Disney's Night Kingdom (Looking For Deep Pockets)

Thursday, February 21, 2008 5:20 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

RatherGoodBear said:
...but personally, a park like this wouldn't be near the top of my list of places to visit.

Another sure sign that it's an idea in the right direction. ;)

Me? Based on what we know at this point (little to nothing), I'd give it a big yawn too.

My posting this wasn't in support of what the park is proposed to be at this point, but in support of the business concept behind the proposed park.

More and more places are at least giving a look to Gonch's Business Model™ :)

Thursday, February 21, 2008 5:23 PM
It sounds like a hard ticket event, after hours tour for DAK.

Broadway show? Check. Nemo. Dining? The new T-rex cafe, or other eatery. Watching animals eat/hunt at night? Only at DAK. Zip line? Rock wall? Pretty bargain basement additions, and worse, common place. The hours, after 4 or 5, until 1:30 am! DAK closes around 5, making it a 1/2 day park.

Instead of spending 1/2 billion to expand the park to entertain people after 5pm, they decide to shut it down and only re-open to those that pay 300 per person? That's pretty distasteful. And a horrible path to pursue as they try to fix DAK.

If that works, how long before they start closing the other parks early and only open them up for a high roller night crowd? Heck, why don't they just charge daylight admission tickets and night hopper tickets? Double their gate money without spending money on improvements! *** Edited 2/21/2008 10:23:51 PM UTC by DBJ***

Thursday, February 21, 2008 5:29 PM
See that's just it, I'm a huge Disney nut and my mouth waters over everything they build (heck, I even look forward to going to the Paris studios park someday), but nothing about this park as proposed sounds 'Disney'.. there's no story to it, at least as relayed by Jim Hill. I was much more intrigued by the idea of the 'Myst' kind of experience on the old Discovery Island.
"I've been born again my whole life." -SAVED
Thursday, February 21, 2008 5:33 PM
janfrederick's avatar

Lord Gonchar said:

More and more places are at least giving a look to Gonch's Business Model™

I think you should invest in a little venture called Gonch's Bonfire. You get velvet slippers, a silk robe, a pipe, and a real nice chair to sit in in front of a roaring bonfire that you pitch bundles of money into all night long. You get a free (not really since it was included in the cost) picture of yourself doing this. ;)

Anyway, if there's a market for this, why not. From the sound of it though, I'm not in that market. I think if I had that kind of money, I'd go to Bora Bora instead.

"I go out at 3 o' clock for a quart of milk and come home to my son treating his body like an amusement park!" - Estelle Costanza
Thursday, February 21, 2008 6:00 PM
The Mole's avatar I can't see how Disney wants to put in money to built another park that accomplishes what AK and several other places on property accomplish. I agree with Lance here. I mean all the high end experiences (tours, segway, etc) at WDW piggyback off of the mass-market pay-for-itself stuff instead of standing alone.
Thursday, February 21, 2008 6:01 PM
There's a reason why it's a common phrase, "Only Disney!".

They have the experience and know how to make something like this appeal to everyone and make it work.

Thursday, February 21, 2008 6:11 PM
Lance is missing the point, I think.

Busch has established, via Discovery Cove, that there is a market for a standalone experience that charges ~$300 for a day, and that the park can be very successful, needing only 1,000 guests per day or so.

Disney now just has to figure out what, other than swimming with dolphins, will convince 1,000 people per day to part with $300 each. Because, presumably there has to be *something* else that might sell.

What's more, the state of "the park" being shown in surveys/little film clips now may or may not have anything to do with what they eventually open, if they eventually open anything. That's what these surveys are all about---you throw the most recent six ideas that WDI has come up with to a room full of folks, and see what makes them most excited. You keep doing that until you have a set of "experiences" that your market testing says will sell, and then (and only then) do you go build it.

If the reported budget of $500M is even close, I'm pretty sure this isn't just a hard ticket event in AK.

