Disney "Money Grab" and the future of Universal

Bethany10

DIS Veteran
Joined
Oct 17, 2016
I appreciate the heads up! The main reason it's on my list is I have a dear friend in St. Louis so most of the reason it's on my must visit list is so I can make her take off work and we trip down there. The park is really just an excuse to spend the day with her. Also honestly I don't drink so... the no alcohol is a selling point! XD Also I'm just a fan of kitsch and plan to stack some other attractions with the trip. :D

@cfoxga Ooh! Thank you! We'll have to check out that resort!
Branson, which is very near SDC, is a beautiful area. Look into a rental when you go down and stay by the lake. Lots of options from log cabins to your standard hotel room. Cheap when compared to universal too!
 

cfoxga

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jul 14, 2009
Seriously, does Disney really think that paying $705 per night to stay at the Polynesian and then having to pay another $50-$60 per person per day more ($200+ for a family of 4) is somehow better then paying $204 per night to stay at the Royal Pacific (AP rate - rack rate is $314) plus get unlimited Express Pass all day long?
As long as there are people lining up to pay those prices, then Disney will view it as much better (for them). They have a marketing team whose job it is to convince the public that the new system is better for the customers, even if it is more expensive. I'm sure they have lost people every time there is a price increase, but demand remains strong. Will this be the one that hurts their bottom line? Perhaps, but they can always lower the Genie+ costs if it does.
 

tony67

DIS Veteran
Joined
May 22, 2003
As long as there are people lining up to pay those prices, then Disney will view it as much better (for them). They have a marketing team whose job it is to convince the public that the new system is better for the customers, even if it is more expensive. I'm sure they have lost people every time there is a price increase, but demand remains strong. Will this be the one that hurts their bottom line? Perhaps, but they can always lower the Genie+ costs if it does.
Agreed if people pay it why would they not take it?

Ive said this elsewhere but I expect this to become part of package pricing like they did with DDP
 

Adventureland

Mouseketeer
Joined
Apr 11, 2021
Universal is inherently different enough to not make it worth switching to me. Once they start amping up their allergy food game, maybe we'll talk.

I won't be able to do either park for at least two years though, so I'll really see how everything plays out. If revolt is enough and money starts talking, maybe Disney will make some larger changes that will reinstill some value to get folks back.
 

marcais

Mouseketeer
Joined
Feb 22, 2018
We've already sacked off the staying on-site section for our planned trip to Orlando next year and will be off-site for the entire trip, except for getting a 3-day ticket for UO rather than the 2-day ticket we've got in the past. We'll still just be 1 night in a hotel for the EP, though.

But Disney have lost a week of us onsite, with all the additional spending that entails. As we're off-site we'll probably also do less days in the parks during that first week.

But there'll probably be other people queued up to replace us in terms of overall spend, so I doubt our (collective, not just my family) decision will influence their thinking too much. If the "legacy" fans drop away, they'll be replaced with new ones who won't be aware that they're paying more to get less and will carry on happily without that knowledge.
 

ClapYourHands

DIS Veteran
Joined
Mar 2, 2018
Disney is extremely good at making money. They know that some folks will leave when prices increase, but they appear to still have excess demand for their services. While it is not unlimited, it does allow them to make decisions that will ultimately price out some people.

Universal has definitely benefitted from this, allowing them to add 3 resorts in the 4 years we've been going to UO. Room prices have steadily increased, and ticket prices have gone up as well (including higher prices for peak day tickets). So as the parks grow more crowded and the resorts fill up, I won't be shocked if Universal eventually gets popular enough to make the same decisions as Disney...
This is what worries me. We just got back from 4 days at UO, after being there another 4 days back in April. The low price of the APs reeled us in, and I am loving the chance to go on a trip where I’m really only paying for food, airfare, and lodging because the park tickets are paid for. The AP hotel rates were great, and definitely influenced my decision to stay onsite.

But the announcement of EU has me worried that they’ll soon be hiking the prices to Disney level. I’m sure the new park will be great, but I’m not sure I want to see the current affordable awesomeness sacrificed for a “bigger and better” UO. I like that UO is the underdog and goes the extra mile to complete with Disney.

And it’s not just the prices themselves, as others have mentioned; it’s the value. If UO keeps up excellent customer service, entertainment, and overall experience, then I’ll pay more because it will be worth it. But I’m not looking forward to the day UO is as big as WDW and starts chipping away at what they provide, while still demanding higher and higher prices.
 
