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  1. #1

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    12/15: Less the Season

    A look at cutbacks and discounting in Disney World... Discuss it here...

    DIRECT ARTICLE LINK: MiceAge.com - A different look at Disney...
    "Politics is the profession whereby the inevitable is made to seem a great human achievement" - Quentin Crisp

  2. #2

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    Re: 12/15: Less the Season

    Kevin,

    There is a way to place a bookmark to a particular website right on your iphone desktop just like your apps. So if you wanted, you could run this more like an app. You wouldn't have to launch the browser and the surf to the site, you could just click on the icon on your desktop and have the page launched.

    Is it completely beyond the limits of reason, though, that just maybe the old formula is broken? Remember that the formula = premium prices for premium experience. Is it impossible that even a portion of the need for discounts can be traced to people being unwilling to pay premium prices for the current experience? If so, that implies the experience is no longer "premium." That competitors have caught up and offer analogous experiences for less.
    I personally think its all tied in. This economy is killing people. We haven't taken a real vacation in over two years now. We stayed at Disney for one night this past weekend, but only because we found a moderate resort priced at 89 dollars, and even then we didn't go to Disney. We went to Universal because we had free tickets. We did spend money at dtd though.

    To get people to continue to come into the parks they're having to offer the insane discounts, as a result it hits the profits, to keep the profits up and keep the stock holders happy they have to make cuts in other areas. Then you're right, as the quality of the parks decline, people begin to be willing to visit less and pay less. Lets hope it doesn't become a cyclical nightmare leading to cheaper prices, but less and less quality.

  3. #3

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    Re: 12/15: Less the Season

    Excellent article, I agreed with all of it, especially this:

    Is it completely beyond the limits of reason, though, that just maybe the old formula is broken? Remember that the formula = premium prices for premium experience. Is it impossible that even a portion of the need for discounts can be traced to people being unwilling to pay premium prices for the current experience? If so, that implies the experience is no longer "premium." That competitors have caught up and offer analogous experiences for less.
    The more they cutback, remove without replacement and try and give us very little and expect us to be satisfied with mediocrity, the less the premium becomes and while the fans will notice it sooner, smart consumers will eventually pick up on it and stop going.

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    Re: 12/15: Less the Season

    I know I must be doing something wrong. Every time I try to testdrive "Lines", I get the following message:

    To test-drive the Preview version of Lines,
    grab a free account at TouringPlans.com then visit

    on your iPhone, BlackBerry, Android, or Palm Pre!
    FREE for a limited time...

    I get this even if I am signed into my account. Anyone know what I am doing wrong?

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    Re: 12/15: Less the Season

    I'm probably at the top of the list of people who were stunned and saddened by the news that the Lights of Winter would not be put up in Epcot this year. I'm really hoping that they fix their problems and put this up next year - it really is an important part of the Epcot Christmas vibe.

    That said, I never was wild about the discrete Christmas IllumiNations show. I much prefer the regular Reflections of Earth show, and with the Christmas tag it's just perfect for me. I hope it was your imagination and that they aren't cutting back on shell count - that ending is truly spectacular!

    Oh, and I don't think it would have been wise to pee out the window of a monorail. With my luck I'd do it just as power was restored to the line, with very painful results!

  6. #6

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    Re: 12/15: Less the Season

    I thought you had to pay full price for rooms at the Disney hotels to get Free Dining? Has this changed with the current discount programs?

    And of course, even "free dining" isn't the deal it used to be.

    Sue in Texas

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    Re: 12/15: Less the Season

    You weren't imagining things. Peace on Earth is not as impressive this year.

    While Epcot used to have Holiday IllumiNations, the amount of pyro was never anything like the Peace on Earth tag. Today's guests would probably just be satisfied with the show, but they are blown away by the tag. For that reason, I don't see this as a bad change. But if they keep cutting pyro, just like they also have for all three Wishes shows, then I might change my mind.

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    Re: 12/15: Less the Season

    Quote Originally Posted by SueinSac View Post
    I thought you had to pay full price for rooms at the Disney hotels to get Free Dining? Has this changed with the current discount programs?

    And of course, even "free dining" isn't the deal it used to be.

    Sue in Texas
    You are correct. You have to pay rack rates to get the free dining deal. You also have to buy park tickets for every day of your stay. As someone who tries to save money on food, I find the "free dining" to be not such a great deal. I do better skimping on food and taking advantage of discounted rooms.

