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Old 09-10-2012, 04:19 PM   #1
aggiemullins
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Back from OKW in August and this is bugging me. When we joined DVC back in 2004, something I appreciated about Disney World was that while the "price of admission" (meaning park tickets and hotel) was high, everything else was halfway reasonable. I used to notice that the price of food, merchandise and even gasoline at the on site station were pretty consistent with real world prices. It was like they respected us enough to just charge the large up front price and not need to "make it up" on the back end, ala Carnival Cruise Ship style.

Fast forward to 2012 on our trip in August and I really felt pinched. It's not quite movie theater prices yet, but it's certainly 6 flags pricing. After our 1 week trip to the World, we went to a nice restaurant and I kid you not, my first thought was "oh my gosh, how can this place stay in business charging these insanely low prices?! Oh Wait, this isn't Disney World..."

If it wasn't bad enough, I just read they rolled out the new menu boards with raised prices last week. I yearn for the old days when the DDP paid your tips, you got an appetizer and they pretty much let you buy anything you wanted with your snack credit as long as it cost under $5. Then the Iger bean counters took over... I read somewhere during the quarterly conference call, he stated "we've been able to push prices within the parks nicely." This just burned me up.

I'm pretty frugal though and my DW accuses me of being too sensitive to this kind of stuff. I've also had three kids since 2004 with a LOT of price creep in my own house. Since my costs change for the higher every time we go because of aging children, it's too hard for me to tell how much an average trip goes up every time we go. Does anyone else with better fixed costs notice serious price creep or am I over reacting?

Now before anyone bashes me like my DW, let me just put out there that since 2004, a one day base has gone up 71% (or almost 8% a year) and the AP 56% (or almost 7% a year). Also a large soda has gone up almost 36% just in the last year. Don't even get me started on how much the DDP has gone up...
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Old 09-11-2012, 10:10 AM   #2
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Disney is not operating in a vaccum, they have never been cheap. There are places that are more expensive.
To me McDonalds value meals should still be $2.99 but now they are $5.99. Candy bars used to be $.50 and now they are over a buck in vending machines. Actually, a cup of Coke at WDW is affordable compared to ball game prices.
Another instance, last year we went to Chicago for a weekend. Talk about more $$$ every time you turn around! It was a lot of fun, but the total daily cost of admissions, parking and food was more than we spend at Disney.

I fully understand your point. I still remember paying $25/day (package add-on) for the DDP With Appetizer And gratuity! They used to advertise 40% savings, now it's only 20%... I do wonder what prices would be if the economy did not slow down
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Old 09-11-2012, 01:13 PM   #3
aggiemullins
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You're right, Disney certainly isn't out of the norm. We went to DC too and it was outrageous as well.

I just worry about where it'll end. 8% annual price increases isn't sustainable indefinitely. In classic supply vs demand, they're pushing prices to the point of what the market will bare. I just hope they find that point before we're priced out.

But also, are we even the target audience anymore? It felt like 30-50% foreigners this past trip. With middle class incomes shrinking along with the dollar, is Disney pricing itself to the foreign markets to keep profits rolling in? I certainly don't know too many people who can afford the $5K+ for a Disney vacation anymore. At least not more then once a decade or so.
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Old 09-11-2012, 01:48 PM   #4
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Also, an enormous part of what makes the "Disney Magic" is because you truly feel like they "care" about you and your family. Everyone from the ride operator to the janitor makes Disney special because they'll typically go above and beyond for you. Not because they're paid to, but because of Walt's legacy. It's what he did and the tradition has carried on. Its what makes Disney unique.

Of course they have to make a profit too, but over the last five years with all the cutbacks and way above inflation price increases, it doesn't feel like they're too concerned about us anymore. A lot lesser companies have held the line on raising prices because they knew the people couldn't afford it. I know they're a business first where profit is king, but it sure feels like the suits have forgotten what makes the "Magic" that ultimately makes them a success. It certainly isn't John Carter & Mars Needs Moms.
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Old 09-12-2012, 07:53 AM   #5
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I completely agree about the prices - I have magnets from every year we have gone (which is every year) and my 2008 magnet says $3.95 on the back, and I just bought my 2012 magnet for $6.95 It's the exact same kind of magnet, just different year and color. My friend didn't buy one like she usually does, just got the 2012 Christmas ornament instead (I buy both no matter what the price). What really burns me is that I have to have an AP just to get a discount on items. I think with our DVC membership with all the price increases, they could throw us a bone with at least 10% on souvenirs. I guess they know I'll still buy them no matter what!
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Old 09-12-2012, 09:38 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iluveeyore View Post
I completely agree about the prices - I have magnets from every year we have gone (which is every year) and my 2008 magnet says $3.95 on the back, and I just bought my 2012 magnet for $6.95 It's the exact same kind of magnet, just different year and color. My friend didn't buy one like she usually does, just got the 2012 Christmas ornament instead (I buy both no matter what the price). What really burns me is that I have to have an AP just to get a discount on items. I think with our DVC membership with all the price increases, they could throw us a bone with at least 10% on souvenirs. I guess they know I'll still buy them no matter what!
I buy at least one Christmas ornament every trip. And since I will do it no matter what the price, like you, Disney will never have any motivation to lower or keep their prices the same. We can probably assume there are 'millions' like us or at least hundreds of thousands. They are counting on our mentality that we HAVE to have it.
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Old 09-12-2012, 09:43 AM   #7
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I buy at least one Christmas ornament every trip. And since I will do it no matter what the price, like you, Disney will never have any motivation to lower or keep their prices the same. We can probably assume there are 'millions' like us or at least hundreds of thousands. They are counting on our mentality that we HAVE to have it.
Except for those of us that bought an item of resort specific clothing... Our cost dropped to $0, but so did the selection
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Old 09-12-2012, 11:03 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iluveeyore
I completely agree about the prices - I have magnets from every year we have gone (which is every year) and my 2008 magnet says $3.95 on the back, and I just bought my 2012 magnet for $6.95 It's the exact same kind of magnet, just different year and color. My friend didn't buy one like she usually does, just got the 2012 Christmas ornament instead (I buy both no matter what the price). What really burns me is that I have to have an AP just to get a discount on items. I think with our DVC membership with all the price increases, they could throw us a bone with at least 10% on souvenirs. I guess they know I'll still buy them no matter what!
Wow. 75% price increase in 4 years. With inflation like that, a 10% discount won't get you very far for very long.