  • nkereina

    Last chance to lose your keys.
    Joined
    Feb 11, 2009
    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)
    FWIW, the $20 per person per ride for the Individual Attraction Selections for the top tier rides is a baseless rumor at this point. Disney has said nothing relating to what the top tier rides will cost. A VIP tour is roughly $4000 for a day, so there are very few circumstances where that will be cheaper. Also, presumably, there will be 2-3 top tier rides in each park and I believe that you're limited to two per day.

    In my own opinion, we love WDW and Universal equally and will continue to visit both. We'll pay for Genie+ and we'll pay for the IAS. I'll just budget accordingly. While I'm not thrilled that the value has decreased and Disney is nickel and diming, we still have great vacations there and maximizing our brief time there once per year remains of the utmost importance to us. Same goes for Universal.

    I do think Universal will see a surge from disgruntled Disney visitors, at least in the beginning while the kinks get worked out. Eventually, Genie+ and IAS will become commonplace at Disney and people here will figure out how to maximize the system, so people's tunes will change and things will level out again.
     

    tony67

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 22, 2003
    FWIW, the $20 per person per ride for the Individual Attraction Selections for the top tier rides is a baseless rumor at this point.
    I think this is based of of the prices at Disneyland Paris - but I find it hard to believe they would charge 20.
    That said - if you want to do ROTR you need Genie+ and the extra fee on top of that (It not clear on that yet either)
    The other issue I have is lets say you pay for genie+ and want to ride Big Thunder - but its not available till3PM and its 9AM - you blocked since you can only have one of these booked at a time

    Anyway in the end the cost just to ride ROTR could be 20+ once you add in the genie+ cost.

    If I came to Disney specifically for that ride and spent all that money - then another 35 per person may not be that big a deal.
    For many folks that might be a very big deal and they may not even know until they get their

    I can see a lot of bad PR coming out of this.

    People complain about the cost of Express Pass, but at least you will got on almost all the rides for one set cost.
     

    maverik85

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 27, 2016
    Yea I'm most curious about how this new system plays out compared to all their other changes over the last decade. The cost addition compared to free Fastpass is a big change, but I feel there is a strong chance of lines flowing better since there won't be as many people in the lightning lanes as Fastpass had, especially big attractions. People have to be willing to pay it and with a max cap of 2 per day ones willing to pay can't even do them all most likely. If you didn't stay onsite prior it was very hard to get Fastpasses for the top tier attractions too, so the more average park goer, this might actually make the lines better for them in the standby line. But will have to see how it actually plays out overall in the long term.
     

    nkereina

    Last chance to lose your keys.
    Joined
    Feb 11, 2009
    That said - if you want to do ROTR you need Genie+ and the extra fee on top of that (It not clear on that yet either)
    Anyway in the end the cost just to ride ROTR could be 20+ once you add in the genie+ cost.
    The boarding groups/virtual queue for ROTR (and possibly Remy) will still be available. The VQ is the standby line for the rides that have it, so that will remain in place. So its no different than it is now, except that when Genie+/IAS rolls out, you would have the option to purchase a spot to ride these rides if you're not successful obtaining a boarding group.

    You're right that its not clear yet whether Genie+ and IAS will be separate systems where you can buy IAS without Genie+, or if you'll only be eligible to buy IAS if you've already bought Genie+. But either way, you can still play the boarding group game to try and ride for free, just like we have to do now.

    The other issue I have is lets say you pay for genie+ and want to ride Big Thunder - but its not available till3PM and its 9AM - you blocked since you can only have one of these booked at a time
    The current assumption seems to be that it will work in the same fashion as Disneyland's MaxPass. Genie+ will show you the next available timeslot and then you either take it or leave it. I realize its just an example, but chances are good that if you want Big Thunder at 9am, the next available timeslot will be 9:30 or 10. Once you use it, you can then obtain another, and so on. But, lets say the next timeslot is 3pm. The way MaxPass worked was that there was a waiting period, and then you could obtain a second pass while waiting for your first one. So if its 9am and you book Big Thunder for 3pm, you could obtain another pass after 11am (for example) to use while you wait for Big Thunder. So, you could obtain your next pass after you use the first one OR after the waiting period expires - whichever happens first. Hopefully that makes sense. Disney hasn't confirmed if Genie+ will operate in this same way, but given the fact they are almost mirroring the MaxPass model, its assumed something similar will be in place.

