Bob Chapek Interview: "We have much more demand than there is supply"

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/business/business-news/disney-bob...54157ddbd4

The quote I used for the topic title is from the question asked about halfway down. Although the hypothetical "family from Denver" was really only getting shut out of the parks if they tried to go to Magic Kingdom on a one day ticket from12pm-4pm on New Year's Eve 2019-earlier, he does make some good points. Either that, or he copied his answer from a Gonchback from last decade.

“What we will not bend on is giving somebody a less than stellar experience in the parks because we jammed too many people in there”

sounds like a shot at Six Flags.

the ‘Super fans’ may bitch and moan a lot, but they will always come back. There is no price that’s too high for them. He knows this. He definitely doesnt want to lose the guy like me who comes once every 5 years and drops thousands. Thank you for not letting it turn into Six Flags.

Except the price issues are going to lose the come once every 5 years crowd. That’s exactly the demographic that will be affected, and I got to think they are a very small minority. The people I meet fall into 4 main categories:

  1. Never gone, never want to
  2. did a once in a lifetime trip
  3. goes every 1-2 years (DVC)
  4. goes every year

biggest group by far is #2, the group getting squeezed the most is group #3, and I think that’s going to bite them.


2022 Trips: WDW, Sea World San Diego & Orlando, CP, KI, BGW, Bay Beach, Canobie Lake, Universal Orlando

I'll believe it when I see it. For 20 plus years of reading boards like this I've read predictions of Disney price increases coming back to bite them and it's yet to happen. There's a line there and few companies have an awareness of it like Disney.


Last I heard is the DVC market is very soft right now, we’ll see.


2022 Trips: WDW, Sea World San Diego & Orlando, CP, KI, BGW, Bay Beach, Canobie Lake, Universal Orlando

Even with park reservations, I look back at crowd levels and how they ebbed and flowed at different points in the year when we used to do regular family vacations in the early 2000s, and then when I was a Cast Member from 2008-2014. Those slower times (like right now, post-Labor Day September) are all but gone.

The parks are packed. Almost always. And if they aren't packed, there is always a very healthy crowd. And if they are filling all of the parks every day with fewer passholes and more out of town vacationers that are contributing more in park spending dollars, I have no doubt Chapek is fine to roll with the "Chapek sucks" narrative from the fanboys.

Touchdown:

Last I heard is the DVC market is very soft right now, we’ll see.

August (not exactly a high-traffic month all things considered), was down only 0.7% from July, and a solid increase over the trailing 12-month average.

https://dvcnews.com/dvc-program/financial/news-34867/5391-riviera-g...ugust-2022

Not sure I'd call that soft.


Certainly not soft enough to slow down DVC expansions at DLR, the Polynesian, and Grand Floridian.


The whole interview is interesting, including some read-between-the-lines quotes on culture wars. But for me the money quote was (emphasis added):

Our ticket prices and constraints we put on how often people can come [to the parks] and when they come is a direct reflection of demand. When is it too much? Demand will tell us when it’s too much.

In other words, if and when they need to, they can let off the gas and even throw the odd extra discount out there. People's memories for this sort of thing are short, especially when they need a little hit of that pixie dust.


For sure. I'm sure 99% of folks that were "nEvEr gOiNg bAcK" because of x, y, or z have been back.

It's the same as folks that scream on social media and claim they are never going back to Cedar Point after the clusterf**k that occurs every year on Columbus Day Saturday or an Opening Day filled with operational disasters (read: Opening Day every year). Or when they have to pay $109 instead of $99 for a Gold Pass because they forgot to renew during the 5 different $99 extensions. They're mad for a day and then they go back the next time they would have gone back anyway.

Brian Noble:

In other words, if and when they need to, they can let off the gas and even throw the odd extra discount out there.

As economist Herbert Stein used to say, if something cannot go on forever, it will stop. I’d say the consequences of charging too much, losing some profit, and lowering prices are short term and probably negligible if you are paying attention. The consequences of charging too little, destroying the experience with overcrowding, and having to try to win people back are severe or even existential. As Six Flags is discovering.

Jeff's avatar

Touchdown:

Except the price issues are going to lose the come once every 5 years crowd.

Maybe, but presumably one-fifth of those would be going this year. If they're not coming, there are more from every other demo coming.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Phrazy

Disney has multiple arrows in their revenue quiver. Resorts. Dining. Genie. Admissions. Merchandising. Gives them a lot of opportunities to fine tune the supply/demand dynamic. Regional/local parks with largely single day visitors have less opportunities for that (typically just admissions and food to a certain extent). More opportunities tends to be more forgiving in terms of impacts of various adjustments.

I still think nearly all of the changes that have been implemented in the past two years are things they wanted to do/planned to roll out long term eventually. But when they had a truly once in a lifetime moment to reset everything when the parks close (and barring any sort of nuclear weapons scenario in my lifetime, I don't think the current generations will ever see any sort of mass shutdown of Walt Disney World ever again), they took the ball and ran with it.

Jeff's avatar

I just hope they don't outright abandon annual passes in Florida. As expensive as they are now, my gut says the folks hanging in there are big spenders. I've been watching our spending, because we reload a gift card so it's fewer transactions. Because of the festivals, we're already at a grand for the year, and it works out to about $60 a visit, and we ride at most two things. That seems like a lot after $800 per pass, and only half way through the term.

We are exploiting one thing though. We got the $100 add-on for water parks and mini-golf. I've done golf three times, but Diana and Simon have gone five, and three water park visits. So they've already done $250-ish even at discount rates, with six months to go.

You don't even wanna know what we've spent this year with the cruise line. Actually, I don't wanna know.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Phrazy

I feel like Annual Passes have to come back in some form at some point. During the lean economic years, Florida resident APs are the backbone of WDW. Will they come back at hilariously high prices? Possibly. But will enough folks still pay it? You bet.

While I know there's value in the locals, "backbone" seems a little overstated. Even in the lean years, tourists still far outnumber the locals and they're still the ones keeping the lights on.


Jeff's avatar

I have to admit, we haven't hit our ceiling. $800 each with tax is steep, but between the festivals and meeting out-of-town friends, we have so many opportunities to use it. Heck, I'm back into at least an every other month Epcot lunch routine with Diana. It's crazy what 90 minutes in the middle of a work day does for my spirit. Totally worth it.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Phrazy

OhioStater's avatar

Touchdown:

The people I meet fall into 4 main categories:

  1. Never gone, never want to
  2. did a once in a lifetime trip
  3. goes every 1-2 years (DVC)
  4. goes every year

You may be right about those 4, but we are the family from Denver that comes every five years. Only we're from Ohio.

We went a couple times when the kids were tiny, then had a trip booked right when Covid did its thing. We honestly never revisited the idea.

From what I consistently read here, the parks are packed pretty much year-round now, making the "when to visit" calendars we used a decade ago more or less obsolete.

I really do want to see Star Wars land because I'm a Star Wars fan, and I have no doubt I would love the experience. I also have no doubt we will get back down to WDW at some point.


Promoter of fog.

Jeff's avatar

And let me know, because I think I owe you and your wife a beverage at Epcot.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Phrazy

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