View Full Version : AP Thought

08-24-2003, 04:39 PM
This is just a thought (and maybe someone else has already had it) but first Disney tries to change the PS rules in a way that would negatively affect AP holders and now it looks like the are not going to be offering AP room discounts. Do you think Disney is at the very least trying to discourage people from buying APs and might they just stop selling them altogether in the future? Just some thoughts.

08-24-2003, 05:15 PM
My thoughts (as an AP holder for many years)... and I know I'll get flamed for this, so fire up those flame throwers!!! :eek:

My thought is that they will not quit selling AP's -- the locals just wouldn't come as much and that would hurt the bottom line way more than discounts/no discounts, some people staying off site in protest, etc. Florida is a big state and to cut that many people off would be suicide. Let alone people from other states or countries who come many times per year or for very long trips, DVC'ers, etc. The bottom line for most people who purchase AP's is (or should be) the bargain they get on admission over any other admission option. Room discounts are (or should be) gravy. And to take away that bargain on admission would mean that tons of people would just not come.

BUT... I do think Disney is going to seriously rethink how/if/when they offer AP room discounts. There are a lot of loopholes in the policies (i.e., using a child's AP to get the discount when a child can't even book a room reservation, not even asking for them most of the time at check in, etc.) that they need to close to stop people taking advantage of the situation and get it back to where AP discounts are there to reward those who seriously want and use an AP for admission -- not just the room discount. I've always thought of AP room discounts as a "thank you for coming to the parks so often and choosing to spend your money here" type of thing. I don't think AP's were ever intended to be used solely as a room discount vehicle, which is what they have become for many people. I think Disney will try to get it back to where it is a "reward" for those who come to the parks a lot, and try to discourage those who buy it for a three day trip just to get the discount and then never use it again.

I think we may still see discounts, but they will switch to being very last minute and only for those resorts and time frames where they really need to fill up some rooms. And the thing of it is, that may not be very often because the "off season" gets more crowded every year as year round schools take hold and people come to see the benefits of off season touring. So the number and availability of discounts may decrease, even if some are offered. But the bottom line to me is that the discount should not be the only reason people purchase AP's. If it is, you're possibly going to be disappointed and angry. But if you buy it for admission, anything else is extra and you can be thrilled you got that discount on rooms or merchandise or food or whatever. I've traveled to Disney too many times to count, sometimes I've gotten the room discount, sometimes I haven't. But I've never let it bother me because I know Disney is where I want to spend my vacation and I'm thankful that I am able to save money on admission, even if I have to pay rack for my hotel.

Getting off my soapbox now. Flame away -- I wearing a flame retardant suit!:D

08-24-2003, 05:28 PM
They may want to discourage out of state AP Holders. Don't forget they did still release Florida Resident discount rates for 8/24 to 10/1, so they did take care of their locals. The cost for a Florida Resident AP is less than for others. I don't think they would ever eliminate Florida AP's or discounts, but they may make it less cost effective for others.

08-24-2003, 05:31 PM
Could be...

I'd find it easy to imagine that since AP holders potentially cut back on revenue from park entry that Disney may have decided to cut their losses on any further discounts associated to an AP.

Perhaps the return business simply wasn't providing enough ROI.

I dunno. Either way it's obvious that the AP community feels ignored or abandoned. There has been much talk about how AP holders should not expect a discount, but the fact is that many were inclined to purchase the AP in the first place as such discounts were part of the marketing.

Those who criticize AP holders for being upset really don't have a leg to stand upon in the face of that fact.

I don't hold an AP pass, but I'd certainly feel dissappointed considering the discounts offered last year and the absence of such discounts this year.

Last year at this time an AP pass could get you a Lagoon-View Polynesian Concierge room for ~ $300 a night. Not even close this year.

Those who bought the pass this year in anticipation of the same thing must have taken it pretty hard. I'd be upset as well. On the other hand, someone probably booked that room via FTP and is paying near rack-rate with a good-for-duration-of-stay pass.

The question is how long they can tempt crowds in at that price. Disney is trying to reach out to new crowds and there are only so many people who can afford their prices on multiple trips.

