To Whom It May Concern,
Thanksgiving is a day to be thankful for your loved ones, the blessings in your life, and the food on your plate. Unfortunately, whether you stay home or travel for the day, there is always a chance for something to “go wrong”; this is what happened to us this year.
On this Thanksgiving, my family and I decided to make dining reservations at Disney World. We are all annual pass holders and we venture to each of the four theme parks quite often. We checked on countless menus before committing to a place everyone agreed on. Being that we were not celebrating a “traditional” Thanksgiving, we all wanted to try something new. We specifically sought out restaurants that did not have a changed menu for Thanksgiving. This left us with reservations at Tiffins, a new-ish African inspired restaurant in the Animal Kingdom. We were drawn to the menu because it had a variety of options including “Flash-fried Icy Blue Mussels” and “Whole-fried Sustainable Fish”. Everyone was excited to try something new this Thanksgiving.
We arrived for our reservations right on time at 3:00. When we proceeded to check in with the host, she told us her iPad was down and could not check us in. This was understandable as we had all owned, managed, or served in restaurants before and knew that these things can happen. We were then led to the front of Tiffins to be seated at our table and were told to wait for a text indicating that our table was ready. We all found this strange considering we had reservations and the majority of tables were empty. Once again, we were not overly disappointed, things happen in the restaurant industry. Everyone went outside to enjoy the views. We were notified our table was ready about 10 minutes later.
As we sat down and were handed a special Thanksgiving menu we noticed that many of the items were taken off. We asked our server for the regular menu to order from those items, and he said “yes, absolutely”. 15 minutes later, he came back to our table and notified us that the regular menu was actually not being served. The menu that we all had looked at on Tiffins webpage, even on Thanksgiving day, was not available to us. All of us had previously decided on what we wanted, and the majority of these items were not available. We were all disappointed to say the least. The chicken and duck were replaced with Thanksgiving turkey and the sustainable fish was nowhere to be seen. We called our waiter over again who was seemingly very frazzled despite having a handful of open tables. We explained to him why we chose this restaurant and the fact that the menu was never updated online, nor was there any indication it would be different. If every other restaurant on Disney property could handle showing there Thanksgiving menu, why couldn’t Tiffins, the Animal Kingdom’s priciest restaurant? The manager came over and told us we were out of luck and the menu was not going to change. He also said that the menu changes on a daily basis, which was obviously untrue. He then proceeded to say that he could “pull some strings and get us in” at the Rainforest Café. With all due respect, the Rainforest Café was definitely not what we had in mind for a Thanksgiving dinner. We respectfully declined and decided to stay in order to avoid eating a cheeseburger with French fries for Thanksgiving dinner. The manager then assured everyone that he would “take good care” of us.
After the manager left, our server took 30 minutes to take our drink order in what was a seemingly empty restaurant. Another 10 minutes after initially taking our drink order, he came back to us to let us know that the beer we had ordered was actually not available either. He also brought the wrong wine to our table. At this point, everyone knew that this would be a Thanksgiving where something would “go wrong”. When he came back with the correct wine, after another 10 minutes, he went to pour the wine with no glasses on our table. He had to scramble around to muster the glasses we needed at our table. A little under an hour later, and we finally had our drinks.
Then came ordering our food, which we ordered immediately after getting our drinks to try and expedite everything. We chose the octopus for our appetizer, which consisted of about 3 tentacles for $16. We were disappointed with the price for the portion we received. Our main entrees followed about 30 minutes later. One person ordered the Thanksgiving meal, which she did not want but it seemed like the only replacement for duck. Two people settled on lamb and one other person decided on two appetizers since none of the Thanksgiving menu entrees were appetizing to him. We all finished our meals unsatisfied. Unsatisfied with the food, and unsatisfied with the service. Remember the manager that promised to “take good care” of us? We did not see him again. Considering how porous our service was, none of us were very surprised.
Our experience at Tiffins was far from the Disney label of “Fine/Signature Dining”. It was tremendously disappointing to see Disney fail at what they pride themselves on most, customer service. Having dined at countless Disney restaurants including Narcoossee’s, Artist Point, California Grill, Le Cellier, etc. I can undoubtedly say Tiffins is not on there level. I for one, will not be going back until Disney rectifies the glaring problems at Tiffins.