What would it take to make you stop being a Disney fan?

February 11, 2018, 4:42 PM

Disneyland is raising AP prices by up to 18 percent and Disney World is going to start making multi-day tickets date-specific, which means another big price increase is coming later this year.

But Disney's been raising prices every year since the dawn of time and people keep crowding the parks. Is there ever going to be a breaking point? Can Disney ever raise prices by too much?

What would it take for you to stop going to the parks?

Replies (22)

February 12, 2018, 3:07 AM

I don't think it's the cost, it never is. If you are a fan of a sports team, singer or a theme park cost is a factor that is tough when it's get beyond your disposable income but I think people will always find a way to splur, even if it's only once every 10 years.
In the end it's the value proposition, is it worth for you.
For me the Disney parks lost their magic about 17 years ago. After that I went twice but for me it wasn't worth it, not my time nor the money. Another theme park took its place that gives me more what I want. I keep following developments at Disney, I'd love to visit that old WDW. Not the old rides but new rides build with the same passion and innovation it once did when it wasn't only about the money. If that time returns I'll be back no mater what the cost.

February 12, 2018, 5:49 AM

There is no value for money when it comes to disney, there hasn't been in the past decade at least. I think what will ruin it for me personally is if i go and the lines are so unmanageable that i dont get on a lot of rides and spend my time walking around the parks. This will be my 16th trip this year and after my last one I was left with the feeling that I didnt enjoy it as much because of all the waiting. We went as we always do in what was an off peak time but those are gone.

I dont want to pay money to stand in lines. I have no problem by a 5 cent pen for $7 if my kid wants it and we are having fun and riding the rides, but when i stand in hour long line ups for rides that arent worth due to the fact that the rides that are have 2 hour lineups, I start to question what I am spending my money on. I absolutely love Disney World and love going, but I go to ride rides and experience attractions, not to stand in lines no matter how interactive they might be.

February 12, 2018, 6:19 AM

That is where it is now and what has driven us away. There are no off times and no times where there are no lines, at least at WDW. DL is another story. You can manage that. For the last five years, they have been to the point that they have needed a fifth gate, and they seem completely reisitant to that idea. I think not having Star Wars a park by itself was a huge missed opportunity.

I know this has been a debunked rumor over the years, but it might be their solution: a third destination in some middle area of the US. It is easy to say this is a terrible idea, but WDW is unmanageable, and DL will always have the crowds it has. You could not go too far north due to the cold, and even places like Six Flags in San Antonio shuts down attractions due to cold weather, but it could be done. I would not suggest that location; however, as they could pick an area that they develop totally on their own, and south Texas is starting too rival SoCal in traffic (exaggeration, I know).

The bottom line is WDW has ruined itself with its own success. The crowds are awful. FP+ has eliminated the insider tricks of bypassing the crowds. Getting to the park early is no longer the benefit it used to be, and due to the massive crowds, their wonderful customer service has taken a hit. My suggestion is to go to DL. The castle is smaller, the crowds are tighter, but the lines are manageable, Pirates and Space Mountain are better, and you still have Mr. Toad. I may be alone in this, but I actually like the Haunted Mansion better there too.

February 12, 2018, 6:37 AM

I live outside of the US and was fortunate to purchase non-expiry tickets before the option was no longer available. We visit Florida once a year and make a point of going to Disney at least once during that time. Like the people above I don't think I would mind paying the price, what I do mind is spending money to stand in lines for hours. For me after 11 years, with the push by Disney to continually increase flow and with the slow development of new rides, I am finding that the value is diminishing.

February 12, 2018, 7:06 AM

The last time I bought a WDW AP was about 12 years ago, so that was the beginning of the end for me. I'm fortunate that my every 18-24 monthly 4-day pass works for me, especially being able to pick and chose the mid-week days that I go. For instance I went to MK last week, and for that park it was relatively quiet. Wait time on 7DMT was 80min max. A couple of colleagues from work went this weekend ... one to AK the other to MK. Both said it was hell on earth, with Pandora almost impossible to even get to the area, and the wait times for 7DMT were consistently 2-3hrs+ I know one shouldn't look back in time, but I so miss the quiet Disney from 15+ years ago. So relaxing, and the rides/shows were so much better. You were actually treated as a human being, and not as cattle being herded into an area that Disney wants you to be in. People at work have been dropping their AP's down to silver because the cost of gold and platinum is just too much. Disney got greedy when they changed the AP from a rolling year to year one, to the now renew every year. Yes they offer a discount to those 'loyal' pass holders, but at the end of the day it's those people who are getting hit the hardest. I know it's not a fair comparison, but my 2018 Cedar Fair platinum pass cost me $175 .. !! .... and I have no doubt which parks I prefer to visit :)

Edited: February 12, 2018, 7:40 AM

I think for me it would be crowds rather than money. Increasing prices doesn't seem to be detering crowds, so at some point they are going to need to do a 5th gate at wdw I think.

