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  • [Other] Solving Disneyland’s Annual Passholder, Attendance and Food Problems

    Solving Disneyland’s Annual Passholder, Attendance and Food Problems

    Disney recently released 4th quarter results and theme park revenues and profits were down significantly as compared to last year. Disney does not break down how much the Disneyland Resort
    contributes to the revenues and profits as compared to Walt Disney World Resort’s contributions. If one were to estimate, Walt Disney World probably contributes at least 60-70% of the revenue and profit total since Walt Disney World has 4 theme parks and more resort hotels than the Disneyland Resort has.

    Although attendance at Disneyland was up 15% in the period from July 1 through Sept. 30, revenues and profits were down compared to last year.

    How should Disneyland solve these problems?

    The 2009 promotions of having free Disneyland admission and a gift card of $72 on your birthday was hugely successful and Disney has no one to blame but Disney. Disney heavily marketed this promotion. Disney has increased the Annual Passholder numbers to almost 1 million. The majority of the Annual Passes are the Southern California and Southern California Select Annual Passes.
    Disneyland will solve this Annual Passholder problem soon. The profits and revenue from the Disney theme park division are heavily scrutinized by Wall Street and Disney is a member of the Dow Jones Average. The stock price and Disney’s profits are used as an indicator for consumer and travel spending.

    One way to solve the Annual Passholder problem is to only have a Premium Annual Pass and a Deluxe Pass or just a Premium Annual Pass. This will reduce the AP number drastically. Back in the 1990s, only 2 passes were offered – Premium and Deluxe. Disney should offer Southern California and Southern California Select passholders a discount to upgrade to a Premium or Deluxe pass.

    Disney also needs to reduce the Southern California Marketing. The 2 for 1 ticket deals and other promotions need to be cut back. Disney could solve this by having promotions from January through March and then from September (after Labor Day) through November. Promotions during June through August need to be eliminated and/or reduced.

    Disneyland has to balance its marketing to Southern California residents and out of town tourists.
    The Disneyland Resort was to be a destination resort like Walt Disney World but that plan has not been successful. Perhaps when California Adventure’s improvements are finished, Disney can reassess its marketing for a destination resort. Obviously, the addition to the Grand Californian Hotel, the new Vacation Club units and the complete refurbishment of the Disneyland Hotel which is underway will add to the destination resort thinking.

    Disney has successfully created the Halloween and Christmas markets at Disneyland and the results have been good. Attendance at Disneyland has been steady in October and November so far this year.
    In the 1990s, Magic Mornings/Early Entry was only available to people who purchased a travel package from the Walt Disney Travel Company. Disney expanded this by allowing anyone who purchased a 3-Day Park Hopper Pass to have access to a Magic Morning/Early Entry on one morning. Disney needs to go back to the 1990s model and only have Walt Disney Travel Company packages and Disneyland Resort Hotel guests access to Magic Mornings/Early Entry. This will cut down on the attendance as well. Perhaps when the California Adventure improvements are finished, Disney can offer Magic Mornings/Early Entry to California Adventure on the remaining days when Magic Morning/Early Entry is not offered for Disneyland. Disney makes more profit on packages from the Walt Disney Travel Company and by only allowing Walt Disney Travel Company package guests and Disneyland Resort Hotel guests access to Magic Morning/Early Entry, Disney can steer more guests and money that way.

    Food is another issue. Disneyland has a fairly liberal policy of allowing guests to bring in food and snacks. This policy does not need to be changed. The menu offerings and prices need to be changed.
    Disneyland food offerings cannot compete with the Value meals that are marketed by almost every fast food chain in America. Unfortunately, Disneyland has not changed to conform to American consumers’ demands and expectations. Disneyland needs to offer value meals that include say a cheeseburger, fries AND a drink for one price. This price should be lower than the current price of a cheeseburger and fries and the additional charge for a drink. Also the drink size should be a 32 ounce drink and not a 20 ounce drink. Disneyland has the buying power to get quality beef, chicken and fish in the marketplace and should stop buying cheaper cuts. I realize that Disneyland and the Walt Disney Company are FOR PROFIT enterprises, but consumers should get more value for their dollar. If Disney is going to market its parks, it should also market first rate food as well. Also Disneyland should add more sandwiches and salad selections to its fast food offerings. Not everyone wants a cheeseburger and fries.

