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OK, I'll Admit it...Disney Prices Are Out Of Control

Chef Mickey

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
As many of you know, I'm a long time Disney supporter and apologist when it comes to pricing. I admit it, price increases generally don't bother me because I still feel I'm getting a lot for my money. To me, the service always matches or exceeds my cost.

HOWEVER, I believe WDW has listened to too many consultants in the effort of margin expansion. This is includes not only charging MORE for the service, but neglecting the service itself.

I am fine with price increases if the delivery of service is not compromised, but I am starting to see that slipping. Here are a few examples I experienced in my most recent July 4th trip that made me question the quality of service.

1) Rides operating at half capacity - Is this to minimize staff? Pirates, Tower of Terror, and even It's A Small World only had half the ride operating on the Fourth of July. I mean, is this offseason now? Accordingly, wait times were 105min for ToT at 8:30AM during EMH, 50min for Small World, and 70 for Pirates. Tower of Terror was blamed for "maintenance" which I'm not sure is true, but I've seen them doing that at various times throughout the year. Only 2 of 4 lifits operating which points to minimizing cast member hours.

2) Food quality in general - One specific example is Be Our Guest. I literally paid $29 for a French Dip, Soup, and drink. Previously, the meat was of decent quality but this time, fatty, cold, chewy, and overall kind of disgusting. The soup was good. At Narcoossee's, I sent my steak back and literally asked them if this is Prime Beef. For $75 for lobster/steak, I expected FAR better. This was the toughest NY Strip I've ever had. They comped my meal without asking, but selling this crap for premium price is shameful. That was a choice steak, AT BEST.

3) No Wi-Fi at Boardwalk - I am paying almost $400/night and LOVE staying here, but not having working Wi-Fi during any of my 5 nights is simply unacceptable at a Deluxe Resort. I called every night and was connected to IT support which wasn't able to solve the issue. I finally talked to someone that just straight up told me, "It's terrible and it's a bandwidth issue. Simply too many people on it. We are switching to fiber but it's a long process." I appreciated the honesty, but come on...I get Wi-Fi at Holiday Inn. They did give me $100 credit without asking. Le Cellier...asked for my steak medium...served it straight up well done. They got it right on try #2, but didn't offer anything for me having to eat separately from my wife.

4) Park Hours - I know we've been talking about this for a while, but I totally AGREE...park hours are a joke. During most of my nights, MK closed at 10PM and everything else was closed by 9PM. July 4th, MK was open until 2AM I believe, which was nice. In general, the parks need longer hours particularly for the prices chaged.

5) Toy Story Land Sucks - I tried to like it. I tried my best. It sucks. The queues are outside, it's hot, small, crowded, and the best ride there already existed. Alien totally sucks and Slinky is the Barnstormer+. These new lands are just not cutting it. New Fantasyland sucked too. Avatar was good, but I still think Na'vi is a C+ to B- attraction.

6) Maintenance is Poor - I'm there about every 2 months and the same crap is broken consistently. Spaceship Earth is a travesty. American Adventure has the same slow lift issue it had in May, no Jane, and all kinds of animatronic issues. Rides also seem to be "down" more. I don't have data to back this up, but the day I got there, Thunder Mountain, Peter Pan, Pirates, and Space Mountain were all down at the same time for hours. I finally left having not used my Multiple Experiences Fast Pass.

7) Many Concessions Closed During Park Hours - What's up with this? Trying to get some juice in Liberty Square and it doesn't open until 11AM? I used to get one every morning. Same thing at Hollywood Studios. If the park is open, everything should be open!

I had a great time, but these things are starting to get tiresome. Disney still DOES take care of complaints with a smile and are ready to give you concessions, but I hate to even have to ask.
 
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jloucks

Well-Known Member
I was all geared up to try to disagree with you. But shoot, I can't.

I am all for higher prices. My motivation is more access (from less crowds). It sounds like Disney is figuring out a way to raise prices and decrease access.

Six Flags pulls the same stunt with vendor access. Half the refreshment stands close super early, half open early, and half never open at all.