That said, on my last visit in October, for the first time ever, rather than trying to do the parks commando style, doing every ride, we zoned out, went around slowly just did some of the rides and enjoyed the atmosphere. It was the best thing i've ever done at the parks, it made the experience so much nicer and the crowds didn't seem to matter anywhere near as much.

I think one of the biggest mistakes WDW made, was being so dry on completely new ride development for 10 yrs+ from the mid 00s to the opening of pandora - thereby not increasing capacity. Lack of anything new also put me off going as much as I might. Now they have so much going on that you can't help but think shall I put off my next visit until 2022/23 (my goodness doesn't 2022 sound so futuristic lol).

February 12, 2018, 12:15 PM

I agree that Disney badly needs to build a theme park in Texas. The impact at Disneyland and Disney World would only last a few years. They’re already packed year round.

My fandom of Disney is nothing like it once was, but it has nothing to do with the parks, which I’ve sadly never visited. Disney once was timeless. Walt once said that it totally ignored the rest of Hollywood. Now Disney is Hollywood. They make endless sequels and remakes, just like everybody else does. It has become exactly the opposite of what it was originally. Eisner made sure the company survived, but he also destroyed what made Disney unique. He turned Disney into a large generic company known for everything. There is still great stuff being made, but It is way too big for it to have the loyalty I once had to it. I totally get it from a financial sense, but from the sense of a fan, its ruined the company.

Edited: February 12, 2018, 12:30 PM

I have read just about every book on Disney and took several backstage tours.

We've also been to the Disney Museum in San Francisco set up by Walt's daughter.

To me Disney is merely a shell of what it used to be.

It's all about the money. More gift shops; less quality. Horribly crowded and the rides are not kept up like they used to be.

My wife and I go just about every year and have noticed that Disney is pretty much gone UNLESS you go to Disneyland where it has the same rides and charm as originally planned. There it almost feels like Walt is around the corner.

Also, it is getting harder to find the original Disney whereas things have changed into Marvel, Twilight Zone, Avatar, Guardians of Galaxy and Star Wars. Most Disney stuff is either Pixar or Circa 1980's.

So if one wants to experience the Mickey Mouse Disney of yesteryear; it's gone and pretty much forgotten.

But to be fair the parents of today are from the 80's so Disney to them is the Little Mermaid etc. And to be fair Disney created Disneyland to highlight his movies when they came out.

That's why Cinderella's Castle is in one park and Sleeping Beauty;'s in another and Belle's in France!

Today you go to the park and the shortest lines are Pirates of the Caribbean. Longest is character meet and greet.
Recently I overheard a mom say that she had to sit through Snow White which she felt was horrible.

My wife and I are tired of it.

Today there is no value in a park hopper or a no expiration pass.

Disneyland and Universal are where it is at. And you can do both in California then take a bus tour of celebrity homes and experience Hollywood.

February 13, 2018, 8:15 AM

Disney is trying to control the INSANE crowd levels by raising prices. What they should do is use the MASSIVE amount of land they own to create a 5th and 6th gate. What they ARE doing is cramming things into places that they don't belong and making a mess of the ethos of each park.

Isn't that enough to turn you away already? For me, it is.

February 13, 2018, 9:37 AM

For me personally, money isn't too big of a factor. Granted it takes me years to save up for a visit, but growing up I ate, slept and breathed all things WDW.

I agree on the whole with many others who have already posted. WDW has lost its magic and that is what will eventually put an end to my visitations. Seeing overall quality degrade visit after visit is like paying gobs of cash to be tortured. We haven't been there in 7 years so we are booked to visit this October and this is the least I have been excited about it.

Someone told I was getting older. I said "No! Disney is getting older and not doing anything about it."

February 13, 2018, 9:43 AM

And yet, the people continue to come. On a purely business level, they likely will not care. A couple of years ago, when customer service was king, they would have. Also, DL packs them in but still does not have the insane wait times. Why? FP+. Compare the systems. DL is much more manageable. But, nevertheless, the parks are at a point in Orlando where they need to address it, and I promise you Star Wars is going to show everyone how bad the system truly is. They need a fifth, and possibly sixth gate. They can use a third U.S. destination. I used Six Flags San Antonio earlier, but that would be an awful location due to traffic and infrastructure. Orlando was built ground up, and there is no reason they could not do that again, airport and all. I certainly have no idea where it should go, but North Louisiana would bring all of Texas, Memphis, and still have decent weather and be super cheap such as a vacant area of I-20. What is certain is WDW is no longer fun. Apologists will say it is, and you can have a good time, but the value to pleasure ratio is vastly different to what it once was. I wish it was not. It really is basic supply and demand. The demand is high. They are raising prices but not adding enough supply to counter the demand. Funny thing is the demand is in services. They are adding services, but not enough. Just look at the crowds before the doors open. As a business, it is a good problem to have, but if they don’t watch out, the bubble may burst.

