How much would you pay for VIP treatment?

Jeff's avatar

This is an interesting post about what $99 gets you at a specific Magic Kingdom event (with a list of other events), but it's more about the broader offering of more exclusive stuff that parks are putting out there.

What do you think?

Sidebar: Disney seems perfectly content at the moment to offer these kinds of events as add-ons and keep the core product (FastPass) free.

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog - Phrazy

Morté615's avatar

Man that website sucks! Is there actually an article or just pictures which no real captions? I really hate sites that throw so much in your face that you can't find what you go there for in the first place.

Morté aka Matt, Ego sum nex
Dragon's Fire Design:

My wife and I have been watching many of the parks start to add these over the past years.

Many Zoo's now offer behind the scenes tours for $x, Cedar Point's started a tour recently.

Some I consider out of my price range (anything over $100)...unless I've been saving up for awhile.

Some I would only pay if it's something that fascinates me and is a passion of mine. I would pay for the Disney behind the scenes tour, but I probably wouldn't pay for a behind the scenes tour on a cruise ship.

I would pay for certain zoo behind the scenes tour (depends on what I know the kids really want to learn about.)

I think BGW has the best behind the scenes tours for the price.

At the same time, a part of me feels awkward cutting around everyone. Same can be said in some ways to CP's Fastpass program.

On the other hand, if I owed the business, and people were willing to pay...Heck yeah, and kudos to those who came up with another way to get people a product and take their money for it.

In the end, if there is a demand, someone can make money on it, the customer feels satisfied at the end. I'm all about it.

LostKause's avatar

I can't find or read the article for some reason...

I would think that the question asked in the topic title is easily answered with another question. How much extra money do you have for things like this. If I were a gazillionare, I wouldn't even look at the prices of add-ons. I would just buy them. If I were a Walmart employee, I would save up and scrape up to be able to afford some of these.

Wait, I am a Walmart employee. lol

Last edited by LostKause,
Jeff's avatar

I'm not sure why you can't see the article. It's in the middle of the page, taking up most of it for me. Looks OK on the phone, too.

I don't do the exclusive thing very often anywhere. They have a VIP thing for Blue Man Group here in Orlando, and I've never done it despite being a big fan. At Disney we did the Segway tours at Epcot when they were still available, and they were totally worth it. We did the Illuminations Sparkling Dessert Party too, and actually I thought that was a great deal for $49 (given how much I drank). I really think it comes down to what you find value in, and there's a pretty huge spectrum for that among people.

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog - Phrazy

Lord Gonchar's avatar

There's a premium content popup that I get, telling me I need to subscribe to read the article.

Jeff's avatar

Try this. Via teh Google.

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog - Phrazy

Lord Gonchar's avatar

There you go. That works.

Lord Gonchar's avatar

Jeff said:

Sidebar: Disney seems perfectly content at the moment to offer these kinds of events as add-ons and keep the core product (FastPass) free.

I feel like that was left there for me.

I think things like this are just a precursor to the idea that FastPass will eventually come with prices and levels attached.

They're fracturing the experience so much at this point based on how much you're willing to pony up. There are so many price ranges and ways to 'do' a WDW vacation at this point that you could probably talk to two different families and not even guess that they went to the same place.

No reason not to do it everywhere they can. They offer a premium product with premium prices and people are willing to pay that premium for a premium expeience.

(a little disappointed that I could only fit 'premium' into that sentence four times)

I've done a few of these. We did the Dessert Party at Food & Wine a couple years back. At the time, it was $55 for unlimited desserts, a surprisingly good selection of savory antipasti items, a not-horrible band, and a crap-ton of booze. The bourbon flambéed donuts with ice cream did me in. You also got a reserved area for Illuminations after the party was over. I thought this was a pretty good value, all in all.

The Harambe Nights thing sounded like a pretty good deal too. And I've also done the riverside reserved seating/desserts thing at Disneyland for Fantasmic. That was probably ten years ago, it cost as much as a single day's admission, and was worth every penny to avoid that cluster of having to hold space for two hours along the shores of RoA. The Wild Africa Trek is intriguing, but I've never been able to pull the trigger on it.

