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Disney's "Getting Closer to Normal" Guidelines

Mad Dog

Premium Member
Jan 30, 2013
20,449
Pittsburgh area
Line lengths don’t equate to per caps. The new Disney model is high prices over lower volume. Can’t really use crowd observations to determine their level of concern or success anymore. That day when all the crazy people went to pick up 50th anniversary merch had some of the lowest wait times ever but was probably the parks’ most successful day since COVID.
Not directly, but they are indicators, especially if the actual attendance doesn't meet internal projections. Thus the need for labor cost cutting, if the Magic report is true. Of course, we can only guess
at what Disney's expectations are (were). We'll know more on what's happening when their quarterly profit/loss report comes in. Just as when it was obvious to all that Disney wasn't meeting their
projections for GESWL back in 2019, at both resorts. Crowd lines are not the bible, but they say a lot.....I don't believe WDW's new business model is for their attractions to be close to walk ons, as
presently occurring. There won't be much market for their Lightening Lane $15 charge and/or bulk charge for the two most popular rides in each park if that remains the case. They're launching this concept in a few days,
they need longer waits to sell the concept. Why pay if there's no wait. So, bottom line, they need more attendance than is presently showing up.
 
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OrlandoGuy

Contributing Member
Sep 29, 2014
727
Chicago
Not directly, but they are indicators, especially if the actual attendance doesn't meet internal projections. Thus the need for labor cost cutting, if the Magic report is true. Of course, we can only guess
at what Disney's expectations are (were). We'll know more on what's happening when their quarterly profit/loss report comes in. Just as when it was obvious to all that Disney wasn't meeting their
projections for GESWL back in 2019, at both resorts. Crowd lines are not the bible, but they say a lot.....I don't believe WDW's new business model is for their attractions to be close to walk ons, as
presently occurring. There won't be much market for their Lightening Lane $15 charge and/or bulk charge for the two most popular rides in each park if that remains the case. They're launching this concept in a few days,
they need longer waits to sell the concept. Why pay if there's no wait. So, bottom line, they need more attendance than is presently showing up.
Having dabbled in corporate park experience post-undergrad, I can tell you lines don’t matter to the bottom line at all and were never a metric our bonuses were based on. I will say, as long as I’m going to the parks though, I definitely hope lines stay low and nobody uses Lightning Pass!
 

Mad Dog

Premium Member
Jan 30, 2013
20,449
Pittsburgh area
Having dabbled in corporate park experience post-undergrad, I can tell you lines don’t matter to the bottom line at all and were never a metric our bonuses were based on. I will say, as long as I’m going to the parks though, I definitely hope lines stay low and nobody uses Lightning Pass!
Yes, I'm not disputing that. My point is that they are indicators that there's lagging attendance of what's expected, not that they are direct indicators of the bottom line profit wise . But they do need longer lines in order for their Lightening Lines cost package to have any value. Otherwise few will buy it, and that will ultimately affect their 'projected' profit.
 
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Frank Drackman

Premium Member
Dec 20, 2012
2,591
Mouse Mountain
Yes, I'm not disputing that. My point is that they are indicators that there's lagging attendance of what's expected, not that they are direct indicators of the bottom line profit wise . But they do need longer lines in order for their Lightening Lines cost package to have any value. Otherwise few will buy it, and that will ultimately affect their 'projected' profit.
I do believe tourism is down and WDW was helped by it being the 50th. I assume things will be slower going forward. I have to assume labor cost are up (though Disney never brought back 100% as they no longer run trams in the parking lots as an example of full staff levels never did return.

As a consumer, I am happy $200+ after hours 'parties' are not selling well. I also hope IAS and Geni+ fail as going too far for even Disney fans.

But Disney did a great job of building a crowd during these off seasons which is why I feel EpCot is crowded with people sampling food, for the 50th, they just came out w/ something like 150 over priced drinks and deserts that have a 50 on them. I really think Disney is driving up guest spend which will make them look good to WallStreet and yes, longer lines will help sell more IAS/geni+ which helps guest spend, but Disney has up priced so much stuff now that the $$ is still flowing, but yes, tourism is weak and that will hurt Disney's bottom line.
 

UNIrd

Premium Member
Jul 18, 2008
6,435
Line lengths don’t equate to per caps. The new Disney model is high prices over lower volume. Can’t really use crowd observations to determine their level of concern or success anymore. That day when all the crazy people went to pick up 50th anniversary merch had some of the lowest wait times ever but was probably the parks’ most successful day since COVID.
This. We're collectively going to start hearing a lot less "it's too crowded" and more "it's too expensive." To be fair, as a measure of crowd control, some of us asked for this.
 