If you take the arguement further, consider the exportation of our middle class jobs overseas. Sure, you can attract new crowds, but how many foreigners are going to make an annual trip?

I mean, this is one aspect, but one of many scenarios as to why it's a bad idea to hurt the most loyal Disney lovers.

So I could go on, but it's all speculation.

08-24-2003, 05:36 PM
Goofydad.....I have to agree that it sure looks that way. But I think it is a big mistake. We originally bought AP's for our Christmas trip(not for the discount, as we stayed at the Swan on the teacher's rate), but because of the time-frame cost effectiveness. BUT, my daughter and I went back this summer, only because we had the passes. Otherwise, we probably would have gone somewhere else. That is still money they would not have had. It is also loyalty...so they should show some too. My guess is that they will offer them last minute, as has been said, where they need to fill rooms. Flame away!

08-24-2003, 05:41 PM
Disneefun, you won't get flamed by me. I absolutely agree. I would just die if Disney didn't offer an AP ticket for non-FL residents. We visit for 2 weeks in the Spring and since an AP pays for itself after 8 visits, this is a huge savings for me. Now lets add the other 3 trips we make a year from 7-10 days EACH trip. Wow I figured an AP saves me over $1,500 a year compared to having to buy regular hopper passes. Keep the room discounts as far as I'm concerned--actually when I got my first AP in 1995, rooms discounts were few and far apart and only during value season and never at value resorts. I love the AP pass for just what it is--entry into the parks for 365 days a year if I choose. And I must add, that Disney never had to force me to buy this pass or sell me on its value, because if you're a frequent guess, you'll figure it out for your self. The AP pass--the best deal in WDW!

08-24-2003, 05:53 PM
Originally posted by n2mm
And I must add, that Disney never had to force me to buy this pass or sell me on its value, because if you're a frequent guess, you'll figure it out for your self. The AP pass--the best deal in WDW!

Thanks n2mm. I also never felt like the room discounts were made a part of the selling of the AP. When I bought or renewed mine, all the CM's talked about was the admission value. Other things weren't even mentioned. When I got my pass and sleeve I saw there were other perks, but room discounts were listed as "may be offered" at "certain resorts" during "certain times of the year." And it's always been that way. I never took it as a given. And of course they've increased in the last couple of years as Disney (like everybody else) tried desperately to keep things going, and of course I enjoyed it and hoped it'd keep going forever. But now it might be back to "normal" where they just aren't as prevalent, or steep, or available for all resorts at all times. Just keep giving me the value on my admission and I'll be a happy clam and keep renewing my pass, regardless of other discounts. I'm getting exactly what I paid for -- a year of admission.

08-24-2003, 06:05 PM
On the other hand, someone probably booked that room via FTP and is paying near rack-rate with a good-for-duration-of-stay pass.

FTP was stay 7 nights pay for 4, both room and UMP, which amounts to a 43% discount on both the room and UMP. Florida residents and those who received random postcards/e-mails also got about a 40% discount. Others got the "comeback rate" earlier this year, 40% off. Plus there were a few lucky people who got AP rates on the day they "accidentally" released them for an hour (July 30). So most of the rooms are filled up with people who did not pay anything close to rack rate.

08-24-2003, 06:56 PM
Disneefun....no flames here! I agree with what you have to say.

When we purchased our AP's it was because we were going for 11 days for the first trip and planned another trip for 6 days.
We ended up using our AP's for 3 trips....not one was with an AP discount. We did get discounted rooms, but they were all different codes that were made available.
I had tried to get AP rates for the trips, but could not find availability at the resort we wanted to stay at....so we kept the code rates.

Now.......we had planned to purchase AP's for Oct....knowing that we will return in June. But then they came out with the FTP...and NO codes for room-only! So it was crazy for us to pass up FTP and then pay for rooms using only AAA rates if we wanted to still purchase AP's. I tried every different scenario to see what was the best deal.....and I kept coming up with FTP. So now...the question is.....do we still go back in June.....quite possibly NOT. We may just wait til Oct 04 or go somewhere else for vacation.

