What can or should Disney do about the crowds?

Discussion in 'The DIS Unplugged Podcast' started by disneysteve, Oct 21, 2018.

  1. disneysteve

    disneysteve DIS meet junkie

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2002
    Messages:
    14,778
    We dance around this issue a lot but lets really talk about it directly. One of the biggest complaints about Disney World in recent years is how crowded it has gotten. I've certainly had the same complaint myself. The parks are crazy crowded, even during what used to be slower times. Even hard ticket events like MNSSHP, where Disney can totally control attendance, have apparently gotten overcrowded.

    So what can or should Disney do about this? Obviously, they are a business and want to keep making more and more money, but at some point, the crowding is going to bite them in the behind and make people not want to come back. I've been going to Disney since the 70s and as much as I love it, the crowds definitely make me enjoy it less and less. When just walking down Main Street is a major chore, it's hard to fully enjoy the experience.

    Raising prices clearly has no effect on attendance. People just keep ponying up more and more money to keep coming.

    What's the answer? Is there an answer?

    Some ideas:
    1. Extend park hours. Open earlier, close later. Could that help distribute the crowds?
    2. Take the next step in ticketing and sell dated tickets. This will only help, of course, if they also cap the number of tickets sold each day at a level below "shoulder to shoulder crowds". Would you be willing to pay more per day if you knew that the parks would be less crowded?
    3. Build a 5th park
    4. Create some other non-park attraction(s) that would absorb some of the crowds
    5. ???

    I'm curious to hear your thoughts and ideas.
     
  2. TheMaxRebo

    TheMaxRebo DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2008
    Messages:
    16,467
    Well, considering I wrote an article on this *cough* cheap plug *caugh* I’ve obviously spent time thinking about it

    http://www.wdwinfo.com/walt-disney-...y-to-address-the-high-crowds-at-disney-parks/


    One other idea, which you touch on with your later ihoura idea, is basically have a paid event every night where to stay for a full day/night (say from 9am to 1am at MK) you will have to effectively buy 2 tickets .... or like there will be one ticket price that covers you til 10 and another that gives you the extra time
     
  3. Avatar

    Advertisement


  4. rteetz

    rteetz Rumors and News Moderator Moderator

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2013
    Messages:
    55,170
    I don’t think there is one specific answer. I also don’t think another park is the answer.

    I would say extending hours could help a bit. However that’s Disney’s easiest way to cut costs and they do it often. I think that’s part of the issue. Disney would need to spend money to get crowds down.

    Another thing is continuing to raise prices. Supply and demand. Obviously they haven’t hit the magic number yet.

    Disney needs to continue to add to the parks. Not only major expansion like Star Wars but big people eaters like shows and parades. I thought the Main Street theater was perfect to help with that but apparently they have other plans.
     
    galaxygirl76 and BigRed98 like this.
  5. disneysteve

    disneysteve DIS meet junkie

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2002
    Messages:
    14,778
    Like I said, to further the conversation Phil started with his excellent article, what are your thoughts? :rolleyes1
     
    TCups4Me and TheMaxRebo like this.
  6. disneysteve

    disneysteve DIS meet junkie

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2002
    Messages:
    14,778
    The danger here is turning the resort into a playground for the rich. That could damage the brand overall and have effects that extend far beyond Orlando so they need to be really careful with that.

    And as much as they're touting Toy Story Land and Galaxy's Edge, those aren't actually expansions. They aren't new space in addition to what was already there. They are replacing what was already there. Regardless of what you thought of Lights, Motors, Action, for example, it was a large theater that held a lot of people for multiple shows each day. And the Backlot Tour also sucked up a lot of people, especially in its earlier days when it was a 2+ hour experience in total.
     
  7. disneysteve

    disneysteve DIS meet junkie

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2002
    Messages:
    14,778
    There's also the 24-hour idea. Maybe not 7 days a week but perhaps on weekends at least at peak times of year.

    Or maybe to lessen the complaints about excessive drinking in World Showcase, how about pulling out the old Pleasure Island format? Have WS open to everyone until 10pm and then close it to people under 21 and have a late night party for an added fee. Drink specials. Live music. But adults only.
     
