Your Fandom Has A Price: The Art Of The Ticketed Event

Some weeks ago, Disney announced a $300 price tag to watch the magic of Pixar Pier a few days before normal guests. It includes meet & greets, riding the attractions, enjoying the scenery and some exclusive meals. This isn’t the first time that Disney does a ticketed event, but it is the first time in a while to make a prominent event out of a park expansion.

In the past years, ticketed events around the parks have started to pick up more steam. From villains, to Star Wars, to an event that is just about visiting the Magic Kingdom at night, the experimentation keeps on going. After all, these are easily justified by management when you already have the resources to pull out these kind of activities without much of an investment.

For Pixar Pier, the $300 price tag on your eagerness to be the first to enjoy the reimagined space is a bit too far. The land only has one new-ish attraction with few things to enjoy. But as always, these kind of events are only beta testing future options for management.

With the rising costs of park expansions, Disney needs to think about which options do they have to make that return of investment in less time. Ticketed events might be the answer. Imagine a $300 event next year on Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge, much like Galactic Nights, but for the first three months of the land’s opening. It would give an option to the many Star Wars fans that will be attracted to the park, giving different experiences from normal guests, enjoying the attractions with shorter wait times, delivering exquisite Alderaanian food and unique meet & greets from more obscure characters that the normal theme park goer wouldn’t appreciate. Now that is an irresistible event for many fans that want to enjoy this land during its first year.

Doing the math with 2000 guests per night, this hypothetical Star Wars event would bring $600.000 per night, $18 million per month, $54 million for 90 days. These numbers look good even if the event lasts one month prior and during the opening of Galaxy’s Edge.

This is the reason that more ticketed events are part of the Disney experience. It is just a way to bring more income without doing that much of a complicated planning process. Once Galaxy’s Edge winds down, they could keep doing Galactic Nights at select days during special events, like film releases or TV series launches. The Pixar Pier event is just a proof of concept: if people are willing to pay that much for such a small expansion, they will quickly open their wallets once Galaxy’s Edge opens.

The ticketed events is a balancing act, were parks management sees something the hardcore fans want out of their park experience and they give it to you with a hefty price tag. And that’s ok as they deliver good experiences for those people who pay for that. What worries me about this event driven strategy is the boundaries between the benefits of the full day park goer vs. the hardcore time paying twice as much for a 3 hour or 6 hour ticketed event.

What FanDaze Told Us About Disneyland Paris

Over the past weekend, the Disney FanDaze event took over Disneyland Paris. A myriad of long forgotten characters posed for meet & greets such as Hunchback, Milo from Atlantis, Eddie Valiant, Roger Rabbit, Meg, and much more. In short, the event was a complete fan service pleaser for many fans and press invitees. Even though attendance was low, the event had the energy that is seen in more popular parks like Disneyland or Magic Kingdom.

After watching this event, many questions opened up about the overall strategy for Disneyland Paris. Here are some things that were important during this event that showed fans a great, big, beautiful tomorrow.

Disneyland Paris Is Important

Neglected for many years, the company wants to show that the park is important and their focus is to be as top quality as any other park around the world. With further improvements and refurbishments along the way, Disney has made sure that the park starts having much better maintenance compared to its dark past.

Disneyland Paris has the unique opportunity to become a great park. Since its original opening, very few has changed about it. Even though it is smaller, there’s room for new attractions and experiences in every land. If Disney is willing, they could make Disneyland Paris just as prominent as Tokyo Disneyland.

European Fans Deserve Attention

Even though Disney made a move on inviting many press groups from the US, this event showed how important it was for them to involve fans from Europe for this event. Disney knows how important a consistent fan base could be, especially for a struggling park like Disneyland Paris. AP’s and recurring guests could help the park have some recurring revenue while they conquest other countries from the European market.

This park has the unique opportunity of being in the midst of the European Union which allows millions of guests to have easier access to the parks and France as a whole.

Events Should Be Really Good

When fans started seeing how many rare characters appeared in the event for meet & greets, it is inevitable to consider even visiting the park for next year’s FanDaze. These events are for the loyal, hardcore fans, but as word of mouth starts building, some people might be interested in showing up with their families. I believe that events give Disneyland Paris a unique opportunity because they are competing with the many tourist opportunities around Paris. A family could visit the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, and Champs Elysses. They take a rest, go ahead to Disneyland Paris at night and enjoy an event that makes them see the park as part of their visit. Going forward, Disney should consider these opportunities to draw the attention of tourist planners and offer these events for families that want to visit the park but don’t have the time to enjoy a full day experience.

Besides these events for normal tourists, I expect more events coming for the parks to invite more fans to the park. Events related to food, similar to Food & Wine, could be a great opportunity for the parks as well as seasonal events. These efforts bring extra revenue to the park and cater to specific targets within the fandom.

