Nail on the head.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 Disney can decrease crowds and increase revenue? It's a win for Disney and a win for the vacationing guest.
---------- Post added 11-25-2012 at 03:02 AM ----------
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.