Just What Is The $Tipping$ Point?

kathy884

DIS Veteran
Joined
Sep 26, 2009
I wasn't sure where to post this, so here it is.

I'm budget minded, financially conservative, nearing retirement, loving Disney.

But at what point do I say 'enough is enough' with the price increases? We used to get annual passes and actually go a few times. It was fun and an easy to plan trip for us. But I'm beginning to think at some point, I have to say it's just too much. -- For those who have a particular budget that they stick to, there are lots of choices for still going if people still want to (offsite, shorter trips, less frequent trips, sharing quick service meals, bringing food and a water bottle into the parks). We've been doing more trips other places, but find that other places that appeal to us are mostly more not less expensive than Disney. But we were already for decades doing things that lower the cost of a Orlando trip and find exceptional value in offsite condo/house rentals (an overbuilt market with very good prices for quality).

It's the resorts and tickets, the $3 bottles of water, the parking fees and on and on and on... Ticket prices are something you can't get around. Offsite and take uber/lyft is a way to avoid parking fee. Actually though a rental car and parking when offsite usually comes out cheaper. I know being nickled and dimed gets really old, really fast. That water bottle and asking for ice water is always an option.

Do you think disney will just keep increasing the prices at the rate they've been doing to ' see how far they can'? I mean, if the crowd keep coming, what is to stop them? If I were in it, to please the stockholders, which is what any for-profit public company does these days, why not keep increasing the prices? I think prices will still go up, but Disney will be closely looking at the economy, profits, and attendance. I own some Disney stock and wasn't planning on selling it.

Do you think there will be a tipping point where folks say enough is enough? -- Maybe if the whole economy crashes. I still see people coming for that once in a lifetime trip. I see lots of Disney lovers out there who will keep doing repeat trips. I'm very surprised how often I go (and I'm not that much of a Disney fan). I see value even in the expensive one day tickets when you look at what you get for the dollar compared to amusement parks, two hour tours, four hour tours, six hour tour experiences at other destinations, one day ski lift tickets at nice resorts, a two hour concert, a two hour broadway show, a sporting event. As a finance professor you probably also see what I see when comparing the 70s, 80s, etc. to now - a global economy where more people in the world have the means to travel than ever before. That is meaning more crowds in popular destinations everywhere (especially in the more common bucket list kinds of places) -- record crowds in Paris, price increases and increased attendance at Disney, US National Parks are being loved to death too and take a look at room prices at those and Disney looks like a bargain.

I'm a financial professional and I cringe when I see folks spending thousands on repeat vacations but not investing in their future. I'm starting to wonder, where else can we go instead...Pigeon's forge? I don't know...I think I'm starting to try and have a talk with myself. Do you have a tipping point? -- I don't know statistically how many people are doing expensive vacations and not saving for the future and other things. The people that I personally know that do the repeat trips to Disney are doing both and seem to be pretty savvy with money from what I can tell. Most of them vacation primarily just at Disney. One party said that the increase in the annual passes means they will just be doing one trip next year with a multiday ticket vs. multiple trips and springing for the annual pass like they have done for the last few year. They are still, however, going. // Other choices we have done that are less expensive than Disney (South Dakota trip to see the monuments, Badlands, and chilling at Custer State Park to see the wildlife and night sky, a week long trip to Rocky Mountain National Park/Estes Park -- late Aug. after school has started and before the Elk Rut as the park is being loved to death) / More expensive than Disney - a two night stay in Orlando with a one day Disney fix and then a cruise on one of the big RCCL ships out of Port Canaveral (planned for next year). Your idea of Pigeon Forge could be nice with the national park and tourist attractions (good combo). Those $30, $60 pp tourist attractions can really add up, though, and you might be surprised at how costs are quite similar to a Disney trip. Still it sounds like a nice change of pace and why not go for it. I have an annual vacation budget - a frivolous fun fund, and the fun part is deciding what to do with that budget. Sometimes Disney gets some of that money, more often than what I would expect actually.
See bolded text within quote for one person's thoughts. I think lots of us who have been going to Disney for a long time and have seen so many changes have asked ourselves many of the same questions you are asking and get where you are coming from. Honestly, I so often say you are charging how much for that. And on top of that to try that, I paid how much (think I'll skip next time) -- thinking of Disney meals and special experiences. I still think the theme park tickets while expensive (and they have gone up so much more than inflation, especially the one day or just a few day tickets) offer a good value when compared to so many other things. But with that frivolous, fun vacation budget do what gives the most joy to you and your family. We are all fortunate to have these first world problems.
 
