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Appropriate Solutions for the MK Reservation Problem

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  • Appropriate Solutions for the MK Reservation Problem

    We know that Disney is not going to eliminate the reservation program, at least not under the current leadership regime. Nor are they going to suspend pass sales. Lawsuits aren't going to be worthwhile efforts as even if they were successful it would take years to see any settlement, most of which would likely just go to the Plaintiff lawyer.

    And although the number one headache amongst Magic Key passholders is lack of weekend and holiday availability it is becoming more obvious every day that reservations especially on Saturdays are being snapped up early. Admittedly I just did this because January 22nd was available - I will certainly be trying to make an effort to go that day because it was the first Saturday to be available for me to book after a month of looking ahead. Hopefully nothing pops up that would require a cancelation. But still I am having to book without absolute certainty due to the scarcity - if I was confident that I could book when needed I would wait until I was certain I was going to go on a specific day.

    So we can assume reservations won't go away and pass sales will continue. Good news is that they can change the terms and conditions without consent thanks to their bulletproof contracts.

    What contractual modifications would change the behavior of passholders to stop this practice of hogging weekends then cancelling last minute?

    My proposal would be to change the rules around cancelations making them much more limited to heavily discourage sitting on the busiest days. You get one cancelation over a rolling 90 day period for Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and/or Holidays. You get one no show per year. If you exceed the one Fri/Sat/Sun/Hol cancelation in the rolling 90 days, or have a second no show, then all your remaining reservations are canceled and you are prohibited from booking a Fri/Sat/Sun/Hol date for 90 days. A third no show results in a non renewable status being applied to the pass upon expiration.

    I believe this would stop anyone from booking one of the most desired days unless they were completely committed to attending the park that day. It allows for a reasonable one time cancelation if plans go awry, and I'm sure that internal guidelines for Guest Services could be installed to accommodate reasonable, validated exceptions out of the guest control such as cancelled flights, illness or vehicle breakdown.

    What would you do to change the reservation guidelines to improve availability of Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Holiday dates?

  • #2
    So you want to fix this terrible system by making it even more restrictive? What I would do is ditch the reservations all together and go back to the system that provided Disney with an, "embarrassment of riches". Bring back the AP program and charge whatever they want for it. Just provide customers with an honest and transparent system that doesn't leave them feeling ripped off.

    Comment


    • #3
      1. Eliminate blockout dates across all passes. Sell the pass tiers based on amount of reservations you can hold at any given time instead of potential access according to a blackout calendar. Example Dream 10, Believe 6, Enchant 4, Imagine 2. This eliminates the common complaint that a person bought a Dream or Believe Key only because it gave them potenti al access on most Saturday and Sundays.

      2. Reduce the reservation window from 90 days to 60 days.

      3. Tier the reservation holds. Magic Key holder may only hold 4 weekend dates at a time and can hold up to their reservation allotment of Mon-Fri dates.

      Example: A Dream Key holder has 10 reservation holds, only 4 of those holds may be used on any Saturday or Sunday.

      4. Allow for cancelations day of, up to 1pm.
      For Disney Theme Park Video Click Here!

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      • #4
        I like the idea of tiered holds based on day of week. Keeps people from just blocking 5 weekends in a row in case they MIGHT want to go.

        I do not like the idea of reducing the reservation window. I understand why, but it makes it hard for people to plan trips that aren't from the immediate area. Example: I'm in NorCal, have a Dream pass, and come down about 10 times a year based on my work schedule. I want to make sure I have reservations so when I block my work calendar I have an expectation I'll get into the park. 60 days is a little unreasonable.

        Allowing cancelations midway through the day of is absolutely going to make the problem worse. You'll have no availability AND an empty park.

        Comment


        • #5
          ClownLoach I agree with you on discouraging convenience reservations with no real intent to use, but respectfully disagree on the punitive aspects with threats of pass cancellation etc. In a post-COVID world, there is simply no way to ensure you are available. Airlines, hotels, etc have all adopted far more liberal cancellation policies due to the nature of a post-pandemic environment. Too many variables cause people to have to cancel late in the game and no one would accept under threat of "cancellation" such draconian terms.

          However, there could be a hold/reservation fee that is refunded upon successful reserved entry. In this scenario, each reservation on high demand days is subject to a $20 hold and that $20 is released/refunded upon entry ( even using said $20 credit for Genie+ as a nice upsell). By charging the $20 up front, it discourages uncommitted "convenience" reservations. By allowing the $20 to be credited for future purchases if there is a cancellation after the window, Disney has the money up front and ensures that a huge stream of money is always cycling to them.

          This has the benefit of giving Disney control of the cycle and encouraging upsells with the cash already held while simultaneously discouraging convenience holds on reservations.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by tarheelalum View Post
            So you want to fix this terrible system by making it even more restrictive? What I would do is ditch the reservations all together and go back to the system that provided Disney with an, "embarrassment of riches". Bring back the AP program and charge whatever they want for it. Just provide customers with an honest and transparent system that doesn't leave them feeling ripped off.
            Just provide customers with an honest and transparent system that doesn't leave them feeling ripped off.
            I love see , the whole Disney company that away !
            Soaring like an EAGLE !

