Rasulo tells analysts he doesn't expect gas prices alone to deter Disney vacations

Posted Wednesday, March 9, 2011 12:16 PM | Contributed by Jeff

Disney Co. Chief Financial Officer Jay Rasulo said Tuesday he does not expect skyrocketing gas prices to deter travel to the company's theme parks.

Read more from The Orlando Sentinel.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011 1:11 PM

I live about 5 1/2 hours (350 miles away)

I go to orlando every couple of months(Universal APs)

Thinking about getting seaworld/busch APs

If gas prices go up and stay up I am thinking of staying longer

(5 days instead of 3 days) so Orlando will get another couple of days of hotel rooms. I wonder how many will be like me and stay an extra few days to get more out of the cost of getting there.

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Wednesday, March 9, 2011 2:15 PM

I believe more local parks may get effected more than Disney... You figure, most people in Orlando are tourists spending huge amounts of money to stay at Disney anyway. I doubt a small raise in airfare would stop them from flying over (Brazil, UK, etc...)

On the flipside, I think a park like CP may end up hurting. I know for me personally, if gas goes over $4/gal I will not be going near as often. I usually only stay for a few hours and the drive is a bit over an hour. I would much rather drive half the distance to Geauga Lake in the hot days of summer, and end up having more fun.

Since CP is not really "close" to anywhere, just in the middle of a bunch of cities may be its downfall... Where other parks located closer to those cities or suburbs may see increases.

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Wednesday, March 9, 2011 2:17 PM

Using you as an example...
350 miles/25 mpg = 14 gallons.
14 gallons x 2 ways = 28 gallons.
If gas goes up a total of $2/gallon to about 5 bucks, this means your trip will cost you an extra $56.

$56 is not enough for me to change my plans either way.

For me from Pittsburgh it's around 1000 miles, in my car that gets mid-30s highway, it'd cost me $114 extra if gas goes over $5. Still not enough for me to change my plans.

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Wednesday, March 9, 2011 2:21 PM

It may eat up more of your disposable income. For those already on tight budgets just that extra $20 a week might make the difference in being able to save for that vacation over time. $20 extra a week over even 10 weeks is $200 that could have gone to said trip. That's huge IMO! The prices may deter me from making some of the bigger trips I normally would have.

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Wednesday, March 9, 2011 3:18 PM

kpjb said:
Using you as an example...
350 miles/25 mpg = 14 gallons.
14 gallons x 2 ways = 28 gallons.
If gas goes up a total of $2/gallon to about 5 bucks, this means your trip will cost you an extra $56.

$56 is not enough for me to change my plans either way.

For me from Pittsburgh it's around 1000 miles, in my car that gets mid-30s highway, it'd cost me $114 extra if gas goes over $5. Still not enough for me to change my plans.

I love when people do the work for me. :)

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Wednesday, March 9, 2011 3:36 PM

56 is not enough for me to change my plans either way

But you're thinking about it all wrong. Not saying I wouldn't still go, but if gas goes up to $5 a gallon, that doesn't just affect you going to Cedar Point, that makes all driving more expensive.

So it isn't 'just' the trip to CP that got more expensive, it's the trip to work, the trip to the grocery store, the trip to the movies, the trip to Walmart, the trip to the gas station, all of that gets more expensive.

In this case, I can't stand behind the 'it's only XX amount of $$ more to go to this one place, so would you really cut it out?', because with gas, it's going to affect most of everything else you do.

Edit, thinking about summer 2008 when gas was well over $4 a gallon, sure, I went to Holiwood Nights, but that ended up being the only 'big' trip I took that summer. Normally, especially during the summer, I was gone on the weekends, even if it was somewhere just an hour away. But when Gas prices were much more, I cut out a lot of travel, including trips to local theme parks until later in the year when gas wasn't as much.

Last edited by Tekwardo, Wednesday, March 9, 2011 3:39 PM
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Wednesday, March 9, 2011 3:45 PM

Ok.

