Disney – I love you… BUT
What the heck are you doing these days?
First, I have to make it clear – I am a Disney fanatic to my core. Walt Disney World is my happy place and always has been. Somehow I’ve always had a hard time criticizing any decisions because I felt like I was being disloyal, but I don’t think I can be silent any longer.
There have been many decisions recently that have left me scratching my head and thinking “WTH Disney?” I get that it’s a business, and they have to make money to provide a good investment to the shareholders (myself included), but at what cost? Why does it feel like they’re nickel and diming me all of a sudden? Why do I feel like it’s an airline now where I’ve paid for a ticket but need to add on options like seat selection and baggage fees to calculate the real cost? I’m feeling a little irritated with Disney and I don’t like it.
I buy an annual pass for Walt Disney World so the ticket prices didn’t really have an impact on me personally this year, but how complicated can you make it Disney? Different prices for 1 day at Magic Kingdom vs. Epcot, and with the new ‘demand pricing’ the time of year you’re travelling will get you a different price of admission as well. Why does it have to be so complicated?
Special events and tickets seem to be getting more and more prevalent. It used to be that I would say, “I know it seems expensive, but just think of everything that’s included!” Now I’m saying “think of everything that’s included – but they also have all of these other things you can pay extra for if you want a premium experience”. So for a first timer – do they think they’re not getting the full Disney experience if they don’t pay for an event like the Disney After Hours? And what’s with the price increase for Halloween and Christmas party tickets? Want to meet a rare villain with little lines? There’s a special party for that too.
Saying to my friends “the food is cheaper than you would pay for at Canada’s Wonderland” – but guess what? Prices have gone up there too! A bottle of water increased that too from $2.75 to $3. I know it’s only a quarter, but when you’re buying 10 a day (I drink a lot of water) – it adds up!
I realize that Disney is still a fantastic value, and it is still the happiest place in the world for me. If I didn’t go so often, I wouldn’t even notice these little things. For guests who are visiting for the first time – they’re probably in line with their preconceived notions of what a Disney vacation would cost anyway.
Maybe I’m irritated because it was always a point of distinction for me that Universal charged extra for their version of the fastpass but at Disney it was available to everyone with the price of admission. With all of these add-ons that they have, it seems like Disney have found a way to cater to those with deep pockets to get their own version of ‘front of the line’ access, making me feel like I’m missing something if I don’t buy them all. I know I’m technically not missing anything, but still, if only my pockets were that deep…
C’mon Disney, it’s time to rethink your new strategy and get back to doing what you do best, create magic for everyone.
“When they come here they’re coming because of an integrity that we’ve established over the years. And they drive hundreds of miles. I feel a responsibility to the public.” – Walt Disney