Survey suggests that Disney is considering dynamic pricing

Posted Friday, May 29, 2015 8:51 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Walt Disney Parks and Resorts may be considering charging more for high-demand days during summer, the Christmas holiday and spring break, and less for off-peak days, a survey the company sent to park visitors suggests.

Read more from The LA Times.

Friday, May 29, 2015 8:55 AM

I'm sure people will perceive this as some kind of cash grab, and it will undoubtedly allow them to make more money, but I think they're at a point where they need to figure out some way to limit the crowds before they have to close the gate. I think the separately gated Christmas events are already a device used for that, but despite the obvious lunacy of crowds that people know will be there, they show up the week of Christmas and spring break.

Friday, May 29, 2015 9:55 AM

If it helps with keeping the crowds down, I say it's a great idea!

Friday, May 29, 2015 10:37 AM

I don't go to Disney much, it's been several years and I doubt I'll go back anytime in the near future. But from what I've been reading, the price barrier isn't much of a deterrent. I think cost is less of a barrier when the vast majority of your guests are once in a lifetime visitors. They've probably been saving for months or years to make that trip. But if they can make more of a deterrent without affecting their bottom line, I'd say they should go for it.

Friday, May 29, 2015 10:56 AM

Yeah, it's strange that the price increases really don't seem to change attendance. I mean, maybe not, they don't want to reduce attendance, just maintain it. Strangely, by comparison, the hotel business just goes for it. Rooms at the Contemporary go for a grand a night just because it's walking distance to Magic Kingdom. That's nuts. The Grand and Poly can get really pricey as well.

Friday, May 29, 2015 12:09 PM

At some level, though, who cares if it's seen as a cash grab? If you're turning people away at the gate, you're leaving money on the table. The people who see it as a cash grab won't come and the people that do will still fill your park to capacity. Solves both problems. Especially for something as isolated as this (it's not like they're doing it every Saturday in the summer) and so obviously and consistently overcrowded, I don't see a huge PR backlash.

I also still don't know why the regionals haven't implemented something like this (aside from the Coke can discount which increases on weekdays).

Last edited by ApolloAndy, Friday, May 29, 2015 12:11 PM
Friday, May 29, 2015 12:27 PM

I expect to see dynamic pricing become more common in a lot of places (not just limited to amusement parks). It makes a ton of sense for businesses (particularly as the costs of it decrease). There may be some customers who balk but I think over time it just becomes more the norm.

Friday, May 29, 2015 12:31 PM

I'm pretty sure Cedar Point charges more for Halloweekend Tickets.

Friday, May 29, 2015 12:32 PM

It is times like this that I fear Gonch will eventually rule the world...

Friday, May 29, 2015 12:53 PM

We instituted dynamic pricing at the theatre a few years back. There's only occasionally pushback from a customer

Friday, May 29, 2015 2:12 PM

sws said:

It is times like this that I fear Gonch will eventually rule the world...

You were wise to make friends early.

Friday, May 29, 2015 3:22 PM

What you call friendship, I view as my inevitable submission.

Friday, May 29, 2015 10:42 PM

I, for one, welcome our new Gonch overlord.

Friday, May 29, 2015 10:49 PM

As for Dynamic pricing, you'll see it rapidly happen everywhere as the flexible technology for admissions/SKU price Tags explodes.

The biggest barrier to it, besides perception, is the ability to rapidly and accurately change the price on the damn sign/wall/menu etc.

Friday, May 29, 2015 10:51 PM


Saturday, May 30, 2015 8:49 AM

Dynamic pricing is already being seen in movie theaters, for quite awhile now. Theaters around me charge $1 to $3 per ticket more on Friday and Saturday evening shows versus any other weeknight.

Changing prices accurately on signs and menu boards means all of them need to be electronic or video.

I see Disney's capacity problem as their own doing. Let's keep building hotels on site. How many rooms do the All-Stars and Pop Century Have? It's like in the thousands. and that's just four of their resorts. Let's have these massive concerts and food and wine festivals, etc., etc. Also when you make a better deal to buy a season pass instead of a hotel/park package. I know plenty of people who buy a pass and go twice a year. And what about the locals getting discounts on admission? This same problem occurs at Six Flags. The parks are overwhelmed because of a steep admission price that is discounted heavily through season passes and coupons, free bring a buddy tickets. You look at the gate before opening you see far fewer people in line to buy a ticket versus everyone going in on some sort of pass or discount. Everyone who buys a pass may go several times during the season having paid once to get in. Then they let you buy season parking and now dining. All of which eat away at the profit margin and draw in more bargain hunters for value in entertainment. Entertainment is exceptionally costly. Not just at theme parks. Concerts, the venues that host them, movies, your cable or satellite TV bill, music, videos, whatever, But, the door swings both ways. If you stick to your guns and charge that high admission without doing those discounts you become Hard Rock Park. And it would be too costly to simply build an exact duplicate of the Magic Kingdom next to the existing one.

Saturday, May 30, 2015 10:22 AM

I think you're totally wrong. If they have a "problem," clearly Wall Street loves that problem. If what they're doing was really eating at margin, do you think they would be posting one record quarter after another? Seriously, FL resident pricing for the Contemporary in July is over a grand! Comparing the pricing strategies of Disney to Six Flags seems completely absurd to me.

Disney did most things right in the last decade. They invested in the overall experience during the recession, and now they're investing in stuff for the "benefit oriented" consumers (premium rooms, DVC, VIP tours and programs, etc.).

Saturday, May 30, 2015 10:56 AM

Disney knows what it's doing. They have nearly 30,000 rooms onsite because they can fill nearly 30,000 rooms.

Saturday, May 30, 2015 12:55 PM

As an economist, dynamic pricing is pretty straightforward in terms of maximizing customer satisfaction *and* revenues. Without dynamic pricing, the business is leaving money on the table, and customers who would willingly pay more to get more are left less-than-optimally satisfied.

Saturday, May 30, 2015 8:25 PM

WallyWorld Guy said:

I see Disney's capacity problem as their own doing.

I don't understand this. They have a product that is so popular they can't keep up with demand for it. How is this, in any way, a bad thing?


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