  8. rteetz

    rteetz Rumors and News Moderator Moderator

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2013
    Messages:
    55,170
    I agree but it may be the best way for crowd control.

    I also agree although in terms of land guests will be going into it is a bit of an expansion. DHS also I believe gains 1-2 attractions overall. But yes they need more actual attractions in these expansions rather than just space. Attractions eat people, by Disney likes their gift shops too ;)
     
    disneysteve likes this.
  9. rteetz

    rteetz Rumors and News Moderator Moderator

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2013
    Messages:
    55,170
    Disney hates the 24-hour events because it sucks for logistics. No way they do that regularly.
     
  10. dina444444

    dina444444 DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2013
    Messages:
    2,789
    After the nightmare of the last one Disneyland had in 2015 I don’t think they will ever do it again.
     
    marcyleecorgan and rteetz like this.
  11. firefly_ris

    firefly_ris DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2015
    Messages:
    833
    I don't see them building a 5th gate any time soon... they can just keep expanding the other parks where they already have infrastructure in place.

    The price increases haven't been a deterrent.... YET, but there will be a point when it does. Yes, this then cuts out a lot of their lower middle class audience... but what's the balance then? You can't have it both ways -- you can't have everyone able to afford it AND cut the crowds down -- unless Disney limited ticket sales and only sold xxx,xxx tickets per day (which could in theory be easier now because of the date-based system?) and cut it off after that... but I just can't see them doing that. Despite the fact that the price increases hurt me personally, as I already have to scrimp and save for a long time to take my family, I understand the reality of what they're trying to do.... maintain profit while decreasing crowds. I'll eventually not be able to afford it, but that's life. There will be plenty to take my place. However one thing they CAN improve is not cutting staff on days they expect lower crowds. When they do this, it makes days that really DO have less people there, feel just the same as a really crowded day because they only have rides running partial capacity, the parks close earlier, etc.

    The 24 hour thing could be an occasional upsell but they couldn't do it a lot -- it would be a ride maintenance nightmare. Some of these rides are pushing 45 years old... without daily nightly maintenance things would break down a lot more (and things do already break down during park hours anyway, it would be a lot worse with less overnight maintenance). I guess you could solve that issue by rotating ride closures during park hours for scheduled maintenance...

    I don't really know the answer. The parks were fairly stagnant for a period of time during the recession (I don't really remember any major, massive expansions or upgrades from my 2004, 2005, and 2009 trips -- everything was pretty much the same each time) and I think they are ultimately still playing catch-up from all of that with all of the current expansions. But if they had done it despite the recession, they would have been a little more prepared for crowd disbursement when everyone inevitably returned. Kind of like the monorails.... they seemed to wait until they got some bad press on them before starting to work on replacing them. They should have been ahead of the game to avoid bad show -- they are supposed to be the best at "the show".
     
  12. a1tinkfans

    a1tinkfans Spreading Some Pixie Dust Today!

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2006
    Messages:
    9,849
    I really hadn’t heard about excessive drinking... though I do recall a thread about having alcohol more readily available at MK etc.
    in all our visits I can honestly say I’ve not seen any crazy or beligrant or excessively drunk person/people.. and I’m glad for that. It’s certainly impact the overall “escapism” feel for me.
    As far as loosening up the crowds.. people will just keep ponying up the money, so price increases won’t work. Xtra after hours
    , limiting those tix ( which is not the current model as people always seem to complain about crowds) did not work.
    I’d prefer to hear about Major expansion... not a new “land” or area.. that doesn’t seem to make s dent. And adding more rooms/dvc just adds to more crowds.
    Disney is making a fortune off of the Over crowding.. it won’t change any time soon imho.
     
    halfpintpeggy and lambdabeta like this.
  13. DisneyKingpin

    DisneyKingpin Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2014
    Messages:
    168
    I don’t think Disney has any incentive to control crowds since people keep coming no matter the cost. They encourage crowds - not the other way around.

    I think there are only two things that would control crowds.

    1) An economic recession or dare I say depression. (Job numbers have never been better. The economy has been raging in recent years and Americans have a lot more to spend. So increased tickets prices are flame-resistant at this point.)

    2) A catastrophic event. (Such as 911, when the crowds sort of disappeared overnight.)

