Some Theme Park Trends That Could Impact Disney
We’re nearly halfway through 2023, and some new theme park trends have developed.
So, let’s evaluate the landscape to determine how these trends could impact your next Disney visit.
Six Flags Mimics Disney
We’ll start with a recursive subject. Six Flags has followed Disney, who may have followed Amazon. Or not.
Anyway, Six Flags has implemented Amazon’s Just Walk Out tech at the parks.
With this method, guests can skip lines when they buy food, drinks, and merchandise in certain locations.
I should add that Amazon and Coca-Cola are the two other joint sponsors of this initiative, as Amazon seeks to expand its tech.
Meanwhile, Coke has identified a new method for quick transactions.
For amusement parks, the idea works as a great way to increase revenue.
You’ll spend less time in line, wondering whether you’re buying too much.
In 2020, Disney introduced Merchandise Mobile Checkout, which empowers guests to skip the line at various participating stores.
You stick your items in a clear plastic bag and then pay via My Disney Experience when you’re ready to leave.
The convenience of this process matters to customers. For Disney, it increases revenue while decreasing staffing needs.
However, the Amazon Just Walk Out tech hints at an even better option coming one day.
Let’s just change the wording to Amazon Just Walk In. Now think about that idea at Disney parks.
We’re probably not far away from theme park entry via an app. I mean, we already have MagicMobile, which works like a MagicBand.
Still, you must stand in line and then stop long enough for the system to recognize your valid admission. And that process creates lines.
Imagine how much better the system will be when you don’t need to tap anything.
You can just walk into the park whenever you have a ticket! I suspect that day will arrive within the decade.
Free Disney Genie+ Days
During a recent interview, Disney’s CFO, Christine McCarthy, mentioned the power of Disney pricing.
The theme parks possess pricing elasticity, enabling park officials to offer deals as needed during slow seasons.
Also, Disney has prioritized special dates in recent years. I’m talking about May the 4th, Disney+ Day, and the like. And then I noticed a story.
Tokyo Disney Resort will bring back its equivalent of free FastPasses, which it’s calling the 40th Anniversary Priority Pass.
As a celebration of the park’s 40 years in business, Tokyo Disney will bring back a variant of this beloved amenity.
At some point, Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World could adopt the same approach.
Yes, Disney Genie+ is here to stay as a paid service. That doesn’t mean you’ll always have to pay for it, though.
Disney could feasibly offer the service for free on certain dates, just as Tokyo Disney has chosen.
Also, Disney could provide Disney Genie+ as some sort of reward via Disney Movie Insiders, Disney Visa Rewards, or the like.
Finally, I fully expect Disney to include Disney Genie+ in vacation packages eventually. Frankly, I’m surprised that one hasn’t happened yet.
Better Fan Integration
Similarly, during some recent interviews, multiple Disney officials have mentioned heightened customer awareness.
The era of big data has helped Disney learn more than ever about its customers. And that knowledge comes with potential benefits.
At some point, Disney can and should offer some sort of multifaceted customer integration of fandoms.
For example, Disney knows who subscribes to Disney+ and the Disney Bundle. It’s also aware of D23 members and frequent ShopDisney customers.
Then, we have park-specific fandoms like annual passholders and Disney Vacation Club members.
The company could integrate these fandoms into some sort of Disney club akin to Best Buy Rewards or Starbucks Rewards.
When that happens, ardent supporters like you and I could benefit from our customer loyalty.
Meanwhile, Disney could provide unique deals that casual fans wouldn’t consider, but loyalists might.
Let’s say that Disney offered another three-year deal on Disney+ as it did when the service launched.
However, let’s presume that you must purchase the Disney bundle for three years, which wouldn’t come cheap.
You probably wouldn’t do that in a vacuum, right? Would you if Disney threw in something like single-day park admission or five Lightning Lanes?
These sorts of teaser offers have proven effective in the business world, and Disney now possesses a strong enough understanding of customers to implement the idea.
Galactic Starcuiser Levels of Immersion
Okay, Disney has thrown in the towel on Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser, which makes old-school fans like me wince.
We’re feeling this loss a second time, as we remember how it felt when Adventurers Club closed for good.
During the 21st century, Disney has toyed with fully immersive entertainment.
In each instance, the results have proven confusing. Guests raved about both, and the surveys support this fact.
However, not enough guests have voted with their wallets enough for the ideas to survive.
With Galactic Starcruiser, Disney could have offered something for $500 but instead settled on $5,000.
That’s the primary reason the project will go down in history as a failure. The idea remains sound, though.
As a reminder, Imagineers initially intended many of the ideas for the Galactic Starcruiser as Galaxy’s Edge activities.
Once Bob Chapek got involved, the “live out your own Star Wars story” became a “one-percenters only” proposition.
Disney can and should return that idea to where it started: Black Spire Outpost.
Similarly, the idea should expand to other parts of the parks. Specifically, I’d like to see it at Pirates of the Caribbean.
This attraction is already one of the crown jewels of Disney. I swear it’s that much better with live actors, though.
Imagine living out an interactive pirate story while you’re in Adventureland!
That possibility isn’t the least bit far-fetched!
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Featured image: Disney