A major survey indicator with Disney that they supposedly take very serious is the "do you plan to return to Disney" question. Of course us DVC people will always go back, but I wonder how all these price jumps will affect the non-fanaticals. Last year we went with another family who had never been before. They had a great trip totally buying into the hype and spent in the neighborhood of $2-3K in just restaurants and merchandise for 5 days. When they got home, he said they had a good time, but had SERIOUS buyers remorse stating they would probably never go back because of the cost. This is coming from a guy who pulls in $150-$200K/year. He also added most of their yearly European family trips had cost about the same or less and he'd rather go there for the same price.
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Old 09-12-2012, 12:38 PM   #9
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The value / declining "magic" has been a continual topic on the Dis (DVC and non-DVC). There seems to be a general consensus that Disney knows they are aware of those issues and is fine going down the same path. Disney really likes those one-time visitors that spend too much (and later regret it) but that's OK, there are a ton more families they can market into making their big , once a lifetime, trip.
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Old 09-12-2012, 04:29 PM   #10
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PIXIE DUST ALERT!!! After my post above, it's like Tinkerbell heard me, and DVC just announced 10% off of all Disney merchandise sold at parks and resorts for DVC members starting Oct. 1 - WoW!!!!
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Old 09-22-2012, 07:04 PM   #11
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I believe it is just the nature of economics. First, most industries, like Disney, will try to find that price point that works most for their bottom line and, in some cases, will actually provide a better experience. As the price increases, and less people go to the resort, Disney is able to maintain a stable profit margin. In addition, those who choose to go to the park, may deal with a less busy park. So Disney may increase the price until the consumer pushes back and their profits begin to dip. They then will likely know where their maximum efficiency is.

The question is though, what came first, less people going to the park or Disney raising prices. We know that with the economy, extra vacations have been on hold for a lot of families. We also know that costs of many items have increased. So the cost, coupled with Disney possibly seeing a reduction in attendance from consumers affected by the economy would lead them to increase prices.

In addition, since Disney is a luxury item, and would be the first to go on many family budgets, its price will go up much more than that of bread, milk, gas, etc since people typically don't cut food and other needed resources out of their budget.
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Old 09-23-2012, 02:41 PM   #12
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For our last trip, we had a car and ate off site more often. We could pay for 2.5 meals off site for every on site meal. It's not our first choice, but one that we were content with. We had a coupon for a free entree at Macaroni Grill one night. Dinner for four people was a shockingly low $45!

We also found ourselves eating at Wolfgang Puck's counter service restaurant in Downtown Disney more. Great food and somewhat reasonable by Disney standards.
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Old 09-23-2012, 03:57 PM   #13
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We have APs (will get the new discounted ones soon) and use TIW. As DVC owners I can see making non-park trips at certain times and saving that cost....still getting TIW since we no longer have to have APs to get that.

We are keeping our vacations centered at Disney--fine with me. I still fill like I get my money's worth most of the time. This year I found it hard to justify MNSSHP tickets ( we have been numerous times)--of course we want to go 10/31...but the extra tickets on 10/28 took some soul searching.

I am thinking of one trip (instead of two) next year in the fall. We can use the $399 pass for that and have it carry us in to 2014. So even those of us with a vested interest in WDW are becoming more conservative with our expenditures over time. DH and I use to not worry about cost so much.....the last two years I have seen the economics of vacationing become more of a concern for us. I think one of the first things to go will be flights...we are only 9 hours by car...so once the ticket gets to $250...we are on the road.
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Old 09-27-2012, 08:07 AM   #14
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Just came back from Disney and yes more money for less things. One thing that stood out was no more napkins with there name on it, I thought maybe it was that ice cream cart, but it was all over. OKW they only put one coffee pack in our room and no extra bath tissue. My DH got stuck in bathroom had to grab tissues for him.
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