            Comment


            • #7
              1. Eliminate the MK program
              2. Introduce a 1-year expiration add-on option when purchasing tickets. Similar to a park-hopper, this will allow your tickets to be used for up to a year after purchasing them.
              3. Introduce bundled parking rates, too. Maybe an AP for parking would be nice - for those who like to frequent Downtown Disney.

              Comment


              • #8
                Here is what I do to adjust the MK program:

                - Kill MK's it's a terrible program that played on desperation to make viable.

                - Bring back AP's to a rejoicing fanbase that simply wanted something like what they had in 2019. Only have three levels of AP, 1. All days minus the last 2 weeks of the year. 2. Same as 1. but with blacked out on Holiday Weekends and Weekends in June-July and 3. Blocked out all weekends and Holiday weeks. Allow for a slight discount if AP's want to purchase a regular ticket on black out dates with the discount tiger for higher AP levels. Discounts on Merch and food similar to what they were in previous AP scenarios.

                - NO RESERVATION NEEDED BUT PARK WILL BE CAPPED TO A LEVEL THAT CAN BE STAFFED PROPERLY. If DLR feels the day will be slow they can lower the cap and staff accordingly and turn away an excess. Not more of the BS of blaming the customers for overcrowding.

                - Reservations will however be available to guarantee entry. They will put all reservations into the same bucket. No more ticket verse AP or different tiers etc. $10 per person per visit with NO refund for cancellations. A $10 credit will be issued to your Disney App. or Physical Card depending on what you use upon your AP scanned at the turnstile on the reservation day.(You will have one year to use this credit(s) If you can't make it, bummer you lost your $10 res fee. Free revenue for DLR.

                - Parking stays at $30 but a Parking Book can be pre-purchased for $150 allowing 10 visits. Large families can buy multiple PB's as needed.

                Now here is a new option I have thought of over the years:

                - Make ticket books again but this time for entry not for ride.
                • Book 1 - includes 4 tickets cost $400 ( $100 per person per visit )
                • Book 2 - 8 tickets cost $720 ($90 per person per visit )
                • Book 3 - 12 tickets $960 ($80 per person per visit )
                • Book 4 - 16 tickets $1,120 ($70 per person per visit )

                Each Book is good for one year from date purchased. Any unused days can be rolled into a new Ticket book purchase before year expirations date. Each Book can serve anyone in a single household. Up to 6 people can be included in the household per book and will need to be designated at purchase. Children under 14 years do not need to be designated ( they will not likely have a photo ID ). If a parent wants to splurge and take their child, their spouse and 9 of their child's friends they can buy Book 3 and spend $120 for reservation and all can go. Books can be used as needed by multiple people 4 going one or 1 going four times and everything in between.

                Make people happy, keep the parks full but comfortable. Happy customers spend freely and if you supply them with quality merchandise you will see strollers and arms full of merch as they leave the park and you will build a growing more profitable brand rather than sucking the blood from a corpse. Families will openly share their love of DLR again and talk to their fellow families into joining them rather than the current negative mood and cries of exploitation currently being shared only in the media and amongst past fans.

                Managements current acts are more of a hit it and quit it attempt that any real building of a relationship with the customer. Cheap park has made it clear he wants you to spend all your budget as quickly as possible and then when you're tapped out move aside and make way for the next sucker. He doesn't care if you ever return in fact I do not remember hearing Bobby Cut Slash ever mention the desire to see "guests" "return again and again" like previous management used to always talk about.
                Disneyland Fan since the 70's

                Comment


                • #9
                  Having been a AP for over 20 years I feel the problems started when monthly payments were made a payment option. For a new AP system to work monthly payments should be removed. There should be a top level pass with unlimited access, parking , and discounts. There should also be a lower level pass good Monday thru Thursday, no parking and lower level discounts. When my family were passholders we always had the top level pass including premier for many years. We spent a considerable amount of money at Disney. At this time we don’t feel that the value is there. At some point we hope Disney gets its act together but until then we will spend our money elsewhere. I would not be very happy if I bought a ticket with no blackout days but couldn’t get reservations to use what I paid for.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I think it's funny that I posted this with the assumption that they would not do anything to fix the overselling of the Dream Key pass, and within hours they had halted sales. I suspect that will be a permanent change and they will Grandfather in those who currently have it for renewals, but never sell a 365 day pass with free parking to the public again as it is just not as profitable as they want in the busy California market.