    The pizza prices at Disneyland are outrageous. Over $30 for a whole pie – that is just awful. Cheese and flour and tomato sauce are relatively cheap.

    Just because someone lives in Southern California does not give that person a right to go to Disneyland and alternatively, a New York City Resident does not have a right to go to a Broadway show. Disneyland needs to balance its marketing for Southern California residents and out-of town tourists. I have no bias against Southern California residents. When I was living in LA, I had a Premium Pass and now that I live on the East Coast, I still have my Premium Pass but I get to Disneyland three times a year and always stay at the Disneyland Hotel and use the Walt Disney Travel Company for tickets for family members and travel packages.

    Disney needs to solve these problems now because Disney shareholders (me being one of them) want a higher stock price, higher dividend payments and higher corporate profits and Disneyland tourists (me being one and a Premium Annual Passholder) want value for their dollar. Disneyland profits cannot solely be based on Southern California residents or out-of-town visitors. Disneyland needs both markets to survive. Disneyland needs to realize that and change its marketing, Annual Pass programs and food choices NOW and not later.
    Last edited by JoeCool; 11-19-2009, 06:43 PM. Reason: Error about gift card that I made and that member CinderellaStory correctly pointed out

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        • #5
          Originally posted by sleepyjeff View Post
          Here's an idea:

          Declare an end to the AP program. No AP's will be sold or renewed after 12/31/2011
          Announce that effective immediately the one-day admission price will be $55.00
          Pronounce that sometime in 2013 a new Tomorrowland will be completed.
          Pronounce a replacement for the AP....a frequent guest card. Frequent guests will be given perks like discounts on food and merch. and even free or reduced admission on select slow days could be offered to those who meet certain in park spending quotas.

          The elimination of the AP will help Disney throw off the crowds of people who spend so much time but so little money in the park

          The bad publicity they may recieve for doing this will be softened by the reduction in the one-day admission(plus, with a lower one day more people who only want to visit the park once in a while will once again feel welcome), a new TL and the frequent guest card.

          I agree Tomorrowland needs a complete refurbishment, and I do like your concept of a frequent guest card.

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          • #6
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            • #7
              CONNIVENCE of the park. The $30 is the price some people chose to pay for connivence.

              I do like the idea of dropping ALL admission prices and getting rid of AP's altogether, but that is not economically viable for them to do. What I think would be better is to offer one AP, that allows access to both parks anytime, no blackout dates. This AP should be $600 or more, that way people truly evaluate how much they go to the parks and if it is cost effective.

              What Disney should offer to Everybody is a frequent visitor card, like the ones grocery stores use. Every time you make a purchase at DL you swipe the card and you can earn points. You can then take the points and use them to get discounts at the park on admission, food, gifts or save them up and cash them all in at once for free admission to the park, free food or special events like Candlelight Procession, sneak peak at new attractions, premier seating or whatever. That way if you know a new attraction like WOC or Little Mermaid is going to open you can save the points and at 10,000 points cash it in for an invite to a sneak peak of Little Mermaid. You could even cash in points to order merchandise through the point tracking website just in case you don't live near the parks.

              Those are just some ideas i have.
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              • #8
                Originally posted by sgtpeper View Post
                Disney sells a $30 pizza because they know that A) People will pay that, B) No matter how liberal the DLR policy is on bringing in food, nobody is going to be allowed to go to Costco, buy a pizza and bring it in, C) Disney's food prices are set to the Out of town guest, who did not bring food, and does not want to leave the park, or does not know that they can get cheaper food elsewhere. Plus if you have a family of 4 or more it is much cheaper to buy a whole pizza than 4 individual meals. Food prices at DLR are set because they a majority of people will be there the whole day and not leave the CONNIVENCE of the park. The $30 is the price some people chose to pay for connivence.

                I do like the idea of dropping ALL admission prices and getting rid of AP's altogether, but that is not economically viable for them to do. What I think would be better is to offer one AP, that allows access to both parks anytime, no blackout dates. This AP should be $600 or more, that way people truly evaluate how much they go to the parks and if it is cost effective.

                What Disney should offer to Everybody is a frequent visitor card, like the ones grocery stores use. Every time you make a purchase at DL you swipe the card and you can earn points. You can then take the points and use them to get discounts at the park on admission, food, gifts or save them up and cash them all in at once for free admission to the park, free food or special events like Candlelight Procession, sneak peak at new attractions, premier seating or whatever. That way if you know a new attraction like WOC or Little Mermaid is going to open you can save the points and at 10,000 points cash it in for an invite to a sneak peak of Little Mermaid. You could even cash in points to order merchandise through the point tracking website just in case you don't live near the parks.

                Those are just some ideas i have.
                The frequent visitor card like grocery stores use is a great idea!! Earning Disneyland points for coupons, food, gifts, tickets, etc. Great Idea!!!!

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by sleepyjeff View Post
                  Pronounce that sometime in 2013 a new Tomorrowland will be completed.
                  This is the only good idea in this entire post.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by dland_lover View Post
                    This is the only good idea in this entire post.
                    Thanks for your post, but I respectfully disagree.
                    I cannot wait for World of Color either!

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by JoeCool View Post
                      Thanks for your post, but I respectfully disagree.
                      I cannot wait for World of Color either!
                      Don't get me wrong- I agree with everything in your original post. It's just his post that I disagree with.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by dland_lover View Post
                        Don't get me wrong- I agree with everything in your original post. It's just his post that I disagree with.
                        Oh ok, sorry.
                        I cannot wait for World of Color...Probably will be back to Disneyland in the summer again. Would love to get there sooner though. Especially for Christmas!

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                        • #13
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                          • #14

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by micromind View Post
                              I'm sort of undecided between ditching the entire AP program and getting rid of only the SoCal part of it.

                              There's absolutely no doubt in my mind that the SoCal APers are the biggest source of crowding in the park. By far the biggest. There's also no doubt that they spend very little money inside the park.

                              Letsseeee here, we have a lot of people coming to the park, (and effectively paying very little to get in), taking up space that could be occupied by a person paying nearly full price, and these people spend far less than the full-price payers, and Disney wonders why profits are down??

                              I like the idea of getting rid of APs completely, and rewarding those who visit often (and pay full price) with some sort of discount. This seems to be one way for Disney to insure repeat customers. Also known as their bread and butter.

                              I've noticed a decline in food quality as well. Smaller portions, way higher prices, and it's just not as tasty as it used to be. There's too much competition on Harbor, just outside the gates. I suspect that fewer people are dining inside the park as a result, thus causing profits to decline even more. Perhaps a return to better quality would be the solution. Slightly lower prices would be in order as well. It wouldn't take long for the general public to figure this out, and magically, profits will go up!

                              I seriously question the need for a company as well known as Disney to advertise anything at all. I live in Northern Nevada, and I haven't seen any ads for DL at all here. The last trip we made to DL, I saw a number of billboards advertising DL in SoCal. Is there even one person who lives in SoCal that doesn't know about DL? If these ads caused the huge surge in SoCal APs, then the advertising appears to have backfired. Not only did it cost large $$$ for the ads, but it didn't generate any profit. And it may have cost a LOT more than that, as the crowds have discouraged regular tourists from coming back. People like me, who used to come 2 or 3 times a year, but only once or twice these days.

                              The management of DL needs to give serious consideration to modifying their business plan, while there's still time to do so.

                              Rob
                              Good post!

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                              • #16
                                not want to see AP's go away! I have a Premium and I think we should just restrict it to that and Deluxe like the OP said.
                                I like to go to the parks at least once a month, and I have been since I moved to LA in January. I've already paid off my AP about five times since then. I love going as much as I do and it just wouldn't be fair to eliminate AP's altogether.

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                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by dland_lover View Post
                                  This is the only good idea in this entire post.
                                  Guess I am ahead of you 1 - 0 then
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                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Alex E View Post
                                    I like to go to the parks at least once a month, and I have been since I moved to LA in January. I've already paid off my AP about five times since then. I love going as much as I do and it just wouldn't be fair to eliminate AP's altogether.
                                    Actually it would be very "fair".

                                    What's "fair" about charging some people $72.00 to enter the park for the day while others are paying as little as $10.00 or even less?

                                    Would it not be most "fair" for everyone to pay the exact same amount to enter?
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                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by sleepyjeff View Post
                                      Actually it would be very "fair".

                                      What's "fair" about charging some people $72.00 to enter the park for the day while others are paying as little as $10.00 or even less?

                                      Would it not be most "fair" for everyone to pay the exact same amount to enter?
                                      Well maybe they should lower the price of general admission?

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                                      • #20
                                        Like this post? Read more like it at The Disneyland Dilettante!

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