Disney hates poor people

Friday, January 15, 2016 7:52 PM

I might be in the minority, but I don't really see a woman in gold jeans walking around with a little girl who is in a gold dress and shoes... you know, at Disney... to be all that strange, let alone a commentary on her wealth or status. I suppose if she were a man, we'd be praising him for seemingly being such an involved/engaged parent. But her? She gets a picture of her backside posted on the internet. Not cool, in my opinion.

Friday, January 15, 2016 8:16 PM

GoBucks89 said:

Just like there are millionaires who stay at value resorts or the Comfort Inn offsite.

Very true. We'll get callers at the box office who spend a lot of time asking for discounts ("Is there a senior discount?" No. "I'm a teacher, do I get a discount?" No. "I drive an Infitniti, do I get a discount?" No. "My son's an honor student, do I get a discount?" No.) And then we get into the sale process and oh so very often they live in one of Chicago's very affluent North Shore suburbs.

Saturday, January 16, 2016 9:08 AM

Well, correlation/causation. Maybe the reason they are able to afford a nice house in the rich suburbs is because they spend a lot of time monitoring their budget?

Saturday, January 16, 2016 9:28 AM

My dad always said "Rich people don't stay that way by giving their money away."
I know a couple of guys here in town that seem to be rolling in it. 2 successful bars, a city home, a lake home with a boat, cars, and another boat (yacht, maybe?) on which they winter in the Keys. They stayed at some Days Inn in Kissimee for their Disney trip. They said it was the cheapest they could find...

Once again, it's all about priorities.

Saturday, January 16, 2016 9:36 AM

No, I think RCMAC has it right. They're not living in Kenilworth or Winnetka because they carefully tend their money, they're living there and they're cheap. :-)

Saturday, January 16, 2016 11:06 AM

RCMAC said:

My dad always said "Rich people don't stay that way by giving their money away."

Those folks at the university who earn LARGE amounts of money....they spend very freely - when they're on UF's dime...

When it's something they can't charge to some account or another, entirely different story.

Saturday, January 16, 2016 12:49 PM

I'm a little behind, but...

One of the reasons WDW was a thing you did once, at least in my neck of the woods, is that I was prime Disney-age while airlines were still unwinding post-deregulation. It cost very serious money to fly in the late 70s/early 80s, and the drive from southern Michigan to central Florida is a solid 16-17 hours, without stops, and that's a lot for a week's vacation. Only the "rich kids" routinely went to Florida for winter or spring break when I was in grade school and middle school---the doctor/lawyer classes. For the rest of us (the "middle management" families and below) it was definitely a once-in-a-childhood thing. We went twice, but I think both trips were double-dips with a business trip to the area that my father was taking, so we could write his ticket and the hotel room back as travel expenses.

"A day's drive" used to play a much larger role in vacation habits than it does now. For example, have you ever noticed why you meet so many folks from Ohio on Hilton Head? it's not an accident. When the original development was going on, the developers realized that central/southern Ohio was only about 10-11 hours away by car, and marketed heavily in that area. Our sea kayak guide was genuinely surprised we were from Michigan; he says he almost never sees that, but every trip has at least one or two Ohio families (ours did).

In inflation-adjusted terms, it is much cheaper to fly now, but that might not always be true. It's hard to imagine with oil at sub-$30 bbl, but as airlines continue consolidation, there may come a day when drive-to destinations start to matter more again. And, if that does happen, WDW could be in deep doo-doo.

Last edited by Brian Noble, Saturday, January 16, 2016 12:55 PM
Sunday, February 11, 2018 11:04 AM

The annual rate hikes are in, Disney no longer hates poor people, they despise them.

Sunday, February 11, 2018 10:15 PM

There’s always Tokyo Disneyland. Only costs ~$65 for a day ticket. Quality of customer service, attraction maintenance, and everything else are far better than in the States. I enjoyed my time there immensely, and especially for the price of admission.

Monday, February 12, 2018 8:23 AM

A) Disney doesn't hate or despise poor people; they do love people willing to pay the prices they charge. It's like complaining you can't shop at Nieman Marcus on a K mart budget.