So here is a good example where, if they had some way to "reward" their repeat guests (ie AP holders) then I would be returning in June.

Has WDW done the right thing for their loyal guest???? probably not ...IMHO.
But are they making what they believe to be the right business decision?? Who knows??? In the long run, probably not. But for now...for the fall season, maybe.

My big question is......what percentage of guests at WDW are actually AP holders??? How many actually return for more than one trip or how many just get the AP because they are there for longer than 8 days??? And what percentage of guests use the AP discounts when they are available????

Does anyone have those numbers???

08-24-2003, 07:05 PM
I disagree about what was said earlier in regards to Disney losing revenue from park entry. Last year we had Fl Res seasonal passes. They do have black out dates, but are relatively cheap. We just bought our new ones two days ago. The adult ticket is $189 and child's is $161. Total for three of us was $574. Last year we stayed onsite for a total of 14 nights (mostly long weekends). We went to the parks every day. Disney DID NOT lose money because we had a discounted park entry. To put it bluntly, there is NO WAY we would have purchased park hoppers for those many days. We would do what most people in FL do. Go once with our little one, complain that it was too crowded, too hot, too expensive and come home the next day (after staying AND eating offsite). They would have gotten the cost of one day passes, maybe lunch and a souvenier or two. That was what most people we know do and what we did growing up. Remember that FL Residents now in their 30's have been to Disney so many times, it's like going to the Dentist. When we went, they got 14 nights from us (albeit discounted) and ALL meals on property. We did 11 character meals last year and at least one sit-down meal per day (sometimes two). Souveniers galore . And all because they gave us a break on the tickets and hotel stay! If they hadn't , they would have not made as much off of us. They aren't doing us any favors. Go to flausa.com-there are tons of deals to be had!!

08-24-2003, 07:16 PM
FYI: 8 days would only be the break even point. In other words you paid the regular gate price. It is the days after this that admission is "free". There aqre many ticket options and each should be cost out to see what works for themselves.

Many many companies offer incentives to buy or try their product, but it is for a limited time. I still hold the opinion that so many book rooms far in advance, with good reason, threw off the numbers to Disney as to why they had to continue any discounts.

TDC Nala
08-24-2003, 07:45 PM
I'm starting to wonder if I can get by with just a Pleasure Island AP and start visiting other places during the day... since it's now turning out to be better for me to stay offsite and rent a car...

08-24-2003, 08:18 PM
I think APs will stay. Room discounts may go, but I figure that was a bonus to the point of the AP. Since I have no problem staying off site as long as they have APs I will probably keep getting them.

I think Disney is trying to make the AP less attractive to the "one time" vacation group. I have read posts where one family member buys APs to get one or two rooms at discount. Disney is not getting the benefit there of people like me who come back and spend money several times a year and they are giving them a discount. In that case the packages might be a better deal for Disney. If they include UPH, then you are less likely to go to Sea World or Universal.

08-24-2003, 09:03 PM
There is another post on the board about Disney survey those staying at the Polynesian on a FTP plan and wanting to know everything they are doing and I suspect everything they are spending money on. With this data and some pretty good data on spending I would imagine from those that use the Keys to the Kingdom card as a charge card Disney can track fairly closely what people are spending at the park. Being a financial analyst by trade this is a fairly intersting question to me. I imagine that a some point they also surveyed how much people spend that are using APs and other discounts.

So at the end of the day, Disney is going to try to maximize as much money as it can from its guest. I would imagine they would use such factors as occupancy rates, average spend per guest or maybe even per room, length of stays, etc, etc and at the end of the day they will figure out what makes the most sense to maximize profits (they are a public corporation afterall). FTP was a radical idea I think and they are still gauging its results I would bet. In the mean they have filled there usual alloment of discounted rooms with FTP and now Winter Dream (which looks to be an adjustment to FTP saying they may have discounted too deeply). They will probably continue to play with discount programs. Okay, now I am rambling, sorry.

