One of the great things about Walt Disney World is the resort’s willingness to constantly tinker and try new things to improve the guest experience. In most cases these limited time tests provide the resort with useful information, often leading to improvements.
However, over the past few weeks two recently conducted limited-time tests have been going on at the Magic Kingdom that haven't really gone over as well with guests as the resort might have originally hoped. Fortunately, it looks like Disney is planning to correct these issues in some interesting ways in the very near future...
1. High-priced Disney After Hours event fails to make an impression
When the ultra-exclusive Disney After Hours event was first announced earlier this year, many Disney fans balked at the prospect of any guest forking over $150 for three hours of admission to the Magic Kingdom with the promise of lighter crowds and walk-on attractions. Of course, popular opinion does not always match up with reality (after all, fans derided the introduction of Walt Disney World's preferred parking option earlier this year, but this $35 upcharge has actually been modestly popular in practice), but it looks like in the case of Disney After Hours fans have soundly voted against this event's existence by keeping their pocketbooks closed.
As we reported previously, the opening night of Disney After Hours at the Magic Kingdom was essentially a bust for Disney, with only 300 guest tickets actually sold for the event (according to Cast Member reports), with the other 1000 or so guests who attended the inaugural Disney After Hours getting in for free as part of a last-minute DVC member admission giveaway.
However, even though the event was basically an immediate failure, Disney has somewhat puzzlingly decided to go through with the previously-scheduled additional dates for this event, all the way up to its conclusion next month. But in an interesting twist, Disney announced several days ago that tickets for this event would now be 50% off for all Disney Vacation Club members and annual passholders, now costing a discounted $75 per person for these two groups (and of course still $150 for everyone else who wants to attend).
Clearly this move is designed to increase sales in the short term, but thinking logically, Disney Vacation Club Members as well as annual passholders are probably among the least likely groups to want to take advantage of this upcharge event (even at a discounted rate), as these guests have presumably all been to the Magic Kingdom a number of times before and probably don’t need the extra upcharge event to experience their favorite attractions with a low wait time. If Disney was serious about getting guests into this event and making it a success, it would probably serve them better to offer deep discounts to everyone who wants to experience this event, as guests who don't visit Disney often would probably benefit the most from attending Disney After Hours.
With the low initial attendance numbers in mind (as well as the negative reception among fans online), we would not be surprised if there are more price cuts made to make this event as attractive as possible for anyone even considering purchasing tickets for the remaining days on which it will be offered. And unless something major changes with regard to attendance, it seems unlikely that Disney After Hours will return to the park in its current form, if at all.