Thursday, April 16, 2015

Mighty Men of Mouse: Episode 0204 -- Off-Site Hotels

Call the Listener Line!


This week MMOM is joined by Howie to talk about lodging.  Howie thinks Dutch is all wrong on hotels and tries to convince the team that off-site hotels aren't hot garbage.  Howie shares some of his favorite properties, methods for finding a spot and traps to avoid.

Check out this episode!


  1. One of the metrics I look at when dining at WDW is the value of the meal vs. a similar meal back home. My last dinner in the parks was at Yak & Yeti, and I felt a bit underwhelmed by it, and decided to do some comparisons with nearby restaurants to see if the meal was in line with what I would typically pay or if it was inflated.
    So for this exercise, I've looked at the Yak & Yeti dinner menu on the disney website, and I compared it with the highest-Yelp-rated restaurant near me with similar menu items. In this case, it's Akai Hana in Columbus, Ohio - which I've been to many times and would say the food is superior to Yak & Yeti, the restaurant is nicely themed, but in a shopping center with difficult parking.
    Lucky for me, I live near both Columbus and Cincinnati - so there is a wealth of great restaurants nearby (there are about 5 up-scale Japanese or Asian fusion restaurants within 30 miles of my front door). If I lived in a more remote part of the country - then I would place a higher value on dining at WDW, since there would be little chance of having a similar experience at home.
    I've included an appetizer, entree, and an alcoholic beverage (since I prefer that to dessert).

    Yak & Yeti
    I'm going with Pork Egg Rolls(3) $8.99
    Shrimp Tempura $20.99
    And two Sapporo beers $16.50
    TOTAL before tax & tip $46.48

    Akai Hana
    Pork Egg Rolls (3) $5.00
    Shrimp Tempura $17.50
    And two Sapporo beers $7
    Total before tax & tip $29.50

    Determination: Well, the beer at Akai Hana was surprisingly cheap. That's typically not the case locally. A serving of an import beer is typically around $6 at most restaurants around these parts, so I will add another $5 to the Akai Hana bill to make it more in line with its competitors.
    So $46.48 vs $34.50.

    Now it becomes a game of subjectivity. Akai Hana has a far broader and more culturally diverse menu, and the food is typically a few ticks up better than the dumbed-down-for-American-palette food at Yak & Yeti.
    Yak & Yeti has lovely theming, convenience, and depending on when your reservation is for, a view of a parade outside its windows.
    Is it worth a Disney markup of $12? Probably.
    Is it worth an extra $60 for my family of five? This is where I struggle. A $232 dinner at Disney (guessing my teenage kids have dessert and a soda while the mrs & I enjoy Sapporo) vs. a $172 dinner at home is quite a jump.

    As a rule, we look for dining experiences that have no comparison at home. The Hoop De Doo Revue may be pricier than most places at the park, but it comes with live entertainment. The meal and the musical combined appears to be cheaper than trying to do the equivalent a la carte.
    The full emersion of Be Our Guest of the Three Broomsticks at Universal ramp up the theming to be on almost equal footing with the food served.
    My kids are not interested in meet & greets, so while there's no value to us there, the inclusion of interacting with live actors with your meal does begin to put it in the same category of the Hoop De Doo.
    On the snack side, while a Mickey Bar is manufactured by the people who make Eskimo Pies (using the same ingredients), and cost the same as several boxes of Eskimo Pies at home - reduces the value. Conversely, Dole Whips, which I'm unaware of a local equivalent, Disney could charge more for and I'd probably still buy it.

    Anyway, some "food" for thought. Maybe it could inspire a future show segment.
    Keep up the great work. You guys put out a quality program.

  2. Great, great thoughts. I largely agree with everything you say. My one quibble is that you if a restaurant is in a theme park, you have to compare it to other venues where the guests are captive. For instance, you'd compare the price of beer at Epcot to beer at Great American Ballpark. A fairer comparison to Yak and Yeti would be a restaurant located in ballpark, zoo, anywhere behind a gate.

    All that being said, I'm surprised that Yak and Yeti wasn't slaughtered by your local place. Great exercise and I can't wait to share it with everyone else. Probably won't be for a 2-3 weeks on the show.


  3. Yeah. In my mind, if I want a beer in a theme park, I'll expect to pay the same price as at a ballpark.
    But I'm going to be pickier about food.