The Magic/Sad Bus Is Going Away (And so is EMH)

bnoble

he's right
hasn't rope-dropping gotten less annoying (everywhere but HS) since FPP started?
MK and AK still have some challenges. For 7DMT and FoP, the rope-drop rush is still bad enough that I don't bother. You either need to be right up front, or it's going to be a long day. In some ways, the FP+ era makes it worse b/c FP+ returns start immediately rather than only in the second hour of operation (as it was in the paper FP days). Even Pan is one where you don't want to dawdle.

Epcot is a little better because the crowd splits between Frozen and Test Track, plus those just aren't on as many must-do lists as they might have been once upon a time.
 

bnoble

he's right
I am wondering how much the rise of ride-sharing has dented ME's (unstated) purpose of creating a captive audience. There is a lot less friction with Uber/Lyft, and I bet an increasing number of guests were using them to get offsite to eat/etc.
 

hizouse

Member
I am wondering how much the rise of ride-sharing has dented ME's (unstated) purpose of creating a captive audience. There is a lot less friction with Uber/Lyft, and I bet an increasing number of guests were using them to get offsite to eat/etc.
Good point, I would bet that's the main reason, other than just cost savings. Not that demand was reduced due to people ubering from the airport, but that more peopling are ubering offsite once they get there.
 

bnoble

he's right
Except now your paying for it in the room rates and not getting it. Unless Disney dropped the room rates to account for it. :RpS_laugh:
You shouldn't expect them to go down, because the didn't go up sharply when ME was introduced---and that's not how ME was justified. ME had two primary goals, one specific to the service and one as part of a broader strategy. IMO, both goals were driven by what I think of as Disneyland's Original Sin*, and in concert they were expected to increase revenue to (more than) pay for ME.

The specific goal of ME was to make being on property for an overnight guest more "sticky." The obvious way is that everyone who chooses the ("free") ME service over renting a car couldn't easily leave property. But, there is also a psychological component: if you didn't use any non-Disney transport to get you to your hotel, it takes more "activation energy" to consider calling for a cab, etc. once you are there. Every offsite purchase that doesn't happen is a sale that WDW gets to make instead.

The broader goal was a program called "Destination Disney." There were (at least) three components to DD: Magical Express, the Dining Plans, and the Magic Your Way ticketing model. DD launched in 2005, but the business motivation for it was explained in a Tutorial that Jay Rasulo and Jim Hunt gave to a group of investment analysts in 2003. That tutorial was summarized by LaughingPlace, and it was one of the most fascinating things I've ever read about how Disney thinks about its business. The whole thing is worth a read, but the money quote is this:

Research shows that guests drop things from their itinerary once they arrive instead of adding experiences to their vacation. Because of this, it is important to Disney that guests purchase their experiences from home. Guests that purchase from home average around 4 [theme park days per guest], guest [sic] that don’t average 2.
The three components were all an important part of this strategy. By introducing tickets that expired and giving steep discounts past day 3-4, the Magic Your Way ticketing model gave a strong economic incentive for maximizing the time spent at Disney within a single trip, cutting into the "go to Disney but spend one day at Universal" habit. The Dining Plan got guests to commit in advance to all meals on property---and, in most cases, more/more expensive/larger meals than guests would buy on their own. Magical Express constrained all of the pre-planning that a guest might do to within the boundaries of WDW rather than planning a side trip off property for anything else.

It's no accident that all of these debuted together in 2005---just a year or two after that tutorial.

Over the years, MYW and DDP have evolved, partly because in their original configurations they were almost too much of a good deal for the guest. ME didn't have that flexibility. I've written this in the thread before, but my guess is that ME is a victim of two things. First: the degree to which Uber/Lyft/the Mears Taxi app decreased the friction to get off property, so ME doesn't make things as sticky as it used to. Second: now that Disney charges parking fees,** that may be seen as enough of a deterrent to renting a car that ME has become redundant.

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*: Disneyland's Original Sin was that Disney owned only what was inside the berm of the Park and the parking lot, but nothing else. This led to a large ecosystem of inexpensive hotels and restaurants around the park. There were two problems with that. One: Disney couldn't control the look-and-feel of those outside-the-berm businesses, and they came across as tacky. More importantly: No one would have visited any of those hotels or diners without Disneyland's presence, and so Disney viewed them as little more than parasites.

Walt Disney World was built to correct Disneyland's Original Sin, and that idea explains most of what WDW has become in many ways. The Mouse absolutely hates the fact that other companies get a slice of revenue from tourists who come to Orlando to experience Disney.

