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Still the happiest place on earth ... not in my experience.

Discussion in 'TUG Lounge' started by DrQ, Jan 5, 2019.

  1. DrQ

    DrQ TUG Member

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    Disney World is getting so expensive that it's pricing out the middle class
    Steve Cameron

    Jan. 2, 2019, 5:43 PM
    • Disney World raised its prices twice in 2018 and switched to a dynamic pricing model that charges higher prices during peak summer months and winter holidays.
    • This is the fourth time in park history that annual pass prices were raised twice in the same year.
    • The new model prices out many of its pass holders in the middle class — the old model doesn't work in the modern US economy anymore.
    • According to Robert Niles, the editor of Theme Park Insider, Disney Parks wants to use pricing and promotions to equalize crowds throughout the year.

    In 2018, Disney World raised its ticket prices, twice. Take the park's platinum pass for example, it's the standard option that grants access to all four parks with no blackout dates. In February, the price went from $779 to $849, then in October its price jumped from $849 to $894, as Disney unveiled its dynamic pricing model. That's a 15% increase in just one year.

    This is the fourth time in park history that annual pass prices were raised twice in the same year. The first time was 1997 in anticipation of Animal Kingdom's 1998 opening. Similarly, the price markups in 2018 are in advance of Disney World and Disneyland's 14-acre "Star Wars" theme lands, called Galaxy's Edge. And Disney parks expansion doesn't stop there. Hong Kong Disneyland is spending $1.4 billion on "Avengers"- and "Frozen"-themed attractions. On top of that, it's adding capacity to Tokyo DisneySea and updating Epcot and Disney Studio park at Disneyland Paris.

    Despite all the costly expansions, Disney Parks and Resorts reported a $4.5 billion operating profit for the 2018 fiscal year. That's over 100% increase from 2013. So, if it is steadily profiting, why are Disney Parks becoming so expensive?

    From the mid-'80s into the early 2000s, Disney Parks pulled way ahead of its competition. In 2002, Magic Kingdom's attendance alone nearly doubled its closest non-Disney competitor, MGM Studios. But in 2010, that changed when Universal opened the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
     
    mpumilia and alwysonvac like this.
  2. DaveNW

    DaveNW TUG Review Crew: Expert TUG Member

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    Times certainly have changed! My first trip to Disney World was in the Spring of 1972, about six months after it opened. I remember paying just a few dollars to get in, (less than $5 maybe?), and receiving a ticket book filled with all those lettered tickets. Despite using all the E- and D-tickets, I never did manage to use up all the A- or B-tickets. Crowd control was kind of a backhand, because the number of E-tickets in that book was very limited. You had to decide which things you wanted to see and do. In those days, long before Fast Pass and such, when your tickets were done, you were done.

    Dave
     
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  3. bbodb1

    bbodb1 TUG Member

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    All good things must come to an end......
     
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  4. mdurette

    mdurette TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    The mouse certainly knows how to pay for his cheese!

    I have an RCI exchange coming up - I have been looking to add 2 days onto the week. I am AMAZED at the pricing for on-site hotels. The values are not too bad, but the deluxe - HOLY MOLY! Anywhere from $600 to $800 per night. I just don't get it. When I'm at WDW the most I am doing in the room is sleeping, but people do pay it.

    Paying those prices + tickets + food = crazy money out the door.

    DCL (Disney Cruise Line) has priced me out. We were loyal DCL cruisers for years, but haven't gone in over 2. Why, they are 3x the cost of RCCL, even for the new big ships with great itineraries. DD12 really, really wants to go on DCL again. Sorry kiddo, not gonna happen.
     
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  5. bluehende

    bluehende TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    I also made it around Easter that year. We have also been there about 8 times since. It used to be a fairly cheap nice vacation if you were careful and planned. Lately the prices for everything have gone through the roof. And the worst is the experience has really gone down hill. Crowds have gotten terrible all year round. Some due to rides having sides closed and some because of crowds due to the economy. Me thinks that is why the price has gone through the roof. Why wouldn't they as long as they are shoveling through the gate. I also hear a lot of complaints on Disboards about the general experience deteriorating as prices go up. I will return but have not been there since 2008 and have no plans for the next few years. If course that could change if grand kids go and we are invited.
     
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  6. Talent312

    Talent312 Tug Review Crew: Rookie TUG Member

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    We made the "mistake" of buying annual passes last year.
    They were reasonable for Florida residents, weekdays only.
    We made sure to get our $$ worth, going six times in 12 mos.
    Now, the mouse will not see us for another five years, at least.

    Efforts to control crowds w-pricing may return to haunt them.
    But from what we saw, it's not working. It was quite crowded.
    The unwashed masses seem immune to whatever they charge.

    .
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2019
  7. elaine

    elaine TUG Member

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    Yup. We are pretty much priced out, based upon ridiculousness. When our few old no expire tickets run out, we’re likely done except 1 more trip with grandchild with a2 day base ticket stayingoffsite. It has changed a lot.
    We did wdw on the cheap for years-off-site timeshare, packed lunches, condo for dinner. We bought 10 day no expire park hoppers with 5 water park/Disney quest visits in 2005 for $350 and went to parks 2days and wp or dq, putt putt pool etc the other days. Nice middle class vacation. The trip was not any more $ than anywhere else after buying the 10 day tickets upfront. Actually cheaper bc we didn’t pay for any entertainment or entrance fees otherwise.
    My boss went a few years ago over Easter and stayed at poly regular room with dining plan for 2a/2 kids. She said it was more than her 2 week honeymoon to Hawaii. There is no way I would pay $5-10k for a wdw trip.
     
