Monday, May 21, 2012

A Compliment Sandwich



In Anaheim this weekend, the temperatures were perfect, the sun was out, and Disneyland was sparkling like the gem that it is. Across the way, the new entrance to Disney California Adventure gave a fair shake to its neighbor, calling attention to itself like never before.



The new structures of Buena Vista Street peer out over the gates, along with the colorful new signage, creatively proclaiming the history of Walt Disney in the early years.



This majestic view is a huge improvement over what the original visitors to Disney California Adventure saw.



Inside the gate, trolleys are being tested...



Fa├žades are being finished...



And signage is getting some hand-crafted finishing touches.



Unfortunately (and here comes the sandwich filling), Sunday's guests were greeted with a not-so-pleasant sight.



Swiftly and quietly, the Disneyland Resort raised its prices with little fanfare (it was put on the park blog 2 days before it occurred)...unless you count the fireworks that started among the chat boards and fan community. To help you do the math, one-day, one-park adult tickets went up 9%. A one-day park hopper ticket increased 19% (ages 3-9 by 20%). Hang on to your hats folks—the Annual Premium Passport (no blackout days) saw a 30% increase, while the weekdays-only SoCal Select Passport (195 blockout days and no parking) increased 35%. Even the Utility companies don't jump up that quickly or as high.

When it comes to branding, every move a company makes should be measured against its brand profile. Does this change fit the brand? Does it make sense and go along with the image being portrayed? Even with the upgraded DCA about to be unveiled, the increases of 9-35% absolutely reek. Having a reputation as being a family-friendly wholesome company, this recent price increase and the way it was done could not be farther from The Disney Brand. It was sneaky as well as greedy. Guests were ripped off when DCA first opened, and now it would appear that the Disney Company is not about to pay for its short sightedness from 2001 on their own.

The obvious message that The Disney Company has been giving the last few years is that they want the guest who is going to stay for multiple days; three at the very least. They want that guest to stay at their hotels. Eat at their restaurants. And buy that merchandise! Obviously, this is just good business on their part. The bad business comes in to play when they punish the other guests who can't afford to pay those premium prices. It has long been buzzing around the community that The Disney Company is somewhat annoyed with the Annual Passholders who visit frequently but don't spend additional monies on the property. In their opinion, all these people do is add to the crowds and detract from the experience of the real spenders. It is also felt that this group complains the most when changes are made...those darn rabble rousers who are stuck in the past (Carnation Gardens as an example). Raising the Annual Passes by 30-35% might help them weed out some of those pesky passholders! I am sure the number crunchers will be watching very carefully how everything will play out from now on.

Now that I've ranted, I guess I should finish the post out with another slice of white bread, to help make the filling go down a little better. How about a few shots of Mr. Lincoln? I'm sure he'd know what to do about the oppressive tyranny that The Disney Company just rolled out with their price increases.





Like Abe, I'll just sit back down in my seat now.





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12 comments:

Major Pepperidge said...

Wow, a 9 % increase for a one day/park ticket. I know a couple from out of town who would LOVE to bring their two kids to the park for at least two days, but in this tight economy they just can't manage the high costs involved. Somehow I don't think that Walt ever intended his park to be like that.

Connie Moreno said...

Holy S&%T! I knew the passes would probably go up but in never imagined they would go up THAT much! We've discussed the annual passholder "problem" that Disneyland has on our podcast several times and it saddens us that they see annual passholders as such. How quickly they forget that for many years, the existence of annual passes was kept quiet, only available to those who asked questions and found out about them. Then Disney began to push annual passes down our throats with advertising. Remember the $99 passes? People bought them in droves and after a few years, Disney decided to cut them out and invent new passes. And still they complain about the number of annual passholders! Yes, I agree that they are trying to price people out. I wouldn't be surprised if they stop the monthly payment plan, too. That way, they can really cut down the crowds.

Unknown said...

I'm not happy about the price jump either, but the bottom line is that Disney does not sell any necessities whereas a utility does. I wouldn't want to live without Disney but it is still a choice whether to pay them one cent, or not. If this turns out to be a money loser for them, they will backtrack as they've done before in other areas.

Davelandweb said...

Major - I really detest the "What would Walt do..." logic as it gets trotted out so much, however, in this case, I do agree with you. I just draped it with the "brand" logic instead!

Connie - Your first two words eloquently summed up my whole post!

Unknown - You are correct, it's a choice. Where the goof lies is that if they backtrack, it is a public admittance of their greed, which still tarnishes the brand. If they don't backtrack and keep the prices high, they are still tarnishing the brand. Poor all the way around.

K. Martinez said...

I’m from out of town, so when visiting Disneyland I usually go for 3-5 days. This means I stay at a motel/hotel near Disneyland so admission to the parks is included in that rate. In addition, many places of employment provide discounts to most theme parks including Disneyland. Most people I know don’t pay the prices at the admission gate. If the motel/hotel rate is competitive and includes admission to the parks I’m good. For out-of-towners it pays to shop smartly. It really isn’t worth it to pay at the gate.

HBG2 said...

I can't disagree with anything that has been said, and I won't, but I will play devil's advocate on one point: the problem of annual passholders diminishing the experience for first-time or infrequent guests. We all know about teens with passes who live close by and go to the parks whenever the mood strikes them. These are the ones who engage in "who can scream the loudest" contests in the HM stretchroom, spend the whole ride talking to friends on their cells, and generally treating the place like a rudist colony. They don't care if the person standing next to them may never have been to DL before and may never be in a position to go again, and they have perhaps been looking forward to this experience for a long time. If a price increase helps to weed out some of those who don't appreciate the specialness of the place, then at least that will be a consolation prize amidst all of this badness.

People were quieter and more polite in the ticket book days, for the simple reason that you only had so many E-tickets, and each ride was to be savored.

Darryl said...

I too will be an out-of-towner for my next visit...but for my wife, son and myself to a get a 3-day park hopper, which is quite likely as we do not want to travel the distance to only spend 1 day there...will now cost me $750!

SEVEN-HUNDRED AND FIFTY DOLLARS. It will hurt but I will pay it cuz I'm a Disney geek and former CM, but for others? I do think it will make a lot of people re-think the justification on spending that kind of dough.

Robin's Egg Bleu said...

I haven't been to DL for about 5 years, and was set to go with a group of friends this weekend when I heard the new and decided NOT to go. Not worth it to me. I've been a gazillion times in my life and while I love it, there's a lot more places I want to see in this world and I'd rather spend my hard earned cash on other locales than waste it on something like DL. They obviously won't miss my money.

Davelandweb said...

HBG2: All very good points. I have seen my share of adults exhibiting the same kind of rude behavior, and unfortunately, it's not just limited to Disneyland! It will be very interesting to see what will shake out from this pass and ticket increase.

Vintage Disneyland Tickets said...

"Absolutely reek(s)" indeed....

HBG2 has valid points, but the "ticketed" guests can be just as bad from what I've witnessed - rudeness seems to be spreading.

As for an egregious THIRTY PERCENT increase in one year, that's unheard of in the theme park industry. Shame on Disney!

Looks like my "still valid" vintage Disneyland tickets are increasing in value exponentially! Forget Facebook stock, invest in (vintage) Disneyland Tickets!

Chiana_Chat said...

Are the wages of the people doing all the work there being raised 9% to 35%?

Are most people's incomes rising 9% to 35%?

I didn't think so.

Davelandweb said...

Excellent point Chiana - I can't believe I didn't even think of that!