*** Edited 2/21/2008 11:11:42 PM UTC by Brian Noble***

Thursday, February 21, 2008 9:32 PM
matt.'s avatar I don't understand how I can pass any sort of preliminary judgment on the experience without more details of exactly what $200 - $300 would get me. To me saying "meh" to this is like saying "meh" to buying a painting I've never seen. It could be great depending on the artist's past reputation (great considering most Disney stuff, not so great considering some major flubs in the past) but I'd never really know until I actually understood what I was buying into.
Thursday, February 21, 2008 10:39 PM
rollergator's avatar Funny, I am certainly NOT someone "in the market" for an experience like this...

But even with "limited means", DISNEY can at least force me to take a look. And maybe even a visit....once. Considering that there really are millions of people for whom the pricetag isn't really a barrier, I think this is yet another win for "Gonch's Business Model™". High-end, exclusive, personalized visitation - it's coming.

Still not sure why GAdv didn't do better with their attempt. Have to imagine it was a combination of low-visibility (which the Mouse needn't worry about) and SF's storied history of disappointed guests (again, not a Disney problem).

Have to imagine that as the dollar tanks harder and harder, international guests will very likely find significant "value" in this experience...

Thursday, February 21, 2008 11:22 PM

rollergator said:
Still not sure why GAdv didn't do better with their attempt.

Refresh my memory 'gator, what was GAdv's attempt? I either forget it or never heard of it...


Thursday, February 21, 2008 11:50 PM
The problem with regional parks like GAdv trying this -- and I did kick the tires of the GAdv VIP program where you get a guide to escort you to the front of every line and spend some time in the backstage animal and marine areas -- is that this isn't the kind of experiences that locals will pay up for.

This will work in Disney because you have tens of thousands of guests paying as much as $300-500 a night for standard rooms at the deluxe properties, thousands of people paying $100 a head for a Cirque du Soleil show, and hundreds willing to pay $150 for a ritzy meal at Victoria & Albert's.

Paying $300 (probably closer to $400 in three years) for a unique experience will find plenty of takers. Discovery Cove has done it without a hotel and a very limited park that revolves around one activity (so much so that you can get in for half the price without the dolphin swim).

Friday, February 22, 2008 12:30 AM
Jeff's avatar And gobs of people have been spending money like that in Vegas for decades. Obviously that's a market that exists. Even Vegas knows there is a whole lot of money to be made even without gambling.

Spinout said:
Disney keeps on raising prices year after year. To make more money, Disney is shutting the gates early, and bringing more people in the park after the other people leave.
No way... that's just crowd management. Magic Kingdom had a normal close of midnight on Sunday, with extra magic hours until 3am. With 30,000+ descending on the park for those extra hours, that's only bringing in more cash.

Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

Friday, February 22, 2008 1:13 AM

BBSpeed26 said: what was GAdv's attempt? I either forget it or never heard of it...

In September last year they had something called an "exclusive adventure" It was on a Friday the park wasn't normally open from I think 4:00 or 5:00 to around 10:00 or maybe a little later.

They said there was a very limited amount of tickets (but they did not disclose how many). Admission was $299 a person which got you food, drinks, parking and the experience of having the park to yourself. They later lowered it to $199 a person 1 or 2 days before the event I guess due to low sales and I think I remember reading a TR saying hardly anyone was there.

I think the problem with it is that you don't need to pay that much to get that kind of experience at Great Adventure so there should be little incentive to attend such an even where as at Disney, it's not that easy. I had the same expirence (minus the free stuff) on a regular operating day last year as the exclusive adventure people. Walk ons for almost all coasters with my longest wait being 15 minutes for Superman Ultimate Flight, and I expect to have the same experience this upcoming April when the park is open during the week. *** Edited 2/22/2008 6:15:36 AM UTC by YoshiFan***

Friday, February 22, 2008 2:18 AM

Brian Noble said:
I've been waiting for this for a long time. Disney is infamous for watching competitors develop new markets in Central Florida, and then grabbing the market for themselves with their captive-audience abilities:

Well... there's one small problem with your argument.