Thanks for the warning. It sounds like it is not the time to plan a return trip.
 

kong1802

Well-Known Member
As many of you know, I'm a long time Disney supporter and apologist when it comes to pricing. I admit it, price increases generally don't bother me because I still feel I'm getting a lot for my money. To me, the service always matches or exceeds my cost.

HOWEVER, I believe WDW has listened to too many consultants in the effort of margin expansion. This is includes not only charging MORE for the service, but neglecting the service itself.

I am fine with price increases if the delivery of service is not compromised, but I am starting to see that slipping. Here are a few examples I experienced in my most recent July 4th trip that made me question the quality of service.

1) Rides operating at half capacity - Is this to minimize staff? Pirates, Tower of Terror, and even It's A Small World only had half the ride operating on the Fourth of July. I mean, is this offseason now? Accordingly, wait times were 105min for ToT at 8:30AM during EMH, 50min for Small World, and 70 for Pirates. Tower of Terror was blamed for "maintenance" which I'm not sure is true, but I've seen them doing that at various times throughout the year. Only 2 of 4 lifits operating which points to minimizing cast member hours.

2) Food quality in general - One specific example is Be Our Guest. I literally paid $29 for a French Dip, Soup, and drink. Previously, the meat was of decent quality but this time, fatty, cold, chewy, and overall kind of disgusting. The soup was good. At Narcoossee's, I sent my steak back and literally asked them if this is Prime Beef. For $75 for lobster/steak, I expected FAR better. This was the toughest NY Strip I've ever had. They comped my meal without asking, but selling this crap for premium price is shameful. That was a choice steak, AT BEST.

3) No Wi-Fi at Boardwalk - I am paying almost $400/night and LOVE staying here, but not having working Wi-Fi during any of my 5 nights is simply unacceptable at a Deluxe Resort. I called every night and was connected to IT support which wasn't able to solve the issue. I finally talked to someone that just straight up told me, "It's terrible and it's a bandwidth issue. Simply too many people on it. We are switching to fiber but it's a long process." I appreciated the honesty, but come on...I get Wi-Fi at Holiday Inn. They did give me $100 credit without asking. Le Cellier...asked for my steak medium...served it straight up well done. They got it right on try #2, but didn't offer anything for me having to eat separately from my wife.

4) Park Hours - I know we've been talking about this for a while, but I totally AGREE...park hours are a joke. During most of my nights, MK closed at 10PM and everything else was closed by 9PM. July 4th, MK was open until 2AM I believe, which was nice. In general, the parks need longer hours particularly for the prices chaged.

5) Toy Story Land Sucks - I tried to like it. I tried my best. It sucks. The queues are outside, it's hot, small, crowded, and the best ride there already existed. Alien totally sucks and Slinky is the Barnstormer+. These new lands are just not cutting it. New Fantasyland sucked too. Avatar was good, but I still think Na'vi is a C+ to B- attraction.

6) Maintenance is Poor - I'm there about every 2 months and the same crap is broken consistently. Spaceship Earth is a travesty. American Adventure has the same slow lift issue it had in May, no Jane, and all kinds of animatronic issues. Rides also seem to be "down" more. I don't have data to back this up, but the day I got there, Thunder Mountain, Peter Pan, Pirates, and Space Mountain were all down at the same time for hours. I finally left having not used my Multiple Experiences Fast Pass.

7) Many Concessions Closed During Park Hours - What's up with this? Trying to get some juice in Liberty Square and it doesn't open until 11AM? I used to get one every morning. Same thing at Hollywood Studios. If the park is open, everything should be open!

I had a great time, but these things are starting to get tiresome. Disney still DOES take care of complaints with a smile and are ready to give you concessions, but I hate to even have to ask.
Welcome to the dark side....

Park hours, running at half capacity, and maintenance are my biggest issues since we have been long outpriced on the food. There is no reason to cut summer hours so drastically while raising the price so drastically in the other direction. There is no reason that they should have as many maintenance issues nor should they need to run half a ride at any point during operating hours. It's shortsighted.
 

Chef Mickey

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Welcome to the dark side....

