Disney "Money Grab" and the future of Universal

tony67

DIS Veteran
Joined
May 22, 2003
So with many folks basically in open revolt against many of the recent Disney price hikes and changes many of the Disney Die hards seem to be talking about Universal only vacations.

Many don think Universal will be as good - I think they will be surprised - but I am concerned it will continue the trend of Universal being very busy and reduced availability. Already they dont seem to be able to handle the Dining needs of folks for a variety of reasons.

Personally I stopped staying at Disney Hotels in 2016. The last time I went to Disney it was 2017 and I stayed at Universal Hotels and got the Mears Shuttle to Disney.
I won't go to deep into it, but basically I felt Disney was ripping us off way back then and often compared it to the frog in the pot analogy for those that just could not see it. Took a fair amount of gruff from folks in the forums and basically walked away to leave "more for them."
Will be very interested in how Universal handles this - hopefully they dont too greedy and start hiking prices.
Disney has given them quite an opportunity - its too bad Epic was delayed so long.

Personally I am OK with a "Pay to Play" system at Disney - Universal sort of has it with Express pass - but the rumored $20 per person per ride seems out of hand to me - wouldn't a VIP tour be cheaper in the end? Depending on the details of it it may actually get me back to Disney for a day or two (that's all I really can take)

So how do people feel this will change Universal or are people all talk and they will just pay Mickey Mou$e like they always have?

598607
 

shh

DIS Veteran
Joined
Dec 10, 2013
Ha: been on these forums a long time. I've seen this movie before. Thousands will complain, raise their fists high, state emphatically that they are "done"...this is the "last straw"... aaaand they'll be posting excitedly about their next trip before long. :rolleyes:

WDW knows that. Their senior mgmt team is probably laughing hysterically every time the forums erupt with outrage and indignation.

As for us, we did vote with our wallets. I went from 3-4 WDW trips/year to zero. UO gets all my money now. :-) I may do an occasional after-hours party, just to enjoy the parks at night, but that's about it for us. High prices weren't the issue - lack of value was.
 
Last edited:

thanxfornoticin

DIS Veteran
Joined
Feb 12, 2020
I plan to enjoy both parks in the future, just as we have in the past. I don't think the 'gap' that's portrayed by some between Disney and Universal is nearly as big or black&white as some like to push. Both are businesses, both have pros, both have cons, both charge too much for this and that. And both have large followings that enjoy their products. There are folks who say they're so upset with Universal over this and that, and will never go back. It's very cyclical. And everyone has the choice of where they wish to spend their vacation bucks. No one is forcing anyone to go to Disney or Universal!
 

tony67

DIS Veteran
Joined
May 22, 2003
Ha: been on these forums a long time. I've seen this movie before. Thousands will complain, raise their fists high, state emphatically that they are "done"...this is the "last straw"... aaaand they'll be posting excitedly about their next trip before long. :rolleyes:
IDK, Ive been around quite a while as well and this really feels different - time will tell but much of the blind devotion to Disney is gone IMO
 

disneyseniors

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jun 2, 2014
IDK, Ive been around quite a while as well and this really feels different - time will tell but much of the blind devotion to Disney is gone IMO
I agree, Tony 67. It feels different to me too. I think it is all the money grabs and changes that have ocurred over the past few years. One after another which has decreased the guest experience, which I won't mention again here. It is all over any disney boards. Our family is not going to disney with no plans for the future, so we are voting with our money. We love Universal, even before the big exodus from disney to Universal lately. I do feel that Universal is loving this and they will be able to handle more guests. I also feel that alot of the posters who are going to Universal mean it this time. I know it took alot to get us away from disney, but my nostalgia factor has mostly gone now.
The only way we would go back is if they increased the guest experience again and went back to guests first instead of money grabs for stockholders.
 

EveDallas

Always keep fighting
Joined
Aug 21, 2008
IDK, Ive been around quite a while as well and this really feels different - time will tell but much of the blind devotion to Disney is gone IMO
Same. I've been on these boards since 2000 (lost the password to my original screen name when I moved in 08). I've seen plenty of "I'll never go back" talk but this doesn't feel like the usual talk. I think removing the free Fastpass might be the straw that broke the camel's back for a lot of people.
 
  • jujubiee4

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 5, 2013
    Nah we had 16 family members booked for WDW for Dec. News hit everyone wanted to cancel.
    Well so did I but that was because of cases rising.. Now it is Sat morning and i already got 3 texts saying
    maybe we can try next year "after seeing how Genie" plays out.