B) Both Disney parks in Tokyo are amazing. DisneySea may well be one of the best theme parks on the planet.

That said, while the ticket prices may be (relatively) cheaper, the costs associated with international flights, accommodations in Tokyo, navigating the city and so on make it a rather expensive option.

Monday, February 12, 2018 11:40 AM

Disney based their prices on a variation of supply and demand. While, technically, the supply of tickets are unlimited, they determine that for maximum customer satisfaction they should cap ticket sales at a particular amount.

Let's say they are hitting that arbitrary mark 80% of the time, they then would revisit how much they are charging and then increase the cost to a point that they think would deter the 'extra' patrons. In this case this most recent increase was $4, from $115 to $119. Incidentally, that is only a 3.5% increase over last year.

Also, as has been said many (many, many) times before - who goes to WDW for only one day? If you extend your trip for 5 days your per day price for a non-parkhopper pass drops down to $79 per day.

And finally, if - for a family of 4 - you only are planning on spending one day at WDW, if the total increase this year of $16 makes the trip not affordable for you, then perhaps you shouldn't be traveling, after all.

Monday, February 12, 2018 11:59 AM

I have to say I was shocked at how cheap TDL was compared to the US parks. I mean, I’d honestly expected higher prices based on demand, the fact that Japan is known for being expensive, and value (esp DisneySea) but I got two day tickets for about the price of one day here. In fact, had we booked earlier I could have stayed at a Disney hotel with tickets for two for about $200 per person for two nites and a two day ticket. Totally worth the $1200 flight. But I’m not poor, so ;-P.

Last edited by Tekwardo, Monday, February 12, 2018 12:00 PM
Thursday, February 15, 2018 8:47 PM

I’m a bit spoiled living in SoCal- we can get RT tickets LAX to Tokyo for less than $600, easy. I even saw in the upper-300’s once. Also, I don’t think Tokyo is expensive. No moreso than California, anyways. I can take either a week trip to WDW or TDR for almost the same price. Given that, I SO choose Tokyo over WDW. Don’t get me wrong- I love WDW, but everything is better at TDR. So it’s a no-brainer for me.

Friday, February 16, 2018 9:29 AM

I don't really think its about hating poor people, loving rich people, or having any emotional feelings towards any group. Its a company that has shareholders (the parks are under a different corporate name, but I believe that they're still subsidiaries of the main Disney corporate entity that is publicly traded now). The shareholders will vote out board of directors who fail to maximize profits and share value, and ultimately issue satisfactory dividends.

There are generally two ways to maximize profit:

  • Increase your volume of sales.
  • Increase your profit margin on any dollar spent.

Ideally, you might want to do both, but sometimes, you have to choose between one or the other. There are pros and cons to both approaches.

Many companies can make money and grow by controlling their costs and appealing to a massive, general audience. The profit margin is slim, but they can continue to turn inventory over rapidly, plowing the profits back into the company to buy more inventory, and sell to more and more customers. For their products, the customer base is seemingly endless, but their is little room for error, as their customer base isn't going to pay for bells and whistles. See Wal-Mart, McDonald's, Khol's, the Econolodge, Spirit Airlines, etc.

Many company's attempt to offer a superior product with superior customer service, and hope to charge more as compensation for this. In general, the amount of disposable income and wealth held that people have tends to increase exponentially as their earning power increases. As richer people have more money stored away, they worry less about price when they consume, and will spend frivolously for even minor improvements. This is a market segment that savvy businesspersons like to capitalize on. The drawbacks are prohibitive though: the volume of people with money is low, and you have to be able to deliver a superior product, which isn't a given. You could attempt to break into the luxury market and fail. Examples of companies who successfully market to upscale consumers might include: Armani, Ferrari, Nordstrom's, the Ritz Carlton, etc.

I'd imagine that when it comes to a multi-billion dollar theme park that is internationally acclaimed, and also serves as promotion for their brand, they would prefer to put a lot of money into keeping the park top of the line, but to justify the business segment, the pricing would need to be appropriate as well.