Gary M
08-24-2003, 09:09 PM
Also with the packages you have to buy UPH for your day of arrival and day of departure. Your travel times may make it impossible to visit the parks on those days, even though you paid for them. Without the package, you may have bought passes for fewer days because of travel. Also the UPH passes may be more than some of us want,with the visits to the water parks, etc. included. All good for the bottom line at Disney, which is what they are in business for.

I think AP's will stay, but will be a lot less attractive for many of us, because of no room only discounts. It will probably take a couple of years to see if this new marketing plan of packages will bring more people to WDW, than the room only plans.

08-24-2003, 10:29 PM
Just throwing my 2 cents in here.....I live in Massachusetts and have had two PAP's now and have a voucher to activate my third one this spring. The first time I bought one I did so in order to get an AP room discount at BWV. I never knew about this until I read about them in WDW for Couples guidebook, this was in 1999. The next one I got for a 12 day trip in April 2002 and actually spent 29 days in WDW because I COULD!! Without that pass and a couple of great airfares I never would have spend that much time or cash in Walt Disney World. I have always been very aware that the room discounts are a "possibility" only and also only at certain times of the year. Of course I am hoping for an AP discount or other code next spring but am budgeting for the AAA discount I have now. Offering any room discounts with the pass I truly feel is gravy and also less important for me now since my DH finally saw the light about DVC!! However, an AP deep room discount makes it VERY difficult for us Disney diehards to resist just ONE MORE TRIP!! I think Disney would be cutting themselves short by never offering an AP room discount. I think over this next year we will all see some new ideas from Disney in terms of loyalty rewards and we are in a transition phase right now.

Gary M
08-24-2003, 11:19 PM
minster22, I hope you are correct about the loyalty rewards at WDW in the next year or so.

08-24-2003, 11:48 PM
I can't help but wonder how many non-resident AP passes Disney sells each year as a percentage of sales. Perhaps our take on this whole AP thing is a bit skewed being loyal followers of the Boards and many of us holding APs each year. I know that there are something like 56,000 members of this website but considering the millions of people who travel to WDW each year probably most of them are not AP holders or return as consistently as we do. I was told once that two out of three guests at WDW are there for the first time and that the average length of stay is 3 days. That certainly isn't too typical of this group. If that is the case then maybe we are just "fillers" when it comes to their marketing strategy like any other target group. If that is the case, then I don't think they would stop offering AP passes and it might explain why our discounts seem to be a bit more random these days. I spend more than my share of money at WDW going twice a year and always thought that they had a marketing clerk monitoring our anxiety levels and ranting and raving that seems to go on regarding discounts. But maybe in the giant scheme of things we are just a small group of extremely loyal, high-spending Disney fans.

08-25-2003, 12:20 AM
Inserting 2 cents....
When we bought annual passes on an 12 day stay in Orlando,
we purchased them so we wouldn't feel forced to stay at a
park to "Get our money's worth" on any particular day. We
did come back early the following year to use the passes for
two vacations.

A pass into WDW is expensive, and we found that our best
strategy was to go to the park early and stay for about four
hours. We would then go back to the hotel and relax for a
while. Our family would then return in the evening. This
resulted in more enjoyment of the parks.

Had I purchased single or multi day passes, I would have
problably stayed the entire day when I used the pass. We
would have been worn out more and not enjoyed the parks
as much.

We did use the AP to get discounted prices on a short
Resort stay (3 days) to see how it felt to stay "in the park".
The result is that our next vacation will be at a WDW
resort, or, that we will buy into the vacation club. So the AP
discounted rooms probably benefitted them for future

08-25-2003, 09:42 AM
I think we are just in a period of 'experimentation' for Disney.

There are 'abuses' of the 'intent' of the AP (and their discounts).

The discounts are intended to be a reward and a lure to fill up rooms during slower times.

Some people (if you look at the numbers here, it's a lot of people) are buying one AP for the family to get that discount for one trip.

With Disney offering the FTP, I think they are trying to address this, they are offering what amounts to a (roughly) 40% discount off a stay and encouraging people to increase the stay (and the savings) if they wish too.

