Disney passholders feeling left out with program changes

Posted Monday, August 29, 2016 8:16 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Many Floridians' love affair with Disney has been soured by increasing prices and restrictions. Some have downgraded their passes to cheaper ones. Others are giving them up altogether. Financial results might be reflecting the trend. From April through June, 4 percent fewer visitors passed through the turnstiles of domestic Disney theme parks — while the resort's hotel occupancy rose 3 percent.

Read more from The Orlando Sentinel.

Monday, August 29, 2016 8:25 AM
Jeff's avatar

I don't think that you can correlate the attendance slide from April to June to the price increases, which happened near the end of the period, and honestly I'd be surprised if passholders accounted for 4% of attendance.

The butthurt from locals is ridiculous. When the parks are crazy crowded, how excited do you think the company is to have passholders around who don't spend any money? We actually downgraded our passes this year because they offered the right blackout dates: The two weeks around Christmas, and the two weeks around spring break... two periods we never set foot in the place anyway.


Jeff - Webmaster/Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

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Monday, August 29, 2016 9:03 AM

As out-of-towners only there 2 or 3 times a year we thought the same thing about the blackout dates. Having the black-out dates predefined is almost a vacation helper. It just screams, "You really don't want to be here". We renewed last year a few days before the price hike/change so we are on the no block-out date passes for a couple more months. We will probably downgrade when the time comes.

For us, having the photo pass included has been a nice addition. We have taken nephews and nieces with us on several trips, and having 500 pictures available from a trip to make them memory books afterwards is a huge perk compared to what I've paid in the past to download an individual picture here or there or the $160 for those special trips for Memory Maker.

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Monday, August 29, 2016 10:08 AM
Jeff's avatar

We just got it on our renewal in July as well, and I'm surprised at how often we use it. You suddenly realize that the photographers are everywhere. We were at Studios the other night, late, and walked by the Olaf meet to see a 0 wait time (didn't know you could set them to zero!). Naturally, we had to stop.


Jeff - Webmaster/Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

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Monday, August 29, 2016 10:51 AM
Thabto's avatar

Jeff said:

The butthurt from locals is ridiculous.


Brian

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Monday, August 29, 2016 10:52 AM

Disney parks are overcrowded. They do not need the few $ generated from season pass holders buying a hamburger now and then like regional theme parks do. Disney has lost its luster with me because of being so crowded. If limiting season passes that don't generate the revenue an actual vacationer generates can help that situation, then they should do it!

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Monday, August 29, 2016 12:02 PM
Jeff's avatar

It's funny that you say that, because while visually it seems crowded, I haven't felt at any point in the last three years that it was crowded in experience terms. Yes, fighting your way around the damn parades was a pain at MK, but with the larger hub area and the backstage reroute, even that isn't a big deal anymore.

I would speculate that if anything has negatively impacted attendance, it would be the "let's wait for Star Wars and/or Toy Story" line of thinking.


Jeff - Webmaster/Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

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Monday, August 29, 2016 12:37 PM

I've been a Disney Annual Passholder since 1993. For the past six years I've remained a passholder despite the fact that I don't live in Southern California or Orlando. However, after this Wednesday I will not longer have a Disney Annual Pass. The latest price hike on the Premier Pass was the tipping point for me. With the elimination of the "no expiration" tickets in Florida, lack of exciting new attractions, increasing prices on food and beverages with a decline in quality, and the god awful FastPass+ I just don't feel as inclined to visit the Disney parks as often.

When I come to Orlando this December I will try to minimize my time spent at Disney and probably limit it to just the Christmas Party. My money and time will be spent at Universal, SeaWorld, Aquatica, Wet 'n Wild, and Busch Gardens.

This year I've also really have enjoyed being a Six Flags passholder. I finally decided to try out the season dining pass, so I'm not annoyed with the food and drink prices. Furthermore, my visits to a variety of their properties (Magic Mountain, Fiesta Texas, Great America, New England, Over Texas) have been nothing short of great.


