Is Disney acting like its in a recession?

This statement from Boston Girl was promoted from the comments.

Even with a recession, and the amount of times we go to Disney from Boston (roughly 5 times a year), the past two years have been even busier then ever! In October, you wouldn’t know that there was a recession! However they many were from Europe. December was just as crowded — but they weren’t from Europe! I don’t think Disney has a quiet time anymore.

We’ve been season passholders for a long time and have enjoyed our Disney getaway, but each time we turn around, there are more perks that are gone for passholders and increasing prices specifically in the food and restaurants that just is over the top – that it will become a major factor come fall 09 if we renew our annual passes. We don’t wish to do the Dining Plan but feel that that is Disney’s plan for all. We miss the ‘best pricing’ for passholder rooms and being able to make reservations six months in advance. Arranging flights and time off on short notice just doesn’t work and is not very feasible. How can we take advantage of passholder room rates on such short notice! I wonder if the brilliant person who changed this system a couple of years ago knows the impact it has had and probably the ultimate reason we may not renew?

If Disney is dropping off on reservations, I don’t think its the recession, global or not… so much as their making it unaffordable and not taking care of the ones who keep coming back — from out of town especially with Florida hurting so much. They need to take care of their ‘repeaters’ long and long distance, and remember that they always come, recession or not! I’m sure that the season passholders were the glue to success during bad times.

I didn’t want it to get lost down thread. Being a local, I don’t have to deal with making reservations, but this isn’t the first time I’ve read comments like this.

Post your thoughts in the comments below.

9 thoughts on “Is Disney acting like its in a recession?”

  1. It seems like they’re trying to use up the goodwill they’ve amassed over the years and cash in on it now. I think they kind of assume “we” (the Disney People) will come no matter what, so what’s really important is getting the new people. That works great up to a point, but once you get to that point it’s catastrophic.

  2. I crunched the numbers recently to see if I could fit Disneyland into an upcoming vacation and found that it just wasn’t going to work this time. Their promotions seem pretty lackluster. C’mon, $68 a person, per day? That came to nearly $600 for three days at the park, in a “Good Neighbor” hotel. I can’t quite justify spending half my monthly mortgage payment for three days of vacation in a Quality Inn. I see a lot of ads on tv, but I don’t think they’re in touch with the average guest anymore.

  3. I’ve seen this mentality elsewhere. Where companies sacrifice the loyalty and longevity of longtime clients for the lure of quicker, more lucrative, albeit one-time gains from newer clients.

    I never understood it

  4. I’ve been tracking AP trends since 2003, and AP holders could NEVER make discounted reservations 6 months in advance, except for 1 small window in late 2005 into 2006 (see for supporting data)

    Prior to that date range and after, AP holders and Florida Residents usually got a 3 month lead time on booking their trips.

    This person also needs to investigate the Tables In Wonderland program (formerly the Disney Dining Experience) that gives 20% off almost all meals to AP holders.

    The “glue” to Disney’s success during bad times are not the AP holders – the glue are those that come to Disney again and again and again – those who don’t even know about Annual Passes – those that pay full price for rooms and meals and souvenirs – and will continue to do so for years – and bring their friends, family, parents and grandchildren.

  5. Agree. My wife and I are also passholders (three years). Even in this time frame, we’ve seen the Passholder Program decay to the point that public offers are often better.

    One thing EVERY passholder should buy: Get “Tables in Wonderland”. It works VERY well, and we have found that we come out ahead HUNDREDS of dollars with two trips per year. In fairness? We also go to a LOT of Signiture Dining spots.

    I beleve the best thing Disney could do is simply give passholders a straight 10% break on rooms (similar to AAA offers), and can the poorly timed (and often paltry) “Passholder Room Only Offers”.

  6. One thing to vigilantly remember in this whole recession talk is that Disney’s actions today are largely based on bookings, not the current crowds at the parks. People vacationing now may have booked in the summer. So if Disney sees that their 6-month booking window is 30% less than it was at the same time historically, then they have to combine that data with their best estimate of things improving by that time. Extensions/Availability of special deals are a good way to gauge demand. Ie, that the 4/3 deal was extended (instead of, say, pounced on quickly within the first two weeks of announcing it) is indicative.

    Second thought: the foreign market coming to WDW/DL has to be plummeting. Just look at the USD vs. Pound ( or USD vs. Euro: (

  7. Disney gives AAA members consistent yearly discounts because a contract is negotiated between AAA and Disney – because AAA has 50 million members!

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