People complain about not wanting the UPH because you can't use it everyday, but with the FTP you are only paying for 4 days on a seven day pass so if you don't use it you are not losing anything, but if you do use it you are getting extra.

I am one of the people who took advantage of the FTP this year, I consider myself a loyal Disney customer (some of us loyal visitors can't afford to go three or four times a year) and was already planning a trip down, the FTP allowed me to upgrade my hotel and make much more flexible plans with the UPH. If these packages become the wave of the future, then I will be very happy.

While I empathize with the people stressing out over the discounts, I have a hard time working up a lot of sympathy for someone whose not getting a discount on their third (or fourth) trip to wdw this year, while they scream about me getting a deal on my first (in two years).

08-25-2003, 10:39 AM
We are Seasonal Passholders from Fl and pay only $182.50 per pass. We can come and go as we please except during the blackout periods of Christmas to New Year's (family time for us), Spring Break (tax season time(accountant)), Summer (2 months where I would not be caught at DW anyway) and that is about it. I get MORE than my share of DW and the perks that come with a seasonal pass. Do I miss the room discounts this year? Absolutely! This is the year I need them the most (twin girls graduated from high school, bought them both new cars, starting college on Wednesday)....so, Yes, I really needed the discount. I gave up and got a AAA rate of $61.60 for the Allstar Sports for November. We usually pay $49 with a discount. Last year it was the YC with a waterview/concierge room at $289/night. That was the best deal we have ever had! I bought the pass so we could park hop all day long and go up on weekends if we got the urge. I did not buy it for the discounts. Those are perks that may or may not happen. They will not get rid of the discounts for the AP or SAP holders because of people like us. We spend money and time in their parks duriing the year, which adds up to a lot of lunches, dinners, hotels and $$$$ spent there. Just because they don't offer us a discount this year on a hotel doesn't change my mind on what they do or don't do for us. They offer the pass for the use of the parks, not the hotels. I think everyone should just stop complaining (not in this post) and book what they can afford and be done with it. They are in the business of making money and I would never give up my Disney trips because of discounts they do or do not offer. Just my take.:D

08-25-2003, 10:48 AM
As an AP holders for several years, my family have certainly visited WDW many more times than we otherwise might have w/0 the passes. That it, I believe we ARE the kind of clients for whom WDW intended the AP discounts. Since the AP discounts have been "abused" by many groups, I suggest that WDW find some other way to lure repeat AP visitors, something like the "come back" specials they offered last winter/spring. That's the kind of offer that would appeal to people like us, who love WDW but only come 2-3 times per year b/c of AP discounts, etc.

Without the passes, we'd probably only go every other year, which seems like a loss for disney, if we're representative of a good number of passholders.

Just a thought. I might add that I'm not "mad" at Disney for not offering discounts (I, too, remember when discounts were virtually non-existent) but I probably will go elsewhere next year. The lure is just not there.


Gary M
08-25-2003, 12:08 PM
dznyntnh, this is in no way meant to be confrontational, but I would like to know if it is true that there is a 40% discount on UPH when you buy the FTP and also 43% off the room. Maybe I misunderstood the FTP package. I thought you stay for 7 nights and got 3 nights free(discount 43%). Then they added UPH for 8 days at about regular cost. I didn't buy the package, so don't know.

If Disney would offer AP room rates in the future, they may require all people in the AP discounted rooms have AP's and can only reserve one room instead of three with only one AP. This may take care of the abuses you mention.

Thank you for any help.

08-25-2003, 12:43 PM
There are soooo many abuses with the AP sytem I also believe that we are in a transition period. There have been multiple posts about how people have just purchased one CHILD AP and used it for discounts on three different rooms. There is NOT any way that Disney designed these discounts to be used in this manner. But we all are looking for a "deal" and this is how some people were able to achieve one.
I replyed to one of the many AP posts this past week and I have also thrown out the idea of requiring that everyone in a room that has an AP discount be required to hold an AP. Of which one person had the nerve to reply that they could not afford this!

I believe that people should stop praying for AP discounts to be released and Book what you can afford at the time the reservation is made. Pray for something important, like world peace.

