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Vote of the week: What can Disney do to convince you to buy 'Glow with the Show' ears?

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Published: August 10, 2012 at 9:34 PM

Disney announced today that it will soon begin triggering "Glow with the Show" ears at Fantasmic! at Disneyland Park. This is the first use of the ears at Disneyland - they've been part of the show at World of Color, the Mad T Party and Cars Land at Disney California Adventure all summer.

Glow with the Show ears

But is enabling their use at another show enough to convince more visitors to buy the ears, which run about $25 a pair? What else could Disney offer would-be buyers to convince them to get these ears?

When the entire crowd is wearing the Glow with the Show ears, the effect is stunning - it expands the show into the audience and makes the event a truly immersive, 360-in-the-round experience. But when only a few people in the crowd have the ears... meh. It just looks like a few people wearing hats that randomly light up. There are not enough ears blinking to see the coordination that's supposed to be there.

I wrote about Disney's Prisoner's Dilemma problem with Glow with the Show ears. But what if Disney offered another inducement when you bought the ears, such as a free, bonus Fastpass to any attraction? Or a reserved space in a special viewing area at a Glow-enabled show? (That perk would have the added benefit of concentrating the ears in one area, making it easier for everyone else to see them in action.) Or what if Disney just expanded the use of Glow ears to Walt Disney World, too. Would being able to use them on both coasts entice you to buy?


Please tell us in the comments if there's something else you'd like to see Disney do to spread the use of the ears - giving them away to on-site hotel guests, including them in package dining deals at selected table-service restaurants, etc. (Let's skip the obvious option of lowering the retail price. I suspect Disney would just dump the program before it sold the ears at a loss.)

Thanks for participating in this week's vote, and thank you again for your continued support of Theme Park Insider! Have a great weekend.

Readers' Opinions

From 24.205.37.150 on August 10, 2012 at 9:40 PM
Just lower the price to get them out the door!

A special viewing area would be nice, or a free fastpass, but what about for everyone in your party..? And can you go to the special viewing area every time you watch the show, or is it just the time of purchase?

It's a tough problem to crack...but those ears are the coolest thing i've seen in a long time.

From Tyler Stover on August 10, 2012 at 9:45 PM
So, let me get this straight - I'm to pay $25+ dollars to wear a silly hat that makes the show more enjoyable for other people but does absolutely nothing for me. I studied economics in college, but you don't have to be an econ major to realize that makes no darn sense. Reverse it, so someone pays me $25 to wear the hat, and we have ourselves a deal.
From 76.174.34.87 on August 10, 2012 at 10:27 PM
$25? No freaking way would I buy one.

My solution, give them away with the purchase or renewal of an Annual Pass. APs cost anywhere from $269-$649, we should get these hats for free for the enormous price we pay!

From AJ Hummel on August 10, 2012 at 11:05 PM
As it is right now, I would never buy these. They just are not worth the price, and honestly I couldn't see very many people who are not Disney fanatics or souvenir collectors buying them. I also don't see them being around for too long if they don't sell, and them possibly drawing complaints elsewhere as a distraction (I definitely wouldn't want a sea of these in front of me at Fantasmic).

If Disney wants to maintain the full effect, I see two simple options not suggested above:

1. Rent the ears. Perhaps charge $5 per pair plus a $30 deposit so people have a strong incentive to return them. This would be much more affordable for a family while still giving them the same level of enjoyment.

2. Distribute them at showtimes, then collect them as guests exit (similar to 3D glasses). To distinguish the distributed pairs from purchased ones, perhaps only a headband with the ears and equipment is given out instead of a full hat.

Now, if each pair came with a Dream Fastpass equivalent and I was visiting on a crowded day, I might change my mind, but until then I'll never buy a pair of these.

From Marc Benz on August 10, 2012 at 11:11 PM
People don't seem to mind higher admission prices, so just raise the tickets by $25 and give everyone a hat for free. :-)

And if you can show a hat at the ticket booth, you even get a $25 discount, what a deal.

From Wok Creative on August 11, 2012 at 12:34 AM
Lower the cost - a lot. Too many different ear hats out there already. Nothing that the person wearing them does is interactive. I can't see paying even more, to be a part of the show.
Probably not renewing our passes next time, with the substantial increase. Stopped buying pins... a while back. Kids can't even find things they want to use gift cards for out there anymore. If we get gift cards, we use them for food.

It seems that there could be interactive elements on light poles, trees... - things that would be more consistent anyway. There is no way to know how many hats will turn up at any showing.
Really don't see how people can pay the same 25 dollars for the tire hat in CarsLand. It just looks plain stupid.

From 98.21.99.230 on August 11, 2012 at 1:01 AM
I picked "No Way" because the price is too high for me to pay for them is not an option. The price would have to come down AND there would have to be an added benefit probably before I'd consider. I already paid to get into the park..... I'm not going to pay them so that I can basically be a part of one of the attractions.... that is like asking me to play a small supporting role in one of their films.... but I have to pay them to do it instead of them paying me.
From 98.21.99.230 on August 11, 2012 at 1:06 AM
Basically, what Tyler said makes sense. Why pay $25 for other people to be able to see a light show on my head.

I went to see Coldplay and they used this technology in wrist bands and those were given out before the show. It may have been covered by a sponser or in the ticket price, but they sure did not expect members of the audience to get in on the act by paying an extra $20 or whatever..... because then hardly anyone would have done it and the effect would not have been the same.... but because they gave them to everyone pretty much, the effect was a spectacle that I have never seen at another concert.