Last edited by Brian Noble,

I've said it before, but some of these add-ons and VIP packages really aren't much more when you look at everything included in the package versus paying for everything separately at the park. I still find Universal's VIP tour behind the scenes quite reasonable, especially if you're likely only going once in your lifetime. I see these things as nothing but win.

"Look at us spinning out in the madness of a roller coaster" - Dave Matthews Band

Jeff's avatar

Brian Noble said:

The bourbon flambéed donuts with ice cream did me in. You also got a reserved area for Illuminations after the party was over.

They used 151 top shelf rum for ours, and we paid $6 less! :) Seriously though, there was no band, and the alcohol was only of the bubbly sort. Not that I'm complaining... it made discovering that night that the "lazy" river at Beach Club does in fact get to a point that it's 8 feet deep far more interesting!

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog - Phrazy

slithernoggin's avatar

Lord Gonchar said:

... you could probably talk to two different families and not even guess that they went to the same place.

I agree. One family on the "vacation of a lifetime" to WDW, armed with the dining plan and a VIP tour and a boat for IllumiNations, and one family that parks the RV at Fort Wilderness for a couple of weeks, decorates it for Halloween, and sooner or later gets to a park or two are having pretty different experiences.

Speaking of Halloween at Fort Wilderness, the first time I stayed there around Halloween I was amazed by the stunning decorations people had up.

Last edited by slithernoggin,

Life is something that happens when you can't get to sleep.
--Fran Lebowitz

When your spending 5k-10k for a family vacation, what's another $400 for a family of 4? Seriously. What I mean by that is that at some point the additional money becomes a non-issue, especially when you are in the position to be spending a bunch of money in the first place. Disney realizes this and is easily targeting the affluent with these offers, as well as those that saved every penny that they could to make the experience more memorable for those involved.

They know what they are doing, and unlike most companies, are extremely successful in pulling it off for both the customer and stock holder.

Fever I really enjoy the Simpsons. It's just a shame that I am starting to LOOK like Homer.

Personally, I like the Universal model and price points for their express pass.

To answer the question of "How much am I willing to pay to cut the lines?" For me, the answer is in the $75-$100 a day range. Much more than that it would be a little to rich for my wallet. It looks like during Christmas week, a two park express pass runs around $120, and I think even that is pretty reasonable considering the crowds that week.

Back to Disney, what's interesting with NextGen is that one could theoretically purchase and "load" this VIP Fast Pass+ (or whatever you want to call it) onto your wristband and use it like any traditional FP+. So you could enter the FP+ queue like any other FP+ guest and this would potentially avoid any "class warfare" between the have's (paying the premium to cut everything) and have not's (those who have to spend their day on their smart phone trying to scrap a FP+ for their favorite attraction)...

koolcat1101's avatar

Jeez I never realized how expensive Disney is, you can go to an awesome park like cedar point for $50 or go to the world's greatest kiddie park for $99.

Jeff's avatar

It doesn't sound like you've been there.

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog - Phrazy

rollergator's avatar

...and Disney still has to occasionally shut the gates (well, relatively-speaking) because they're too busy. Two months from now, every "E-ticket" attraction in all four parks will have 2+ hour lines. Raising the gate price even more probably wouldn't slow the demand for Disney admissions. Other parks have rides, shows and attractions - but Disney's demand is inelastic because only Disney has *Disney Magic*™. So their premium experiences are also going to command a premium price.

As for "VIP treatment" in general, I think the economic sweet spot is found when matching each experience to each guest as closely as possible ("tailored") so that you can charge appropriately for what any given person finds valuable. For some, that would be reserved seating for parades and fireworks, for others more food choices, more rides, behind-the-scenes tours, extended park hours, or even getting involved in the shows (rather than an audience member being chosen at random). Some of this probably is still just in my imagination. But it's all some form of "VIP treatment" that some people would be willing to pay's how to maximize guest happiness *and* profitability.

slithernoggin's avatar

"'s greatest kiddie park"? Not by a long shot. All of the Disney parks I've been to offer amazing experiences, and DisneySea is simply the most amazing theme park I've ever had the pleasure of visiting.

Last edited by slithernoggin,

Life is something that happens when you can't get to sleep.
--Fran Lebowitz

Not to mention the fact that very few people are visiting at that $99/day price point.

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