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Five Marketing Lessons from a Day in Disneyland – #5: Pricing Predicament

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Disney is more like a destination ski resort than I thought.

As such, a day in the park a few weeks ago taught me some very interesting lessons about why they are so successful as a business.

Here’s one of those lessons.

The Question
When I first wrote about this I started with a question, “what if we aren’t charging enough for skiing?”

It wasn’t a takeaway, it wasn’t a suggestion, it was just it sounded like…a question. It’s one I’ll pull out of the cupboard every now and again to brainstorm on. What we know is that Disneyland is raising their prices faster than the average ski resort is:

So, the next question is simply “why?”

My Latest Theory
Over a decade ago Disneyland opened California Adventure in what, if I remember right, was once a massive parking lot.

Since, or still, the lines and crowds on holiday weekends are insanity with wait times reaching two-hours at times. Think about that. The park is only open for 14ish hours each Saturday/Sunday/holiday, and you could spend as many as 12 of those in lines.

A byproduct of an insanely popular brand, I think the reason Disneyland has raised their prices so dramatically may be more about crowd control than revenue management. Perhaps it’s more about pricing out a certain type of visitor to keep demand in line with capacity.

What This Means for Ski
In terms of pricing, I think it means that even with similar historic pricing curves the reason for the increase may be very, very different.

And, as such, there’s probably not as much to learn from that comparison as I initially hoped.

Unless, of course, you just down know what to do with the hordes of people coming to your resort every day ;)

About Gregg & SlopeFillers
I've had more first-time visitors lately, so adding a quick "about" section. I started SlopeFillers in 2010 with the simple goal of sharing great resort marketing strategies. Today I run marketing for resort ecommerce and CRM provider Inntopia, my home mountain is the lovely Nordic Valley, and my favorite marketing campaign remains the Ski Utah TV show that sold me on skiing as a kid in the 90s.

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