Park hours, running at half capacity, and maintenance are my biggest issues since we have been long outpriced on the food. There is no reason to cut summer hours so drastically while raising the price so drastically in the other direction. There is no reason that they should have as many maintenance issues nor should they need to run half a ride at any point during operating hours. It's shortsighted.
I knew you would eventually fall in line.

Short staffing.
Lower quality.

All ways to reduce cost. (really these are price increases)
I have to emphasize that the prices aren't what bother me as much as the lowered standard. I'm willing to pay the prices (and more) if they issues I emphasized were cleaned up.

The staff thing was super noticeable this time and irritating.
 
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HauntedPirate

Premium Member
Well written!

I've long accepted the fact (I just don't publicly admit it :) ) that Disney is going to raise prices as far and as fast as they can, but your post really hits the nail on the head. Price increases are "acceptable" as long as there's something to show for it. The money for the current construction was made years ago, but they say they have to charge higher ticket prices "because of all the things we're building!" because the P&R profits were used to prop up other business units and, let's be honest, those stock buybacks being used to prop up the stock price for the big stock holders sitting in Burbank don't pay for themselves. They've long since stopped caring about show quality as long as the numbers look good and optics are what they want them to be (ex. "The parks must be busy since wait times are so long, right? I better buy that after-hours ticket so my family can enjoy the parks without waiting in long lines!").

As you said, you can still have a good time, but for many long-time visitors, it's getting harder to justify the expense in the face of rides being down more frequently, food quality, etc.
 

DisneyOutsider

Well-Known Member
1) Rides operating at half capacity - Is this to minimize staff? Pirates, Tower of Terror, and even It's A Small World only had half the ride operating on the Fourth of July. I mean, is this offseason now? Accordingly, wait times were 105min for ToT at 8:30AM during EMH, 50min for Small World, and 70 for Pirates. Tower of Terror was blamed for "maintenance" which I'm not sure is true, but I've seen them doing that at various times throughout the year. Only 2 of 4 lifits operating which points to minimizing cast member hours.
About ToT, it's been documented by insiders here and elsewhere that they are performing maintenance currently by operating at half capacity. Once one side is finished, they close that side and move to the next. You can argue whether you think that's the best way to go about ride maintenance, but nothing nefarious is going on in this case.
 

Pooh.sHoneyHuntTDL

Well-Known Member
About ToT, it's been documented by insiders here and elsewhere that they are performing maintenance currently by operating at half capacity. Once one side is finished, they close that side and move to the next. You can argue whether you think that's the best way to go about ride maintenance, but nothing nefarious is going on in this case.
And then when that side is finished they will move on to the other side, for years and year and years.
 

eliza61nyc

Well-Known Member
Had a great time! Definitely not a trip "ruiner" but just a little disappointing. Already planning another trip. :D
I know I'll get flame for this but....

To all the folks who swear Disney's current operating method is not sustainable, I give you exhibit A.

Disney should stop raising the prices why?? You are the exact reason why they do it. With all the complaints people still give them their money.

Lol so basically by people's own admittance you are getting an inferior product, yet you are still buying???

I'm buying 100 more shares of stock. It's like Vegas, the mouse can't loose.

Glad you had a good time.
 
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Pooh.sHoneyHuntTDL

Well-Known Member
I know I'll get flame for this but....

To all the folks who swear Disney's current operating method is not sustainable, I give you exhibit A.

Disney should stop raising the prices why?? You are the exact reason why they do it. With all the complaints people still give them their money.

Lol so basically by people's own admittance you are getting an inferior product, yet you are still buying???

I'm buying 100 more shares of stock. It's like Vegas, the mouse can't loose.

Glad you had a good time.
The mistake your making Eliza (In lyrical Lin Manuel Miranda voice) is that the people making the complaints are going back and still giving away all their money.
 

Chef Mickey

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
About ToT, it's been documented by insiders here and elsewhere that they are performing maintenance currently by operating at half capacity. Once one side is finished, they close that side and move to the next. You can argue whether you think that's the best way to go about ride maintenance, but nothing nefarious is going on in this case.
Thanks for the note. I thought I remember that being the case, but couldn't be sure. I can tell you this...basically nothing is working besides the drop sequence. It's in horrible shape. Horrible.
 

eliza61nyc

Well-Known Member
The mistake your making Eliza (In lyrical Lin Manuel Miranda voice) is that the people making the complaints are going back and still giving away all their money.
That's what I said, I think 😁 lol or your teasing me??
But seriously let's ask the question, why should Disney or any business change if they can sell an inferior product and we still by it??

