How long can Disney's deep discounts last?


#1

Saw this posted, thought it was a good discussion? Thoughts?

[B]The Orlando Sentinel poses the question: How long can the steep discounts currently offered at Disney parks last? [/B]

The discounts are part of Disney’s prioritized plan to keep attendance strong during the global economic downturn. The main reason for this being that Walt Disney Co. executives believe the future of their business strongly depends on positive word of mouth from visitors who have recently visited one of the parks.

Some financial analysts, however, do not believe Disney can keep this up much longer, but may not have a choice in the matter. “Without an economic recovery in sight, we believe Disney cannot afford to let demand fall in the December quarter,” said stock analyst Richard Greenfield on his firm’s research blog.

There is another concern Disney is certainly aware of when it comes to the discounts. While low ticket and lodging prices are attracting plenty of visitors in the short-term, they may be persuading visitors who had planned trips far in the future to come early. This would leave a gaping whole in the future financial quarters and cannibalize long-term sales. The promotions could also turn happy-go-lucky visitors into jaded guests if the populous gets used to the kind of pricing we are seeing right now.

“We suspect Disney is fearful of maintaining a promo for too long, as it will be hard to remove the discounting in the future if consumers come to expect a certain promotion,” wrote Greenfield. [Orlando Sentinel]


#2

I think the discounts will last as long as rooms are empty.

After 9/11 there were some really good discounts that lasted at least 2 years then decent discounts followed when the travel industry started to recover. I think it’s going to be at least another year before places like WDW start to see an increase in booking if the market is truly starting to recover. People need to recover and catch up at home first.


#3

[QUOTE=DisneyTeacher;979679]I think the discounts will last as long as rooms are empty.

After 9/11 there were some really good discounts that lasted at least 2 years then decent discounts followed when the travel industry started to recover. I think it’s going to be at least another year before places like WDW start to see an increase in booking if the market is truly starting to recover. People need to recover and catch up at home first.[/QUOTE]

I think this is very true. The effects of 9/11 kind of carried over into the economic downturn so it’s still going to be a while before things are looking up.

I do think it’s going to be VERY hard for Disney to stop offering big promotions though. It’s been a huge part of their business plan for so long, there are a lot of people who now look to Disney as a more economical choice than many other vacations! People aren’t going to be too happy if the discounts stop.


#4

I agree. Those of us who are used to decent discount are going to have a hard time going back to paying rack rate if and when the travel market fully recovers. Before we knew any better we used to call and book a room at rack rate and think nothing of it, however, now that we’ve had years of not having to pay full price it would be hard to go back. That’s part of the reason we bought DVC.


#5

I think I would be in for a culture shock if I had to pay rack rate. The first WDW trip I paid for out of my own pocket (versus my parents’) was in 2002…we went over the one-year anniversary of 9/11 so the discounts were steep. I really don’t know WDW any other way than with big discounts.


#6

I agree with both DT and dznygirl. There are going to be a lot of people faced with serious sticker shock if and when WDW gets away from the deep discounts and charges rack rates most of the year.


#7

So true. Back in 05 when I first moved to FL, I could call and get a $49/night value resort EASY. Then they slowly crawled up to $99/night, but were harder to come by because of the economy (people still staying at Disney but in a cheaper resort), buy 4 get 3 and free dining offers!

Now, 4 years later they are back to being $59/night for passholders and FL residents . . . so we’re back to the lower pricing, which for me is just fine! :happy:


#8

I know I would be in for a shock! My parents were still paying for me before all of these discounts were offered. Now that I pay my own way, I can’t imagine trying to pay rack rate. I hope their discounts last for a while longer, or it will definitely put a strain on my vacation account. :frown:


#9

I think as long as the resorts are filling up they will keep up the discounts. If not for the discount codes for our last two trips, we would not have been able to afford to stay as long. The longer we stayed, the longer we were there to spend money on their property. Disney is still making money off us, lol.


#10

I remember when we first started going to Disney together we could get huge General Public discounts for just the room. I think one Christmas we stayed at POP for $49 a night. I miss THOSE discounts! Mostly they only offer package discounts now except for APers.
I think the discounts will hold out until the economy gets back on it’s feet and Disney sees positive numbers during non-discounted times.


#11

I don’t think I’ve paid anything other than rack rates. Last year we went to Disney during Free Dining but, had that promotion not been going on, we still would have gone and just paid for our meals out-of-pocket. I don’t think the rooms and tickets were discounted at all during that promotion, just free food, which isn’t part of our criteria on whether we can plan a trip.

However, I probably wouldn’t be contemplating a trip back to Disney so soon after our last trip if I didn’t suspect that there might be a discount this spring. Disney will get me to the park and I will spend a ton of money. If there is no discount, I’ll probably wait another year…and they will have to wait for my money too.

