Disney offers a new dessert party... and one brand to join them all

November 23, 2016, 12:01 PM · The Walt Disney World Resort is offering another upsell entertainment viewing experience... and now is marketing all of its resort upsells under a common brand.

"Tiana's Riverboat Party Ice Cream Social & Parade Viewing" might be a clunker of a name, but it gets the job done in describing what the event offers — an opportunity to eat ice cream and watch the Magic Kingdom's daily afternoon parade from the decks of the park's Liberty Belle Riverboat. The event starts Nov. 29 and includes ice cream and soft drinks on the Liberty Square riverboat dock and a meet and greet photo opportunities with Princess Tiana and Naveen from Disney's The Princess and the Frog. Then the riverboat casts off for its parade viewing, followed by the complete trip around Tom Sawyer Island on the park's Rivers of America. The cost is $49 for adults and $29 for children, ages 3-9 and can be booked by calling +1-407-939-3463.

The riverboat cruise is part of what Disney now is calling its "Enchanting Extras Collection," a catch-all brand for the various dessert parties, VIP tours, nature encounters, hard ticket parties, in-room celebrations, and other not-included-in-your-park-admission special experiences at the resort.

The common branding allows Disney the opportunity to market all of these experiences together rather than as a somewhat confusing collection of one-shot deals. Disney CEO Bob Iger has made clear that Disney is looking for every opportunity to increase spending by its Walt Disney World resort guests, and the common brand should make it easier for Disney to sell additional experiences to families interested in any one of the offerings. Heck, I follow this stuff for a living, yet I found it convenient to see all of Disney's upsells gathered by category on that one page on Disney World's website.

Getting back to the riverboat cruise, this one is different than many of Disney's other dessert parties in that it takes an entire attraction out of commission to support the event. However, having worked for years on the Magic Kingdom's Rivers of America, I can tell you that hourly guest counts on the river attractions tank during the park's parades, due to the parade route effectively cutting off access to the attractions.

If Disney sells out this party, it would be possible that there would be more people on the riverboat during the parade than there would be without the party. So this event might turn out to be a more efficient use of attraction resources in the park. The question will be how many trip cycles does the riverboat lose before the parade cruise due to the meet and greet and ice cream social? But for every potential trip the riverboat stays in dock, the Tom Sawyer Island rafts can complete an extra cycle, as they are held at their docks each time the riverboat passes. It's a trade-off.

More on Walt Disney World's upsell strategy:

Replies (9)

November 23, 2016 at 1:20 PM · I heard Magic Kingdom is getting it's own insanely expensive Club 33. I'm ok with that. Emptying the wallets of the wales (50.000 to get with the club and annually 15.000(for DL)). I don't care they rent out the park for afterhour events but putting rides and viewing area's behind a paywall is not in the interest to the general visitor and takes away from their experience.
There was a time Disney build amazing rides that where so stunning that the riders wanted to buy the wonderful souvenirs that where displayed in the store at the exit. I miss those days when they generated money like that.
November 24, 2016 at 6:04 AM · Disney's transformation to playground for the 1% marches on ... and why some locals have abandoned them and gone to Universal, SeaWorld and Busch Gardens
November 24, 2016 at 10:58 AM · Well, at least they would be viewing it from the river boat, rather than gobbling up prime viewing spots in the park.

My question: what happens to the profits from all these upcharge events and dessert parties? Do they get reinvested in the parks, or do they just inflate the bonuses of the top executives?

November 24, 2016 at 12:23 PM · For all the crazy event ideas Disney has had, at least this one seem somewhat affordable.
November 25, 2016 at 9:41 AM · Simply absurd. Pretty soon we'll all have to pay an additional fee to go on each ride after admission.
November 25, 2016 at 9:46 AM · They did. It was called the 1960s.

By the way, I did click on the Disney link in the story and most of what they are offering is not entirely new. Its things they have been doing for years.

November 25, 2016 at 9:54 AM · @Anthony, I am aware that Disneyland used a ticket book for all their attractions. However, in the 1960s, admission was about $1.75, which is the modern equivalent of $14. $14 does not compare to the $105 charged today. I have never complained about Disney's upcharges before because previously they never affected a normal guest's visit. However, Disney is now saying that if I want to ride the Riverboat during the afternoon, I have to pay an additional $49. This is price gouging, pure and simple.
November 25, 2016 at 11:46 PM · Yet another dessert partiy. So many dance parties. A third Epcot festival.
At some point customers are going to realize they don't need to save up and fly to FLA just to eat extra dessert, dance and get drunk.
November 30, 2016 at 10:55 AM · I'm really getting tired of this pay to play theme at the Disney parks from the Frozen Hyperion pre party or dinner package for AP's ranging from $49 per person to $99, the Jungle Cruise Brunch ( $300+), the list continues to grow. I paid my admission to get into the park, why do I have to pay yet another fee to get on an attraction to eat a dessert and watch a parade. I've been an AP holder for several years, but these 'events' are nothing short of a shakedown for more money - #thanksShanghai?

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