Travel hates poor people

Jeff's avatar

Leaning into the classic CB meme, it appears that this year's travel season is largely driven by people who can afford the high end. (NYT gifted link)

The article says that premium hotels are getting more, while economy may have to reduce rates. I wonder how this applies to amusement and theme parks. While many people can drive to a regional park, the hotels near many of them imply there's some kind of distance business there.

Disney was insanely not busy on Friday, July 5, this year, despite the near record domestic air travel reported. I haven't seen it like that since the end of the pandemic, or maybe the last hurricane. The Epcot lot was filled only to a few rows beyond the tree line on both sides. That surprises me because I would generally consider WDW as more premium.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog

This is just a casual observation, but I feel like anytime I enter a conversation about WDW, the narrative of “it’s just gotten so expensive” enters the conversation.

I still believe that if you are savvy, and are flexible and creative with your planning, you can still do Disney relatively cheap. But the overall sentiment I feel is the current expense barrier most face when deciding to take a WDW vacation.

I can’t help but think that this is playing into the equation as I have also heard that WDW crowds have been soft so far this summer.

Waiting in line for more 90 minutes or more for any ride can burn you out, especially on a hot day. When Disney had Fastpass, advance planning, flexibility and being savvy went a long way. I never had to wait in line at a Disney Park for more than an hour. Fastpass was free for everyone. I thought it was a fantastic system. But they ended Fastpass for some reason. Now those who can afford to pay for Lightning Lane can skip the line leaving the rest to languish in longer lines, made longer by those who pay to cut. It is just a different park experience for those who have that kind of money to burn. Outside the park I've always assumed there are those who can afford the higher end hotels, meals, first class air travel, etc... The rich can do whatever as long as it didn't affect my day at the park. Pay-to-cut negatively impacts others in line and allows class to impact the overall park experience.

Does travel hate poor people? Fastpass allowed the savvy to cut in front of the rich. I guess that was a problem. Eliminating that system and replacing it with rich people's right to cut is a perfect example of travel becoming less hospitable for the poor. But if ticket prices keep going up, Lightning Lanes won't be needed in empty park full of rich people. But the silly rich will keep buying their Lightning Lane despite the lines being empty. Cracks me up every time folks work so hard to use their special cutting pass when they can just walk on the ride.

Last edited by RC Madness,
Vater's avatar

RC Madness:

the rich

RC Madness:

Cracks me up every time folks work so hard to use their special cutting pass when they can just walk on the ride

That’s the absolute worst feeling . You buy an express pass, then show up for rides like E.T and standby is a walk on. 😢

99er's avatar

Hanging n' Banging:

..anytime I enter a conversation about WDW, the narrative of “it’s just gotten so expensive” enters the conversation.

This has been my experience as well, however when I dig into it, those people with that thinking have either never been to WDW or it's been 10+ years since their last visit. They seem to only have that opinion based on what others say on the internet.

Hanging n' Banging:

I still believe that if you are savvy, and are flexible and creative with your planning, you can still do Disney relatively cheap.

Absolutely! As a not so great comparison, I take a trip to Vegas every year for a convention and when I talk to people about Vegas everyone seems to think it is a very expensive trip to make. I started planning my trip yesterday and the Stratosphere has rooms in December for $10 a night, a whole $1 less than last year! I know it isn't the most lavish hotel on the strip but much like a value resort at Disney, you CAN do these trips on the cheap.


-Chris

99er:

Absolutely! As a not so great comparison, I take a trip to Vegas every year for a convention and when I talk to people about Vegas everyone seems to think it is a very expensive trip to make. I started planning my trip yesterday and the Stratosphere has rooms in December for $10 a night, a whole $1 less than last year! I know it isn't the most lavish hotel on the strip but much like a value resort at Disney, you CAN do these trips on the cheap.

Absolutely. You can probably do most trips on the cheap. But a lot of people are not willing to make sacrifices. Like, how many people want to stay at the Strat? That’s like way off the strip hot spots.

Last edited by The_Orient_of_Express,

Some of the people who are looking to travel on the cheap presumably are getting squeezed right now by higher prices/higher interest rates (we already discussed a few months back that neither the impact of inflation/increased interest rates nor increased wages is universal). That leaves them less money for non-essentials such as travel. Makes sense to me given that there would be a greater impact on travelers at the lower end of travel spend than on the higher end.

Vater's avatar

GoBucks89:

Some of the people who are looking to travel on the cheap presumably are getting squeezed right now by higher prices

*raises hand*

I heard an interesting tidbit today. The observation: credit card processors are reporting that consumer spending remains strong. But the claim is that if you drill down into the why, there is a bifurcation. The "non-discretionary discretionary" spending by those Gen Zers who are now reaching their early-to-mid 20s and establishing households is strong. But "discretionary-discretionary" spending---for example, shoe purchases--is down. Because Gen Z is a mini-population bulge, their ND-D spending masks the drop in D-D spending overall.

I'm not sure I buy this, but the analyst being interviewed did.


Jeff's avatar

It's hard to separate "mood" from reality. Objectively, the economy is amazing, even with inflation still a little high but outpaced by wage growth. I think part of it is that there will always be people who are not doing well, because our system bottoms out at no income, has no ceiling, and everyone falls somewhere on that spectrum.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog

Analysts are interesting. They typically offer explanations why something happened rather than looking to predict what will happen. More likely they are talking correlation than causation. Tell me why the stock market went up or down today after the closing bell. But where were you this morning before the opening bell? But it works because it turns out there is a big market for confusing correlation with causation.

In fairness, this was (ultimately) a forward-looking projection, because it ended with "Okay, how do you play this?" As in: where do you invest in a bifurcating consumer spending environment?

Interestingly, one of the recommendations was Costco, because it combines (a) a sticky Membership-based model with (b) a higher-profile customer base than e.g. Sam's Club.

Caveat: I'm a passive index kind of guy, and this is for entertainment purposes only.

Last edited by Brian Noble,

So make a simplistic generalization about a group of people. Ignore other micro and micro economic factors. And then make specific investment suggestions. Hard pass on that. LOL

Like I said, entertainment purposes.


Wasn’t this a Disney goal? Jack prices up to make the parks less crowded?

mission accomplished

Tommytheduck's avatar

I work for a well known yellow airline and can tell you that there is no shortage of poor people puking and urinati... I mean travelling.

Vater's avatar

Tommytheduck:

urinati

Is this a secret society of people who are into pee?

kpjb's avatar

That's why the plane is yellow.


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