Disneyland Resort raised its ticket prices on Sunday, with a one-day, one-park ticket for visitors 10 and older going to $96. Also, Disney suspended new sales of its popular Southern California annual passport because of the crowds, though they will accept renewals.
Read more from The Orange County Register.
I'm surprised they would suspend sales of a pass rather than increase the prices even more. Then again, I'm sure the crowds are starting to affect the quality of the guest experience.
It's the only recurring negative I hear from people about Disneyland, that it's crowded to the point of being disruptive. Magic Kingdom is always crowded over here, but it rarely interferes with having fun there.
If you're too crowded, the gate is too cheap (I took a summer class in Gonchonomics). Honestly, very much reminded of Miracle Strip, where you could get a season pass that granted DISCOUNTED admissions. If the Disney SoCal AP got you in for say, $50/visit, they'd probably stay pretty full, but possibly make more money AND be less overcrowded.
That's exactly what interested me in this story and why I submitted it.
It probably says a lot (although I'm not sure what at this point) about how Disney aproaches their pricing that they cut off those pass sales rather than bumping the price.
"We're so busy that we don't want your business" is a pretty good place to be.
It says loud and clear that the in park spending of So Cal passholders isn't enough to cover the revenue lost in the discount.
Some of the best days to visit the parks at the Disneyland Resort are the days when the majority of the passholders are blocked- Saturdays, and any day in July and most of August. In all my years of experience the massive number of passholders hasn't been disruptive if you visit the parks like a normal day guest would. However, if you use the parks like a casual passholder sometimes does, like arrive after work on a Friday evening, then you may experience otherwise.
Overall, the parks in Florida are far more crowded and I always have a better, more enjoyable visit in California.
I like the strategy behind discontinuing the one pass type. The elimination will cause some to potential buyers upgrade to the next level which is essentially a price increase and others will downgrade but have more restrictions on when they can use it. Others may just opt out of buying one.
I suspect based on past experience that Disney will eventually discontinue renewals at some point and then you'll be forced to make a choice.
I went after work today to Epcot with my kid two hours and had a good time. It was not crowded. Like I said, when it is crowded, it generally does not deter from having a good time. I hate to admit that Fastpass+ works.
Does FastPass+ just work or is it an improvement over the previous system?
Too often I see the phrase "you get used to it" in reviews or comments about it. That's what people say about iOS 7 versus iOS 6. I don't want to get used to something. Instead I want to love it.
I dunno about fastpass, but iOS 7 is far better than 6.
Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.
Does FastPass+ just work or is it an improvement over the previous system?
Is there a reason it can't be both? I'd say getting a Fastpass before I leave the house is a win. I don't have to get to Epcot first thing in the morning and run to a kiosk just so I can ride Soarin', which is impractical if I'm just going to meet my family after work.
The roll out was suboptimal, no doubt about it, but aside from some minor operational issues here and there, it's a vast improvement.
Would the person who would have had the FP you used had the old system still been in place view the new system as a win?
That's a straw man argument, because they have the same access I do.
Are they still limiting the number of FPs per day? And limiting them to one park? If so, there are people who could have gotten more FPs under the old system than the current limit and could get them from multiple parks who cannot do either under the new system.
Back to the Original topic..........
If you're not familiar with Disneyland and the disruptive nature of the Annual Pass (especially the SoCal) it may be hard for you to get your head around the problem. Because there are so many of that pass type (arguably north of 400K, though I'm not sure that anyone knows the real number), it totally screws with normal theme park trends.
Families scoop these up and use them for Friday nights and Sunday afternoons. Saturdays in the summer (when these are blocked) are less crowded than Friday nights in September. People use those passes like people in the heartland think of going to the mall. They arrive in more cars (not one family per), arrive at odd times en masse (after work, or after church), don't spend money (as they're there all the time), and can "afford" to camp out for Fantasmic three hours in advance. (that's their choice, but a less frequent visitor wouldn't feel the need to do the same, and likely that the "herd" mentality wouldn't take over until later in the day.
Disney couldn't raise the price enough on those passes, to thin the herds fast enough, so the plan is (rightfully) to just drop them.
Again, if your only Disney experience is Florida, you may not be able to appreciate how much DL is a locals park. It's very common to hear friends say "let's meet for cocktails and World of Color" on Fridays (as everyone has a pass). The gridlock on Friday nights (as everyone arrives after work) is just crazy. No other park has experienced that kind of upheaval to the normal idea of how we think of theme park crowds.
If the business model is Revenue (Gate/pass PLUS food/merch, divided by cost of labor/infrastructure/retail products), then the denominator is way out of line for DL.
You've got way too many people clogging things up, who aren't contributing to the top line as much, yet are absolutely using the hell out of the denominator. Considering the amount of people using up the rides/fireworks/Fantasmic/World of Color and not spending a full day (two meals), it's just not working right.
Not only that, but the crowds when they hit, really ruin the day for those less frequent, perhaps once in a lifetime visitors (e.g. Asian tourists who spend like crazy on souvenirs). There is no reason that Friday nights in late September should be the busiest days of the year besides Christmas week and Spring Break week). Which means they will tell their friends how miserable it was, and thus the future high spending guest may decide not to come..
Plus, those crowds don't behave like a Saturday at Great Adventure. Yes that park is crowded, but there's a steady flow of people starting at opening, rising to a peak mid day, then gradual decrease through the afternoon and evening. You "know" how that crowd will behave, and if you get there early, stay late, and plan the smaller attractions during the day, you can "manage"
Not so at DL. Thousands of people, all arriving on Friday evenings and Sundays, after a full meal at home or after Church, and then fleeing right after fireworks/Fantasmic, compresses the crowds into a goofy window that brings damn near gridlock INSIDE the parks for a few hours (after transferring from the streets before and afterwards).
Seeing how locals use the parks is interesting. We visited for a day last summer on a Tuesday and thus didn't experience that.
As someone else noted, discontinuing the pass at one level but continuing to offer it at two higher/more expensive levels is effectively the same thing as a price increase. If you want to hang out at the parks with your friends on a Friday evening or Sunday after church (assuming you don't already have a pass or cannot renew one), you can still do that but you just need to buy one of the two more expensive passes so you are paying more. By doing so you also can visit the parks on some days you otherwise could not with the discontinued pass. You may get people who were never looking to go on Saturdays and thus didn't buy the passes allowing them to do so who now go on Saturdays because they bought the higher tiered pass to allow them to go on Friday/Sunday with friends but also now allows them to go Saturdays making the crowd issues worse.
Problem with the big increase for this pass is that you would likely need to increase the price of the higher tiered passes to keep them in line with each other. As the higher tiered passes are still being offered, seems to me they do not view those passes as creating problems at this point. If they did, they would discontinue them as well (now even though the article indicates they may do so at some point down the road) and wouldn't be pushing some people into the higher tiered passes by discontinuing the lower tiered pass.
Disney seems to want its prices to be consistent with their long term expectations. Article indicates that this is viewed as a temporary issue. If you go with a big price increase now, you likely need to go with a price cut when things normalize. That doesn't seem to be the Disney way (and I am not saying that as a bad thing). Offer temporary discounts where reduced demand indicates it makes sense. Long term discounts puts you in jewelry store camp which definitely isn't the Disney way.
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