Is Disney’s Greed Alienating Their Largest Customer Base?

Close up picture of the new pink and blue paint job on cinderella castle in Walt Disney World

Disney keeps raising prices and cutting perks in an effort to increase profits and per person spending. They’ve also been targeting the wealthier customers with high cost extras and perks like VIP tour guides.  Now there are rumors they could start charging high prices per guest for special FastPass-like access.

Are the price hikes just Disney trying to make back their lost revenue?

The increased cost aren’t just happening because they lost money during the pandemic. Disney has been removing perks and adding costs since before the shut-downs began.

People have seen huge price hike on tickets, Annual Passes and perks like parking, well before the pandemic.

Now they’ve raised the Halloween event, this year called Boo Bash, up about $50 per ticket, while giving guests less.

Is Disney pricing out their actual customer base to chase after wealthier “unicorn” customers?

If you read a new article from The Insider, you can see that the answer is yes.

According to the article, Disney’s largest demand comes from their more middle-class fans. Customers that make $75,000 or less have a larger interest in the mouse, while the more wealthy customers, they seem to want, have much less interest in the Disney theme parks.

They came across this information in a poll/survey.

Now, the data could be skewed a bit as the sampling was lower at 1,086 responders and they are people that follow that particular blog. However, this is a trend that we’ve been witnessing for quite some time now.

From the poll results they learned that those that make less than $75,000 a year were the most likely to visit a Disney destination.

Participants were asked questions like “Would you visit a Disney theme park this year?”

26% said they would probably not. 20% indicated they “definitely would not.”  Right off the bat we see that about 50% already wouldn’t go this year.

Here’s what The Insider said their reasons for not visiting were:

  • More than 50% of respondents both with children and without said they feel Disney vacations are too expensive “in general” to warrant a trip.

  • Over 32% of participants with children said they’d like to visit a Disney property but can’t afford to.

  • Around 23% of those without children said the same.

For the ones that indicated they “definitely would” take a trip or “probably would” take a trip 222 of the participants, who had a yearly $75k or less income indicated one of these choices.  Only 109 of the $75K+ yearly income responders said they would “probably” or “definitely” visit.

  • Specifically, those who said they earn between $50,000 and $74,999 per year were seemingly the most eager to visit Disney.

  • Those who said they earn between $25,000 to $49,999 per year were the second largest group to say they’d consider visiting a Disney park this year.

  • People who said their yearly income is between $150,000 and $199,999 were the least interested in visiting Disney destinations this year, with only eight respondents saying they “definitely would” or “probably would” visit.

Disney is simply becoming too expensive for most people. 

Now that’s not to say that you can’t find ways to make trips much more affordable. Many people buy gift cards at discounted prices, or use the Disney Visa card and pay it off each month to build up rewards, etc.  I have a list out there with ways to save money for a trip.

Another issue is that people may have changed their spending habits or they are still trying to dig out from the financial burden of the pandemic. Potential guests could visit other vacation spots for far less and still have money to fix their financial situation.

Those with money would rather go to other locations. For each “wealthy” person that visits the park there are far more middle-class families visiting. Disney is chasing one demographic but their spend might still not give them the money that a larger group from their largest demographic would give them.

Meanwhile, other parks like SeaWorld and Universal, are giving guests great festivals, attractions, hotels and more for lower prices.  Many still have season or annual passes while Disneyland has removed theirs.

Now people might still go to Disney, but maybe just visit a couple of days and stay off property and then spend more time and money on other locations in the same areas.

If I’m being honest I don’t see Disney’s behavior changing anytime soon. Not when people are still willing to pay their ever increasing prices.  Change won’t likely happen until Disney takes a hit in the wallet and then they may consider making things a bit more affordable.

It doesn’t help that their commercials make it seem that it’s a good deal and your family can walk right down Main Street U.S.A to Cinderella Castle and Mickey Mouse. That isn’t the reality for many.

All this being said, I still encourage people to visit if they can. Or I will try to find helpful hits or ways for people to make it more affordable. Because I myself have scraped and saved just to take my family on a trip and then it was much more affordable.

What do you think? Comment and let us know.

Pirates & Princesses (PNP) is an independent, opinionated fan-powered news blog that covers Disney and Universal Theme Parks, Themed Entertainment and related Pop Culture from a consumer's point of view. Opinions expressed by our contributors do not necessarily reflect the views of PNP, its editors, affiliates, sponsors or advertisers. PNP is an unofficial news source and has no connection to The Walt Disney Company, NBCUniversal or any other company that we may cover.