                    ​​​​Unfortunately I do not think that they will give up the reservation program as it actively encourages the guest to spend the entire day on the property due to artificial scarcity. If you had to wait for this one day to visit then you're going to be there at rope drop and leave when they're closing the gates. I firmly believe that the typical AP visitor was a half day guest - morning to mid afternoon, then a second different wave of guests landed early evening to close. So on a day where attendance might be 40,000 - over 60,000 different guests were in the park at some time. Chapek is betting that if only 40,000 are in, and they're in all day, then merchandise and especially food sales will be higher. Plus they save on staffing as there are 20K less turnstile clicks, 20K less people on transport, etc. The fact that restaurant reservations are nearly impossible to get now even with all the tables put back shows me that the desired behavior change is happening. The parking price increase shows it because the lots are no longer overflowing with cars so they need to make up the lost revenue. People are deciding to eat all meals at the park versus the old days of arriving after breakfast, hitting up some rides and having a corndog, then leaving around dinnertime.

                    Think about it - once again they lie when they say it's about staffing the park to the right attendance level. They prove every day they KNOW the attendance levels without reservations - that's why they have now 6 tiers of pricing for tickets. The Tier 6 is the busiest day. The Tier 1 is the lowest.

                    Reservations are a way Chapek and company figured would increase sales and lower costs. It sounds good to the less educated person - "we can plan for attendance and stop overcrowded conditions" when it has nothing to do with either.

                    I think the next step is the extra reservation upcharge... Reserve more days than your pass allows for a non refundable fee... And the sold-out-but-pay-up-to-get-in-anyway fee is on the way too...
                    Last edited by ClownLoach; 10-26-2021, 04:30 PM.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Starcade View Post
                      Here is what I do to adjust the MK program:

                      - Kill MK's it's a terrible program that played on desperation to make viable.

                      - Bring back AP's to a rejoicing fanbase that simply wanted something like what they had in 2019. Only have three levels of AP, 1. All days minus the last 2 weeks of the year. 2. Same as 1. but with blacked out on Holiday Weekends and Weekends in June-July and 3. Blocked out all weekends and Holiday weeks. Allow for a slight discount if AP's want to purchase a regular ticket on black out dates with the discount tiger for higher AP levels. Discounts on Merch and food similar to what they were in previous AP scenarios.

                      - NO RESERVATION NEEDED BUT PARK WILL BE CAPPED TO A LEVEL THAT CAN BE STAFFED PROPERLY. If DLR feels the day will be slow they can lower the cap and staff accordingly and turn away an excess. Not more of the BS of blaming the customers for overcrowding.

                      - Reservations will however be available to guarantee entry. They will put all reservations into the same bucket. No more ticket verse AP or different tiers etc. $10 per person per visit with NO refund for cancellations. A $10 credit will be issued to your Disney App. or Physical Card depending on what you use upon your AP scanned at the turnstile on the reservation day.(You will have one year to use this credit(s) If you can't make it, bummer you lost your $10 res fee. Free revenue for DLR.

                      - Parking stays at $30 but a Parking Book can be pre-purchased for $150 allowing 10 visits. Large families can buy multiple PB's as needed.

                      Now here is a new option I have thought of over the years:

                      - Make ticket books again but this time for entry not for ride.
                      • Book 1 - includes 4 tickets cost $400 ( $100 per person per visit )
                      • Book 2 - 8 tickets cost $720 ($90 per person per visit )
                      • Book 3 - 12 tickets $960 ($80 per person per visit )
                      • Book 4 - 16 tickets $1,120 ($70 per person per visit )

                      Each Book is good for one year from date purchased. Any unused days can be rolled into a new Ticket book purchase before year expirations date. Each Book can serve anyone in a single household. Up to 6 people can be included in the household per book and will need to be designated at purchase. Children under 14 years do not need to be designated ( they will not likely have a photo ID ). If a parent wants to splurge and take their child, their spouse and 9 of their child's friends they can buy Book 3 and spend $120 for reservation and all can go. Books can be used as needed by multiple people 4 going one or 1 going four times and everything in between.

                      Make people happy, keep the parks full but comfortable. Happy customers spend freely and if you supply them with quality merchandise you will see strollers and arms full of merch as they leave the park and you will build a growing more profitable brand rather than sucking the blood from a corpse. Families will openly share their love of DLR again and talk to their fellow families into joining them rather than the current negative mood and cries of exploitation currently being shared only in the media and amongst past fans.

                      Managements current acts are more of a hit it and quit it attempt that any real building of a relationship with the customer. Cheap park has made it clear he wants you to spend all your budget as quickly as possible and then when you're tapped out move aside and make way for the next sucker. He doesn't care if you ever return in fact I do not remember hearing Bobby Cut Slash ever mention the desire to see "guests" "return again and again" like previous management used to always talk about.
                      Love it all... both solutions to fix what's broken AND especially your book idea as a start from scratch option.

                      It's maddening they had the opportunity to make things better and did the opposite in almost every way I can think of.
                      You know, I have the strangest feeling that I've seen that ship before. A long time ago, when I was very young. ―George Darling
                      It seems to me that we have a lot of story yet to tell. ― Walt Disney

                      Comment

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