Monday, September 24, 2007

Make park hopping automatic?

In response to a recent column when I noted any one park at WDW couldn't stand up to DL, Robert M. wrote:

But of course, as your careful "vs. one park" wording belies, WDW is more than one park, it's a full ecosystem and should be treated that way. This, however, reminds me of something I have been mulling for a while: Is it really in WDW's interest to make park hopper tickets a surplus charge? Of all the surplus ticket charges, it seems the easiest to avoid - it does not give access to a new park or protect your investment in case of a change of plans. In other words, it seems the most like a "luxury".

Yet, it seems so very much in Disney's interest to have people park-hop. When they park hop they take themselves out of the ride queues for at least an hour, but likely longer. And they are using facilities which are off the shelf and easier to maintain. They expose themselves to more of the advertising and merchandizing that exists at the entry/exits. They are more likely to try a restaurant they are interested in at another park (compared to finding an interesting restaurant without an admission ticket acting as a cover charge). It load-balances the parks; if one is busy that day, some people can opt to hop to a different park. And then there is also the intangible stuff you like to focus on: feelings of being respected, of being in control, not feeling like they have to pre-plan, etc. And in a world of full-park hopping a per park comparison as you did would seem as odd as a per-land comparison.

I really feel that, if not free, park hopping should be an easy to attain add-on. Free with resort stay; free with online/advance ticket purchase; free as a dreams come true thing; free with EPCOT restaurant reservation; etc.