Thanks for your blog it’s fun and helpful.
My question/concern has to do with the Crowd Calendar and if it actually makes the opposite true on the less crowded times of the year/month/day.
All my experience is anecdotal, but these past few years I have noticed the crowds during the “off” times of the year and then the light days actually being more crowded than usual.
We just returned a few weeks ago when it was a light time and I chose the days that had the least crowds expected and quite frankly, I was stunned at how jam packed the parks were on those days.
Are you finding the crowd calendars are inducing people to actively choose the light day and thus making it a more crowded day?
Also, what’s up with Disney, it’s as if they know how to do is raise prices, and change it from Disney to Marvel.
Don’t get me wrong, I realize Marvel is popular, but if I’m not mistaken the name on the gate is Walt Disney World.
🙂 Looking for your insight and expertise on how you feel about that too.
Thanks again Dad, you’re the best!”
It’s Not My Fault
Thanks for the kind words.
I would love to claim credit for being able to influence the crowds at Disney World. But it’s not my fault. Really, it’s not.
We were one of the first to actually put out crowd calendars (now it seems like everyone does it), and while it seems there might be some cause/effect there, I think there is an easier explanation.
Disney’s Aggressive Crowds Manipulation
The simple explanation is Disney has been manipulating crowds patterns for years and is getting more aggressive lately.
The biggest example is the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Everyone knows that September is the slowest month of the year. Right? So what does Disney do, opens the biggest new land draw they’ve had since Animal Kingdom opened right before September. Bang, big September crowds.
Started with the Ticket Price Thing
This aggressive crowd manipulation all started a few years ago when Disney changed one day tickets from the same price to “seasonal” pricing. Immediately crowds moved from the summer into the fall months.
October really took the brunt of that change with it went from light to moderate days to pretty much heavy every day in October.
Now with that single day ticket price being applied to the package tickets, ticket prices have really had a big effect on moving crowds.
Disney has also been very big in discounting. It’s been almost 10 years since Bob Iger himself said he wanted to wean guests off of discounts. I guess some genius in marketing sold him on the concept that discounts work, because there are more discount offers now than there were before the “weaning” started.
It Makes Sense
For Disney it just makes a lot of sense. If Disney can smooth out the crowd patterns, they can better manage the employees. They don’t have to lay people off during the slow times or hire as many temporaries for the busy, busy days. Time off is easier to manage. Etc.
It also helps their partners. A lot of the restaurants, even in the parks are run by independent companies. It helps their cash flow, their inventory ordering when crowds are predictable and steady.
Speaking of cash flow, Disney loves dollars rolling in. The stock market wants to see that cash flowing in every quarter. When it doesn’t the stock takes a beating, so Disney does all they can to keep the cash flow numbers looking good.
The Marvel Thing
While I’m still uneasy with Disney going out and buying their innovation, it’s what’s happening. Disney has become less and less an innovative company and more and more a beast that eats up innovative companies.
Look at their biggest hits over the last few years. Star Wars, the Avengers and all the Marvel Movies, Toy Story and Pixar. Shoot, the only new thing coming out of the “Disney” studios is live action remakes of 20+ year old movies.
While the innovation part is sad, the reality is that Marvel, Lucas Films and Pixar are now Disney. It’s Disney Pixar. Disney Lucas Films, Disney Marvel.
Marvel, Lucas Films and/or Pixar may not be your favorites but they are Disney properties just as much as Disney Animation is.
Marvel is hot right now so Disney is capitalizing on it. And it’s good to see Disney Parks getting something at the peak of popularity, instead of 10 years after the movie (Pandora).
Dad’s Bottom Line
While I’d love to take say I had the power to change the crowd levels at Disney World, and maybe we’ve had a small influence, it’s mostly Disney and their aggressive crowd manipulation that’s causing the problem.
It’s annoying for us, but the bottom line is it’s kind of necessary for Disney.
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