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blewits

Wendy
Joined
Apr 23, 2002
For those of us here on the DIS we are fairly educated in all things Disney. Disney as we all know is pretty smart. They normally keep the increases fairly small percentage for the most part. However we know when and how often they increased ticket prices in the past few years. We know how much a Castle view room was 5 years ago and how much it is today so we know it's gone up say $95 a night in that time. We remember when a bottle of water was only $1.75 in the park. For us we see how much things have increased from either going to the parks or seeing things posted here. I work at a place (public transportation) that didn't have a price increase for about 10 years, then when they did it was huge. People were pissed and the biggest complaints was that they would rather see gradual prices increases every 2-3 year they one big one every 10. For others that want to go to Disney and it's maybe a once in a lifetime trip they will do what they can to afford it but they look at the prices as they are what they are and their tipping point isn't not going but not staying where they want to.

I think it will take a lot for Disney to reach a lot of peoples tipping point as there are so many variables involved and it would take some time. Disney will also throw things in from time to time such as free dinning in that encourages people to go. There are enough people who hear "free dining" and think it's the best deal going. But for them if they did some math they would realize that due to heir dining habits it would be less expensive to take the discounted room rate and pay OOP for meals. Add in that they might not normally park hop but now have to because it's a requirement and they could be spending a lot more. But again they hear "free" and feel it's a great deal even though it might not be and that helps to fill the parks.

For some people who stay on property a tipping point mean maybe they no longer stay at the the Contemporary/Poly or a deluxe resort and scale back to Moderate, those in a Mod scale back as well to either a Value or even off property, and those in a Value go off property. Maybe they don't go every year and still stay at their preferred resort. For those staying off property they scale back and don't go as often. Or they scale back and don't go as long. But for the most part for everyone who would scale back resorts there will be someone who will take their place.
The million dollar question.

I’m going on property in December. We prefer on property. But don’t normally go in December. I’ll see if it breaks my back or not. With crowds, etc.

And I am at the point where I refuse to pay for after parties, desert parties, etc. when they first came about, we did the Halloween ones whenever we went down. Kids were very small and the parties were never “over sold” 🙄. We loved them.

And I am extremely pro capitalism. Supply and demand. I get it. But yes, what does it take for it to become too much expense? I shudder at what Walt would think about all of this. I know, it takes a lot of money to make this whole thing work but I also look at what they are doing to DVC members. The cuts, in addition to price increases seem to be exceptional right now.
But now. Hell no. We will just make the most of our time paid within our ticket hours offered. Not paying a dime extra for fewer hours offered and crowded parties. Sorry. Pet peeve.

Back to your point, maybe I’m already putting one foot out the door. December trip will likely decide it for me. I want to be convinced to go back. I really do. I hope they can do it for me. Otherwise, we will just go back to the French countryside as much as we can.

Not even kidding.

It always seems to boil down to the CEO of Disney. And their main job is to make money for the company. Which is not wrong. But dang, in that job, don’t ever forget your base. If you lose the base, you’re just Six Flags
 

robinb

DIS veteran
Joined
Aug 29, 1999
See bolded text within quote for one person's thoughts. I think lots of us who have been going to Disney for a long trip and have seen so many changes have asked ourselves many of the same questions you are asking and get where you are coming from. Honestly, I so often say you are charging how much for that. And on top of that to try that, I paid how much (think I'll skip next time) -- thinking of Disney meals and special experiences. I still thing the theme park tickets while expensive offer a good value when compared to other things.
Sharing meals and drinking tap water only gets you so far.

I have realized for a while that Disney is really not into me anymore. They would rather have the “once in a lifetime” guest with their open pocketbook rather than an old paid-off DVCer.
 
  • barkley

    DIS Veteran<br><font color=orange>If I ever have a
    Joined
    Apr 6, 2004
    for us the tipping point has really been that (for us) the parks (wdw & dl) have lost much of the charm that we grew up with ( we're in our 50's) and was still around to an extent when our kids were little (22/25). characters being able to roam around and interact w/guests (none of the set time at set areas and lining up a long time in advance), entertainers roaming around (dapper dans, main street cyclists, royalty in fantasy land, gunslingers, indians and dance hall girls in frontier land...). being able to just sit and people watch at a LEISURELY pace-not finally finding a spot on a bench to watch herds of people, all angry or exhausted looking rushing from one fast pass entry to another.

    maybe we were spoiled-we were raised on disneyLAND, and it felt like the land of disney w/all the characters roaming around (without escorts o_O ). the rides were true to the actual movies we/our kids grew up with. pirates of the caribbean hadn't been p.c. remodeled, certain eateries hadn't been removed in fear of offending people, certain songs hadn't been forbidden from being played. it was what i consider a much more emersive experience on a positive level. nice place, nice people, nice experience. even when you outgrew the rides they still held that charm of a fond memory of childhood.

    now? our last trip to a disney property was about 7 years ago. when we did our last trip there both kids were in high school and both politely asked if 'we ever get to do another big trip like this-can we do it at universal?'. so that's where we will be going in december-and frankly i was thrilled to find that for top notch on site accommodations and 'park hoppers' i will be paying a fraction of the cost of lesser accommodations at disney.
     