    Or better yet, staying off property entirely.

    As much as I like the on-property resorts, this is where the premium prices come into play. I think park tickets are actually a pretty good deal for your money assuming you're not a day guest. But once they have you trapped on property, Disney starts hitting your wallet pretty hard.

    Staying on site becomes a luxury. The food savings alone make staying off site very attractive. Even with the discounts Disney has been offering this year, I've been able to resist the lure of staying on site. Your food and lodging dollar just get you more everywhere else.

    I still consider the parks to be worth the premium price. But I don't consider the resort experience to be worth the discounted price.

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    Re: 12/15: Less the Season

    WDW is certainly giving me NO REASON to go for the holidays. A shame, because a few years ago it was my favorite time to go. When you start thinking about what Disneyland offers for the holidays, without an extra charge it really starts to sting. Small World Holiday, Nightmare before Christmas Haunted Mansion, Parades, shows, fireworks. No extra charge. Why go to Florida?

  10. #10

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    Re: 12/15: Less the Season

    No iPhone 3G Coverage?...

    http://www.talkiphone.com/wp-content...p-coverage.jpg


    LOL, it really is true! But seriously, I'd love to know if those apps for smartphones work with the wait times. My Android smartphone is a really good platform and I really hope more Disneyland apps get released for it.

    As for Iger's supposed canceling of discounts, he must have massive dillusions to be able to think that Disney can hold up with its current prices in this economy with some of its competitors actually catching up with the level of new attractions. I think Kevin is absolutely right, Disney has been able to hold up, even with its clear Decline in Degrees situation, only because it has kept up with the discounting. Once the deals go, the prices just become too steep to justify with so many other worthy competitors next door.
    Last edited by penguinsoda; 12-20-2009 at 05:29 PM. Reason: Hotlinked image

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    Re: 12/15: Less the Season

    I just finished reading my new copy of Anaheim Vacationland. What and great book. I loved all the photos and descriptions. But I found most fascinating David's life around the Disneyland area and would love to read a more detailed book about that. It was happy and sad and I am sure he has many tales he could tell.

  12. #12

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    Re: 12/15: Less the Season

    Quote Originally Posted by Lebeau View Post
    You are correct. You have to pay rack rates to get the free dining deal. You also have to buy park tickets for every day of your stay. As someone who tries to save money on food, I find the "free dining" to be not such a great deal. I do better skimping on food and taking advantage of discounted rooms.

    Or better yet, staying off property entirely.

    As much as I like the on-property resorts, this is where the premium prices come into play. I think park tickets are actually a pretty good deal for your money assuming you're not a day guest. But once they have you trapped on property, Disney starts hitting your wallet pretty hard.

    Staying on site becomes a luxury. The food savings alone make staying off site very attractive. Even with the discounts Disney has been offering this year, I've been able to resist the lure of staying on site. Your food and lodging dollar just get you more everywhere else.

    I still consider the parks to be worth the premium price. But I don't consider the resort experience to be worth the discounted price.
    Exactly. There are so many more resorts offsite that offer plenty more for your dollar that its just a waste to say on site anymore.

    For half the price of the Deluxe resorts you can stay somewhere just as beautiful, if not more so with FREE internet, breakfast buffet sometimes included and the beds are usually more comfortable or upgraded.

    Quote Originally Posted by daliseurat View Post
    WDW is certainly giving me NO REASON to go for the holidays. A shame, because a few years ago it was my favorite time to go. When you start thinking about what Disneyland offers for the holidays, without an extra charge it really starts to sting. Small World Holiday, Nightmare before Christmas Haunted Mansion, Parades, shows, fireworks. No extra charge. Why go to Florida?
    I think because WDW is their flagship resort most people don't realize what the other parks DO get, except the fans who frequent those parks. As a result, while Disney does offer a higher quality than most (although that is starting to shrink) people go and are still impressed, mainly because they don't know what it was like or how other locations have it better.

  13. #13

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    Re: 12/15: Less the Season

    The article yet again reinforces that Kevin is fundamentally jaded. While the cutbacks at Epcot (read the elimination of the Lights of Winter) are something to voice complaints about, the fact that he automatically takes the negative view of MVMCP only convinces me that he only focuses on the negative.