February 13, 2018, 6:38 PM

As long as Disney cast members continue to display exceptional guest service, people will continue to come regardless of cost or crowds (myself included).

February 13, 2018, 9:03 PM

I remember when I was growing up everyone always talked about how packed Tokyo Disney was. It seemed no matter what time of year you went, the major rides were guaranteed to have 2 hour waits and the paths were wall to wall people.
Well here we are 20 years later and guess what, it's still like that every day at TDR.
The year round big crowds at DLR and WDW are here to stay. Theme parks have figured out by having marathons, festivals, youth sporting events, conventions, tiered pricing, marketing to different areas of the world, etc there is clearly high demand for attendance no matter what time of the year. People can complain about this as much as they want but fail to realize, if you are running a business do you want to make less money or more money? It shouldn't be some taboo thing that they are going to try and make as much money as they can.

A funny story today I was at MK and these two managers were standing in front of Tomorrowland Speedway. A couple came up to them and the lady asked "Why is the park so busy today?" They just kind of looked at her and one of them said "this is a pretty normal day attendance wise, its always pretty busy here." The lady's eyes just opened up like she got shot and then said "We just bought annual passes, we definitely would not have bought them if we knew that." The guy was just like "Uh...well yea I guess its pretty amazing how successful this place is.." Then the lady was like "So what is Disney going to do about this?" and the guy said "Well we have plans for new rides and stuff but that definitely be won't be making the parks less busy."

People can theorize all they want but basically what it comes down to, just like anything else, is the supply and demand curve. If they can increase prices to keep increasing profits that's what they are going to do (I am a finance professor so I guess i'm not quite as butthurt about it as most).

In regards to answering the "when would I be priced out" question I don't ever pay to go to Disney or Universal because I know a lot of people that work there, but if I didn't i'd probably do the same as I do with Sea World/Busch/Six Flags/Cedar Fair. I go once in a while. I live in Orlando (grew up in Anaheim) and used to go to the parks all the time, but less time combined with increased prices and increased crowds have led me to go significantly less over the past few years. I am now down to SWO/BGT once every few years, I am going to a few CF parks next year but I haven't been to any in a long time, I currently have a SF pass but those are so cheap its like impossible to not get sucked in by their frequent sales. I plan on using it next year at four parks and bought it during a sale for like $55 (including parking). Even though I never pay to go to Disney or Universal I rarely bother going because of the crowds. Also with Universal I don't care for most any of the new rides they have added over the past decade. But I give props to Disney and Universal for doing such good business, it does not bother me at all.

I will say I never have ever bought food at any park or any entertainment venue in general. It's always nice when a park has good food but i'd never pay the prices, I never even bother looking at food or checking prices at any park I go to.

February 13, 2018, 10:05 PM

There is a point where price raises will result in decreased attendance, and I do not think it is that far off from what the Disney parks currently charge. However, each time a new attraction opens that price gets higher, so as long as Disney continues to drop in noteworthy new attractions every year or two they'll probably never run the risk of exceeding that point. As destinations rather than day trips, Disney parks just run a much slower cycle in terms of people losing interest, and as a popular brand with a huge emotional connection for many it doesn't take much to sway those on the fence back toward another visit.

As for me, I don't think there is a price where I would stop visiting completely. However, they are at the point where I'm seriously debating whether to keep my Disneyland pass despite that fact that I live 45 minutes away and visit 8-9 times per year. I still really enjoy the parks, but I don't know that I get sufficiently more enjoyment out of visiting than I would if I just bought a day ticket a couple times a year. As long as I'm living on the West Coast, it is almost guaranteed that I'll always visit Disneyland at least once a year, but the more the price increases the less frequent my visits will be. To me, Disneyland is worth about $600 per year, and I'll opt for whatever allows me the most park time without exceeding that.

If I were to move out of California, I'd probably start treating it the same way I feel about Walt Disney World...I wouldn't plan a trip to Florida specifically to return at this time (though after all the additions are complete I may change my mind), but if something else caused me to plan a trip to Florida I'd definitely spend at least one day there (and likely more).