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Monday, August 29, 2016 12:39 PM
Jeff's avatar

What's "god awful" about Fastpass?


Jeff - Webmaster/Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

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Monday, August 29, 2016 1:39 PM

Still don't understand why people would be upset about blackout dates during the busiest times in the park. If you have have access to the park most of the rest of the year, why would you want to be there when it's the most irritating and you can do the least amount of things?

I always get a pass for my local park and won't go near it on the weekends or holidays.

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Monday, August 29, 2016 2:01 PM

Nobody goes to Disney World anymore. It's too crowded.

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Monday, August 29, 2016 5:30 PM

egieszl said:

lack of exciting new attractions

This is the second reference I've seen to this on CB in the last couple of months and it sounds like a level of BS that's almost hard to grasp. All we hear about is record crowds, but because they have the audacity to change things, everything sucks and everything is a failure. It's just proof that some people go out of their way to hate something that they pretend to like.

When I come to Orlando this December I will try to minimize my time spent at Disney and probably limit it to just the Christmas Party. My money and time will be spent at Universal, SeaWorld, Aquatica, Wet 'n Wild, and Busch Gardens.

That'll teach 'em. Spend money on an extra after hours event and they'll get the message that they were screwing with the wrong perpetually butthurt fanboy when they had the nerve to replace Maelstrom with those whores from Arendelle.

Last edited by bigboy, Monday, August 29, 2016 6:19 PM

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Monday, August 29, 2016 5:42 PM

His money. If he feels another park is a better value proposition, he SHOULD spend his money there.

Last edited by Captain Hawkeye, Monday, August 29, 2016 5:42 PM

This Isn't A Hospital--It's An Insane Asylum!

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Monday, August 29, 2016 8:45 PM

Le Monster said:

Still don't understand why people would be upset about blackout dates during the busiest times in the park.

The issue is, the price goes up and then they add blackout dates that never existed before for that level of pass. Not sure about Orlando, but for SoCal that was a big hit. Yes the parks are mobbed, no you don't plan on riding anything, but the parks are gloriously decorated AND most of your friends have that pass, or you have friends/family who are in the parks those days. So, it was a "ok, we'll meet the cousins for a little bit out there, or we'll cram in for holiday fireworks/World Of Color". DL is not like Cedar Point, it's very much a drop in for a few hours kind of park for locals.

It's more about massive price increases over the last 5 years, and I mean massive, (nearly doubled and well over $1,000 now), and the addition of blackout dates that never existed previously.

I realize that DL has a mess on its hands with the number of APs. They should get rid of the monthly payments if they really want to decrease the number of APs.

Last edited by CreditWh0re, Monday, August 29, 2016 8:51 PM
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Monday, August 29, 2016 8:51 PM

It is all about perceived value and what an individual believes is worth spending their disposable income on for entertainment. WDW is still a great product, and obviously folks feel they are getting an experience that is worth the current cost. I also think the current pricing structure for annual passes is pretty fair. Is it high, of course. But this isn't your local Six Flags.

That said, as an Orlando local and former WDW Cast Member, I am taking some time off being a Disney Annual Pass holder. But it has nothing to do with the new pricing structure. I recently moved to the other side of town and WDW is no longer a 5-10 minute drive from home. I have a Universal AP after taking a year off and will be investing in a Halloween Horror Nights pass in the coming weeks. Combine this with some other vacations and right now it just isn't a priority for me to renew the WDW AP. Add that I still have Cast Member friends who will get me in to eat some food and drink some wine at Epcot next month. It is not about WDW having an inferior product as so many are claming, for me right now it is more of a "been there done that" and I'll reevaluate the decision after not having the parks at my disposal in the next few months.

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Tuesday, August 30, 2016 1:58 AM

Jeff said:
I would speculate that if anything has negatively impacted attendance, it would be the "let's wait for Star Wars and/or Toy Story" line of thinking.

