On another thread, CM MC'er Rivers of America shocked many people by asserting that AP's spend more "on average per visit" than ticket buyers. Several people didn't believe him, but I personally don't see any reason for a CM to tell such a baldfaced lie. I've spent all day grappling w/ this in my mind, trying to figure out how it could be, and I think I have it.
When most of us think "AP," we think of someone who drives in for the day or maybe even just the evening. How can someone who's only there for a few hours spend more than a tourist, even if that person comes every single week? Think of the thousands who fill the park every night just for Fantasmic and the fireworks. They may buy a hot dog or two, but that's still not enough to balance out the tourists.
I filled in the missing piece when I got rid of a nagging false assumption I made and I suspect many of us make: namely, that AP=local. I didn't realize this until recently, but apparently there are a significant number of AP's who are also tourists, and they spend accordingly. Imagine a typical tourist family coming to the park, spending like tourists do, but they're also AP's, and as AP's, they come several times a year. When you factor that in, it easily balances out the opposite extreme of the guy who comes every week on his el cheapo SoCal pass and spends next to nothing.
Now w/ the extremes balanced out, the middle still remains: an AP who treats himself to one day in the park per month. He stays the whole day and probably eats at least one meal on property. This centrist position is what tips the scale in the AP's favor. Remember, this guy (or girl) is doing this 12 times a year, as opposed to 3 or 4 times in the case of the ticket buying tourist.
Is any of this true? Does it work in practice? Who knows? However, I believe I have created a plausible scenario in which AP's could actually outspend ticket buyers on the average.