    There's definitely still a lot of unknowns, but its my personal opinion that there are a lot of people jumping to conclusions about Genie+ without us having all the information. People freak out because its yet another expense, but I think its best to reserve judgment until we see how well it operates and what the residual benefits may be (i.e. this may improve standby times because presumably fewer people in the park will be using Genie+ than people did the free FP+). I think once the benefits are realized and people start to acclimate, it will become status quo and then will even out whatever initial surge Universal might see from people who were initially miffed by this announcement from Disney.
     
  • cschaaf

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 19, 2013
    The Genie rollout has been odd. By not releasing details, they kickstarted the speculation mill.

    They have also signed themselves up for at least 2 negative news cycles - one now with the general announcement, and one later when they announce the per ride costs. They really must have thought that this first announcement would go well.

    We went to Shanghai Disney a few years ago and only had one day at the park. We paid for the Fast Passes. It was expensive, and money I didn't necessarily want to spend, but it was worth every penny to make sure we could ride everything we wanted to. That's primarily who will pay for a specific ride - the "This might be the only time we come here" crowd.

    If you're at the end of your only trip, and you haven't won the boarding group lottery yet, you're much more likely to cough up the extra money to do so.

    For some, it may come down to the choice between a Dole Whip and a Mickey pretzel or a shorter line at Rise.
     

    keishashadow

    Proud Redhead...yes, I have some bananas!
    Joined
    Dec 30, 2004
    If I came to Disney specifically for that ride and spent all that money - then another 35 per person may not be that big a deal.
    For many folks that might be a very big deal and they may not even know
    the mouse owns us:earboy2: We do enjoy split stays between both parks. Love them both in their own way.

    it’s astonishing as to the seemingly large numbers of people who cluelessly show up at WDW without any obvious prep work as to planning. This, despite spending a huge chunk of change In the process.

    even the pro’s (those who have secured RoTR multiple times after studying all the hints) admit to getting shut out now & again.:rolleyes1 It seriously stinks when you are unable to secure a slot when you have an occasional visitor along for the ride with you

    IMO Disney left this situation simmer long enough to the point where many of those who have been shut out are willing to fork over $$ to ‘guarantee’ their slot.

    all the parks offer extras via a fee basis these days. It helps to subsidize the park’s operations. I have no argument with those willing to part with their disposable income in whatever matter they deem appropriate. Nor do i blame the park management in any way, it’s a business, they need to be profitable. If the experience is lacking, people will eventually vote with their pocketbooks on the offerings.

    nagging few thots I’m having tho…

    is the IAS going to be a minor sort of lottery/free-for-all, same as the current system, when trying to purchase it the same day for RoTR?

    if you want the Genie+ but, only in conjunction with IAS at DS; can you obtain a refund if one or the other is unavailable after your initial purchase?

    where’s the love for (arguably) their best customers, the AP holders & DVC members? Once the dust settles, will WDW surely follow suit of DL & offer their frequent flyers the opportunity to purchase the Genie+ in some discounted fashion/number Other than daily Don’t expect to see any bargains there.

    i’m really hoping to squeeze in our first part of upcoming split trip @ WDW the end of September, before the system takes hold. We specifically avoided the MK on the 50th as the 30th & 40th were much ado about nothing but crowds. the celebration will roll for a year, will be back for a winter trip when things settle down & there will be tons of how-to’s as to how to navigate the system & elsewhere.

    Doubtful U would touch their FOTL program until the gate is higher or the new park opens. perhaps they will just keep increasing the hotel rates or offer a ‘lite option’ at a heavy discount to those who have no interest in the FOTL perk Or just want X number of ride options.
     

    tony67

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 22, 2003
    it’s astonishing as to the seemingly large numbers of people who cluelessly show up at WDW without any obvious prep work as to planning. This, despite spending a huge chunk of change In the process.
    Yeah - this boggles my mind - I've seen it far too often.
    Ive seen people show up with the Deluxe Dinning plan - no reservations - they paid full price for everything and used a travel agent.
    The people on this (and similar) sites are a small part of the customer base.
    Im not sure if its still the same, but even when y0u try to book a trip with Disney online they show the full price unless you click the right link for a deal

    where’s the love for (arguably) their best customers, the AP holders & DVC members
    I dont think they look at it that way - but I agree there needs to be an annual plan. I was talking to my friend yesterday about this who has DVC and he had no idea about the change - but he was regretting buying DVC since the day he got home and this was just one more thing