    Darcy03231

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Nov 1, 2006
    Heck, I planned a whole cruise out of San Juan in less than 45 days last year. I booked it in October and was onboard the first week of December. I was even adding excursions on board the ship. Oh, and the whole thing cost less than $2000 for 10 days, including excursions, specialty dining and the beverage package.
    Dh and I are doing a 9 day cruise (back to back, 5 days then 4 days). $1900 for the cruise (which includes prepaid gratuities), $519 in on-board credit, $22 for airfare (booked with point), free hotel the night before (booked on points). It's ports we've been to before so we'll probably just get off the ship, walk around a bit, maybe find a nice beach. No way I can book 9 days at Disney for that.
     

    MillauFr

    Buzz & Woody
    Joined
    Aug 5, 2011
    characters being able to roam around and interact w/guests (none of the set time at set areas and lining up a long time in advance), entertainers roaming around (dapper dans, main street cyclists, royalty in fantasy land, gunslingers, indians and dance hall girls in frontier land...). being able to just sit and people watch at a LEISURELY pace-not finally finding a spot on a bench to watch herds of people, all angry or exhausted looking rushing from one fast pass entry to another.
    What you are describing is Disneyland.
     
  • crazycatstacy

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Sep 22, 2013
    The million dollar question.

    I’m going on property in December. We prefer on property. But don’t normally go in December. I’ll see if it breaks my back or not. With crowds, etc.

    And I am at the point where I refuse to pay for after parties, desert parties, etc. when they first came about, we did the Halloween ones whenever we went down. Kids were very small and the parties were never “over sold” 🙄. We loved them.

    And I am extremely pro capitalism. Supply and demand. I get it. But yes, what does it take for it to become too much expense? I shudder at what Walt would think about all of this. I know, it takes a lot of money to make this whole thing work but I also look at what they are doing to DVC members. The cuts, in addition to price increases seem to be exceptional right now.
    But now. Hell no. We will just make the most of our time paid within our ticket hours offered. Not paying a dime extra for fewer hours offered and crowded parties. Sorry. Pet peeve.

    Back to your point, maybe I’m already putting one foot out the door. December trip will likely decide it for me. I want to be convinced to go back. I really do. I hope they can do it for me. Otherwise, we will just go back to the French countryside as much as we can.

    Not even kidding.

    It always seems to boil down to the CEO of Disney. And their main job is to make money for the company. Which is not wrong. But dang, in that job, don’t ever forget your base. If you lose the base, you’re just Six Flags

    When are you going in December? We LOVE December. We typically go the first two weeks- the first time we went in 2012 we never used a fast pass and walked on everything. It has gotten busier since then but it's not horrible. Hopefully you enjoy it.
     

    barkley

    DIS Veteran<br><font color=orange>If I ever have a
    Joined
    Apr 6, 2004
    What you are describing is Disneyland.

    disneyworld to some extent back years ago. i remember during our first trip in '99, ds was about 3 and wasn't old enough to handle some kind of ride his older sister wanted to go on so i found a nice shady bench at mgm studios where we could just leisurely sit and relax. it was somewhat close to where the muppetts theatre was and much to ds's delight 'miss piggy' and a another muppett character were just wandering around the area. no set up place for autographs, no escort, just interacting with the kids. to this day my son remembers the 30 or so minutes he spent w/ those characters more than anything else on that trip.
     

    DLgal

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 12, 2013
    The Orange County register posted an article today with a headline that very much echoes the title of this thread. In the author's opinion, Disney HAS finally reached the price ceiling. Bob Iger, to some extent, seems to feel this way, as during a recent interview after the earnings call, said something to the effect of "I don't think anyone should expect more price increases anytime soon."
     

    MrsPete

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 24, 2002
    I admit, I don't understand the whole concept of Disney owing anyone an affordable vacation. Does Target owe me a affordable TV? Does the furniture store owe me a affordable couch? Does the car dealership owe me a affordable vehicle?
    I don't think that's really the question. No, no business "owes" you anything ... and LOTS of products are priced out of the average person's reach: Rolexes, designer clothes, flying to France for the weekend. And that's okay.