February 14, 2018, 7:40 AM

Question to the_man, and really anybody else that might know it. As to the point of the woman saying what are you going to do about the crowds, and we can all agree that it is a somewhat unreasonable question in a vacuum, but as to MK and DL, it is not. There is a difference as to wait times, and they can do something about it. The attendance levels are about the same. DL feels more crowded since basically the same amount of people are put into about 80 acres instread if 120, but I can exprerience three times the number of attractions per day at DL than at MK, maybe even more. So, if they want to, they can do something about the wait times. I think the field is industrial engineering. 15 years ago the corporate decision making was that at the parks, outward customer service was the sole driving goal. Now they have billion dollar armbands to make it convenient for both the park AND customer. While the bands are very convenient, wait times have suffered, but it is more convenient for the park. An hour wait for Spaceship Earth would never happen prior to that device. Go back to DL's system.

The bottom line is that all the theme park loving families that regularly vacationed in Orlando from my neck of the woods have either added a Universal leg to the end of the trip or eliminated Disney entirely. The new families that do not know any better go down there once, never to go back. It is a huge missed opportunity. Disney really needs a whole new paradigm shift it park management. I actually think these new attractions are great, but are they based on good management and development, or a reaction to Harry Potter? If it is only the latter, then they need to examine their priorities, think about what made those parks successful in the first place, and focus solely on making the guest's experience fun.

February 14, 2018, 10:59 AM

I agree with everyone's reasoning. The lack of capacity and high cost will eventually cause a bust. The one thing for certain is that while not all cast members are rude, I have seen an increase in unfriendly, and what seem like annoyed cast members. I was waiting in line for mission space a few weeks ago. On February 3 to be exact. A female worker was running by the Que telling someone she was pissed. I assume it was another coworker. I know that when I worked for WDWRC in 1999 that would haven never flown. So not only are they now lax on improvements and serious investment but apparently that magical customer service is dimming out as well.

February 15, 2018, 4:19 PM

I suppose the direct answer, in addition to my reasoning above, is that I'm already no longer a fan...

Everything Disney does is just in response to Universal, for the most part. Universal is leading the way to try to expand on their wonderful and high-tech attractions. They are leading the way in rolling out new amazing hotel experiences. Heck, they even managed to make me enjoy a water park (I don't like water parks) with the immersive and highly-themed Volcano Bay.

WDW is still bigger, and probably the first thing non-themepark people think of when asked about a theme park vacation. It's the brand name theme park. But the fact is that Universal has changed its game from being an add-on to a Disney vacation, to being a better vacation destination in itself. We don't do Disney anymore, haven't for years.

There was once magic there, but it is gone, I'm sad to say. Poor customer service, a broken fastpass system, lack of additional gate development, lack of upkeep, and mangling of the ethos of each park gate have ruined it. The mouse, as we knew it, is dying.

Edited: February 16, 2018, 2:26 PM

In response to the thread’s question: Nothing comes to mind.

Other stuff: My work on property and my daily commute takes me right past DAK. Parking lot is always filled back to the grass. The posted wait time for Flight of Passage is almost always north of 200 minutes.

As I predicted PTWOA has become themed entertainment’s answer to Broadway’s ‘Hamilton’.

Meanwhile, let’s get an update on UO’s amazing Nintendoland.


Ah well. I hear they dropped off a bulldozer and a portolet at the job site in Beijing. So that’s promising.

Edited: February 16, 2018, 2:34 PM

“The mouse, as we knew it, is dying”?


February 17, 2018, 9:13 AM

I think we can all agree if there's one thing Disney is not struggling for its attendance. If you believe the most recent TEA reports the Magic Kingdom averages 55,000 visitors a day, Disneyland averages 49,000 a day, and Tokyo Disneyland averages 46,000 a day. The two Universal Orlando parks averaged about 26,000 visitors each per day.

February 17, 2018, 1:58 PM

For me it was going to Japan and seeing what the Oriental Land Company can produce over something Disney owned. Seeing how well they operated and over invested in the parks made me a fan of the OLC, and much less of a fan wen it comes to Disney as a brand. Currently I have zero interest in going to the US parks and the Paris parks aren’t even that appealing. Maybe that will change, but it would take some massive effort and a change in American culture for me to consider it.

February 18, 2018, 1:38 AM

I've been to all the Disney Properties many times and got to say I don't get the hype for Tokyo. The big rides are mostly clones, and not only clones, but having the low capacity versions of TSM and TOT really sucks at a park that is always so packed. I don't think i've ever seen those lines at less than 100. Also I thought the main not-clone ride (Journey to the Center of the Earth) was short and relatively lame.

The Disneyland Park there is nothing special either compared to the others...yea its nice and all but I think California, Shanghai, and even Paris are better parks. Personally I MK in Florida better as well because it has a few of my favorite attractions that Tokyo doesn't have though that's a bit more debatable than the other three. Also WDW has Avatar which is just as well themed as anything at Tokyo Disney.

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