It’s not difficult to find hate for Bob Chapek on the internet. I read a load of it yesterday when the new AP programme was announced for DLR.
But it got me thinking: what would I do differently?
It seems to me that WDW is a victim of its own success: too many people want to go there. How do you deal with that? How would Walt have dealt with that?
One way is to do what UOR is doing — build another gate. Disney has the land. And could get the money.
Another is to let the parks become overcrowded. But that diminishes the guest experience. Look at MNSSHP or MVMCP. (Presumably beginning Halloween in August is one way to try to reduce crowds at MNSSHP, by giving people more opportunities to go. Though the season pass thing they did seems counter to this approach: you don’t really want people going more than once.)
Another — apparently the Chapek approach — is to get people to take shorter trips. If we assume people’s vacation budgets are fixed, simply increase the prices. If your $5,000 budget gets you a five night stay, increase the prices to $1,250 and now people can only stay for four nights. Boom: less crowded parks. But the same revenue.
There’s been criticism of the SWGSR pricing. Lots of predictions it will flop. But what’s Disney to do? There are only 100 rooms. That’s 36,500 room nights per year. Roughly 100,000 guests a year. It has to be insanely expensive otherwise demand will be too high. Disney can’t really build a second starcruiser or SWGE will get even more overcrowded. Are there enough people with enough money to pay? My mind was blown recently when I discovered how many VIP tours at $600 or so an hour are taking place every day. I thought it would be maybe a dozen, lol.
Tom Bricker had wise things to say about the new DLR APs:
Diehard former Annual Passholders are likely to disagree, but we think the Magic Key program sounds fantastic. In addition to being good for Disney, it’s good for regular ticket-buying guests as well as the overall “health” of the parks. On busy days, Disneyland could buckle under the weight of Annual Passholders, and their colossal numbers could make for nightmarish conditions.
Disneyland has a totally different vibe from Walt Disney World, and in many ways, that’s for the better. One way it’s not so great is in the sense that many Disneyland locals treat the parks as leisurely hangout spots. A laidback locals’ culture is great, but Disneyland should be special–not an alternative to visiting Irvine Spectrum or the Grove.
Limiting locals reservations will not just throttle and redistribute crowds. It’ll also create a greater sense of urgency and appreciation when visiting Disneyland, which is a good thing. This means less camping out for hours to see Fantasmic, monopolizing tables in restaurants, and just generally less loitering.
Everyone seems to be want Chapek to fired. Fine. Fire him. Now you’re CEO. What do you do? And is it congruent with Walt’s vision (and what do you understand that vision to be)?