Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Disneyland's New Premium annual Passport

The Godfather: “Make him an offer he can’t refuse.”

Disneyland’s New Annual Passport: “Make them an offer they can’t accept.”

Disneyland just announced its prices for annual passports. It doesn’t want your business.

The price for the premium annual passport, the one with 365 day access to both parks Disneyland and California Adventure), free parking, and dinning and merchandise discounts was increased 30% from $499 to $649, in other words, $2,000 for a family of four. You can obtain 4 annual passes to Knott’s Berry Farm or Universal Studios for less than $600, if you purchase at the right time.

The price was only $199 a few years ago.

For true Disney aficionados you can acquire a super premium pass that grants access to the 2 Disneyland parks and 4 Disney World parks for $850.

The lesser passports, which exclude specific days and periods and do not include parking, were similarly increased in price. The single day passport for one park only went up to $87, not including parking and the overpriced trinkets, food and drink. The daily pass was only $14 in 1984.

Disneyland has been raising prices at a higher rate than college tuition.

Obviously Disneyland is free to charge what it wants and consumers can pay, downgrade, or walk away as they wish. Disney clearly believes in cash flow, so why did it price the annual passports to discourage sales?

Is the current management of Disney trying to convert Walt Disney’s dream of a park open to everybody to one for the Top 1%?

Is Disney trying to recoup the $1.1 billion it just poured into California Adventure as it digs out of Michael Eisner’s failed bean counting adventure to save money?

Are Disney’s managements excessively greedy along the lines of “All the traffic will bear”?

Has Mickey turned into Scrooge?

Or is Disney intentionally trying to turn away business?

Disneyland has become too successful with 16 million guests last year. The roughly 85 acres of actual attractions have a capacity between 75,000 – 85,000 guests, vendors and employees with an additional spillover of 32,000 at California Adventure.

Disney has about 1 million annual passes outstanding. The crazy thing about annual passholders is that they want their moneys worth, so they use the passports, an average of ten visits annually. The premium passholders can use them any day of the year, even in peak summer and Christmas seasons when the visitors flood Disneyland.
The result is that the visitors may be squeezed out of the Happiest Place on Earth.

Disney wants to retain their goodwill although it needs the local Southern California residents during the off seasons. There’s no Magic in the Magic Kingdom when the 85 acres are jammed to capacity, as is increasingly happening. Families that travel 1,000 – 2,000 miles to visit the Happiest Place on Earth are not happy when they are turned away, shunted off to California Adventure, or have to stand in 2 hour lines.

Disney does not like Grumpy guests at the Happiest Place on Earth.

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