing anyway.

Themed names remain on the menu on both coasts at Ronto Roasters and Oga's Cantina.

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Replies (24)

October 17, 2019 at 12:20 PM

I think the concern here is that menu items like pot roast, ribs, and shrimp will eventually be replaced with chicken fingers, hamburgers, and hot dogs. The obvious conclusion here is that Disney pulled the themed names because they fear that guests are not purchasing the entrees because they don't know what they are. Then, when the items are not still selling at a satisfactory level with more familiar names, executives will conclude that guests don't want more diverse options. That will then likely result in a menu diluted down to the typical lowest common denominator options.

October 17, 2019 at 12:23 PM

First the sporks, then the names. We can't have nice things.

October 17, 2019 at 12:32 PM

I'm frankly more for doing this than giving each item a stupid character name like "Bantha Beef Pot Roast", "Yoda's judge me not by my Shrimpy sized Noodle Salad", or the still too soon "Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru's Smoked Ribs."

October 17, 2019 at 12:46 PM

I would so buy the “ Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru's Smoked Ribs”

October 17, 2019 at 1:18 PM

This is disappointing to me, just like the dropping of the SW droids and atmospheric characters, and moreso at WDW. I'm not into Larping by any stretch, but wasn't the whole point of the SW hotel in Florida for people to be able to play act there and act like they actually landed at Battuu and spend the day there? If they dilute the overall theme, even by small degrees at first, won't that destroy the entire effect that they're going for?

October 17, 2019 at 1:19 PM

And yeah, I would totally buy Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru's Smoked Ribs.

October 17, 2019 at 2:18 PM

Rob, smoked ribs from a humanoid wouldn't be right on Batuu. They are apparently quite good on Endor, though...

This is disappointing, but that is coming from a huge Star Wars fan. The passive fan won't really care and would likely prefer knowing exactly what is in each dish from the title rather than reading the fine print. This places the area one step closer to start serving hamburgers, hotdogs, and popcorn. However, if that is what the people want, then that's what Disney should make available.

October 17, 2019 at 4:18 PM

I never understood why it was written in English in the first place (if they even tried to be authentic). But in the end it's the same overpriced "food".
And I don't think foreign guests are what caused the change. I for one hadn't a clue what most of the food items meant when I arrived in the US. It's not that (theme park) food is a big part of the education.

October 18, 2019 at 3:01 AM

Don’t know why they couldn’t have simply dual named them. Put one name in bold, and another in italics under it.

October 18, 2019 at 4:10 AM

It's quite neat that they can run an experiment like this, having opened two duplicate lands (essentially) simultaneously. Change the meal names at one, and see if it has any positive affect on sales. If it does, then change the menus on the other coast. If it has no affect, leave it. If it results to lower sales, then change it back.
Disney has created their own perfect control group for market sales analysis.

October 18, 2019 at 7:45 AM

@Chad H - That's actually what they had. If you look at the screenshot of the online menu, you can see that the themed name is listed in bold next to the price with a description of the dish below. The in-house menus were presented the same way. I think the lack of grounding of the menu inside the Star Wars Universe is to blame here, but guests also should take some fault for not wanting to play along with the made-up names. I think that also may be impacting the overall interactivity of the land - not enough guests wanting to role play has caused Disney to limit and neuter character interactions.

Then there's also the mixed reviews of the food being served within Galaxy's Edge. I've personally only tried a couple of items from Docking Bay 7 (pot roast, which is only available during dinner hours, and the shrimp and noodles kids meal), and while my experience was good (I would rate both dishes as excellent, though I think I preferred bowls at Satu'li Canteen), there are plenty of others that have bashed the quality and value of meals here. AJ provided a photo of the Tip Yip from a recent visit, which was one of the most pathetic looking dishes I've seen from a Disney restaurant. Many other have commented not only on the small portions of some entrees but also the prices, which have slowly inched even higher over the course of the summer, and are some of the most expensive single serving dishes in their respective parks. If Disney is going to charge a 10-20% premium on food served inside Galaxy's Edge, they must make it worth for guests to buy, because food and beverage is not like other souvenirs that guests can take home and get future satisfaction and/or collect-ability from a slightly more expensive purchase. DHS's Galaxy's Edge can probably get away with the higher prices because food in that park was already some of the worst in any WDW park, but Disneyland has plenty of other superior and cheaper options steps away outside Galaxy's Edge.

