Orlando parks vary price and perk strategies

Posted Sunday, September 27, 2015 11:00 PM | Contributed by Jeff

Annual and seasonal passes are an important line of business for Orlando's theme parks, providing them with a steady stream of visitors during slower times of the year. The parks vary pricing, blackout dates and perks.

Read more from The Orlando Sentinel.

Monday, September 28, 2015 10:42 PM

Interesting topic; but can someone please copy & paste the article in this thread as it requires a subscription to access.

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Monday, September 28, 2015 10:46 PM

Google "theme parks take varying pass strategies" and you'll be able to read the article.

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Tuesday, September 29, 2015 8:13 AM

I can't imagine spending $200+ on a pass that has so many restrictions on when you could visit the park. I wonder how many of those Disney sells. I don't see it being very attractive to many people.

Last edited by i305freak, Tuesday, September 29, 2015 8:14 AM
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Tuesday, September 29, 2015 9:48 AM

I'm thinking tons. But we have at least one expert here...

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Tuesday, September 29, 2015 10:00 AM

Always in need of a Gonchback....

We had discussions years ago where we talked about maximizing profits by tailoring a virtually infinite number of experiences and price-points to each particular sub-set of guests. Seems like they're trying to do just that....

I give this business strategy an 'E' ticket rating...

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Tuesday, September 29, 2015 10:02 AM

You would be surprised at how many locals buy the Epcot After 4 pass, at $211. It doesn't even include parking. My mom gets a seasonal pass, with the blackouts, at $350 (note: renewal pricing is lower, at $179 and $297, respectively, for residents). Honestly, she's not that interested in going at peak times, so it makes sense for her. We could probably get away with it if we weren't so close and liked to visit just for Dolewhip. :) Consider the payment plans, which are free, and I'm sure the limited passes sell pretty well.

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Tuesday, September 29, 2015 10:39 AM

There's a reason to visit besides Dolewhips? :-)

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Tuesday, September 29, 2015 12:14 PM

My wife and I purchased annual passes earlier this year for the first time; we usually average 2-3 Disney trips a year / total of 8-12 days / year on average. For years, we purchased 10-day, no expiration passes, and when they were gone, we would simply re-load. But now that the no-expiration option is going away, annual passes became a viable option.

I think the break/even for the annual pass is around 8-10 days/visits a year, give or take, to justify the $650 price point. And the deal sweetens even more of you can take advantage of some of the discounts and offers the pass has; especially the deeply discounted room only offers and you can visit during the slow seasons (like we can).

While you can't place a dollar value on this, one of the things I like most about the annual pass is the fact you can come and go to the parks as you please, and not feel like you are "burning" a day when you do. Several times, we have spent the day relaxing at the pool then headed to Epcot for dinner in the early evening with no feeling that we had to "justify" the admission.

For this coming IAAPA, I plan to swing by Epcot for a few hours the Sunday before the show for the final day of Food & Wine. The pass is perfect for something like this.

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Tuesday, September 29, 2015 12:19 PM

Jeff said:

It doesn't even include parking.

You would think they would just throw parking in to keep The Boardwalk parking lots more available since from what I can tell, it is the worst kept secret on how to save on parking...

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Tuesday, September 29, 2015 12:58 PM

Oh no... they've cracked down on that. This time of year, if you can't prove a reservation or a room or a spa visit, you're not parking in Boardwalk, Beach Club or Yacht Club.

One correction... apparently if you have an Epcot dinner reservation, you do get parking for the after 4 pass.

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Tuesday, September 29, 2015 4:37 PM

As a local, I have purchased the Weekday Select pass, which offers admission only on Monday-Friday and contains the same blackout dates as the seasonal pass. For me, the $225 pricetag -vs- the $529 for the annual makes (or even the $329 for the regular seasonal pass) makes sense because I currently have my two days off during the week, as a former CM and a local I know I wont be wanting to visit anyway during the block out dates, and my typical park friends are either current CM's or regular AP holders, so I don't have to worry about parking. For many it doesn't make sense, but for me it does, and to me, $225 a year is a bargain for after work evening trips for rides at MK or Studios or a walk through Epcot. Even if once or twice a year I do wind up paying the parking fee, it's still the best deal for how I do the parks as a local.