General question
 

Chef Mickey

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I know I'll get flame for this but....

To all the folks who swear Disney's current operating method is not sustainable, I give you exhibit A.

Disney should stop raising the prices why?? You are the exact reason why they do it. With all the complaints people still give them their money.

Lol so basically by people's own admittance you are getting an inferior product, yet you are still buying???

I'm buying 100 more shares of stock. It's like Vegas, the mouse can't loose.

Glad you had a good time.
Agreed to a point, but you always have to take a macro view. Sure, I had issues, but enough to stop going completely? Definitely not. There is still so much I enjoy.

Like I said in another thread - I will complain if the standard isn't met. The WiFi issue was annoying and they gave me $100 for it. Fair? Meh, maybe not, but it's not like I just had to take it without consideration. The bad steak at Narcoossee's? It was comped.

Besides the issues I mentioned, I had a wonderful time. I think a lot of these things would make first timers not go back or delay going back. I have gone enough to know how to manage shorter hours, avoid "rip-offs" and mitigate less than ideal circumstances. I don't need a lot of staff, as an example, to make my trip enjoyable. It's just sad I have to plan my day around attractions that are half running, but I can do it and still get the enjoyment out of my favorite attractions.
 

eliza61nyc

Well-Known Member
Agreed to a point, but you always have to take a macro view. Sure, I had issues, but enough to stop going completely? Definitely not. There is still so much I enjoy.

Like I said in another thread - I will complain if the standard isn't met. The WiFi issue was annoying and they gave me $100 for it. Fair? Meh, maybe not, but it's not like I just had to take it without consideration. The bad steak at Narcoossee's? It was comped.

Besides the issues I mentioned, I had a wonderful time. I think a lot of these things would make first timers not go back or delay going back. I have gone enough to know how to manage shorter hours, avoid "rip-offs" and mitigate less than ideal circumstances. I don't need a lot of staff, as an example, to make my trip enjoyable. It's just sad I have to plan my day around attractions that are half running, but I can do it and still get the enjoyment out of my favorite attractions.
Oh absolutely
My point is we can complain all we want, we can yearn for better days but hey they've got a captive audience.

I was dead serious I'm going to buy more stock why not this is a winning formula.

I totally understand why they raise prices because they can
 

Chef Mickey

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Oh absolutely
My point is we can complain all we want, we can yearn for better days but hey they've got a captive audience.

I was dead serious I'm going to buy more stock why not this is a winning formula.

I totally understand why they raise prices because they can
I was criticized for accumulating shares in the $90-$100 range. Just as a discussion point, the stock has moved aggressively since the D+ announcement despite total domination in the parks for years. Ultimately, investors view the parks as a capital intensive, low margin business. Investors got excited about subscription service and rightfully so. The parks are underappreciated. Disney's power and dominance is also underappreciated, but the market has started to see that.

I do still think Disney is undervalued here, because Netflix can't compete with their content library, movie studios, parks, or merchandise. All Netflix has is their subscription model and now they don't even have that because Disney is going to hurt them.

Netflix is either extremely overvalued and/or Disney is undervalued. I think both are true, but Disney has been revalued based on recent news of D+.

Long story short, I'd wait for a pullback, but I'd never be against adding shares of DIS as a long term investment. Disney is in a dominant, impossible to compete position. You just can't duplicate Disney. Too expensive, too hard.
 

Chef Mickey

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Let me ask this and then I'll bounce, do you foresee the parks ever returning to a better standard?
Absolutely. I already see the potential and perhaps it's why the standard has dropped before it gets better.

The new projects at EPCOT and DHS will perhaps be integral to restoring the "Disneyness" back to the parks. The neglect they've experienced is FAR worse than the staffing and operations issues. They just need good stuff in the parks. All my complaints can be easily addressed and I believe will be when the parks stabilize after all the construction and changes.
 
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