@OT - Perhaps if the translator in the Datapad App actually worked with character recognition through your phone's camera, they could present the menu in Arubesh (maybe include a paper English menu that guests can use at the register), but sadly it doesn't, so it would be a huge barrier for guests if the main menus were shown in a foreign language.

October 18, 2019 at 1:01 PM

"Guests also should take some fault for not wanting to play along with the made-up names. I think that also may be impacting the overall interactivity of the land - not enough guests wanting to role play has caused Disney to limit and neuter character interactions."

This is a chicken-or-the-egg scenario, but I think this is backwards. If the setup of the land is not working, I wouldn't blame the guests. I would go back to the drawing board and try to figure out what's not working about the theming or the interactions to encourage guests to want to engage more.

October 18, 2019 at 1:22 PM

As a land Disney has been promoting to be the most immersive Star Wars experience imaginable, changes like this are something I find irritating. The descriptions included with each item detail exactly what it is, and if I remember correctly there are also images on the menu to show what you're getting (though they don't show how small the portion size actually is). I guess not enough people realized what they were getting from pictures accompanied by the words ribs, roast, or (noodle) salad, so Disney needs to spell everything out. Bummer!

October 19, 2019 at 12:51 PM

I tried the Smoked Kaadu Ribs, it was just ok, it was kind of dry with some bread crumbs on top, it needed BBQ sauce. I wouldn't order it again, I prefer old fashioned ribs like they used to serve at Big Thunder Ranch, although I liked the blueberry corn muffin. About the portion size, I think people don't mind a high price if the portions are big, but they're usually not at Disney.

Kaadu, Shaak and Tip-Yip are not from any of the movies, so on one hand, they can make up any name that sounds right, but on the other hand, it's not something that was really in Star Wars, so who really cares if it's called pork ribs instead of Kaadu ribs?

When I looked at the menu and saw Smoked Kaadu ribs with pork ribs described underneath, I was a little uncertain because it's not a familiar looking rack of ribs, it's more like a thick rib. I feel like that and the strange name are enough uncertainty to make people pass on it. The Tip-Yip also doesn't look like chicken that people are familiar with, it looks like a slab of processed something or other. So maybe if they just straight out call it chicken, people might take a chance on it.

And about the themed names, I always thought they were kind of stretching it. The whole insistence on keeping the theme, down to the cast members speaking Batuuese instead of plain English is corny and sometimes frustrating. Some people may like to play along, but I think for the regular guest who just wants to know where the refresher, err, restroom is, it can get old quickly.

Plus Chapek's idea was to fill the land with characters, not actual characters, but to make each cast member a character. I read or heard somewhere that when a visitor actually asked a cast member to explain their backstory, it was met with an expression of dread. It should not be on the cast members to carry the theme with hokey back stories, they should complement it, yes, but not carry the responsibility.

As for the whole immersive thing, IMO Disney went too far by making it hyper real, adding real world looking grunge and mold, which makes it less like a fantasy world and less like it actually fits in Disneyland. I noticed large yellow stains on the windows of the dark, industrial looking Docking Bay 7 restaurant where I ate my Kaadu ribs, which reminded me of either vomit or pee stains, IMO not exactly conducive to a pleasant dining experience.

October 18, 2019 at 3:21 PM

"... not enough guests wanting to role play has caused Disney to limit and neuter character interactions."

How are guests to know they are supposed to role play? Is there a sign that tells them? Instructions? A Batuu primer or guide? Nope!

October 19, 2019 at 1:03 AM

They always had the description of the actual "terran" food right under the "space" name. So. It makes zero sense that foreign visitors or anyone else was confused. I don't take foreign visitors to be that dumb. If they could not discern what it basically was from the first description in the smaller print, they also would not be capable of buying things at the regular food carts everywhere. which they clearly do every single day.