So the average person drives 15,000 miles per year and the average vehicle gets 20mpg.

That's 750 gallons.

Difference in yearly costs:

$3 per gallon = $2250/yr
$4 per gallon = $3000/yr
$5 per gallon = $3750/yr

Is that enough to affect people's travel choices?

I suspect some of us will say, "Hell yes!" and some will say "Hell no!" :)

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Wednesday, March 9, 2011 4:03 PM

beast7369 said:
It may eat up more of your disposable income.

I doubt most people booking a week at Disney are particularly concerned about how much disposable income they have.

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Wednesday, March 9, 2011 4:09 PM

^^But, you also have to account for increased transportation expenses for everything you buy. Those blueberries from Chile, for example, that were *so good* this winter.

That said, this report suggests that fuel is a small fraction of of the total cost of food distribution (on page 2):

http://www.leopold.iastate.edu/pubs/staff/ppp/food_mil.pdf

It would be interesting to see the study of how a 25% increase in gas prices affects the consumer price index.

Also, here's a tidbit from the pre-recession oil run-up. (We all remember that, right?) It's a Kevin Yee piece, so take it with a grain of salt, but it claims that an internal study commissioned by WDW found the breaking point at which WDW ceases to be profitable is someting in the neighborhood of $160-$200/bbl, in 2007 dollars.

http://miceage.micechat.com/kevinyee/ky091807a.htm

Last edited by Brian Noble, Wednesday, March 9, 2011 4:32 PM
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Wednesday, March 9, 2011 4:20 PM

I suspect some of us will say, "Hell yes!" and some will say "Hell no!"

Well of course, but really that comes down to what we always talk about as to whether its worth it or not. But it seemed like the original suggestion was that just because it's $56 more to go to CP now, that people aren't going to look at that and have much of an issue, when the issue isn't just that it's $56 more for CP.

For me, when gas gets that high, I'll likely stop going to Charlotte (and in many cases Carowinds, which is just under an hour from my home) as much, but I doubt that I'll change any of my 'big' plans where I had already decided to fly. Not sure if I'll end up putting the funding into those Dollywood, Kings Dominion, and SFoG trips, it all depends on how much gas and rooms are, but yes, it will affect some of my more 'local' travel plans this year if gas gets high enough.

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Wednesday, March 9, 2011 4:21 PM

Jeff said:
I doubt most people booking a week at Disney are particularly concerned about how much disposable income they have.

Single mothers using their tax money to go get sexually assulted...I mean, free rooms might...

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Wednesday, March 9, 2011 4:33 PM

Tekwardo said:

For me, when gas gets that high...

...I tend to shrug and wish people would find something more interesting to discuss.

I live in a world where I can't imagine my cost for gasoline (directly, not indirect things like rising food costs that Brian mentions) being enough to make me change any habits.

Gas around here was hovering just below $3 for quite a while. Now it's toying with $3.50. My life isn't changing anytime soon because of that 15% or so increase.

Then again, we've structured our lives so that gas isn't a major cost to begin with. So increases generally affect us less. (15% of nothing is nothing, so to speak :) )

Last edited by Lord Gonchar, Wednesday, March 9, 2011 4:36 PM
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Wednesday, March 9, 2011 4:37 PM

For me (and my example of CP/GL)

I usually go to CP once per weekend... From May until October (missing a few here and there)... So let's guesstimate, 20 visits to CP generally.

It is about 60 miles each way, 120 miles round trip. My car gets about 28mpg, so I burn about 4.3 gallons of gas per trip... At 2.75 a gallon, it costs me around $12 to go there... For twenty visits, it would cost around $240 in fuel.

If gas prices reach $4.50 this summer (or higher), that trip now costs me $19.35 a trip, or $387 in fuel.

$150 is a big jump just in fuel costs. Sure, in the general scope of things it is not that big of a deal, but the fact is I would still spend a hair under $400 in fuel just to go to CP.