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  8. jackio

    jackio Tug Review Crew: Rookie TUG Member

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    Yet, we continue to drink the KoolAid. First we brought our kids, in the 90's and early 2000's. They loved it and went there as adults. Now they want to bring their children and even though the prices are ridiculous, we want to go along to see the grandchildren's faces when the meet the Mouse. In fact, I am more excited about our upcoming trip this month than any of the past ones, because I want to experience it through the grandkids' eyes. I guess that makes it worthwhile, but the prices are just sick.
     
    clifffaith and mentalbreak like this.
  9. BarbmC

    BarbmC TUG Member

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    We're planning a trip Christmas Vacation this year - my kids are teachers, so we have to go when it's probably the craziest time there. Going so my grandson can have his first trip to Disney - looking forward to seeing his reactions to everything! Using Marriott Rewards points to stay at the Swan or the Dolphin. I'll just hold out my credit card for the rest and cringe - at least I know what we're getting into.
     
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  10. breezez

    breezez TUG Member

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    Last I went at Christmas I think we got to do 5 attractions in the entire day. Waited till fireworks ended then took almost 2 hours to get back to car.
     
  11. WVBaker

    WVBaker TUG Member

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    Going to Disney World is a part of American lore. For many, the experience makes us long for a sense of nostalgia and innocence
    perpetuated in the 50s and 60s. Walt Disney presented all that was idyllic. A trip to Disney World is a return to innocence and an integral part of American life. It could be, people keep returning to Disney World year after year is because it’s appropriate for all ages. There is something for everyone.

    Being the complex and interesting market that it is, how many theme parks are there in the US and are they really substitutes? Also, like its forerunner Disneyland, Disney World will never be completed. Disney World is always changing, and this is exactly how Walt Disney wanted it. It's being there, looking around and seeing all those children's faces light up.

    Why keep going back to Disney? I guess if I have to explain Disney, there's just no explaining Disney. :)
     
  12. "Roger"

    "Roger" TUG Member

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    I think that you have answered your own question. Shareholder would say that they are not running a public service or a charity. The more profits the better.

    I can understand your not liking this, but, for better or worse, it is the American way.
     
  13. bbodb1

    bbodb1 TUG Member

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    Too much focus on short term shareholder profit means a long term loss of focus on product value. A lot of companies who thought they were immortal brought on their own downfall following philosophies like this.
     
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  14. Passepartout

    Passepartout TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    IF Disney was trying to improve the experience of park visitors by raising prices until large numbers of people stay away, IT WORKED! They priced themselves out of my enjoyment. I won't be back.

    Jim
     
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  15. bluehende

    bluehende TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    You sound exactly like us. We used the 10 day with water parks and got 14 days in the park. With cheap rentals and basically no disney meals it was cheap. Even then if you had to stay on site and eat every meal in the parks you could run up a big tab even then. It is possible today to do it without spending a fortune but not as easy.
     
  16. MOXJO7282

    MOXJO7282 Tug Review Crew: Rookie TUG Member

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    I just would not do this. We really would like to do Disney again because it has been almost 10 years since the last time and accept the cost because it is an amazing place but not if it's a sardine can. If we go it will be during super low season. We'd also bite the bullet and pay to stay onsite because that is how you can maximize the usage of the park by using the early entry access given to hotel guests.

    This is the way of the world now. If you have something in great demand by the masses you raise prices as much as you can to milk every last dollar out of it until the average person is priced out. Same thing is happening with movies, sporting events and major musical performances. At some point there will be a tipping point and the majority of people won't be able to afford it. Disney already knows this hence the pricing change. They are making so much money they are basically pushing people away from being able to afford it so they can keep the quality of service the same.
     
  17. Janann

    Janann TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    Not really...I remember going to the ticket windows at Disneyland that were spread around the park and spending 50 cents for one more ticket. Those were the days.
     
  18. artringwald

    artringwald TUG Member

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    DW and her sister have been making an almost annual trip to Disney World for many years, but last year they decided they wouldn't be going anymore. It wasn't about the price, it was the crowds. FastPass isn't fast anymore, and reservations have to be booked too far in advance. The parks are cluttered with scooters and you risk getting run over by a distracted senior. For them, it's just not worth standing in lines for hours and getting crowd claustrophobia.
     
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  19. DaveNW

    DaveNW TUG Review Crew: Expert TUG Member

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    I don't recall that being an option at WDW, but would have used it if I'd known, for sure. I was with a group on a bus from the Naval Training Center in Orlando, so maybe we had a bus to catch and couldn't wait. I do remember going to WDW two weekends in a row, so I must have felt there was more to see. :)

    Dave
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2019
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  20. bluehende

    bluehende TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    It was there to. I remember using my allowance to get tickets for some ride. I think it was 20,000 leagues under the sea.
     
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  21. WVBaker

    WVBaker TUG Member

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  22. silentg

    silentg TUG Review Crew: Expert TUG Member

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    We live in Florida have AP weekday only. Now includes parking so it’s better than before when parking was extra.We go a few times a month, short visits but are prepared. Get fast passes and plan around them. Make dinner reservations if we are going at night. Still enjoy. Going tomorrow with DD and friends. Epcot.
    Silentg
     
  23. DrQ

    DrQ TUG Member

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  24. bbodb1

    bbodb1 TUG Member

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    In the article, I saw this quote:
    ..but the author never discusses the debt incurred for these trips in terms of how long (and how hard) it is to pay for these trips. We had a thread around here about debt (which seems to have disappeared) but when a trip to WDW can easily cost 5 figures and most middle class people tend not to be able to handle an unexpected debt of $400, I wonder how many people are risking their fiscal stability for a few days at WDW.
     
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  25. bnoble

    bnoble TUG Member

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    Domestic attendance and per-guest spending continue to grow. For every person who decides they won't go back, there appears to be at least one person to take their place.
     
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