Disney World takes a look at high net worth customers

Disney World is very expensive to visit under any circumstances. Currently, a one-day park entry ticket is $109. A four-day ticket with April 22 as the first day of admission with the “Park Hopper” add-on costs $554.77. This means that a family of four wishing to spend four days at Disney (SAY) – Get The Walt Disney Company Report parks will spend upwards of $2,200 just for basic admission.

That’s before eating a single Mickey Mouse pretzel, paying for add-ons like Lightning Lane and Genie+, or renting a hotel room. A Disney vacation has always been a luxury — something middle-class families have to save up or go into debt for. Now, however, Disney has found ways to make a Disney World vacation a better experience for people willing to spend more money.

Disney has always offered better experiences in exchange for more money. This is how its after-hours events have worked. Visitors who purchase a second admission gain access to one of four Disney World parks (usually Magic Kingdom) with limited crowds.

It’s a source of revenue for the business and a better experience for anyone willing to pay. Now, Disney has finished rolling out a more subtle way of encouraging people to spend more money on Disney World vacations, and it’s paying more attention to the distribution of wealth at the company’s resorts.

Disney World always lets hotel guests onsite early

Before the pandemic, Disney World offered “extra magic hours” to guests staying not only at its resorts, but at sister resorts near its Florida theme parks. This allowed anyone staying at these resorts and hotels — from the most expensive properties to the lowest — access to any of the Disney World parks before general admission.

This program changed a bit once the parks reopened, but the basic idea remained. Stay at a Disney Resort or Partner Resort and you get early access to the parks. The company explained the new program, which is now called “Early Theme Park Entry,” on its website.

As part of the world’s most magical celebration, Disney Resort Hotel guests can take a 30-minute jump on their Disney Day with Early Theme Park Admission, available at all 4 Walt Disney World theme parks. Early theme park entry gives you a head start at the parks, so you’ll have access to select attractions, shops, and restaurants before regular hours. Plus, you can enjoy this benefit every day of your stay — at any park, subject to capacity.

It’s a nice perk and an incentive to stay on the property. It’s also a benefit that extends to all of its customers, not just those who spend the most money.

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A new perk that lets people stay at one of the company’s four Florida parks — Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, Magic Kingdom or Epcot — isn’t offered on a similar basis.

Disney World offers later hours (but with a catch)

In recent months, Disney has added extended evening hours at its theme parks, but only for select guests.

“Extended evening theme park hours are a benefit to registered guests staying at Disney Deluxe Resorts and Disney Deluxe Villa Resorts,” the company said on its website.

Hollywood Studios becomes the last of the four parks to offer this program, starting April 13 (it will not be offered every night). Magic Kingdom and Epcot already offer extended hours at theme parks for luxury customers.

“Restricting extended evening hours to luxury resort guests has been a contentious issue and to many it has felt like a non-Disney change and something that goes against the original ethos set by Walt,” wrote theme park owner Natalie Sim. However, with park closures due to COVID-19, Disney seems to be implementing every possible strategy to increase revenue and that certainly seems like one of the ways to encourage guests to spend more.”

Disney CEO Bob Chapek did not address the evening hours directly, but spoke about customer experience and management capacity during his company’s first quarter earnings call.

“But I have to tell you that our ability to enhance our customers’ experience through a very carefully managed on-demand reservation system and ticketing system is something we really love,” he said. . “And I think ensuring our guests have a great experience no matter when they come, whether it’s the Christmas holidays or whether it’s the middle of September, that’s really important to us.”

Herman C. Harkins