Personally, I think that Disney is much more egalitarian than other parks. The ticket price is high, but they don't gouge you with hidden costs like other parks, and have the tiers of service like other parks do.

Let's look at a Six Flags model:

  • They gouge you with parking. Its usually hard to go to the park without parking, so I consider this more of a hidden cost than tiered service.
  • They gouge you on Fastlanes/Flashpasses (or whatever they call them). I consider this a hidden cost, as it pretty much is a way to pay a lot of money to cut in line if you choice to, which would be fine, but it increases the wait time for those who choice not to buy it. You if you want the service that was advertised you have to pay more. So it works out to be a hidden cost.
  • They gouge you on food and drinks. This is basically fine with me, as its not much more than a restaurant, and its in the park, so its more convenient. Its also a difficult and expensive service to offer guests. Doesn't explain why they don't allow food in if they've found that its an expensive service to offer. The price doesn't bother me. The low quality of food and lack of healthier options does.
  • The games, trinkets, and retail items tend to be low quality and overpriced.

Disney model:

  • Fastprice is included in the price of admission. So it really acts more as a legitimate virtual queuing system that's open to all.
  • Parking might be expensive as well, but there are so many alternative transportation options that are available. You park if you choose to, but there are busses, trams, and train lines that can take you to the gate anyway.
  • I'm sure that Disney profits on the food, but it tends to be a higher quality than SF food again.
  • I think that the retail items are more or less in line with what you can pay at a Disney store. You can even have them shipped to you instead of carrying them around.
  • Disney gouges you on hotels, big time. But a smart consumer should know that you can stay at extremely cheap hotels that are about the same distance away to the parks than in-park hotels for like $30 a day that are actually not bad. Airbnb is a great option too. Real estate in Orlando is just pretty cheap in general.

So I think that the only unavoidable costs at Disney would be the high ticket price. Which isn't really that bad considering what you're getting and the fact that you may have traveled to get there. In-state residents get a discount. If you've traveled halfway across the country, and $120 turns you off, that seems like there's something off with your behavioral psychology.

Friday, February 16, 2018 10:13 AM

That's a long explanation for a bunch of people using "Disney hates poor people" sarcastically.

Friday, February 16, 2018 11:14 AM


And I have to wonder if Trackmaster had the same reaction to the entire thread and inside joke...

Friday, February 16, 2018 12:03 PM

Trackmaster said:

  • They gouge you on food and drinks. This is basically fine with me, as its not much more than a restaurant, and its in the park, so its more convenient. Its also a difficult and expensive service to offer guests. Doesn't explain why they don't allow food in if they've found that its an expensive service to offer. The price doesn't bother me. The low quality of food and lack of healthier options does.

Running gag aside, I'm starting to find that parks are getting less strict about the food thing. Last year, going to KD (almost typed PKD out of habit) and SFA, upon entering the park initially, I declared that I had packed lunches/snacks for my twin due to their allergies (severely allergic to dairy) and both times they were just like 'Yeah, whatever...enjoy your day.' Only during a re-entry to SFA with more snacks did I get asked to show paperwork. It's not like other times I've been where they'd shake you down for having a handful of jellybeans. I wonder if ever the parks will go full "I dont care." It's a PITA to carry around that stuff all day so I doubt that most people would do it anyway.

Friday, February 16, 2018 12:27 PM

I can't stand the way that "price gouging" gets misused in reference to entertainment or theme park food prices. Charging the market rate for hotels that are booked consistently or charging a few dollars extra for a hot dog is not price gouging. Charging $10 for a gallon of gas or $50 for a case of bottled water or any other necessity after a disaster is price gouging. A theme park is not taking advantage of you while you're in a vulnerable position when you seek them out as entertainment. If you don't like the prices, you can go elsewhere.

Last edited by bigboy, Friday, February 16, 2018 2:35 PM
Friday, February 16, 2018 2:30 PM

Trackmaster said:

If you've traveled halfway across the country, and $120 turns you off, that seems like there's something off with your behavioral psychology.


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