    I'm not a big Disney fan (DH and kids are) so Genie doesn't bother me. I see pay to play more and more.
    Whenever we do WDW we go to Universal. I noticed no one said let's just visit Universal. Even if
    we don't go in Dec we still will do combo trips at least twice next year. I will be curious how the crowds
    will be minus the "I'm never coming back" people.

    Have to agree though with most folks the prices will def go up up up. Shame.
     
    Last edited:

    defrogger

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    May 4, 2021
    We are mainly a Disney family and sprinkle in Universal every 3-4 years , We love universal but just kind of got priced out as we usually just go for one or two days. But we have to get park to park for hogwarts express, also have to get express pass (not the unlimited), so a single day is around $300/person. Universal gets better value the longer you stay but we arent big water park fans, so usually just need 1, 2 days top at Universal.
    Always felt we were getting better value at Disney but that has been changing. With the Genie+ and individual cost per ride, Universals value gets better.

    We are still going to Disney regardless, but now will probably do 1 - 2 days Universal every year in our 1 week trips and do a couple days less at Disney as Genie+ and individual costs will ad probably an Extra $50/person per day, at that point Universals price tag is still a little more, but Express pass looks like it will be better then Genie+. FastPass wasnt that great the 2 years before Covid, very hard to get Fastpasses for allot of rides, but it was free.
    I will pay the extra for Genie+ but i hope its better then FastPass was, we will see

    Disney execs realize as much as people complain there still going to fill the parks and the resort hotels. There just isnt enough competion to take enough guests away from Disney. Maybe once Universals new park comes out, but that is a long ways off, so Disney is going to keep pushing the prices up until then
     
  • TeddieM

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Feb 14, 2021
    What Disney is doing right now is very different then how they’ve operated in the past - they’ve always been adept enough when taking something away to “give” something also. Pretty much a sleight of hand where you could convince yourself of the benefits of the end result. This new leadership has made it evident they only care about 1 thing and this message is being conveyed very clearly which is why the anger IMO is different this time.

    The common thing to do was stay at Disney then take a day or 2 to go to Universal. With the way Disney is forcing people off site I think you will see the opposite occurring more often - people will still want to take vacations but it comes down to a cost issue. Once Universal opens up Epic is when we probably really see a transition over from Disney - the reality is right now unless you’re a diehard Potter fan do you really need to stay onsite for 5+ days ?

    This is what confuses me about how short term Disney is being right now, once you open up that Pandora’s box of a competitor being a viable option (especially with Epic on the way) it takes that much more effort to get that market share back. I used to marvel at how business savvy Disney was in making sure people got enveloped in the bubble where you wouldn’t even think about staying off property.
     
    Last edited:

    Magical2017

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 2, 2016
    We were die-hard Disney fans and went to Universal in May. The kids said they liked it better and want to go back to Portofino Bay.

    Our last Disney trip was off site at Wyndham Bonnet Creek because we wanted more space. Even then, the cost of a one bedroom suite was the same as a value at Disney and I decided to stay offsite for all future trips. The perks we enjoyed (ME, evening EMH) are now add-ons, so not really a bubble for me.
     

    tony67

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 22, 2003
    We were die-hard Disney fans and went to Universal in May. The kids said they liked it better and want to go back to Portofino Bay.

    Our last Disney trip was off site at Wyndham Bonnet Creek because we wanted more space. Even then, the cost of a one bedroom suite was the same as a value at Disney and I decided to stay offsite for all future trips. The perks we enjoyed (ME, evening EMH) are now add-ons, so not really a bubble for me.
    Yeah Im really surprised they did away with the ME and EMH.

    One thing I really miss staying at Universal was ME - it was great - nothing better than not having to worry about your bags coming and going - it does give you a lot of freedom IMO.
    Superstar shuttle is no where near as good - and far too often it does not even show up

    I also really liked EMH - I could rope drop at 7AM and do all four parks ending in MK till 2 or 3 AM.
    Now you have to pay to stay in the parks and from what I hear these events are overbooked - except the night they invite the "influencers" - and many are very unhappy with Boo Bash from what I have heard

    This is also a place where Universal is lacking - Id really like to see they stay open late at least one night at each park - I usually go for HHN and Mardi Gras and the parks really close way too early
     

    igrsod

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 11, 2010
    IDK, Ive been around quite a while as well and this really feels different - time will tell but much of the blind devotion to Disney is gone IMO
    I agree. I think this is different. People are really fed up. It's not the charge for a FP system that was once free. It's the constant bad decisions over the past 5 years. This is just the last straw. Disney kept pushing to see how much they could get away with and I think they found their breaking point.
    I have never been to USO... haven't even ever looked at the website... until this month. We own DVC, we go to Disney multiple times a year. We are going to keep our DVC, but vacation differently now. We might do an after hours party at WDW, and a few days at USO now. We will not be spending 10 days in WDW parks anymore... it's not the price, it's the value.
     

