In addition to having Disney Parks be associated with magical experiences, they are also associated with non-magical experiences like having expensive tickets and long lines. If anything, those two things are paradoxical because while it can cost thousands of dollars to access one, Disney Parks still happen to contain a surplus of people every day.
One argument that many online think is the reason to why Disney Parks are so crowded are because of the Annual Passholders. Disney’s annual passport program allows passholders to access the park whenever they’d like with the exception of blockout days. Pass prices, specifically for the California Disney Parks range from to $300 all the way to $1000+. Yet, there are a rumored number of 1 million passholders who come to the parks on a regular basis.
The result is that it has sometimes lead to overcrowding at the parks. No matter who you are as a guest, the experience has drastically changed because of the amount of guests visiting and might become worse as time goes on with the popularity of going with experiences that include some of the world’s most recognized IP like Star Wars and Disney Animation.
So how do you fix overcrowding at some of the most popular theme parks in the world?
One such blogger has proposed a membership-type model to take the place of the current annual passholder program. That blogger, Louie Mantia, says it could work like an incentive program similar to Starbucks, your local grocer, or credit card – the more you spend, the more you’re rewarded. Hypothetically, Mantia argues that if you tie people’s spending to their rewards, the attendance at places like Disneyland Park would even out by granting access and extra perks to those who spend at the parks more.
It’s a business model that most corporations actually love for the sake of increasing spend and in turn revenue, but is tough when presented to the consumer. The last thing people want to do is spend more than what they intend to, but that desire would be lessened if messaged or incentivized in the right way.
If such a program was implemented at Disney Parks, Mantia’s model of membership would be a tough sell because most annual passholders don’t spend in the parks during their visits (i.e. food, souvenirs, etc.), whereas most out-of-town visitors do because their access is limited to when they leave to go back home. If passholders are then limited to their visits because they won’t spend, it would probably enrage them while it makes Disney’s business boom with less people, but people like out-of-town visitors spending in healthy levels.
There’s no doubt that Disney Parks is already looking into creating the best experience for all types of guests, but dealing with crowding is something they should highly focus on. While a membership model probably won’t work, it’s thoughts like Mantia’s that need to happen in order to find a sustainable solution that would make any visit to a Disney Park the most memorable one you’ve had so far.