Over the past decade, we´ve seen the tickets for Disney theme parks rise straight to the $100 mark many purists thought Disney will never do. How dare you, greedy Disney? But as the quarterly results of the company keep telling us, the parks is one of the most steady businesses the company has. People still go through the turnstiles, no matter the pricing. Not only that, but it will probably keep going up.
The rise of the prices took a turn when Bob Chapek started leading the Parks & Resorts division, doing steady price increases every year with the excuse of inflation. When the tiered ticket pricing por high and low season appeared, it was evident that Disney wasn’t raising prices for inflation. In fact, they were pricing for the value the guests keep getting with their vacations.
This is an unobjectionable excuse: the Disney parks are the single best in the world. Period. And even though prices keep increasing. The parks keep filling up. And when you have parks filled the whole year, that doesn’t make a great experience. Instead, Disney decided to keep the prices up to see if they will receive less guests, but those who go through the turnstiles are more willing to open their wallets for food and merchandise. If this was Chapek’s strategy, everybody needs to agree he has done a damn well job at it.
Still, this doesn’t hide the fact that Disney hasn’t made significant strides in the management of the parks to improve the overall experience.
Yes, we are in the middle of another golden age of Imagineering, for a price tag. And that didn’t happen in ye olde days, were one could say Imagineers did some projects as ambitious as the current ones.
As price increases, the value should too. There shouldn’t be budget cuts that make Mickey stop talking during meet n’ greets, carbon copy elements from other parks like the case of Toy Story Land, or even a slight improvement on more quick service restaurants (looking at you, Magic Kingdom).
Even though Disney seems to be fast paced increasing prices and announcing exciting projects, they’re more dinosaur like with small, significant changes that could keep the magic going within the theme parks.
The company has grown in such a way in the past decade that there must be a way to expand this growth in simple things like customer service at the parks. As the Disney brand becomes more recognizable and winning some enemies, they should take more care about their parks, as it is the main front that many people experience. The only way that many audiences can interact with the Disney brand is within the theme parks.
The price tag for a vacation keeps going up because people keep coming. But as people keep coming, Disney needs to be more aware about which experience they want the guest to remember so they keep coming back. Not only that, but that experience will be the way that family will think about the Disney brand as a whole.