Written by Russell Meyer
Published: January 5, 2005 at 9:26 PM
Less than a week after Busch-owned Sea World Orlando announced an admission increase to match Disney and Universal, Busch Gardens Tampa jumps on the price-gouging bandwagon by raising its daily admission price $2 to $55.95. However, the increase is tempered by an interesting move to decrease its Florida resident daily admission to $49.50, the lowest in three years. Busch Gardens Tampa tends to draw a larger percentage of locals compared to the Orlando parks, so the move to decrease Florida resident daily admissions should balance the increase to out-of-towners. The increase also comes on the cusp of the addition of the country’s first dive machine roller coaster, SheiKra, which is starting to take shape and is slated for an opening sometime in May of this year. The park has added a new restaurant, the Zambia Smokehouse, and the broadway-style show KaTonga in the past year. However, this move to increase ticket prices was a response to Disney’s move more than the addition of new attractions. Busch Gardens Williamsburg also increased its daily admission prices $2 when it announced DarKastle.
These admission increases are getting old, but there seems to be no way to stop them. All it takes is for one park to raise their prices, and every park in Florida follows. If there was only a way to get a park to make a move in the other direction…
We’re Going to Disney World!
Orlando Sentinel 1/4/05
In a case of being in the right place at the right time, the 72,000 fans who attended the Fed Ex Orange Bowl Tuesday night were all given tickets good at any Disney theme park world-wide. The giveaway was part of Disney’s global marketing campaign for the 50th anniversary of Disneyland, and followed the huge hoopla surrounding Disney’s participation in the Tournament of Roses Parade New Year’s Day. Disneyland should expect a crush of USC fans in the next few days. As for those Oklahoma fans, there’s always EPCOT on the drive back to Norman, OK.
The college football title game aired on ABC, who will be losing a chunk of the BCS TV deal to Fox in 2007, and most likely lost a big chunk of its audience after the 38-10 halftime score. Disney/ABC may not mind losing part of the BCS considering the controversy that surrounds the much-maligned system, not to mention the ratings for the Rose Bowl and Fiesta bowl were both down 13% from last year. The $80 million dollar deal inked between the BCS and Fox was proved too expensive for even ABC, who is starting to lose TV rights as fast as NBC did in the early 90’s. With ESPN as part of the family and the proliferation of cable and satellite television, ABC sports will fade away, unless they can increase their NFL coverage when the league’s television rights are negotiated later this year.
If They Won’t Come, Ask Someone Else
In a move that is being modeled after other worldwide brands like Coca-Cola, Disney is increasing its presence in overseas markets. Desperate Houswives, ABC’s most successful new series in years, is making its debut in England, an interesting turn of events since so many popular American television programs have found root in the UK before coming to the U.S. Disney has also launched a number of 24-hour television networks around the world, and is working to increase the number of hours ABC is broadcast in England. Disney is also poised to launch a video on-demand service in the UK as a joint venture with Sony. With a park coming to Hong Kong and numerous other plans for the rest of the world, Disney may be able to mitigate some of the criticism it has taken here in the United States. Disney’s appeal in the U.S. may be reaching a plateau, so the choice to expand around the world is not only smart, but also necessary. If all of Disney’s plans come to fruition, the company is looking to be a more powerful entity in the world economy in just a few years.
Win A Million at MGM
Who Wants to be a Millionaire
For those of you who may have an off-season trip planned to Orlando and Walt Disney World in mid-January, you’re in luck. The daytime version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire with Meredith Vieira will be taping episodes at the Disney-MGM studios from January 12, 2005 to January 16, 2005. What’s extra special is that on January 15, 2005, the show will be taping a “Walk In and Win” show where contestants will be chosen randomly from the audience instead of from the auditioned contestant list. So here’s your chance. Just show up, get chosen, answer 15 multiple choice questions, and win $1 million. I’d say that’s a bit of an improvement over a Disney cruise and leather jacket.