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Sunday, February 19, 2017

Here we go again... ticket prices increase for 2017

In what has become an annual post, I am again writing about the increase in ticket prices at Disney.  Ok, ok, I get it.  Ticket price increases are as anticipated as the sunrise.  It just happens each year.

Magic Kingdom ticket prices from 1982 to today.  Notice how the rate of increase has steadily grown sharper?
Click for a larger view.

What I have a problem with is the continued decrease in value of that ticket.  What do I mean?  Long-time Disney park veterans can remember the days when the cast member was the biggest difference between a day at a Disney park and a day at some other theme park.  The cast members and the exceptional level of service were unmatched.  Period.

Let me be very clear - Disney cast members still provide the best service in the world -- with what they have to work with.

In recent years, the guest experience has diminished.  No longer is Disney service unparalleled.  Part of this is due to other parks catching up, but part of this also is due to the numerous cost-saving measures implemented under Bob Iger's direction.  I've seen the value of a Disney trip continue to be less and less due to these cost-saving measures.  Live entertainment is a rarity.  Dining offerings have slipped and aren't quite the level they used to be, especially counter-service.  Merchandise has become homogeneous.

Where this all leads to is a decline in the Disney reputation.  Ok, ok, I understand that people are still pouring into the gates each and every day in droves, and that's correct.  I also see all the construction that's going on in the parks and I get that too. 

For now.  I continue to be very concerned that Disney is pricing itself into elitism.  I know of many long-time annual passholders who have given up their AP's because it's just not worth it anymore.  I'm one of them.

Maybe one day Disney management will start to see the trend and will try to find ways to bring back the Disney shine.  Maybe not.  So long as Bob Iger is there, I don't think you will see a commitment to the guest experience that Walt Disney was so proud of.  Don't get me wrong, I think Bob Iger has done a great deal to benefit the Disney company - he brought in many new brands to the Disney family and that's been a huge benefit to the parks.  He also has expanded the parks with the launch of Shanghai Disneyland.  According to reports, he's working to bring Disneyland Paris fully back into the fold - something that's desperately needed.  It's time to turn the attention to home and shore up the U.S. parks.

Will my family and I still go to Disney?  Yes.  But maybe not as much.  And that's my fear -- Disney is pushing away the repeat visitor.  I understand that the 1st time visitor is Walt Disney World's bread and butter, but what better way to expand revenue than to turn a 1st time visitor into an annual (or bi-annual) visitor?

What are your thoughts?

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