From Dominick D on August 11, 2012 at 5:54 AM
They need to expand to WDW and get a free FP with purchase.
From Kolby Ratigan on August 11, 2012 at 6:40 AM
Make them cheap for APs with out the discount
From 74.233.93.235 on August 11, 2012 at 11:06 AM
This is a way overpriced merch item being pitched as something one just has to have to see the show in the right light. First, they come across as something that isn't attractive. Second, as much as we are part of a global economy and a lot of commodities we use come from other countries, knowing that Disney uses their clout to secure rock-bottom prices from overseas suppliers - when they could also be made by American firms - drives me a tad nuts. Sometimes the geniuses who head up marketing, promotions and merchandise should step back and put themselves in their patron's shoes before pissing away their company's dollars to try and present a platform that only the top 1% could afford. What has happened to common sense and reasoning. Like the casinos where the slots players, although detested, still make up the core business; theme parks depend on the yearly, family and local middle-class crowd to keep their businesses humming 365/24/7. We are pushing the point of no return with regard to gate, food and merchandise pricing and I guess that fact will only be impressed upon the leadership of these parks when there numbers drop to a point where the CEO is bounced, stockholders start to scream; and Wall street analysts decry the little guy being taking advantage of.
The sermon has ended...go in peace.
From Stevo B on August 11, 2012 at 5:17 PM
Right out of the gate I'd offer free personalizing of the hats, then I'd offer a family pack discount for purchasing 4 or more, followed by a special "Glow with the Show" ears VIP meet and greet with Mickey and Minnie (throw in a special GWTS demo conducted by M&M).
From Manny Barron on August 11, 2012 at 5:17 PM
I was at DCA this past week and watched World of Color. It's becoming pretty clear these things are not taking over the show. Few people had them to the point where they were not "glowing the show" by any means. It was a decent idea to make some more money off of World of Color, along with the pic-nic meals, but I'm guessing these will be discontinued soon.
From Rob Pastor on August 11, 2012 at 7:37 PM
I like Disney, but I would not be caught dead wearing Mickey ears, of any kind....I made the mistake of putting an Aerosmith wig on momentarily in the Rock & Roller Coaster gift shop. My girlfriend snuck a quick embarrasing picture and emailed it to all my friends & relatives. You have to be careful in this high tech society.
From James Rao on August 12, 2012 at 4:40 AM
Based on the results of this poll so far, over 60% of the people would be interested in the "Glow in the Show" ears, so Disney just has to figure out the best way to circulate them. I like the idea of a reserved viewing area, or multiple reserved areas, for those who purchase the ears. If the viewing areas are properly positioned it could really add to the impact of the show. Seems like a win-win to me.
From 96.56.170.234 on August 12, 2012 at 2:28 PM
Drop the price to $19.99, include special reserved viewing area for the day of with proof of purchase, 1 golden FP ticket and a Special commemorative "Glow with the Show" trading pin only available with purchase of the hat. I'm sure that would move a few more units.
From Mark Hollamon on August 12, 2012 at 2:52 PM
I think what Disney is missing here (or they already are thinking this way and just putting their toes in the water to check it out) is they are sitting on a interactive goldmine with these hats!

Think about it.....You are in the pre-queue for TOT and when the lightning happens on the vid, your ears flash with it! Same for Haunted Mansion. You get the idea: They could be programmed with so many Disney activities. Parades! Shows!

If they expand their capabilities (and a perk would be nice) they would have no problem selling them by the thousands each day.

I love the idea of having these be a perk for Passholders. We've been Premium Passholders for almost 10 years and I think we get a thank you card and 10% off for early renewal.

From Mark Kausch on August 13, 2012 at 5:13 AM
Hmmm. I damn near bought a pair the last time I saw World of Color. But it was at the end of my trip and funds were also kinda near the end.

But then again, I also love Luigi's Flying Tires, so maybe I'm just different.

From Anon Mouse on August 13, 2012 at 8:19 AM
I will never buy one, but if it is offered as part of a dining package with reserved viewing for around $5 to $10, I might consider it. Something like this should be an incentive buy. Otherwise, it makes no sense to buy an expensive object that can only be enjoyed for a few hours at the most.
From Brandon Mendoza on August 13, 2012 at 8:48 AM
If they offered VIP seating/ viewing with them, I'd buy. But yeah, considering the actual owner of the hat can't enjoy them... I guess if you like contributing to the greater good? Too many people are selfish in this world, so unfortunately it will take a lot to convince people to buy a hat that only allows others to enjoy it.
From 72.204.131.120 on August 13, 2012 at 8:55 AM
How about the hats work at home via wifi when on certain Disney web sites. Just a thought. And what do you think is there cost to mass produce these in China? Not research/development. Actual cost to manufactor? I'd say $3. Then why such the price gouging. Probably just a test market to see what people in mass will pay.
From Brandon Mendoza on August 14, 2012 at 10:32 AM
How is it price gouging if the cost of research and development has to be covered as well? DLR is still adding more features to where the Ears work, so the money has to come from somewhere. $10 more for electronics? Considering the regular hats are $15-ish, this ain't bad.

If it fails, it fails. At least Disney tried instead of going with the Status Quo.

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