Rising Orlando ticket prices discouraging for some families

Posted Tuesday, March 30, 2004 8:17 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Disney raised Disney World ticket prices by $2.75 to $54.75 last weekend. Some analysts wonder what the breaking point is before families are unwilling to pay these ticket prices.

Read more from Florida Today.

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Tuesday, March 30, 2004 8:35 AM
Here's the point:

"With the park being so run-down, it's a disgrace, and they have some nerve to raise the prices," said Arlene Goldman of Viera. "We go with our grandchildren, and it costs a fortune. Yes, we still go."

In other words, the Faithful complain all the way to the ticket window---there's no reason not to raise the rpices. I've seen the same thing on the Disney boards about both the WDW and DLR increases.

Tuesday, March 30, 2004 9:19 AM
I believe that WDW and it's various parks are relying on foreign trade more than the local economy for their admissions and they know that the Europeans are willing to pay the price increases. As I have stated in a previous post (listed elsewhere) I prefer the Universal and Bush parks to Disney.

If they are going to raise prices then let there be an increase in maintenace to keep the place from looking "shoddy" and prevent ride disasters like the type in California.

Tuesday, March 30, 2004 9:44 AM
If you are a "local" there are plenty of opportunities for price breaks. The no-brainer thing to do is to buy an annual pass. Even if you don't though, they have plenty of Fl. Resident specials.

This is the same argument that has been going on for years. Good seats for any concert down here in South Florida are well over $100 a piece...and that is for what...2 hours or so? If you objectively compare the costs of amusement park tickets to other types of entertainment I would argue that they are not out of line.

Break down the cost of a movie ticket as a per hour cost. These days a ticket to a 2 hour movie is about $8...or $4 per hour. Disney is charging about $55 for about 10 hours of entertainment (assuming a 10-8 day) or about $5.50 per hour. For a 12 hour day it works out to about $4.50 per hour.

That concert ticket mentioned above works out to about $50 per hour.

Complain all you want but at least be fair about it.

Tuesday, March 30, 2004 11:52 AM
True enough, wahoo....but, I have to say I've never seen or heard ANYONE ni the industry mention this particular aspect until Will Koch's online seminar re: branding:

What does an hour of your time "cost"? As a guest in the park, if you spend 10 minutes RIDING (or watching shows, etc.) for every hour in line, you have a vastly different scenario than if you spend 2 hours in line for every 2 minutes of riding...it's more of an economic analysis of the time v. money trade-off that we make every day without even realizing it....

bill, never spent time in line AT a concert, although the wait was CONSIDERABLE to get those Stones tix...;)

P.S. Back to the increases, our (FL) theme parks do *much/most* of their business from foreign tourism, and US dollars may not be the most familiar currency....plus, they've spent TONS of money getting TO Orlando, staying in Orlando, renting cars, eating, etc....the entertainment expense of a day at the parks just doesn't "jump out" as abnormal compared to the expenses already incurred.

Tuesday, March 30, 2004 12:29 PM
exactly, Bill. When I was in Paris and London two weeks ago, at first I was shocked at their prices and started to be thrifty, but then after thinking about how rarely I will get there, I loosened up the spending.

THe prices in both town was like looking at dollars, but both currencies were more (in London's case much more) than what the dollar is valued at.

In Paris I paid the equivalent of $1.90 US for a 500mL (17oz) bottle of Diet Coke...in London the same bottle was $1.70. And there were general stores, not tourist sites...
If you were to "scale up" the sizes to a 20 oz bottle, it would have been $2.25 for Paris and $2.00 for London.

Heck, I paid 50 Euros for a bike tour to Versailles and almost paid an additional 70 Euros ($84) to do a Segway ( http://www.parissegwaytours.com/ )tour of Paris. I would have too, if they weren't already booked up... :(

Tuesday, March 30, 2004 12:46 PM
Almost every park in the country raises their prices annually, but when one of the "Big Boys" does it, it makes headlines.

Don't believe me, look at the ticket price history for CP, Kennywood, or any other park that builds at the rate of WDW.

Tuesday, March 30, 2004 12:52 PM
That may be an approach for a park like HW (and I could probably even argue that), but at a park like WDW (especially to the casual, once or twice in a lifetime visitor) there's more to it all than the rides.

You're paying to spend a day in Disney's fantasy world.

To walk down mainstreet admiring the shops. To gaze at Cinderella Castle. To explore Adventureland. To travel time in Tomorrowland.

The same could be said for a park like IOA where you can have just as much fun exploring the details as you can riding.

You're paying for the atmosphere and escapism.

At the over the top theme parks like those, I think it's a very fair comparison that Wahoo made - and a under $6 an hour, you're barely paying one employees daily wages.

Traditional parks or amusement parks would be a slightly different approach, but I'd still argue that the escape of a day at the park instead of a day in "real life" justifies the cost. To break it down into hours waiting vs hours riding or figuring what each ride cost over the course of a day (as interesting as the concept is - really, that stuff interests me) is overanalyzing to a degree.

I pay for the sights, the smells, the people, the midway, the goose bumps when the coaster roars by and I know I'll be on it soon - the atmosphere in general.

Breaking it down into what my time "costs" is going too far. That mentality seems to support the people in the endless "park employee courtesy" threads who don't give one hoot about the overall experience, they just want to ride. They don't expect anything, nor want it - they just want rides. There's more than how many rides I can pack into a day. I'd rather end up paying $5 a ride, spend 70% of my day in lines and enjoy my entire day feeling that sense of 'escape' then have an ok time but have received three time the rides with half the time waiting. I'm somewhere fun and the fun is what I'm buying.

(and doesn't that "cost vs times vs rides" thinking just support a pay per ride system?)

Tuesday, March 30, 2004 3:29 PM
Yeah, I guess when I mentioned a 2 hour movie...I forgot that a good 15 minutes of that is the coming attractions and moviemercials.
Wednesday, March 31, 2004 9:50 AM
One thing that was noted in the local papers in Orlando was that if you look at Disney ticket prices from 1989 --> 2004, they have done a 96% increase whereas inflation has only been 44% in those years.
Wednesday, March 31, 2004 5:40 PM
That's a factoid taken out of context, though. If the park was exactly the same from '89-'04, then I could see strictly staying with the standard price increases. In those 15 years, though, there's been a lot of money spent by the park on rides, infrastructure, etc. You have to take that in to account, too.

-kpjb (who still thinks it's overpriced.)


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