Yup, that's our plan. It's also become a bit of a priority to get back to SeaWorld. I want my son to see the Orcas before they are gone.

bigboy said:
...those whores from Arendelle.

I found this way funnier than it should be...


But then again, what do I know?

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Tuesday, August 30, 2016 9:34 AM
slithernoggin's avatar

CreditWh0re said:

The issue is, the price goes up and then they add blackout dates that never existed before for that level of pass.

And we're talking about a frigging amusement park pass. We're not talking about having food to eat or clothes to wear or a place to live ... if the value isn't there for you, don't buy the product. If enough people don't buy the product, the company will backtrack.

Not sure about Orlando, but for SoCal that was a big hit. Yes the parks are mobbed,

If the parks are mobbed, then clearly there was no "big hit".


Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.
-- Groucho Marx

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Tuesday, August 30, 2016 9:38 AM
Jeff's avatar

It's funny, because I'm the opposite with Disney and Universal. I have friends who can get me comps to Universal, but we don't go as often because of proximity and the feeling that my boy isn't quite ready for it. I suppose if he would see Harry Potter he might feel differently. I'm sure our pass mix will evolve as he gets older.

The California situation is definitely something different. Their AP mix is clearly way too high, and even with the price increases, it seems like they have some way to go to balance it out. The butthurt (yeah, I enjoy that word) out there has been extraordinary.


Jeff - Webmaster/Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

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Tuesday, August 30, 2016 1:53 PM

Jeff said:

What's "god awful" about Fastpass?

Unless they have changed it last year, this is what we didn't like about it. We went down there the last 4 years, but not this year because of two factors. The crowds, and the way Fastpass+ has taken away from the experience.

1. The whole reservation concept. The previous system was first-come, first serve on the day of attendance. It was like waiting in line without waiting in line. The new system forces you to pick where you are going to be days ahead on more popular rides. Vacation for me is not about reservations. Yes, the old system required you to be at a place in a window of time, but that window of time was random depending on when you got your ticket (waiting in line without waiting in line).

2. Putting rides in Fastpass that never required it to begin with because of capacity, then forcing you to use some of your allotted Fastpasses on those types of rides. It's a Small World, Haunted Mansion, Living with the Land, etc. All this did was make the stand by times longer for rides that never really had a very long stand by time.

3. The parks that put the Fastpasses in categories, then only allow you to only to take one from the top tier. For example, getting a Fastpass for Soarin' and Test Track in the same day was impossible last time we attended. On the old system it was possible and even to go on those more than 1 time a day.

The biggest advantage is that you can get one with your phone without walking across the park I guess, for people that cannot walk well or people that think walking is a terrible thing.

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Tuesday, August 30, 2016 2:15 PM
Jeff's avatar

I'm going to make some generalizations here, so YMMV...

1. This is still mostly the same, for most attractions, most of the year. Yes, there will be exceptions (currently Frozen, 7DMT, sometimes Test Track), but generally you get stuff same-day, and I don't understand how it would be materially different to do it the day before. Also, you could only get one ride at a time with the old system, and it really screwed you if the next time available was four plus hours away. In fact, this is the same limitation after your "scheduled" three passes, and it's annoying. I wouldn't want to go back to that.

2. Those rides still have short lines most of the time. If they don't, go back another time. I observe no difference before and after the switch.

3. While annoying, this mostly applies to Epcot, because there are so few attractions for FP overall. They now group Frozen, Test Track and Soarin' in that tier, but Soarin' has become a day-of FP or sub 45 minute wait now later in the day because of the added capacity. Again, the alternative old world meant that if you didn't get a FP first thing in the day, you weren't going to get one.

The system is different, for sure. As a regular user of it, I don't buy for a minute that it means scheduling your day to the extreme or a step backward.


Jeff - Webmaster/Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

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