Tbad556

Veteran Member
Aug 17, 2009
6,901
This. We're collectively going to start hearing a lot less "it's too crowded" and more "it's too expensive." To be fair, as a measure of crowd control, some of us asked for this.
I think at the end of the day, my issue is that we're paying more, but getting less. Disney cut so much during the pandemic that we'll never see return unfortunately. They continue to take copious amounts of time to open new attractions. The new shows are a bust. And so on. I think many of us are comfortable spending the money (glances at FFP w/express prices), but they need to start justifying the cost personally.
 

OrlandoGuy

Contributing Member
Sep 29, 2014
727
Chicago
I think at the end of the day, my issue is that we're paying more, but getting less. Disney cut so much during the pandemic that we'll never see return unfortunately. They continue to take copious amounts of time to open new attractions. The new shows are a bust. And so on. I think many of us are comfortable spending the money (glances at FFP w/express prices), but they need to start justifying the cost personally.
In a way, the justification you’re getting is the smaller crowds. Beyond just higher prices, the fact that reservations are staying seems to be proof that the move is intentionally toward a less crowded experience.

And that makes sense from a corporate perspective…lines and crowds are the number 1 value detractor for customers (you don’t even need inside knowledge, just look at TripAdvisor), and long lines are the one thing that doesn’t drive revenue. Figuring out a way to keep more people out by charging enough to supplement the lack of people is something firms have been trying to figure out for years now (see also Universal’s seasonal pricing). Sure, there aren’t parades and meet and greets right now, but the value lost in lacking those elements isn’t close to the value gained from ensuring people don’t need to wait over 30-45 minutes for each ride.

I’ll admit there’s a cynical viewpoint to this too, because less lines=more time to shop and dine. But that and customer satisfaction aren’t mutually exclusive.
 

Tbad556

Veteran Member
Aug 17, 2009
6,901
In a way, the justification you’re getting is the smaller crowds. Beyond just higher prices, the fact that reservations are staying seems to be proof that the move is intentionally toward a less crowded experience.

And that makes sense from a corporate perspective…lines and crowds are the number 1 value detractor for customers (you don’t even need inside knowledge, just look at TripAdvisor), and long lines are the one thing that doesn’t drive revenue. Figuring out a way to keep more people out by charging enough to supplement the lack of people is something firms have been trying to figure out for years now (see also Universal’s seasonal pricing). Sure, there aren’t parades and meet and greets right now, but the value lost in lacking those elements isn’t close to the value gained from ensuring people don’t need to wait over 30-45 minutes for each ride.

I’ll admit there’s a cynical viewpoint to this too, because less lines=more time to shop and dine. But that and customer satisfaction aren’t mutually exclusive.
I'm completely fine with them raising the prices to help fix the crowds. But it doesn't justify the other internal issues with the parks currently for me. Small lines are great, but I don't want to get a half-baked experience to justify those lack of crowds, at least personally. Everyone will feel differently of course.
 

Nick

Staff member
Moderator
Sep 22, 2011
25,404
Orlando
This from Steve (who runs the boards over on WDWMagic):

"The World's Most Magical Celebration may be underway, but this isn't going to stop Disney from tightening the belt over the coming months.

I am hearing from multiple areas that the parks are being asked to heavily cut labor costs. A difficult situation when the parks are still in the process of coming back from the closure and guests numbers are starting to rebound.

Some of this is normal during Q1 in previous years, but 2021 is heavier than normal."
 

SeventyOne

V.I.P.
Jul 1, 2010
3,114
Orlando
And that makes sense from a corporate perspective…lines and crowds are the number 1 value detractor for customers (you don’t even need inside knowledge, just look at TripAdvisor), and long lines are the one thing that doesn’t drive revenue. Figuring out a way to keep more people out by charging enough to supplement the lack of people is something firms have been trying to figure out for years now (see also Universal’s seasonal pricing). .
Disney's attorneys acknowledged this in that lawsuit over Guest Assistance passes for autistic guests, even going so far as to admit the "magic number" is 20 minutes (wait below that, guests happy; every minute over that, guest satisfaction drops fast). I think a lot of this was coming anyway, just happened to coincide with the COVID closing.
 

GAcoaster

V.I.P.
Nov 30, 2012
4,686
Orlando
I think it's more increased revenues with the introduction of Genie+, so they need to offer more things for Genie+ to have lines to skip. They beef up the number of "attractions" offered by adding back those meet and greets.
 

Mad Dog

Premium Member
Jan 30, 2013
20,449
Pittsburgh area
Orange County just allowed their Emergency Covid restrictions to expire due to low case positivity. It will be interesting to see if, or how soon, WDW will change their indoor mask policy.
 
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