Rack rates would never deter me from Disney, I’d just go every few years rather than every year.


#12

So true. This is one aspect Disney is always keeping in mind - the longer they can get you to stay, the more time you’ll be spending money on food and (they hope!) souvenirs you don’t need.


#13

I think the discounts will stay for the most part. Maybe not so dramatic. But I know for us, if we save $400 then that’s most likely $400 I’m spending elsewhere in the park. Also, when you do pay out of pocket for things like water, soda, snacks it is at a huge mark up. BIG TIME. I mean where else would you go to pay $2 for a .50 cent bag of chips and not blink or a mylar balloon for $10? You can only save so much $ with bringing your own stuff. Unless you don’t mind warm water from your hotel 8 hours after you arrive at the park, or semi crushed chips from your back pack, water fountain water all day?

We’re saving money by leaving the 2 youngest home w/ g-ma. So we are most likely upgrading to a Deluxe. Even though it means more $.


#14

Not every guest knows about discounts, and many times discounts don’t apply. In fact, most guests don’t know about discounts beyond free dining. At least that was the case in the past. With the advertising overdrive of web ads, yes, many are aware of 4/3 offers, but at the end of the day, Disney is making money on every guest. They just aren’t making as much as they might make, per guest, but the rooms and parks are filled. That means that they don’t have to cut staffing and payroll, which would lead to cuts in service, which leads to less than positive experiences.

The included tickets in packages are base tickets that many guests upgrade.
And the pool of discounted rooms is always limited, so unless you are an early booker, you wind up booking a more expensive room than you’d wanted to. You can almost call it bait and switch.

Our running to Disney more often didn’t start until after we became passholders and moved 3 hours away. That extra hour each way because we lived in south Dade versus north Broward makes a huge difference.
Our first “Disney” stay (Yacht instead of Dolphin) we bought a Grand Plan package. This was August 2001. Next time, October 2002, again Grand Plan at Beach had no discount. Yes we did do two days at AKL, also in October 2002 and I seem to recall getting a Florida resident discount. 2003 and 2004 we did Gold Plan at WL and Contemporary and got no discounts. October 2005, room only at Poly, no discount, even though we were passholders. We did get many room only resident and passholder discounts after that, and we did take advantage of free dining in 2006 and 2007, but only because we were willing to go in September and not October. When we go over Christmas, we’re paying the highest rates of the year and there are no discounts during spring break either. Just keep in mind that room discounts are considered a benefit of being annual passholders and always have been. Universal does this as well. (Florida resident discounts too). Swan and Dolphin also offer many discounts. They just can’t offer the dining plan.

But if you closely examine some things since they adopted the MYW ala carte vacation plan, you’ll see that tips are not included, appetizers are not included, prices of meals have been creeping up, and menus are becoming more and more limited and coming closer to being the same regardless of location.

By the way, there’s no such thing as a $.50 bag of chips, can of soda, or candy bar. Those are closing in on $1 everywhere anyway.


#15

Depends on where you go, lol. Our Wal-Mart and a few other places sell those snack pack bags for 50 cents,etc. Its the large bags that make it $$. Either way, there is usually a jack up on prices at Disney, a street fair, you name it. It’s how they make the $ they lose on the ticket discounts, etc. I mean come on, I’ve seen cereal boxes that are $2 a box (tiny 1 person one’s) at WDW. Meanwhile, if you bring your own, you spend $2.50 for 8 at Wal-Mart. You can’t tell me WDW doesn’t buy in bulk and that these boxes of cereal, chips, soda, etc are truly that darn expensive. But they raise the price and guess what? People buy them. Same with the soda, food, gifts, etc.

It’s like that everywhere. It’s a part of life and business.

But most people get the case of the “I’m only going to be here once this year.” or "I’m not going to be back for years. " thoughts and will shell it out. I’ve done it, heck I bought the $70 monorail thing for my ds. Where is it now?? In a bin, and once in awhile I get to hear the monorail speech when the button gets pressed on accident. It reminds me to never let dh tell me that it’s the coolest thing ever. :rolleyes:

The discounts might not be as deep or as good to some people. The food might not be as much of a variety or portion size as they use to be, but it’s going on all over. BK switched fry boxes to shell out less fries and other places are cutting meat portions by 3 or 4 bites worth maybe more.

There are those that will go regardless, those that will go and save money on food or etc, and those that will only go with a good discount and if none appear, just won’t go yet if at all.

I fall into the “there better be a good deal going on or I won’t ever get dh to go” category. :laugh:

Disney will find a way to make money someway somehow. A new ride, new show, new hotel, new park, the possibilities are endless.