Last edited by BrettV, Tuesday, September 29, 2015 4:38 PM
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Tuesday, September 29, 2015 4:49 PM

rollergator said:

Always in need of a Gonchback....

We had discussions years ago where we talked about maximizing profits by tailoring a virtually infinite number of experiences and price-points to each particular sub-set of guests.

Right here - http://coasterbuzz.com/Forums/Topic/platinum-flash-pass---new-for-2010

Specifically touched on in my post and then your reply later down the page.

Yet again, showing how much we tend to 'get it" when it comes to the business of amusement parks around here - we had this discussion 5 years ago. High five!

Last edited by Lord Gonchar, Tuesday, September 29, 2015 5:19 PM
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Tuesday, September 29, 2015 5:53 PM

Hanging n' Banging said:

While you can't place a dollar value on this, one of the things I like most about the annual pass is the fact you can come and go to the parks as you please, and not feel like you are "burning" a day when you do. Several times, we have spent the day relaxing at the pool then headed to Epcot for dinner in the early evening with no feeling that we had to "justify" the admission.

That's exactly my sentiment for getting DLR passes this year. We had planned a "once in a couple of years" three day trip to Disneyland this summer since we haven't been in several years after letting our passes expire. One of the main reasons for trading in our park hoppers towards passes was to remove all stress about "getting as much done" from the trip. We had one of the best trips ever, and even returned a couple weeks later to take care of unfinished business.

And yes, I've totally complained about the prices in the past. I still do. But I'm not complaining about how much fun we've had nor about how much fun we'll likely have this year.

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Friday, October 2, 2015 9:17 PM

I never realized how expensive Universal Florida is. For one night at Halloween Horror Nights it's $100!

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Friday, October 2, 2015 10:44 PM

And there's still too many people there.

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Friday, October 2, 2015 11:41 PM

Halloween stuff doesn't interest me that much to begin with, but an upcharge to see the stuff appeals to me even less. I'm likely not average in that sense. One of the complaints I hear frequently about HHN is the crowds, another thing I don't care for.

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Friday, October 2, 2015 11:43 PM

Rougabrew said:

I never realized how expensive Universal Florida is. For one night at Halloween Horror Nights it's $100!

Sure, if you don't take 10 seconds to look for a discount, go on a peak night, and aren't a Florida resident or Annual Passholder. I could have gotten all nights but Saturdays for $90 odd with a Frequent Fear Plus pass as an AP, but unfortunately it wasn't in the cards this year. A regular, non-resident visitor should be able to find single night tickets for around $80 or less, depending on the night (excluding peak nights). However, I have a pretty strong feeling that non-resident, non-AP guests are not a majority at the event.

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Saturday, October 3, 2015 1:46 AM

Theme Park University did a quick piece suggesting Busch's Howl-O-Scream is better than Universal's event (smaller crowds, high quality, original storylines rather than licensed properties).

$100 -- or $90 -- or $80 -- to get into a Halloween event? Not interested, unless the cast of Thunder From Down Under carries me to and through each haunt. I like Halloween fine, but it's not a big deal for me.

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Saturday, October 3, 2015 11:05 AM

We moved over from HHN at Universal to HOS at Busch *years* ago. Did do an early-entry at HHN about 6-7 years ago with the AP, and that worked pretty well for beating the crowds in....but before 9pm, there was nothing we wanted Halloween-wise that had less than an hour wait. Even the rides had terribly long waits at that point, so we bailed much earlier than expected. At Busch, it's been getting more crowded over time, but still *nothing* like HHN.

I still think Universal has the better theming, shows, overall event - but at Busch we're actually able to enjoy ourselves.

Honestly, the (roughly) $100 price tag for HHN sounds terribly high to me too....but if it was TOO high, then crowds would decline. So far, that has not happened.

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