What theme park upcharge event most would tempt you?
If all you read about theme parks are message boards and fans' social media accounts, you'd think that Disney's upcharge events are just about the most unpopular things in the theme park industry. But a heck of a lot of people pay a lot of money to participate in events that so many others profess to hate.
I write about the disconnect between fan complaints and the proliferation of upcharge and hard ticket events in my Orange County Register column this week. My take? People who complain about one type of upcharge event sometimes are the first to put down their money for another.
We've all got something for which we'd be willing to pay extra to experience at a theme park, even if you can't imagine paying extra for another thing that other people like. With tens of millions of people visiting the Disneyland and Walt Disney World resorts each year, Disney needs to hit that target for a tiny fraction of its visitors to run a successful event. And the more upcharge and hard ticket events that Disney runs, the more people whose targets Disney hits. So what's the problem?
The big one is a lack of variety. If you're not interested in a fireworks dessert party at one Disney theme park, you're probably not going to be interested in one at another park. So you get frustrated when Disney keeps adding variations on its other upcharge events rather than program the unique event you'd actually like to save up to buy.
In my column, I list some of the upcharge event suggestions that Theme Park Insider followers shared on Twitter last week. Some are funny and others serious. But I probably shouldn't have been surprised to read that the most popular suggestion was any event that excluded children.
Yes, we think of parks as family destinations, but as countless holiday comedies have shown us... sometimes "family" gets on our nerves. Even theme park fans want to get away from the kids sometimes. I guess that's as fair as any of the other upcharge options that the parks offer. If you don't like one, ignore it and wait for another that does appeal.
So let's continue the conversation. What's the theme park upcharge or hard ticket event that would entice you to part with your hard-earned cash?
Read Robert's column:
I just posted a topic to the discussion boards about a new service I have seen WDW is offering that provides guests with paid direct express access between parks. The real benefit being that you are picked up and delivered from back of house locations at each park meaning you don't need to deal with all the hurdles of exiting and entering each park. For the reported price, I think it's a great idea IF the service is quick and easy. I'm looking forward to hearing other opinions.
Well, the next two upcharge events for Disneyland are either to say good-bye to the Tower of Terror (which I'm nicknaming the Paper Bag Ride because it's covered in scaffolding right now) or say hello to a 45-year-old low-tech parade of lights (to which I thought I'd said my final good-byes 20 years ago during the "Farewell Season" of 1996). I have no doubt that both events will find their audience, but I really don't think either of them is worth the $95 for me, because I think the Main Street Electrical Parade is old and and ought to be retired already, and I still don't like the plans to convert Tower into a Guardians space fortress oil refinery looking thing. Things come and go all the time at Disney, whether I like it or not; why am I expected to pay more for that?
Having just had a nice evening at Sea World ruined by screaming, badly behaved children (and their parents), I would gladly pay an upcharge for an event with no kiddies.
Well, hard ticketed events are not anything new for WDW. I mean, Epcots Food and Wine Festival is a hard ticketed smorgasbord.
I'm ok with every after hour event. No mater how much money they charge, go ahead. I have a problem with stuff that happens during park hours because it looks Disney is using it as a solution and not to fix problem for all their guests.
I would love a premium E-Ticket Fastpass and Showpass. The Showpass will give you a premium reserved viewing spot for all the popular parades and shows throughout the resort according to your preselected preferences.
I would happily pay extra to see Bob Iger and Bob Chapek get fired, and replaced with Matt Ouimet!
I think a lot of people agree with upcharges they'd pay for and dislike anything they wouldn't. I personally don't care what a park decides to upcharge provided they aren't doing it in a way that it significantly disadvantages non-paying guests. As for me, if we assume the price is $100 it would take a 3+ hour ERT session on all the park's headliners, with a guest limit of no more than 10% the total hourly capacity of those attractions, before I'd be willing to pay for it. Alternatively, I'd also go for a lights-on mountain tour at Disneyland.
While I roll my eyes every time I hear about a new upcharge event, I was at Disneyland alone this year in September. I paid for the World of Color Dessert Party. I thought the $79 was a better spend than spending maybe 90 minutes of time waiting alone for a good spot (even with fastpass last time I was not in the best spot). It was very nice actually, I met some very nice people at my table and got to have a great view for the show. I would probably do it again if I were solo.
Oh and I would pay for Great Move Ride ANYTHING! I was so envious of the dinner that was held there. Imagine dressing up all retro glam and mingling around Gene Kelly with a cocktail.
A couple suggestions...
Disney continues to cater to an upper class crowd, and look no further to the food options as to evidence of this. While many middle class citizens like myself are content with food that tastes good, upper class citizens want it presented well. In Disney terms, that means anything from the chef's table at Victoria and Albert's to fancy frosting on the overpriced cupcakes while watching fireworks. Of the theme park fans sites I frequent (including this one) many posts are about food, this one included.
Oh man, a Great Movie Ride dinner wearing 30s/40s dress... I would save for that. And Im one of those brole Millennial, too.
OT - You really got me thinking on your comments. Typically I never complain about upcharge options but something was rubbing me wrong about the new express bus service and I couldn't quite place my finger on it. I do believe you have cleared it up for me!
The Halloween parties are a good value, but most upcharge events are blatant rip-offs. Definitely for people with too much money -- or no notion of value for money.
Eh, they won't do something like that for the monorail... or at least I hope they wouldn't as the vehicles are all on the same rail. It's not exactly like an express bus where it takes you directly to your stop. I would pay for that if money wasn't an issue or if I really wanted to splurge.
I would pay extra for an event with no children.
I have just recently been to Mickeys very merry Christmas party. While the parade was magical the event is way over priced. There was a limited number of attractions open which huge crowds despite these events rumoured to have smaller crowds. Free offerings consisted of hot chocolate and cookies or eggnog. The price for a family of 5 almost 500 dollars. I won't be returning for this event anytime soon. Soon Disney will be charging you extra if a cast member smiles at you.
I love the idea of grad nite reunions or any 21 and over nights. I love kids and I encourage people to bring them, but overtired children pushed by overtired parents are a nightmare. So a hard ticket event with people fresh and happy without strollers, or those motorized scooters that people use as human bulldozers, would actually be worth the money. The goal is too have a good time, right? Not to just consume as much as possible with no regard for the guests around you?
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