Just like Disney’s stock lately, there were a lot of ups and down in Disney fans’ finances this week. First there was Force Friday which brought Star Wars hype to a fever pitch and used it to print money. While retailers across the nation had their own events and celebrations, Disney Parks originally planned to charge $50 to attend but later recanted on that, even refunding those who had already paid while still giving them priority access and all the goodies they were meant to receive for their Ulysses S. Grant.
Interesting, the company seemingly tried to sneakily regain that $50 by charging $200 for the prized BB-8 droids while other stores (including Disney Store) were only asking $149.99. Now one could easily argue that merchandise in the Parks is always going to be more expensive and they’d be right. In fact, when the OC Register inquired about the scandal, that’s almost exactly what they said. However, later in the day Disney once again back-pedaled and dropped their price point to the regular MSRP.
These two stories would imply that Disney is becoming more sensitive to what consumers think of their pricing. Even if you estimate that dropping the fee to shop was due to a lack of demand for that price, there’s almost no doubting that slashing their BB-8 markup was a direct reaction to fan complaints. Granted, in a company as large as Disney, these two decisions are in almost no way related other than the fact that they happened on the same day in the same square mile of Anaheim.
But that’s not the only thing that happened in Disneyland on Friday: the resort announced not one but two special dining experience coming later this year. The first out of the gate was a Jungle Cruise breakfast. It’s hard to quite make out what exactly is included in this package since the press release is written in Disney-speak where it makes it sound like this is some sort of skipper training but the gist is that you have breakfast and go on a private Jungle Cruise. This all sounds great but at $300 (or “two BB-8 droids,” if you’re keeping track), the price tag made some eyebrows jump over 20 feet. Oh and did I mention the event starts at 5:30 a.m., doesn’t include park admission, and they even say they’ll escort out of the park to get back in line to reenter the park? Lulz.
The other event announced yesterday is an add-on available to guests attending one of Mickey’s Halloween Parties this year. In a similar vein to the Villian’s Sinister Soiree that were added to the (better-named) Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Parties in Walt Disney World last year, these dinners include special a prix-fixe meal at Blue Bayou and a themed show hosted by Dr. Facilier. While the $150 ask seems cheap by comparison to the
Continental Jungle Cruise breakfast, keep in mind that is an expensive dinner that not only adds to the cost of your hard ticket event but also takes you away from said event for hours.
Up-charge events such as these have caught a lot of flack on Twitter, including some ribbing jokes from yours truly (is The Rock cooking us breakfast for $300? He is in that movie, after all…). But, to be honest, I can’t really fault Disney. It’s simple economics: supply and demand. If people are willing to pay for these experiences, then more power to them.
While several many have laughed at the $300 dollar breakfast and a handful of others have gotten irrationally upset about it, they seem to be selling decently well. But, rest assured that if they weren’t, Disney would cancel them, as they demonstrated earlier this week with the Force Friday fiasco. What’s most remarkable about that whole saga, is how the company not only admitted when they were wrong but also took care of the guests who were affected. To be sure, they could have easily just refunded guests their money and called it even but, instead, they used their world famous customer service to make it right for these loyal fans.
The best thing about these two “over-priced” offerings is that if you don’t want to attend them, you don’t have to. In fact, if you didn’t know about them from the internet, I doubt you’d even notice their occurrence as neither will have an impact on typical day guests (save the park closing early for the party, but that would be happening without the Facilier festivities). So make jokes, laugh about it, but don’t get angry — it’s not worth the stress. Instead, sit back, relax and enjoy your reasonably priced breakfast while watching puppies play with that darn BB-8 droid:
Kyle is a writer living in Springfield, MO. His deep love of Disney and other pop culture finds its way into his stories, scripts, and tweets. His first book “The E-Ticket Life: Stories, Essays, and Lessons Learned from My Decidedly Disney Travels” is available in paperback and for Kindle. http://amzn.to/1CStAhV