Walt Disney World: SeaWorld Orlando (Founders approach TWDC to develop on WDW property, TWDC response "thanks but no thanks, we'll develop our own."
Walt Disney World: Wet and Wild Orlando (TWDC response "We opened the first themed water park on the planet. (River Country)"
Walt Disney World: Universal Orlando (TWDC response confirmed by lawsuit "we developed our own."

Bottom line, the only reason any of those experiences exist is because they fed off Walt Disney World(R) Resort. Each of those experiences is unique, and amazing, but to say that Disney steals their idea is frankly wrong without pointing out that none of those entities would exist without WDW is, well wrong.

but, I guess you could say..

Small Military Base Town: Walt Disney World
Swamp Florida: Walt Disney World *** Edited 2/22/2008 7:58:56 AM UTC by CPJ***

Friday, February 22, 2008 9:03 AM
Of course---each of those external operators saw an opportunity that Disney hadn't filled, and millions of guests coming to central Florida each year that might be interested.

But, so far, each and every one of them that was successful eventually found that Disney decided to compete directly with them after all. If there is one thing the Mouse hates, it is other people making money off of the fact that the Mouse pulls a LOT of people into Orlando.

Discovery Cove is another one of those opportunities, methinks.

Friday, February 22, 2008 11:45 AM
ApolloAndy's avatar The GAdv. exclusive adventure had a catered dinner, I think.

And I agree with the major problems GAdv. had.

1) Not enough visibility

2) The availability of the experience outside of the exclusive event (any early season or mildly rainy day, Gold Q-bot, etc.).

Now if they opened a big coaster like Kingda Ka when it was new only to exclusive adventurers, then you might be talking some serious takers. But nobody wants to pay serious cash for something they've already done a million times.

Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

Friday, February 22, 2008 9:58 PM
Yep, Disney isn't always copying the competition, especially when it comes to premium experiences.

I don't know of any park that offers the Segway tours like EPCOT does before the park opens (at steep prices). Disney had The Living Seas dives (SNUBA I believe, though it may have been Scuba or Snorkeling) before Discovery Cove opened. It was offering surfboarding lessons before Typhoon Lagoon opened long before Ron Jon came to town. And ALL of these things were/are big-ticket items.

I mean, Disney even has the high-end Vacations by Disney travel arm now that has pricey vacations far away from the Disney parks.

There is no doubt in my mind that Disney can make the premium afterhours park work.

And now that Disney is beginning to develop the western border of its property with the opening of that highway extension, it makes perfect sense to toss something iconic there beyond the entertainment district and lodging that's going to go in.

As long as it's on Disney property, it's going to work. Of the three Disney Quest parks, why is the one in Downtown Disney the only one opened? The Vero Beach and Hilton Head resorts -- and in a couple of years the Hawaiian resort -- have had their ups and downs, but it's hard for something on Disney property to fail.

Friday, February 22, 2008 10:27 PM
matt.'s avatar Things like Segway tours and surfing lessons aren't really on the same scale of what was being discussed before, I think that's the difference.
Friday, February 22, 2008 10:30 PM
Jeff's avatar Ah, but that's what I was getting at regarding the long tail. A larger, grander gesture, isn't automatically a more profitable thing than many, smaller, less spectacular, but highly premium offerings. Just browsing through the propaganda, er, brochures I got while down there this week, I was amazed at how much stuff there was to do if you had the time and money.

And by the way, I think they still do the Living Seas thing, and saw something about a SCUBA certification being necessary.

Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

Saturday, February 23, 2008 2:38 AM

And by the way, I think they still do the Living Seas thing, and saw something about a SCUBA certification being necessary.

It's true, they still allow swimming in the world's largest aquarium. It's also true that they had a Dolphin "Encounter" experience long before Discovery Cove was even a thought.


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