Where there is a will and there’s a way, Disney will do it.


#16

When we went in October, 2003, we got the same deal as we got in late May early June this year (7 nights for the price of 4). We have been two times between then and paid rack rates both times. I like the discounts, but we would go even without them. It affects other decisions about what we spend money on, but it doesn’t change our overall plans.

That being said, if WDW was offering the 7 for 4 deal two years after 9/11, I can only imagine the deals that were offered prior to that. This recession seems to be worse than that one (without the fear of travel that existed for quite a while after 9/11), so barring some miraculous recovery I’d expect to see good deals for at least another year to 18 months. I believe that WDW fears loss of being a “must do” destination (either as a once in a lifetime trip for the kids or a recurring trip for the WDW addicts) more than just about anything else, and I think they are willing to break even or see some level of yearly loss to keep families coming.

Plus, if you are like my family, the once in a lifetime trip turned into an every couple of years trip. It would be more often if it were closer and easier to drive down, plus we like to mix it up a little bit with other things in the middle year.


#17

[QUOTE=Soundgod;979740]

But if you closely examine some things since they adopted the MYW ala carte vacation plan, you’ll see that tips are not included, appetizers are not included, prices of meals have been creeping up, and menus are becoming more and more limited and coming closer to being the same regardless of location.

By the way, there’s no such thing as a $.50 bag of chips, can of soda, or candy bar. Those are closing in on $1 everywhere anyway.[/QUOTE]

I have really been noticing this over the past year. I’m starting to feel like it doesn’t matter what restaurant I’m dinning at they are all the same.


#18

[QUOTE=MemphoDisneyDad;980031]When we went in October, 2003, we got the same deal as we got in late May early June this year (7 nights for the price of 4). We have been two times between then and paid rack rates both times. I like the discounts, but we would go even without them. It affects other decisions about what we spend money on, but it doesn’t change our overall plans.

That being said, if WDW was offering the 7 for 4 deal two years after 9/11, I can only imagine the deals that were offered prior to that. This recession seems to be worse than that one (without the fear of travel that existed for quite a while after 9/11), so barring some miraculous recovery I’d expect to see good deals for at least another year to 18 months. I believe that WDW fears loss of being a “must do” destination (either as a once in a lifetime trip for the kids or a recurring trip for the WDW addicts) more than just about anything else, and I think they are willing to break even or see some level of yearly loss to keep families coming.

Plus, if you are like my family, the once in a lifetime trip turned into an every couple of years trip. It would be more often if it were closer and easier to drive down, plus we like to mix it up a little bit with other things in the middle year.[/QUOTE]

edit* - forgot the “Agreed”.
We were there in Oct 01 (it was like a ghost town) & Feb 02 and honestly I feel like there’s more discounts now then there were then. There were many cut-backs then due to extrememly low attendance, ex. the Character Caravan:blow: I hear all types of reports about Pres Day being peak yet we walked on anything we wanted. I think lowered attandance now isn’t for the same reasons as then, it’s more lack of income rather than fear of travel.


#19

[QUOTE=5Demons4Cookie;980028]
But most people get the case of the “I’m only going to be here once this year.” or "I’m not going to be back for years. " thoughts and will shell it out. I’ve done it, heck I bought the $70 monorail thing for my ds. Where is it now?? In a bin, and once in awhile I get to hear the monorail speech when the button gets pressed on accident. It reminds me to never let dh tell me that it’s the coolest thing ever. :rolleyes:[/QUOTE]

And yet, in 2005 there was a Disneyland 50th anniversary HO electric train set that I saw (possibly only at Disneyland or possibly in WDW as well) that I passed on buying thinking it would be available for a while into the near future. And this train wasn’t a toy, it was a real electric train!
Boy was I wrong! Turns out it was a very limited edition and unlike the monorail or that big battery powered train, it’s not coming back at all. The reason I’ve never bought the monorail is because it is a battery powered toy, and not a better constructed model railroad (or monorail) that is powered by an electric power pack.
The lesson was “maybe you’d better not postpone that purchase because you might never see it again”. So they keep you spending that way as well.
That’s why I drop so much on Hallmark Christmas ornaments every year:ohmy:
Maybe there’ll be a WDW version in 2021 for WDW’s 50th.


#20

ds #1 has a thing for trains. He’s out most well behaved kid actually. So we bought it. But sheeesh $70!? We don’t even spend that on his Thomas sets. :blink:

FIL has a ton of Lionels for the kids when they are older. Ds#1 can’t wait to get his hands on them. lol.

2021 huh…my oldest will be the big 21 then. Hmm I forsee a great vacation in the future then. :pirate: