Higher Prices Coming As Theme Park Attendances Boom?
Ask any recent visitor about line waits and you will frequently hear about line waits around the 60 minutes level.
At the Holidays, it’s possible that those waits can double.
Even finding a dining spot can take over a good chunk of your day, especially if you are the ‘explorer’ type of family that loves to walk up to the reception desk of a restaurant that takes your fancy!
During ‘super busy’ times, your dining options can rapidly be cut down to ‘the least favorite’ spots in the parks.
Don’t be put off though! With a combination of choosing to travel in the quieter seasons where possible, or early starts during the other times of the year, along with careful use of attraction priority queue systems such as Disney’s Fastpass+ or Universal’s Express Pass system, and you are already well on the way to a very successful vacation, even at busier times of the year.
Admittedly, first time visitors to Orlando suffer the most.
How for example do they know what’s even there to enjoy or avoid, let alone plan their precious vacation time around?
First timers are precisely the guests that the parks wish to retain and encourage to return, yet they are the group that is most likely to return home the most frustrated, having not had enough experience ‘to game the system’ during their stay.
Going forward, the picture definitely points to a couple of pricing strategies for the main theme parks.
Growing the physical size of the theme parks makes sense from a guest perspective, but it takes a lot of time, effort and cash to add a major chunk of attraction space to a theme park. Disney have almost limitless space, but Universal area literally locked into a footprint that offers little scope beyond its current two boundaries.
This leaves only one course of action to reduce crowds, line waits and bad customer feedback; PRICE INCREASES!
Theme Parks are already around $110 per day with taxes, with an additional $20 for parking. It’s not unimaginable to see those levels soar by another 30% over the next 24 months, especially as both major theme park resorts are about to launch major new attractions during that time. So by the end of 2017, a single day ticket into the Magic Kingdom could be just short of $150.
Flexible or Dynamic Pricing Could Be Around The Corner
A much talked about alternative option to this, would be dynamic pricing.
Most vacationers are already expertly familiar with Dynamic Pricing through their experience with airline tickets.
If the airline has a lot of capacity, the prices drop quickly. In fact instantly!
If the airline predicts or experiences a large uptake in certain dates, such as Christmas, Easter or during major sporting events, the price may already have been lifted, but can lift even further if capacity nears the end.
The method is great for managing demand, but also creates a wealthy profit for the company! A $150 seat can go for as much as $1500 when circumstances are just right.
Flexible pricing is a little different to Dynamic pricing.
You are more likely to see a printed sheet for the entire range of dates over a year.
This is the system to watch out for.
This is the one that’s most manageable for the park operators, and gives guests a better chance to decide whether they will ‘take or leave’ the kind offer in advance of their planned stay.
Seeing prices in early September as low as $60 per day, but as high as $250 per day at Christmas, might just be something that finally controls the crowd levels, but gives theme park fans to enjoy the quieter seasons at very reasonable rates.
Many might suggest that ‘discounting’ is not in the nature of the park operators, but it might well be the ‘olive branch’ needed to get guests to accept the flip side of those hefty peak season gate prices.
Not a perfect solution!
Flexible pricing may sound either appealing, or scary, depending upon how you or your family enjoys the parks, but it may just well be the ‘best of a bad job’.
In reality, park capacities are a major worry for both operators and guests and something will have to change, even if the potential solutions are not perfect in every area.
If seasonal or flexible pricing does become a reality, managing unused tickets on multiple passes would be a challenge, but guess what Disney removed from its ticket offering earlier this year? Their No Expiration Option.
We could be wrong, but;
MyMagic + Busy Parks + The end of No Expiration =
Disney World Flexible Pricing!