GL is around 20 miles away from me... Twenty visits there would only cost me $4 per round trip at $2.75gal, or $6.43 at $4.50/gal... Over the course of twenty visits at the higher cost, would be $129 for the entire season. $258 cheaper then CP... Sure the parks are very different (plus many don't like waterparks) but this just an example. People may stay closer to their homepark versus driving out to go to others.


I plan to go to both, but the higher the fuel cost is, the less likely I am to drive out to CP for a few hours. Generally I only stay from morning ERT until about noon before its too busy/hot and I leave. Just not worth it for *me*.

Last edited by SteveWoA, Wednesday, March 9, 2011 4:39 PM
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Wednesday, March 9, 2011 4:58 PM

Gas around here was hovering just below $3 for quite a while. Now it's toying with $3.50. My life isn't changing anytime soon because of that 15% or so increase.

My life hasn't changed yet with the $3.50 prices, but if it does get to the $5 prices then that's when I'll likely bow out of some leisure driving. Granted, I have a new car note, where I didn't before...but I now get about 30mpg where I only got about half of that before. And I'm only 13 miles from work. So to be honest, I don't know how it'll definitely affect me yet, but based on the last time gas was that high, when I did have a car note, got 15 mpg, and lived 2 miles from work, I still stopped driving an hour or more to do leisure stuff. Which, again, is still different because I live where stuff is more convienient now.

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Wednesday, March 9, 2011 8:09 PM

I am a super saver and super budgeter. My car gets 33 city/40 highway. Gas just hit $3.40 here. I can honestly say that gas prices will not affect the way I travel at all. If my disposable income is at all tight, I will just not eat out once (that's where almost all of my behavior changes are) and still go to Six Flags or wherever just as many times.

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Wednesday, March 9, 2011 11:00 PM

I love when people do the work for me.

I should have ended that with an "IBG."

...the original suggestion was that just because it's $56 more to go to CP now...

I'm sure it wouldn't change your argument, but actually the suggestion was that $56 doesn't affect an Orlando trip. It's a response to the first post in this thread. My point was that if he has enough to go to Universal, Sea World, and Busch in the first place, what difference does the $56 make?

Edit: removed mention of Disney after re-reading first post. So there.

Last edited by kpjb, Wednesday, March 9, 2011 11:02 PM
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Thursday, March 10, 2011 3:34 AM

Obviously the big difference is people with disposable (discretionary) incomes vs those without. Even for the people without it, that extra few bucks on gas for one particular trip likely isn't what will break the bank, but rather the extra cost of gas everywhere else that eats into their budget. So while there may be no immediate impact from families that have already saved up for their Disney trips, I could see an impact in the future from families that have to put that savings on hold to afford other things.

Personally, $4/gallon gas probably won't reduce my number of trips to CP this summer. However, I'll likely be looking at cutting some costs on other things or seeking more overtime at work to make up for the difference.

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Thursday, March 10, 2011 8:12 AM

kpjb said:

I love when people do the work for me.

I should have ended that with an "IBG."

...the original suggestion was that just because it's $56 more to go to CP now...

I'm sure it wouldn't change your argument, but actually the suggestion was that $56 doesn't affect an Orlando trip. It's a response to the first post in this thread. My point was that if he has enough to go to Universal, Sea World, and Busch in the first place, what difference does the $56 make?

Edit: removed mention of Disney after re-reading first post. So there.

My original point was that I was going to stay longer.
if 56.00 more is more than a extra night I will stay an extra night.(or 2)
I go every couple of months for a 3 day weekend
My point is the gas price has changed that to a 5 day vacation.
So to sum up I will go stay longer less often.

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Thursday, March 10, 2011 9:58 AM

My original point was that I was going to stay longer.

This is why I almost never go for less than a week. I have to *fly* down, and if that's what I'm doing, I want to amortize the cost (and more importantly, hassle) on a "real trip".

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