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Disneyland Article
Higher Prices Will Not Make Disneyland Any Less Crowded

ID:TMS-3841
Source:Orange County Register
Author:Robert Niles
Dateline:January 23, 2018
Posted:January 31, 2018
 
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Next month marks the one-year anniversary of the most recent ticket price increases at Disneyland and Walt Disney World. Given that price increases have become an annual tradition for Disney, it's probably a good bet that the next one is coming sooner, rather than later.

But no matter when Disney next increases the price of its theme park tickets and annual passes, I'll also bet you that the parks will remain packed after it hits. Rising prices do not seem to deter fans from visiting Disney's theme parks. Why?

If you want an annual pass, you can get a year's worth of theme park visits for far less at Knott's Berry Farm, Six Flags Magic Mountain, Universal Studios Hollywood, Legoland - heck, at pretty much any theme park in the United States. You can buy a year's pass at most of those parks for less than the cost of a single day's Park Hopper at the Disney Resort. So why aren't more theme park fans abandoning Disney for those alternatives?

Because Disney isn't just a theme park. It's a lifestyle. Disneyland is filled with people who watch Disney movies, and kids who play with Disney toys. Disney has reinvented itself over the past generation to become a lifestyle brand - with movies, online services, TV networks, books, music, home decor, clothing, a cruise line and theme parks to entice fans to spend all their free time and money with the Mouse.

That's why Paradise Pier is becoming Pixar Pier, and the Tower of Terror became a Guardians of the Galaxy ride. For a lifestyle brand to succeed, its movies, TV shows, consumer products and theme park attractions all must work together to promote each other, creating a web of branding that provides a comfy, enticing home for consumers. It's a one-stop solution for all your entertainment needs.

Other than Universal with Harry Potter, no other theme park can offer cradle-to-grave lifestyle branding like this. (And Harry Potter is the big reason why Universal alone has kept up with, and even passed, Disney's theme park attendance increases this decade.) Roller coasters and thrill rides are great once you're tall enough to ride. But what happens when you become a parent and have little kids who can't ride with you? You break your habit of going to thrill parks - and lifestyle branding is dependent upon creating and maintaining consumer habits.

One other chain used to have a lifestyle brand like Disney's, at least for adults. But when Anheuser-Busch sold the SeaWorld/Busch Gardens chain in 2009, those parks lost the free beer and branding tie-ins that made them synonymous with Budweiser for many loyal beer drinkers. It's probably not a coincidence that 2009 was the peak year for attendance at SeaWorld Orlando, the chain's most-visited park. (Harry Potter opening at Universal Orlando the next year didn't help, either.)

Disney's lifestyle brand helps its parks to keep raising prices without losing customers. Higher prices might push you away from visiting Disneyland, but Disney is counting on Pixar, Star Wars, TV chefs, Disney Channel shows and all its other franchises to keep pulling you back anyway.

Years of rising prices and increasing crowds show that Disney's strategy is working.
 

 
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