    We specifically avoided the MK on the 50th as the 30th & 40th
    Yeah - I may do a day or two after the 50th and as Ive said for me Genie+ will probably work out great - I do solo trips and can do all 4 parks in a day so we are talking 30 dollars as apposed to bringing the family and its another 120
     

    keishashadow

    Proud Redhead...yes, I have some bananas!
    Joined
    Dec 30, 2004
    I was talking to my friend yesterday about this who has DVC and he had no idea about the change - but he was regretting buying DVC since the day he got home and this was just one more thing
    Pixie dust has clouded more than a few people’s eyes when making the decision for such a major financial decision. Last I checked, FL offers a varying 10 day (15 in certain circumstances) right of rescission on TS purchases.

    DVC is certainly not for everyone. However, there are many of us who are more than satisfied with our purchases. generally, the resale value has increased at the majority of the properties, especially for the smaller contracts at the desirable resorts.

    The mantra of buying where you want to stay is valid, evidenced by offerings at my home resorts still re-selling (or being ROFR’d back by DVC) at nearly double what I paid for them. That said, the realtor in me must state that TS are not to be considered as any sort of investment, other than in pre-paid vacation accommodations.


    OT perhaps, even tho the idea of U selling their own TS product has been tossed around for at least a decade without moving forward, believe it’s best chance in coming to fruition will be in conjunction with the new park construction. Not a traditional TS product, more akin to the limited point/year version WDW offers. Something most likely in studio format, either new construction at the park or easy retrofit/conversion of one the existing onsite properties’ wings.
     

    TommyJK

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 12, 2015
    We went to Shanghai Disney a few years ago and only had one day at the park. We paid for the Fast Passes. It was expensive, and money I didn't necessarily want to spend, but it was worth every penny to make sure we could ride everything we wanted to. That's primarily who will pay for a specific ride - the "This might be the only time we come here" crowd.
    This is me exactly. We stopped doing WDW 5 years ago for a number of reasons (although we did DLP for a day in 2019 and loved it, especially with the old school paper FPs), but I do really want to experience Galaxy's Edge. I was waiting for a time that I could do a single day and have a way to get on RotR in a more guaranteed manner rather than the Boarding Group lottery. This system will work just fine for that. Will probably do a trip to DL in a year or so to do it.

    In the meantime we'll keep going to Universal as it's been our goto since we abandonned WDW.
     

    queenofthehill

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Aug 12, 2008
    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.
    A million times this!!! Just made this very point on another forum. Price, affordability and value are 3 very different things. For the 1st time in about 10 years I do not have a Disney AP and I don't feel bad about. My last pass expired in 2020. For the past few years my trips went from 80% Disney / 20% Universal and eventually became 100% Universal. Disney just no longer presents a good value for me at the moment.
     

    Disneyliscious

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 15, 2009
    I've packed my own food to save money at Disney.
    I've shortened my 10 day trips to 6, then 4, and now 1 to save money at Disney.
    I've stayed off site to save money at Disney.
    I've bought MNSSHP tickets instead of day tickets to save money at Disney.
    Now? I'm going to Universal in October to save money at Disney.
    They've simply priced me out. I can't afford Disney anymore.
     

    tony67

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 22, 2003
    I've packed my own food to save money at Disney.
    I've shortened my 10 day trips to 6, then 4, and now 1 to save money at Disney.
    I've stayed off site to save money at Disney.
    I've bought MNSSHP tickets instead of day tickets to save money at Disney.
    Now? I'm going to Universal in October to save money at Disney.
    They've simply priced me out. I can't afford Disney anymore.
    Yeah

    I was toying with a day at Disney since I can get a free night at the Dolphin with Marriott so I priced the ticket - that really changed my mind - especially since you cant even park hop till 2PM - 180 for a 1 day hopper and 310 for a two day hopper
    Id then add 30 on top of that for Genie+ if its available
    Im just not sure there is value for Money there

    To be fair a 2 day 2 park ticket at Uni is 297.13 and 150 a day to add express.
    But I have a lot more I can do to make that a better value like an AP for 50 more and the hotel prices at Uni are far less for far more - especially with an AP
     
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