Thursday, March 4, 2010

Kevin Yee's Facebook Question

Kevin Yee (you all know he is, right?)(that's optimistic, right? That I have readers?) posted an interesting thought provoking question on Facebook. Here it is, quoted directly from his feed:

Scenario: you are in charge operationally at DHS and must cut costs. Do you cut park summer hours, open rides late, discontinue ESPN or Star Wars weekends? Or suggest your own strategy. Note: pretend you can't "spend more to earn more" for this question.

Some of the answers were, like, tear down the hat and sell it for scrap metal, and more seriously, cut or limit the number of shows that are effects- and performer-intense.

My first thought was that they do nothing to reduce value. How to reduce value? Cut hours, open rides late, discontinue special attractions...all the things Kevin Yee mentions in his question itself. Messing with the shows, to me, would decrease value by making it harder to see them and by making the other rides more crowded. I've never been able to get to Fantasmic! as it is now, because at first my kids were too young to stay up that late, then, last time when we tried to go, it was SRO and we didn't feel up to that with young boys.

Instead, I suggested, they should bump fees and charges up the minimum amount they need to do to create the extra revenue stream. That's much how I operate my own business (the practice of dentistry)- I don't cut out services, I simply charge what I need to charge to maintain my income and pay my expenses. It's a bit different here, I understand - my primary interest is avoiding taxes by having no profit, or even a loss, in my corporation at the end of the year. Disney is responsible to their shareholders, and they need to generate a profit.

Another thought I had was to create a "boutique park" experience a couple of nights, and price it high. I'm thinking of the Mickey's parties at the Magic Kingdom, and I'm also thinking about the ideas for a "Beastly Kingdom" boutique park at DAK. Maybe call it "Hollywood Nights", and skew it toward adults and older kids. Make the experience a glitzy, red-carpet Hollywood nighttime experience - not the real Hollywood, which to my eye didn't look all that glitzy when we were there a couple years ago - but a Disney, exciting, feast-for-the-eyes Hollywood, with stars (well, look-alikes) strolling the streets and maybe giving impromptu performances, rides open, and maybe some of the feel of The Great Movie Ride out in the streets. Light it up differently than it would be during other nights, make it an extravaganza. Then charge for it. Charge plenty. It doesn't have to be every night. But it could be a great money maker. People would go for it, I bet.

I really dislike the idea of cutting out stuff from that park experience without lowering prices. If they need to charge a little more, or have some surcharges once you get inside, I'd be better with that than I would be with cutting. Maybe not everyone would agree, but that's how I think. Any thoughts?

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