[This is a post discussing the impact of tiered pricing on crowds at Disney parks. For a post discussing the impact of price increases on crowds click here]
On Sunday Disney announced price increases to theme park admission and introduced a tiered pricing system for single day tickets. It is unlikely that tiered pricing for single day tickets will have any impact on crowds throughout the rest of 2016, so we currently have no plans to make adjustments to the Disney World Crowd Calendar. Of course we will continue to track daily crowds at Disney parks to see if trends change but here’s why we think tiered pricing for single-day tickets will not affect crowds.
The first question we need to ask is “Who buys a single day ticket?”. Most guests on a given day are visiting the resort for more than one day but there may be certain guests who are not (we hear that single-day tickets make up around 8% of guests). Who are these guests?
These are friends or family of a visitor to the Disney Parks who roll into town and wish to tag-along to see what all the fuss is about. Maybe you and your family are doing Disney for a week when great uncle Ed wants to drive up from Sarasota to see the gang and join in the fun. It doesn’t make sense for Ed to buy a multi-day pass, he is only in town for the day.
Toe-dippers visit Florida for all the right reasons. They are there for all the culture and outdoor fun they can manage but they realize that a trip to Central Florida is not complete without dipping their toes into the Disney entertainment pool. Spending more than one day at Disney park would eat up too much time from their Florida experience so they buy the one-day ticket, probably at Animal Kingdom because they heard something about a safari.
Harry Potter lovers have been flocking to Universal Orlando Resort in great numbers since the parks added Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley. It may be hard for a Disneyphile to believe but for some the question is not how many days to visit Disney but whether to visit at all. These guests are more likely to buy a one-day ticket to supplement their Harry Potter trip.
The Frugal Traveller
All the math in world is not enough to convince these guests that a 5-day ticket offers a lot more value than a one-day. Show them the prices of Disney tickets and their eye fixates on the lowest number. A one-day ticket is less money than a multi-day, that is certain.
I don’t think guests who purchase one-day tickets would choose a particular day to visit based on the tiered pricing calendar. These seem to be the fly-by-night types who although may find the costs of a single day ticket expensive, are unlikely to be swayed by an upsell to multi-day tickets and are equally as unlikely to balk because of the price.
Even if every single one of these guests is affected by the tiered pricing AND all these guests are affected in the same way (that is, they ALL choose to add days or they ALL choose not to purchase any ticket) the net effect is pretty small. We would be talking a few thousand guests out of 40,000 on an average day – less than a minute of extra waiting in line.
When Tiered Pricing Might Affect Crowds
Tiered pricing for single day tickets may affect crowds near dates when the tiers switch categories. Suppose you are visiting Central Florida between December 18 and December 24, 2016 and wish to visit a Disney park. You have two choices. You can visit on December 18, 19, 20 or 21 and pay the Regular Season price or visit on December 22, 23 or 24 and pay the Peak Season price. It may be the case that days adjacent to a more expensive tier are busier than they otherwise would be because day guests with some reasonable flexibility are motivated to save a little money.
An Important Caveat
We expect that tiered pricing on all tickets is inevitable and when multi-day tickets make the switch that may have a greater effect on crowds throughout the year.
[For a post discussing the impact of price increases on crowds click here]