Keep in mind that while it sometimes doesn't seam like it, Disney does not want the parks packed everyday. Modified prices help find a sweat spot between acceptable revenue and operational effectiveness.
More guests = more CM's, more maintenance and less "magical experience" for guests. Not sure what that sweat spot is, but it's clear that with these price jumps they have not found it yet.
The logic seems to be:
Raise prices --- > Many people priced out --- > Less crowds
The reality is going to be either:
Raise prices --- > former guests alienated and will not come to the park at all; will spend their former AP/hopper money on other parks --- > Disney loses money
Raises prices --- > people come to the park anyway --- > people still want to visit at peak season --- > park is still overcrowded and miserable because capacity has not been lowered --- > guests decide not to come back because it's too expensive AND crowded
---------- Post added 11-24-2012 at 07:58 PM ----------
Also...I wouldn't underestimate the power of locals scorned. :) If they're priced out of the park, well, I'd count on seeing them at Knotts, Seaworld, Universal et al instead of investing in that once a year ticket. They won't come less frequently, they just won't be there, and Disney can't survive without them.
It does though. If you have one million people visiting 20 times a year (These numbers are completely fictional) then you have 20 million visits. Drop the number of visits down to 10 and suddenly the park is half as full.
Also, just to play devil's advocate. How can some argue that at least half of the crowding is from ParkHopper tickets and not the fault of AP holders, and yet without the AP program the park would be a ghost town that can't survive?
Mathematically, it only takes two 3 day park hoppers to bring in more money that one Deluxe AP. That means 6 days worth of visits from Parkhopper guests makes the same amount as one AP who can visit 10's or hundreds of times. I have a feeling that Disney's fleet of professional and industry leading economists and forecasters know with a high degree of certainty that they are able to bring in enough Park Hoppers to cover the income from those AP's who leave. Not only that, but they will bring in that same (or more) money while knowing exactly how many days of admission they are responsible to offer and with a significantly lessened demand on the park's resources.
The only difference will be that the parks won't have that local support to sustain them during the dead of winter, etc.
Soooo....you'd be likely to see a park that is just as unbearably crowded at the peak periods, and a park that is an absolute ghost town - and untenable for Disney to even keep open - in the off season. That would hurt everyone by making the park unavailable, making the park more crowded during the days it is open, and giving Disney far less capital for improvements.
Lets not forget too that on top of the targets I am sure Disney knows they can make that I outlined above, they are also cashing in on those who kept their AP's at the higher price as well as those who will pay the higher park hopper rates. They come out even or ahead.
For us as pass olders it is always a value analysis. Does the value we receive for how ever number of visits exceed the price we pay. Everyone's definition of value will be different.
For what it's worth, here's a real-life example.
About 7 years ago, my wife of 25 years passed away. My daughter was 11 at the time.
A few months after she was gone, we decided to do something special, just father and daughter. We went to DL for 3 days. The park wasn't crowded at all. Most lines were about 5 - 10 minutes, a lot of rides were walk ons.
We had the time of our lives!!
A couple of months later, we went again, but this time we took 3 of her friends. 5 persons total. The park was a little more crowded, but still easily bearable.
After summer (peak season back then), we went again, and took 5 of her friends. (Trying to keep 5 - 12 year old girls together was a lot like herding cats......lol). Again, not very crowded at all.
As the years went by, the parks became far more crowded. Way more. To the point that we went only once a year. Once a year, solely because of huge crowds. No other reason.
If I knew that DL were less crowded, you can bet I'd be back at least two or 3 times a year.
We always get a bunch of merchandise while we're there; it's a vacation after all! We also eat meals and snacks in the parks too.
Do the math; did DL make or lose money by replacing me and my 'entourage' with APers? Or even worse, monthly payment APers?
It's entirely possible that the upper brass at TDC is beginning to realize that flooding the parks with an insane amount of people (a lot of whom pay WAY less that I do) may very well not be as profitable as they once thought.
If the APs are blocked out, the traffic is obviously coming from those who buy hoppers/day tickets. Again, it doesn't solve the issue of the park teeming to capacity if those day ticket numbers aren't capped at a lower number.
The issue is that the day tickets don't show up all year round - if you want your family to have a Disney Christmas, you will be there in December regardless; if your kids are off from school in July, that is when you'll be there.
In the off season there ARE days when the park is a ghost town, and that is WITH APs. Last week, Space was at a 30 minute wait, and even Luigi's over at DCA was only a 15 minute wait. The APs are the ones providing the bulk of the traffic on days like that - those locals who stop by for dinner and a show are the ones who give the park their income on those days. Without that revenue they probably couldn't even afford to keep the parks open.
And again, the "raise prices" argument relies on the idea that people outside the peak season, namely locals, will go for the higher day ticket prices. I'm of the opinion that when they're priced out or the APs go away, the locals will, by and large, decide it's not worth investing in Disney and go to another local theme park or attraction instead. Even now, when I ask non-AP friends to come to the park with me, the answer I hear a lot is "it's just too expensive for the day." And again, since Disneyland is not like WDW as a "destination vacation," once those locals go away for good, the park is in trouble.
We're just going to have to disagree on this one. I will never believe that pricing people out, ending or pricing out APs or making the park inaccessible to the middle or lower socioeconomic class will do anything but harm. The easiest way to solve things, again, would be to cap capacity.
Knowing, from a background in film, TV, and live entertainment... The crucial numbers are attendance, tickets sold, seats filled. The cost for having an unpaid for seat filled costs more than selling that ticket. The cost of low attendance is greater than over-attendance. The profit on a ticket is closer to the ticket price than many want to hear. For example, if the ticket is $100, the profit of that ticket can be near, $100.
Then it trickles down into the P&L system of accounting, which of course has larger profit margins due to paying itself over and over again.
the merchandise sold in the park has NOTHING to do with Disneyland profits or losses. DISNEYLAND is an advertising world masked in magic and wonder. Walk down Main Street on opening day, 1977 or today and you will understand.
Even a loss translates to a profit in business THIS BIG.
So, who really has a problem? I would believe that anyone who complains about attendances, AP's or whatnot is creating their own issue. DISNEY will keep on smiling.
1. While the quantity of AP's will go down, the price hike will offset the dropping numbers.
2. More room in the park for overall guest enjoyment (better chance of returning)
3. Less money spent on maintenance and CM's
and most interesting:
4. Creating tourists out of locals again. If you were a long time AP chances are you went to the park a few times a month, maybe bought some food and a played around for a few hours...but if these same people only go once or twice a year (because the are Disney fans after all) , then will treat themselves to more food, more trinkets and generally spend more during those few visits that it more then makes up for the Original money. In addition to that I'm willing to bet that the local will better enjoy Disneyland again because they will appreciate the things that they liked about it before they were going every month.