    And since both of those options would be horrific for this country, let’s hope they never happen.
     
  14. Wild4Walt

    Wild4Walt DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2008
    Messages:
    3,314
    I like the expanded hours thing - I know there are some midnight hours during peak season but not too many in the Fall or Spring. It would be great for those of us who don't want to do rope drop but still want to maximize our days.
     
  15. disneysteve

    disneysteve DIS meet junkie

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2002
    Messages:
    14,778
    Yes and no. We've talked about this before. It depends if you judge crowding based on attraction wait times or on the overall number of people in the park. Personally, I'm far more bothered by the number of people. To a large extent, I don't really care how long the wait times are. We'll get our 3 FPs and do whatever else we can beyond that, but if the walkways and stores and restaurants are packed, that's what sucks the enjoyment out of the experience for us.
     
  16. disneysteve

    disneysteve DIS meet junkie

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2002
    Messages:
    14,778
    It's also great for folks with older kids or no kids as many of those with small children tend to leave the park earlier rather than stay until midnight or 1 am. We'd be happy to sleep in, get to the park late afternoon, rather than after breakfast, but then stay until 1 am if it would mean the park would be less crowded the last 2-3 hours.
     
    TheMaxRebo and Wild4Walt like this.
  17. disneysteve

    disneysteve DIS meet junkie

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2002
    Messages:
    14,778
    Yep. This has pretty much been my thinking all along. Unfortunately, there is going to be a point where it backfires on them and I think they are rapidly approaching that point. When enough people, and I mean general public not just uber fans, realize that it's all about cramming in as many people as possible and it isn't "special" anymore, there's going to be a revolt.
     
  18. Jennasis

    Jennasis DIS life goes on

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2000
    Messages:
    30,517
    My continued suggestion is for them to increase ride capacity...that is to ADD MORE ATTRACTIONS. Expand the existing parks and their offerings so that the crowds have somewhere to go. Make sure the added rides have fast loading and large per-hour capacity.

    They could also make every day an EMH day. Rides and attractions close at 7/8pm for non-WDW resort guests. Resort guests get the last 3 hours of every night (and the first hour at all parks...but this requires WDW to spend money on staff)/.
     
    SassyBrendita84 and darnheather like this.
  19. TheMaxRebo

    TheMaxRebo DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2008
    Messages:
    16,467
    They did this for when Pandora first opened and then shortly after for Toy Story Land opened as allowing those staying on site better access to the new lands .... could be an interesting tact if it becomes almost like there are one set of hours for those who stay onsite vs those that stay offsite - allows for those that complain about crowds that there is access to lower crowds if you pay to stay on site .... and would allow those staying on site to take mid-day breaks knowing they had low crowd times to get more done
     
    lambdabeta likes this.
  20. disneysteve

    disneysteve DIS meet junkie

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2002
    Messages:
    14,778
    As a non-resort guest, I'd have a major problem with this. I can't see them doing this on a regular basis since the majority of guests stay (and live) offsite. That balance will shift some as new hotels come online, but I think they would still be alienating a huge percentage of their audience, even if AP holders get counted as resort guests. As long as onsite and offsite guests pay the same price to enter the parks, I don't think they could get away with routinely having different hours for each group other than the EMH that already exists. Besides, they couldn't close at 7 or 8 during much of the year because that would mean non-resort guests couldn't see fireworks or nighttime entertainment.
     
    halfpintpeggy and rteetz like this.
  21. Jimmy Mouse

    Jimmy Mouse My other car is the Monorail

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2017
    Messages:
    2,466
    I've said it a few times before. They need split days all all 4 parks. It's a really simple concept that would lessen the crowds and double Disney's ticket sales.
    Every day (except party days) Park hours at all parks 8am - 4pm AND 4pm - 12am. Charge the same current rate for each 8 hour visit. BUT, you cannot do the same park both time frames. You could do MK morning, HS evening or EP morning, AK evening etc. (If you are willing to pay for both). It would also work perfect on party days and for special events since the first half would always close at 4:00. Bottom line, it would satisfy the early birds and the late nighters. It would also make a huge dent in the crowds.
     
    SassyBrendita84 likes this.

Share This Page