October 19, 2019 at 9:04 PM

No news here this has happened with every recent attraction Disney has done. The creative people always have grand ideas about how its going to be the most immersive experience ever and come up with lots of grand ideas, then when it opens the operational reality of trying to convey personal themed interactions to thousands of people when there's long lines and people just want the line to move it becomes clear that their ideas are totally impractical so they stop doing it. Moving on...

October 22, 2019 at 1:02 PM

From what I understood Friends that went recently said the cast members had to keep walking guest through the menu so many times, it became a distraction and slowed the food service. They said they waited a really long time to get to the counter and they kept here other guests ask, "What is the tip-yip?" "What is this?". "Is that a desert or an entree?" They said you could also see frustration showing on the faces of cast members.

Star Wars is less a curiosity factor and written account regarding the food and the whimsy. Unlike Harry Potter, which was more colorful in it's descriptions of libations and meals.

October 22, 2019 at 2:20 PM

@leastinteresting - That's very strange, because the menus all had the description of the dishes right below their themed names. It wasn't like Disney was hiding what each dish was, so if guests were constantly asking questions of CMs to the point that it slowed service, then it's because guests are STUPID, and Robert's point that "we can't have nice things" is justified.

You could say similar things about eating at Be Our Guest as there's no shortage of guests asking questions about individual dishes of the CMs taking the orders. It also doesn't seem like a valid reasoning since guests could also order online where dishes are fully described on the MDE/Disney Parks interface.

In the end, I hope this is much ado about nothing, but I worry that the least common denominator will not end at eliminating inconsequential menu names, but will spread to other themed aspects of the land, including the dishes themselves.

October 22, 2019 at 9:23 PM

"@leastinteresting - That's very strange, because the menus all had the description of the dishes right below their themed names."
Have you never had a customer service job?

October 23, 2019 at 9:12 AM

I have, and my point is that simply changing the name of a dish is not going to end the questions and ordering delays. This is why I'm concerned about Disney catering to the lowest common denominator. Certainly, removing foreign names may speed up the process a bit, but at what cost? Also, when faced with similar perceived inefficiencies throughout the land, will Disney continue to dumb things down so the mindless drones can feel comfortable? The initial reaction to inefficiencies in the ordering process should not have been to eliminate the thematic names, it should have been educating the consumer so important details of the land contributing to the immersion are not tossed aside because a small percentage of guests gum up the works.

I had noted in my review of Disneyland's version of Galaxy's Edge that Imagineers could have better presented the construct to guests to better facilitate roll playing. Instead of leaving guests (and CMs) to their own devices in determining how interactive the land would be, they should have published guides and videos showing guests what to expect and how they should immerse themselves on Batuu. It wouldn't have taken that much effort (maybe a handful of staff behind the scenes running a blog or other online publication and occasionally appearing on Batuu to guide interactions). Perhaps the hubris displayed by Iger in his "we don't need to advertise" comment has infiltrated WDI, but they need to understand the most guests don't know what to do inside Batuu to get the fully immersive experience and live their own Star Wars Story as promised.

October 23, 2019 at 3:40 PM

@the_man "Thank you sir. I was only detailing the experience they witnessed with their own eyes.

October 23, 2019 at 3:36 PM

@Russell Meyers, I am aware the descriptions were below each item. It does not mean they are being read. My Friends understood it on their first visit but also were aware by their surroundings, others were not getting it. Can we argue that any of these circumstances are unique? Ever watch parking wars? It's filled with a bunch of people that don't read things".

For the record, I had 2 customer service jobs while getting my education.

Robert was correct in his assessment that "This is why we can't have nice things.

I was just trying to explain why this most likely came about.

October 23, 2019 at 3:44 PM

I guess I should ask everyone, do we think that Bob Chapek's cutbacks in CMs is impacting this in any way. From what I understand, they still had CMs at the entry to the line of Cargo Bay that handed out menus and answered questions. Did those people get cut now, lack of training, just handing out menus???

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