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...
Façades 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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