**: I suspect the parking fees were originally intended to change the mix of drive-to/fly-to guests. These were introduced at a time when demand for WDW hotel rooms was skyrocketing. That gave Disney the chance to both raise rates faster than inflation (which they did) but also create mechanisms to discourage guests that might be less profitable. Guests who fly to Orlando likely stay longer, because they have to amortize the money spent on a flight across more "fun". Longer trips are inherently more profitable because the costumer acquisition costs via marketing, etc. get spread over more spending. They also are likely to be less frequent visitors, and less frequent visitors tend to spend more per trip---frequent guests have already been to that "must-do" restaurant and already have a couple of pairs of mouse ears, etc.

If you have one hotel room left, and you can pick between a fly-to guest and a drive-to guest renting it, my guess is that you pick the former. The parking fees act as a nudge to get people to make that decision. But, once the parking fees were in place, that likely was the beginning of the end of ME, even if they weren't originally designed with that in mind.
 

Mp74

Member
I also wonder if this is Disney assuming that fly in guests will be a smaller part of their guests over the short to medium term.

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George

wishes he had a pink frolicing llama under his tag
I also wonder if this is Disney assuming that fly in guests will be a smaller part of their guests over the short to medium term.
I don't think they'd discontinue something that significant if they thought this would be temporary, even "medium term." And it's not going away until 1/1/22, which is almost an entire year away, at which point a huge portion of the population will have been vaccinated, and wanting to get back to "normal," if their finances allow, that is.
 

DopeyRunr

the jeweled acrobats only perform amazing stunts f
Oof - this is off-topic but related:


I wonder if this signals the phasing out of APs at WDW, which would significantly change my cost-benefit analysis of DVC ownership (getting two trips within 12 months on a single AP).
 

Mp74

Member
I don't think they'd discontinue something that significant if they thought this would be temporary, even "medium term." And it's not going away until 1/1/22, which is almost an entire year away, at which point a huge portion of the population will have been vaccinated, and wanting to get back to "normal," if their finances allow, that is.
The contract was through the end of 21. I'm sure they would have cancelled this year if they could have. Sounds like they are betting on the train filling that hole. This will be a massive turnoff to international travelers

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George

wishes he had a pink frolicing llama under his tag
I wonder if this signals the phasing out of APs at WDW, which would significantly change my cost-benefit analysis of DVC ownership (getting two trips within 12 months on a single AP).
I squeeze out 3 trips in a year from an AP and a Tables in Wonderland card.
 

George

wishes he had a pink frolicing llama under his tag
APs make up a HUGE percentage of ticket sales at DLR. There are going to be a lot of unhappy people there.
 

bnoble

he's right
I wonder if this signals the phasing out of APs at WDW,
I don't think it necessarily does. As George points out, the guest mix at DLR is really different---it's more of a locals' park, whereas WDW is more of a destination that people visit from elsewhere. WDW has managed to hit park capacity many days with just what locals are there plus anyone who is currently willing to travel. DLR's heavier locals mix could easily swamp the parks under any material capacity limits. And such limits are likely to be more severe in California than Florida for a variety of reasons.

Something that looks like the AP will be back under the Membership model---this is similar to the direction Six Flags has gone. My guess is that Membership is stickier than an AP---a monthly recurring cost with a minimum term that people forget to cancel, or don't cancel because the marginal monthly cost is low enough that "we might go next month, let's keep it."
 
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ThemeParkCommando

Active member
It's my understanding that they've been letting people into parks before the official RD time since they reopened because they don't want to create a huge crowd waiting to be let in. With the new system, won't non-resort guests become a crowd?
Maybe they will let everyone in to the parks early, but only those with the on site magic band ID will be allowed on rides early. Like the way they used to do late night EMH.
 

George

wishes he had a pink frolicing llama under his tag
Maybe they will let everyone in to the parks early, but only those with the on site magic band ID will be allowed on rides early. Like the way they used to do late night EMH.
At Tokyo, they have a couple special entrances (one on each side) for those with early entry privileges.
 

ThemeParkCommando

Active member
I will miss ME. It was the start of the magic for me and my family. Since I always planned arrival and departure days as 'no other plans' days, waiting to get to Disney, and the 3 hour departure window never were an issue. The baggage handling was the BEST feature.
Also, a weeks rental car price from the Alamo rental car site on property was always over $100 cheaper than the Alamo rental car from the airport.

Ah well, I think I'll go back to driving from Texas to Florida. Save the airfare and rental car cost, to pay for the parking cost. I'll still come out ahead in money, but behind on time. I'll have to take an extra vacation day to make the drive worth it.
 

lovett1979

Active member
Maybe they will let everyone in to the parks early, but only those with the on site magic band ID will be allowed on rides early. Like the way they used to do late night EMH.
Yes, I had had that thought (and hope) as well. It would make sense for Disney because then everyone could be purchasing merchandise and food from the 30-minutes-before time, and there wouldn't be a huge crowd outside the tapstiles, but only resort guests would be let onto rides.
 
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