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  1. #136

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    Re: Priced out of Disneyland? Why?

    Disneyland needs to build the third gate NOW. THey need to expand the amount of real estate they have in order to accommodate all the guests and they need to increase the number of attractions to a level that when something is being refurbished, there are enough other choices from which to benefit . The DCA and carsland is too little and too late.

    It is too bad. It appears that management is going to figure this out the hard way.


    I like your points. I agree 100%

    Quote Originally Posted by StevenW View Post
    Since I invest in stocks, there are two ways to plan for the market. Either you make a prediction and invest/divest accordingly, or you ride the wave by following the trends. Now, what do you do if everyone is predicting a downturn, which is what usually happens when the market is doing so well. Do you divest now or wait? I tend to follow the trends until too late, then I lose my shirt on occasion.

    With Disneyland, it is hard to say when the park will hit a rough patch, but the variables that the detractors use does not support the argument. Arguing the crowds can't be sustained with high prices isn't logical when it appears the pricing is right. Arguing about upkeep is not irrelevant information. Upkeep is a lagging indicator.

    Calling for a cutback in APs is like putting out the surrender flag. Businesses prefer growth. Lack of growth means the park will start firing people. This is what you get with less business. You won't get your cherished maintenance. Who benefits from maintenance when the park is in decline? Who will be there to see it?

    Disneyland needs to adjust better to the new normal of higher attendance. The alternative is the past normal of lower attendance, which I'm sure we can go back 40 years to see how great it was.

  2. #137

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    Re: Priced out of Disneyland? Why?

    No question Disneyland is more crowded today, and more crowded more often. I have color, home video footage from opening month that my dad's family took when he was a kid, and I have footage from a year or two later. Compared to now, the place looks like a ghost town--except the Chicken of the Sea Pirate Ship and Restaurant, but it was probably lunch time. There are people there and the rides are full and going, but it looks so WEIRD seeing so few people there.

    There was also less to do there.

    Disneyland is in my family. My father has been going since opening month. My mom's mom was the nurse for the Mousketeers at Disneyland, and her dad "drove" the Mark Twain and built some of the park, like the burning cabin. My mom and aunt were at the park nearly every day after school (and my mother even sat on Walt's lap once).

    My parents took me once a year as a kid. I am now 34 and have a Deluxe AP. I average two trips per month over the last four years which means I pay about $21 per visit. Inevitably I eat two meals there, buy a couple waters, and get a beer at CA Adv, so on a typical visit I spend about $70-75 dollars if you count my prepaid "admission" at $21 per visit.

    The park IS crowded a lot, but Disney wants to find a spot where they can charge the maximum amount for an experience people are willing to repeat. The off season doesn't really make much sense for a business. That's why the AP program was birthed, yes? I thought it was to coax locals into the park(s) during the off-peak times. It seems it has been successful. So much so that they have APs crowding the parks so they are increasing those prices dramatically to bring it to a manageable level.

    As long as Disney is open about their refurbishments and gives advance notice on what will be closed, people will understand that rides need maintenance. People also understand that rides break down and that there are safety precautions. Besides, something like Splash Mtn., which needs help, has a natural off-season--winter. (Didn't Mice Chat reported that the reason it hasn't been closed for refurb is that they need better fall protection in the areas to get to the things that need work? Perhaps I am mistaken.)

    Disney could make it $5 to get it, but then the parks would close every day for capacity. Part of the pricing is rationing a finite resource. Sure, Disney can expand, but every day that the parks open there is only so many people that they can let it. The prices reflect where they need to be in order to maximize profits, but also to keep the park from shutting down to capacity as often as they can and have an environment that is conducive to repeat business.

    Disney could not sustain itself now if the park was only as crowded as it is in the videos I have from 1955-56/57.

  3. #138

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    Re: Priced out of Disneyland? Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by Malina View Post
    And it is pretty funny to assume that Disney will lower tickets without APs. Disney's prices aren't that far off from Universal, Sea World, et al...they charge $92 because they can, and because it is in line with other theme parks.
    I agree 100% - They have a nice problem. THey are attracting hoards of people. Now they need to build out to accommodate and refurbish to maintain the crowds.

  4. #139

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    Re: Priced out of Disneyland? Why?

    The "Dump the AP" crowd need to recognize that you cannot go back in time. Every business person on the face of the planet would love to pre-sell their service or product for a year. Cell phone contracts are the same thing. The holy grail of business is to get the customer to commit. Disneyland has attained that goal. They are not going to eliminate the AP program as long as their competitors have an AP program.

    So how to deal with the reality going forward ? Make more space. Build another park. Expand the existing parks as much as possible. There is no going backward.

    Now if the guests start deciding that a trip to disneyland is not worth the hassle + money, then you have a different circumstance.

    I think disneyland management is very carefully monitoring the guest satisfaction. THey are trying to invent new tools and new offerings for hotel guests and locals in case attendance trends downward.

    How long before the average guest begins to realize that a trip to Disneyland is not as enjoyable as it used to be? We here on MC are all fanatics and Disneyland Die Hards. The fate is in the hands of the average guests.

  5. #140

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    Re: Priced out of Disneyland? Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mackster View Post
    You are assuming that they can adjust to a new normal of higher attendance... The reality is the park is limited in size. Unless they start building underground or above ground they cannot have higher attendance and provide the same personal space that they once had... It would be just as valid to ratchet up the prices double maybe even triple what they are now and limit the crowds.
    The park is more crowded, but it hardly ever hit its capacity limits. The time between Christmas and New Years is the worse time to go. The park is old. It also has the most attractions of any Disney theme park, including that of the Magic Kingdom. Thus, I argue that the park is crowded, but it isn't as bad as claimed. It is manageable.


    Doing so wouldn't necessarily reduce their earnings it might actually improve it. Fewer people means less maintenance costs... but if the ticket prices are high enough they could still maintain the same profit or even more profit.
    Maintenance and earnings are not correlated. I stated this several times. Decreased earnings will definately impact maintenance in the other way, that less people going means less need to maintain the rides and the general appearance of the park.

    But Disney has pretty much given up on being premium. I think back to the 70's, you went into a shop in the park and they had really cool items for sale. Toys you wouldn't find anywhere else.... Then slowly that changed... The started selling the same junk you can get in a target or walmart only trying to charge 3 times the price... I can even recall about 10 years ago you could buy some really higher end costumes at the resorts or parks that you couldn't get anywhere else... Now those are gone and you get the same crap you would find in a target, but again at 3 times the price... Will some people continue to buy the overpriced junk? Yes, but eventually more and more will realize that they were fleeced when they see the same thing outside the park for 1/3 the price, those moments will tend to leave a bad taste in the consumers mouth and the next trip they take they will be a lot less likely to be suckered once again... Sure I'm betting Disney made some great income when they first started pushing schlock on people, but it will not continue forever, people aren't that stupid.
    Why would you pull out merchandising as a example of premium? Theme park pricing is assumed for junk merchandise, but we have to remember that theme parks harken to amusement parks and tourist traps. This is what they sell.

    I would prefer to focus on attractions, shows, and restaurants as these are things that distinguish Disney from the competition.

  6. #141

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    Re: Priced out of Disneyland? Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by ravencroft View Post
    Disneyland needs to build the third gate NOW.
    Or they could just use the property they have now better.

    ~Between Main St. and Tomorrowland they have enough room for another "street" and two Mr. Toad sized attractions (I am partial to an Ichabod Crane dark ride and a Rip Van Winkle walk-thru)

    ~Pizza Port is a huge waste of space....they could easily build a new Mission to Mars attraction here using 21st century special effects.....and still keep a decent size Pizza counter window open.

    ~Innoventions has a footprint only slightly smaller than that of the old Horizons attraction from EPCOT (capacity greater than Pirates even)

    ~Magic Eye Theater could get big crowds again if they put something there worthwhile....maybe The Space Bear Jamboree ((Big Al singing -Space Oddity- would be worth the price of admission all by itself if you ask me ))

    ~Peoplemover could easily take 4,000 off the walkways per hour.

    ~Motor boat lagoon could host a small attraction such as Aquatopia (from Disney Seas) or maybe even The Rescuers.



    ~The area immediately West of Big Thunder could host not one, but two Matterhorn size attractions (footprint-wise)...personally I think this might be a good place for the long awaited Western River Expedition...



    ~Keel Boats could add a little bit of capacity without taking anything that isn't already there.

    ~The area North of Big Thunder (plus the recycling center) is large enough for an entire land the size of Tokyo Disney Sea's Mysterious Island...




    ......and don't even get me started on how much the crowds could be reduced simply by putting them back in line (axe fast pass).
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  7. #142

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    Re: Priced out of Disneyland? Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by StevenW View Post




    I would prefer to focus on attractions, shows, and restaurants as these are things that distinguish Disney from the competition.
    I'll give you attractions and shows......but the food at most county and state fairs is usually superior to what one can get at Disneyland nowadays.
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  8. #143

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    Re: Priced out of Disneyland? Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by StevenW View Post
    The park is more crowded, but it hardly ever hit its capacity limits. The time between Christmas and New Years is the worse time to go. The park is old. It also has the most attractions of any Disney theme park, including that of the Magic Kingdom. Thus, I argue that the park is crowded, but it isn't as bad as claimed. It is manageable.
    I think it might be manageable IF they would have the full park opened up all the time. My biggest complaint with the space is the way they rope off about 1/2 to 2/3rds of the walking space between Frontierland and New Orleans for the Fantasmic, and then rope off a huge chunk in front of the castle for the fireworks and parades.... If they would stop roping off all the space... maybe even stop doing a Fantasmic and parade each night, alternate them... anything so they could stop eliminating free space... maybe then the park could be manageable. I have to wonder if the capacity for the park is set by the park or by the fire marshals... and if it is done by the fire marshals I would hope they would make their check based on the park as it is at its least open with all areas roped off that are roped off and all the closed off space for refurbs taken into account. I would hope they would have to consider a lower capacity limit.

  9. #144

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    Re: Priced out of Disneyland? Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by Malina View Post
    I also don't see how Disney would be able to recover the guaranteed $350000000 that APs bring in every year. Without APs most locals will go from giving Disney $300 - $600 a year to maybe $100...if they come at all.
    Why would someone give Disney a guaranteed 300-600 a year if they didn't think they were getting a discount vs what their spend might be over the coming year?

    Why would someone who likes Disney so much.. to spend 300-600 a year plus all the time and travel... suddenly only want to go ~2 times simply because they don't have a magic card named 'AP'?

    If someone is going to give Disney 300-600 a year... they are still going to come even without an AP... they won't come as often (good thing) but the key is to price things so they would still get the same or more money for the # of visits they do come.

    The AP just makes the barrier for entry lower to get a body in the park. It does not make people richer nor increase their disposable income. They key for Disney is how to pull as much of the person's discretionary spending without having them be such an operational drain.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sleepyjeff View Post
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  10. #145

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    Re: Priced out of Disneyland? Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by ravencroft View Post
    The "Dump the AP" crowd need to recognize that you cannot go back in time. Every business person on the face of the planet would love to pre-sell their service or product for a year. Cell phone contracts are the same thing. The holy grail of business is to get the customer to commit. Disneyland has attained that goal. They are not going to eliminate the AP program as long as their competitors have an AP program.
    Apples and oranges. Yes people want you to commit... mainly for the guaranteed money... for some it's about retention (vs losing to a competitor on the next transaction), for some its about transaction size and margins (they can't make enough on a few transactions, but need many to make the margin livable), for some it's about upselling (increase the transaction size). But everyone wanting a commitment doesn't mean everyone can handle it the same.

    Your gym wants everyone to commit to a term.. because they know the vast majority will end up paying without ever using the facility. They sell a volume knowing the usage rate for most is low to moderate. Their model breaks down if all of a sudden, every member comes too frequently. Their costs go up to service those people... but their revenue is fixed. They don't WANT everyone coming. Disneyland faces similar challenges... their costs go up the more frequent people come, and if the guests don't spend when they do come... Disney starts to lose in the proposition.

    Quote Originally Posted by ravencroft View Post
    So how to deal with the reality going forward ? Make more space. Build another park. Expand the existing parks as much as possible. There is no going backward.
    Simply saying 'add capacity' without monetizing it would make things even worse.

    They can still have AP programs without giving away the cow.. they just need to be able to control them better and stop selling the 'all you can eat' type programs.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sleepyjeff View Post
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  11. #146

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    Re: Priced out of Disneyland? Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by flynnibus View Post
    If someone is going to give Disney 300-600 a year... they are still going to come even without an AP... they won't come as often (good thing) but the key is to price things so they would still get the same or more money for the # of visits they do come.

    The AP just makes the barrier for entry lower to get a body in the park. It does not make people richer nor increase their disposable income. They key for Disney is how to pull as much of the person's discretionary spending without having them be such an operational drain.
    Arguing against APs to support Disney's finance or economics makes no sense to me. Consumers want to spend a little as possible. Disney wants more. I don't care about what Disney wants.

    To answer your question, people won't spend that $300 to $600 to make up for the loss of the Annual Pass. People won't be hassled. They won't be nickel and dimed. People want convenience. They don't want to be hassled every time they enter the gates. People will stay at home.

    Instead of the AP, Disney will have to create a different ticket media. I advocated a ticketbook media. It is similar to the Disney Magic Your Way unexpired passes. You buy a 3, 5, 7, or 10 trip book that expires at the end of the year. This caters to the local who wants to go more frequently, but cannot manage consecutive day trips.


    I just don't think people will go the park and pay regular day rates. You're using the $300-$600 example because people have spent their money. It is a proven product. If they eliminate the AP, this price point vanishes. It doesn't exist anymore. You start at $92 and decide if its worth it. In its place, I recommend the expiring ticket books.

  12. #147

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    Re: Priced out of Disneyland? Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by sleepyjeff View Post
    Or they could just use the property they have now better.

    ~Between Main St. and Tomorrowland they have enough room for another "street" and two Mr. Toad sized attractions (I am partial to an Ichabod Crane dark ride and a Rip Van Winkle walk-thru)

    ~Pizza Port is a huge waste of space....they could easily build a new Mission to Mars attraction here using 21st century special effects.....and still keep a decent size Pizza counter window open.

    ~Innoventions has a footprint only slightly smaller than that of the old Horizons attraction from EPCOT (capacity greater than Pirates even)

    ~Magic Eye Theater could get big crowds again if they put something there worthwhile....maybe The Space Bear Jamboree ((Big Al singing -Space Oddity- would be worth the price of admission all by itself if you ask me ))

    ~Peoplemover could easily take 4,000 off the walkways per hour.

    ~Motor boat lagoon could host a small attraction such as Aquatopia (from Disney Seas) or maybe even The Rescuers.



    ~The area immediately West of Big Thunder could host not one, but two Matterhorn size attractions (footprint-wise)...personally I think this might be a good place for the long awaited Western River Expedition...



    ~Keel Boats could add a little bit of capacity without taking anything that isn't already there.

    ~The area North of Big Thunder (plus the recycling center) is large enough for an entire land the size of Tokyo Disney Sea's Mysterious Island...




    ......and don't even get me started on how much the crowds could be reduced simply by putting them back in line (axe fast pass).
    I thought the park was packed, until I saw your post.

    There's so much space still left in the property its amazing they had to take out the Bear show in order to build Pooh(p). They could have just used some space available and build a new attraction.

    Once again, I can only think whether Walt would have seen current management and tell them what in the world they are thinking - keeping old attractions running forever and destroying some classics in order to build subpar stuff.

  13. #148

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    Re: Priced out of Disneyland? Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by flynnibus View Post
    Simply saying 'add capacity' without monetizing it would make things even worse.

    They can still have AP programs without giving away the cow.. they just need to be able to control them better and stop selling the 'all you can eat' type programs.
    Wouldn't a third park be the equivalent of monetizing it?

    Adding capacity is the equivalent of monetizing it. It means more people can enter the park, thus more AP sales. New attractions attract more patrons who will want to visit the park to see the attraction.

  14. #149

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    Re: Priced out of Disneyland? Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by StevenW View Post
    I just don't think people will go the park and pay regular day rates
    They won't at the same rate - they wouldn't see the value in that kind of price vs how they are used to visiting the parks. But you won't find any of the legit 'change the AP program' people advocating that everyone should pay today's $92 dollar price. Everyone expects a newAge-AP holder to pay some other lower price.

    What you see is people saying 'end the all you can eat' programs. There are many alternative models... including buying admissions in bulk for discounts (your example.. which I've mentioned numerous times before)... loyalty programs that reduce the prices the more you buy.. membership programs that allow buying at a steep discount in exchange for an upfront commitment.. etc.

    The problem with the AP program is that it leads to uncontrollable hordes that lead to spikes in operational drains vs the revenue generated for that period. The no blackout APs keep Disney from being able to keep a crowd reasonable when there is a spike in interest. So you get this huge drain on resources... and no real boost in revenue. Because your revenue was already fixed long before. The secondary problem is people who use it 'too much' and Disney leaves money on the table. That's a pricing problem that Disney could solve with other forms besides 'all you can eat' that would find a balance between what the customer feels is cheap enough to get them in the gate.. but not too cheap that Disney doesn't monetize the event.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sleepyjeff View Post
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  15. #150

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    Re: Priced out of Disneyland? Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by flynnibus View Post
    Simply saying 'add capacity' without monetizing it would make things even worse.
    But... adding capacity to a ticketed event/park that is already running close to capacity *is* monetizing the addition. Increasing the capacity of the park be it through adding more rides to absorb more people off the street or adding a new park entirely means that many more bodies through the front gate paying ticket prices, buying sodas etc.
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