The Next Star Wars Stories

Attention: Spoilers for ‘Solo’ on your way. Proceed with caution!

Lucasfilm has kept its lips tight about the new films after Episode IX, but some projects have slipped through their fingers. The red carpet of ‘Solo’ kept us wondering about what could be next for the galaxy.

The long standing rumor of a Kenobi film heated up with the appearance of Ewan McGregor at the premiere of ‘Solo’. Rumors affirm that the movie is in full pre-production to be filmed after Episode IX. This is a highly anticipated project for many fans, no matter what the box office analysts say. Lucasfilm will not stop at their projects, they’ll just learn about the reception of Han Solo’s story.

Alden Ehrenreich and Emilia Clarke have confirmed that they’re signed for three films, suggesting sequels for the beloved scoundrel. With the box office of the movie, this is a far away dream. Maybe these aren’t sequels, but interrelated storylines for other films.

If a Boba Fett movie is also considered, then everything could fit in for the characters of ‘Solo’. Just like the MCU has been able to give Hulk a storyline in several films without making him the protagonist, something similar might occur for the next Star Wars Stories. It makes sense because the ending of ’Solo’ has many loose ends that other creators can pick up. This could create a great strategy for upcoming movies, but I don’t know how it could work. Fans are worried that the films try too hard to keep everything connected instead of expanding the mythology.

After the surprise appearance of Darth Maul in ‘Solo’, many wondered if it could be possible to watch more of Q’ira and Crimson Dawn. Darth Maul is one of those few characters widely beloved from the prequels and his story after The Phantom Menace has just been developed in the animated series (Clone Wars and Rebels). Similar to Boba Fett, it could be an option to develop other character from canon, either animated or live action. (Confession: I want a Thrown live action movie. It would be nuts.)

Even though the rumors lead to most Star Wars stories doing origin movies for certain characters, I also wonder about how they could do some event-based movies like Rogue One. In this case, they could talk about the creation of the First Order, the Republic, the slavery in Kashyyk (Chewie’s home planet), the formation of the Jedi Council, as well as following an unknown character during the Imperial Academy. It would be nice to have some stories about the Jedi, like their expansion throughout the Galaxy or their origins from the Old Republic. I know that many of these options are also great for a live action series, but I’m curious to how they differentiate between stories for the series and stories for the upcoming films.

With the cameo of Darth Maul in ‘Solo’, more possibilities opened for the connections of different storylines and characters. There’s a lot of hope about what Lucasfilm has in store for the fans as they start improving their well oiled production machine to develop movies, series, and books to expand the galaxy.

Book Review: Canto Bight

With the release of The Last Jedi, I wanted to have more context in my upcoming viewing. The Last Jedi quickly became one of my top 3 favorite Star Wars movies and one of my favorite movies of all time. As my interest on Star Wars grew, I decided to take a leap into more canon stories, like the ‘Star Wars Rebels’ series and some books. I started reading Canto Bight and could take it off my hands until the very last page.

Some reviewers criticized this book by not giving good stories, but I couldn’t find a flaw in them. The first story maybe draw me less interested due to a different pacing, but the next three were such a joy I couldn’t stop reading. I don’t think this book is necessary to understand more of Canto Bight, but it does give context into how this city works and in this way understanding the economy of the war between the Resistance and the First Order. If you like mystery stories in a ‘film noir’ setting, then Canto Bight is your book.

The first story relates an attempt to kill somebody, taking you to different places. The second story involves the negotiation of an exquisite wine, and many things happen in between. In our third story, there’s an involvement with fathiers, the cute horses Finn and Rose ride on, as somebody is kidnapped. The last story involves the brothers Dodi, Thodi, and Wodi, clearly recognizable from the opening shot of Canto Bight, and their work in the casino. As you can see, they all have a criminal, Bond-like theme I thoroughly enjoyed.

One of the things I enjoyed the most of these stories is that they are only focused on Canto Bight, an unknown place since The Last Jedi. This makes the authors be in a free space to create, still conscious of the Star Wars universe but without the unnecessary mentions of other characters. You will see characters from other stories of the books mentioned in some parts, but it makes sense as they are all part of the same place. Besides that, there is no mention of other known characters of species.

Maybe the plots shown here could be odd to some fans that criticized the Canto Bight scene for being too earthy, similar to Las Vegas and the mafia, but I believe this book reflects how much it can be achieved when you give a whole new playground for authors and the Lucasfilm Storygroup to develop.

This book is recommended if you want to get into some Star Wars books without any knowledge of the rest of canon stories. I find this book to be a good starting point to see if you might like more Star Wars fiction in your life. In my case, I just want to get deeper and deeper into this universe. It could be hard to separate The Last Jedi from the stories in this book, but the more you read Canto Bight without thinking about your opinion on The Last Jedi, the better you’ll enjoy the stories as a whole.