    Not once does he consider that the mix-in is advantageous to those willing to pay the $59 for the hard ticket or that it actually allows them to get a better value for that $59. He presumes that a person is going to pay $79 for a one day admission and then another $59 for MVMCP. Not once does he consider the possibility that someone might use MVMCP as their day in the MK! I worked in resorts for 7 years and sold MVMCP and MNSSHP as means by which guests can get a better value for their experience. The idea was that instead of using a day of their multi-park hopper or Magic Your Way Ticket for the MK, they use the event. They sleep in during the day and just relax during the day and then hit up the MK at 4PM. Generally, that provides them with ample time to ride most if not all of the rides and experience the added events - not to mention that it lets them actually enjoy the amenities of the resort that they're staying at. I also sold it as a prime 2nd trip to the MK to reride the rides that are their favorites if they had planned on 2 days at the MK.

    While I certainly agree that the holiday cutbacks at WDW are nothing short of squeezing every last dime out of profit, not to mention that it further emphasis' the mindset of the exec's that ROI is everything, you simply cannot across the board consider every last action of the exec's as a bad thing.

    Hard closes are incredibly easy to pull off, but they're hell on the guests as there is ZERO lee-way for that last minute ride, or that last minute purchase. To automatically assume that the mix-in is an effort to increase sales only confirms that Yee is jaded and colored in his perceptions. Yes, management may have realized that there will be added sales from the chance to 'sample' the offerings, but that does not mean by default that that was on their minds when they chose to go with a mix-in as opposed to a hard close.

    Going into 2010, I challenge Kevin to commit to featuring one thing ineach one of his articles that he feels that Disney is doing right.

    Surely, the things that a company is doing right is just as important as the things that they aren't. Yes I fully agree that there are issues withing the organization and that the belief in the almighty ROI is pervasive, but I also believe that there are things that they do that they do right.

  14. #14

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    Re: 12/15: Less the Season

    I don't believe Kevin was trying to illustrate that he thinks they do nothing right. But regarding the special event ticket, while the way you pushed them was an excellent marketing technique, most of the people that go to WDW are going to already have their tickets for the time period they are there. I think its safe to assume that some people will feel a little cheated once they get there and have to leave the park early or pay more.

    Do people really go to WDW for a week and buy their tickets day to day? I don't think so.

    While Kevin is bringing up the negative I don't think that he believes every action taken by the board is a bad thing.

    You also might wish to read back into his archive of articles and see where he does praise the parks, he does have many articles that reflect that. Not every article he writes is focusing on the negative. I believe he has a healthy balance of the good and bad.
    Last edited by SummerInFL; 12-15-2009 at 12:08 PM.

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    Re: 12/15: Less the Season

    I agree with you FrankieD that Kevin seems to point out that any change Disney does is to save a buck and as a result, gouge the guest. As kcnole pointed out, the economy is absolutely killing people. My theory about this recession we're all experiencing is that we all became spoiled with frivolous spending and the thought of blowing a hundred bucks wasn't much of a big deal for some people because the money would return the next day. Prices soared because of our spending habits and lack of discipline in saving. Now the excess money is gone, but the prices are still high, we just are noticing it a lot more than before because the money is no longer in abundance.

    Another theory I have about the descaling of Christmas is the simple fact that Christmas has been scaled back tremendously in all aspects of society due to the simple fact that not all people celebrate Christmas for various reasons. Do your kids go on Christmas break from school or winter break? Do they have a Christmas party or winter celebration? Many city halls do not decorate for Christmas and I'd been shocked to see any Nativity scene in any government agency nowadays. Even television stations do not feature Christmas specials as they once did, but instead feature them on the smaller cable channels the mother station owns. ABC shows the specials on the Family Channel except for a few new ones. Could it be possibly that Disney too has gone in this direction, tone down Christmas to attract non Christian guests, only subtly without having a press conference to tell the world? I don't know, but I think it may have a bit to do with it. I don't think it always has to do with saving a buck... most of the time it does though.

    The truth of the matter is life is now more expensive than ever. People want more but want to pay less. Just 2 or 3 years ago, the thought of refinancing a house to get some money out to put in a rock-sculptured, solar heated pool or redoing a kitchen in imported marble and dark wooded cabinitry was not out of the realm of reality for some people. Point being is it will take a long time to recover from the glutenous lives we lead just a few short years ago. I think we are now more aware of what we are paying for because our dollar doesn't go as far. Why do we expect our entertainment to not protect themselves and reflect society as a whole.
    Last edited by jaxbistro; 12-15-2009 at 09:56 AM.

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