    Andrew Gross

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Aug 20, 2021
    For our family, its how well the passholders are treated. I used to have high level annual passes for all three theme park groups (Disney Gold or Platinum), Universal Premier (with the after 4pm express access with upgraded parking), and Sea World Platinum (with reserved seating and upgraded parking). Covid forced me to let my passes expire, but I did renew Sea World Platinum last January when things started looking better and planning a drive cross country including San Antonio which we actually did before the covid spike occured (and did go to their Sea World). I miss my twice a month Orlando Park weekends to get away from the usual routine... and once this COVID spike improves, I intend to travel more again when it is safer (probably after the third booster vaccine is available) and it gets cooler. Definately plan to renew Universal Premier pass since they treat our family nicely and we can plan a nice day without much long lines. Looking forward to more special events and concerns at Sea World, and their Platinum food discounts is finding me in their restaurants and shops much more than years ago (which is why a read the parks are making money since the people in the park are happily spending more noting the reasonable prices these days). As for Disney.... I have desire to wait more than 15 minutes for anything when I go so often and certainly will not upchage my family after spending thousands on my passes. Basically, I will need to see what their new pass options are- if it includes some sort of attraction access perk, I may consider it (even if I am paying for a higher yearly pass like I will with Universal). If I'm paying for access to see fireworks and Country Bears, then its not value. for my family, and will support the other parks until they provide a friendlier opportunity for those of us who like driving over for a weekend throughout the year. Noting Universal and Sea World still has nice upgraded passes, I'm sure my family will have nice entertainment opportunities to get away for the weekend once the COVID spike calms down noting the optional mask policy scares me since I am a first responder in healthcare and need to test negative 1-2x per week in order to care for my patients- so anything we do must be with safe social distancing which was easier in February than today. Just waiting for it to pass.... and ready to return when we can.... but only on an annual passes since I never paid by the day as a frequent traveler.
     

    ofcabbagesandkings

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 16, 2014
    I booked our first Universal trip because I could get free EP with our hotel booking and WDW was still standby-only. If the new Disney system had simply copied Universal's EP with VQs for the newest ride in each park I might have been OK with it. But Genie+ just sounds incredibly stressful to me. Single-ride microtransactions on top of daily per person fees, having to be up early every day of vacation just to log onto the app and make 1 reservation (not even 3!) I don't know what crappy FTP mobile game consultant they hired to design this but it couldn't be more user-unfriendly if they tried. I'll treasure the memories from our four trips to WDW as a family, and our one DCL Alaska cruise. I was just looking at photos of my boys on the Magical Express bus from our last trip. The joy on their faces just watching the silly Goofy cartoons, knowing they had a whole week of fun ahead was just so wonderful. But the magic is gone, and I'm fine with moving on.
     

    Julie Amber

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Mar 11, 2017
    I had only done a one day side trip to Universal before this year. We were open to planning a Universal trip this year due to how poorly Disney handled Covid and the poor choices from the leadership which led to a much diminished experience. Previously, we were Disney die hard fans. We visited Disney World 3 times since Covid and have stayed both on and off site. Overall, we had a great time, but wanted to see what was up at Universal because of all the changes.

    At any rate, we just got back from our first Universal trip where we actually stayed on property, spent a significant amount of time there. I have to say, Universal blew me away. I was so impressed with the hotels (Portofino Bay was OUTSTANDING!!) and the way they treated annual pass holders (yes we ended up getting annual passes). At a time where Disney won't even sell annual passes, Universal has super reasonable prices for annual passes (with monthly payment plans outside of Florida), discounts everywhere in the parks and those room discounts are incredible!

    It's pretty hard to spend $700/night for a Disney deluxe hotel with no benefits of staying there, when I can get a room at Portofino for $220/night with free express passes for 2 days, great dining options, boatride or a short walk to the parks and Universal City Walk. And really, we enjoyed the Universal parks just as much as Disney

    I'll be going back to Universal in 3 weeks staying at Hard Rock hotel and bringing a big group with me. I could have brought this group to Disney, but I feel like they'll have a better overall experience (especially for the money) at Universal
     


    Connect

    TODAY'S HEADLINES

    UNIVERSAL ORLANDO VIDEOS




    Top