08-25-2003, 01:46 PM
Gary M--

I got the 40% from others discussing the package and the savings, I didn't bother doing the math because the package was a great deal for me.

When I booked it I asked the CM if I could knock the 1st and last day off my UPH (my Uncle did this a few years ago) to save money, and she reminded me that I was only paying for a 4 days on a 7 day (or 8 day/ 7 night) UPH.

<<OK, I just did a check against the posted rates for WL Woods view and UPH passes (cuz you made me think, which is not necessarily a good thing today). And if I paid full price including taxes for my FTP it would be $2347.77 for 7 nights (one person). I paid $1398.03 so I saved $949.74 or 40.45%. I'm glad you made me do this, cuz like I said, I just knew it was a good deal and didn't really care about how much I was saving when I booked it, now I'm even more thrilled.>>

I agree with you on finding a solution to the AP abuses so everyone can be happy.

I think the "come back" rates are another great idea, I used this for my Mother's December trip, she hadn't been offered it and this is the first (and probably last) time she has gone more than once in a year. The nice thing about the comeback rates are that you know when you book (or at least when you apply the change on your first visit) what the rate is and where you can stay and you're not booking a room that you can't (or won't) keep if the rates don't come out.

FTP is an experiment for Disney. If they see people taking longer trips, filling the rooms and spending the money they save on the rooms in the parks, then they will probably continuing offers like this, if not then they try something else.

Gary M
08-25-2003, 05:42 PM
dznyntnh, thank you for the answer. DW and I do have the come back rate for Dec. 6-13, of this year at the WL. Our AP's expire Nov. 4, so we'll have to make a decision what to do. We're retired and take about six trips during the cold months. In the past, 3 to 4 of those trips have been to WDW. I like to plan ahead and now have the one WDW trip, two to Vegas and one to New Orleans, reserved for this winter. Will have to see what happens at WDW, to see whether its just one trip to WDW this winter.

08-25-2003, 06:12 PM
There are soooo many abuses with the AP sytem I also believe that we are in a transition period. There have been multiple posts about how people have just purchased one CHILD AP and used it for discounts on three different rooms. There is NOT any way that Disney designed these discounts to be used in this manner.

While I agree that buying one child AP in order to get the room discount is what I would consider abusing the system, I disagree that being able to book three rooms with a single AP is an abuse. Disney set it up that way - if they had intended for everyone in the room to have an AP in order to book the rate, they would have made that part of the equation. It's easy enough to track, after all.

Doc and Family
08-25-2003, 06:33 PM
I agree with most of what has been said on this thread. We are long time AP holders, and have made numerous trips to WDW because of the APs and the discounted rates. DW and 2DS spent a total of 32 days in WDW last year. Last minute trips, etc. If it weren't for the APs and the discounted rates, they never would have gone that much. Unfortunately, I have to work and couldn't make every trip with them. We planned 2 trips and they took 2 additional ones. They spent $$$$$ there, that they otherwise would not have spent. Even though we are DVC'ers, when we take more trips than our points allow, we pay cash and stay on the grounds. Without the AP discounts, we will likely just go elsewhere for those extra trips. I do not begrudge WDW and am not going elsewhere to "punish" them. We LOVE WDW. However, all things being equal, we will simply travel elsewhere and help boost someone else's economy. The discounts just made it VERY hard to pass up one more WDW trip.
I do think the abuses need to be addressed, however. But, no one has done anything "illegal". WDW allowed it, and people figured out how to maximize it.
Having said that, we just bought four more APs.
See y'all in WDW!

08-25-2003, 06:45 PM
You know Disney may change the rules.

For example, CM's have been VERY lax in checking for APs. They could start making the CM put in the AP number.

They could start requiring at least one AP per room or maybe an AP for all room occupants.

None of this seems out of line to me.

I think the discounts will be around. I think they will be more "last minute" to enourage trips at times when bookings are low.

The other thing to consider is that overall we are booking vacations with less lead time in the past. I have read several articles about that so Disney may think it is in their advantage to hold those rooms at high rates as long as possible.