    The question is, when does a luxury product become so expensive that you -- an average person -- will say, "too rich for my blood".
    I agree, even for those who can afford to go on a pricey Disney vacation, the excessive planning involved is annoying and the overall VALUE isn't there anymore.
    Yes, that's it. At what point does Disney cost so much that people say, "I can go on two vacations elsewhere for the same price, and that's a better use of my vacation dollar."
    I used to love the spreadsheet planning ...
    Oh, I love organizing things. I'm weird that way.
    And I am extremely pro capitalism. Supply and demand. I get it. But yes, what does it take for it to become too much expense? I shudder at what Walt would think about all of this.
    Pro-capitalism also means withholding your dollar where you see fit.
    If what I've read about the Brothers Disney is true, Walt would be appalled at today's costs ... while Roy would giggle manically while counting coin personally.
    I have realized for a while that Disney is really not into me anymore. They would rather have the “once in a lifetime” guest with their open pocketbook rather than an old paid-off DVCer.
    I can relate to that thought.
     
  • blewits

    Wendy
    Joined
    Apr 23, 2002
    When are you going in December? We LOVE December. We typically go the first two weeks- the first time we went in 2012 we never used a fast pass and walked on everything. It has gotten busier since then but it's not horrible. Hopefully you enjoy it.
    Dec 17 - 22. I’m seriously concerned about the crowd level.

    I have been late November before and enjoyed that. Got to see Christmas decorations, etc. I’m looking forward to that part of it, as well as cooler temps. Also taking my 17 year old niece from Germany for the first time. She is going to LOVE it. She already loves all things Disney.
     

    easyas123

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    May 4, 2018
    The question is, when does a luxury product become so expensive that you -- an average person -- will say, "too rich for my blood".
    haha - I like to think nothing is "to rich for my blood"!
    In all seriousness, you make some good points. I think it all comes down to it's a different point for each of us, and one that is fluid depending on the time in our lives we find ourselves in.
     

    crazycatstacy

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Sep 22, 2013
    Dec 17 - 22. I’m seriously concerned about the crowd level.

    I have been late November before and enjoyed that. Got to see Christmas decorations, etc. I’m looking forward to that part of it, as well as cooler temps. Also taking my 17 year old niece from Germany for the first time. She is going to LOVE it. She already loves all things Disney.
    I will keep my fingers crossed that they are light for you!!
     

    Mad4Dizne

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 4, 2003
    Sharing meals and drinking tap water only gets you so far.

    I have realized for a while that Disney is really not into me anymore. They would rather have the “once in a lifetime” guest with their open pocketbook rather than an old paid-off DVCer.

    This, sadly is how we feel too. There used to be better ticket discounts and bargaining stretegies available. When they did away with nonexpiring tickets- for instance that put a severe dent in my ticket savings. I would buy and use for 2 trips. I have a certain amount I budget for vacations,last year for instance, we just went to Universal, I was able to buy 5 day park tickets for all of us with what it cost for only half of us to get 5 day Disney tickets. When we do our next Disney trip,it won't look like ones of years past. There will be 1 table Service, as opposed to one everyday. We will probably do 2 park days instead of 5, and spend more time at the resort relaxing and swimming in Stormalong Bay. Or we might just do a cruise. It just feels like a total money grab at Disney right now.
     

    MrsPete

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 24, 2002
    The one single thing that has "tipped me" more than anything else: Losing the ability to buy a 10-day ticket and stretch it over multiple trips. I don't see WHY Disney did away with it. It allowed them to hold onto our money -- sometimes for years -- and it guaranteed that we're coming back. Seems like those large no-expiration date tickets were good for both consumers and Disney.
     

    easyas123

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    May 4, 2018
    The one single thing that has "tipped me" more than anything else: Losing the ability to buy a 10-day ticket and stretch it over multiple trips. I don't see WHY Disney did away with it. It allowed them to hold onto our money -- sometimes for years -- and it guaranteed that we're coming back. Seems like those large no-expiration date tickets were good for both consumers and Disney.
    I can tell you that if we could still buy a 10 day no expiring ticket we'd be going again this fall. We contemplated a quick 2 or 3 night trip this fall, but the tickets were same as or more than the 2 or 3 nights hotel costs! I had the airline points for flights, I had the budget for the hotel...if I had the tickets in hand I'd have pulled the trigger.
    We decided to shelve it- fall is looking crazy down there anyway w/ Star Wars & all that.
     

    Hisgirl

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 8, 2011
    So many good points here and thank you for sharing. I really have enjoyed reading your posts.

    One thing for me, I, too, get that supply and demand, and well...they are a for-profit, publicly held company. They are beholden to the stock holders. All public companies are, unfortunately. And I think Disney heard everyone complain about the crowds, so they shifted ticket prices to spread out the people.

    So now it's crowded all the time.

    The people kept coming. So they just kept raising prices, adding fees, changing sales, and yet the people keep coming. They are forced to push the envelope to drive crowd control. As long as people keep coming and coming and coming...I expect the $$$$$ will keep going up.

    For me, it is feeling wrong. And I'm beginning to feel somehow, personally 'naughty' for stewarding our family finances this way, when we could buy fun elsewhere for so much less.

    So much to think about.
     


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