Disney’s CEO Bob Chapek sat down with Brett Feldman, managing Director Goldman Sachs for the Goldman Sachs Communacopia Conference. During their call, Disney Park Passes and the new reservation system came up.
Before the pandemic, Guests could enter Disneyland or Disney World whenever they wanted as long as they had a Park ticket and the Park was not at capacity (something that only happened on New Year’s Eve or Christmas Day, if ever). Now, the pandemic has caused a reduced amount of Guest in the Park and to track those Guests, Disney created the Disney Park Pass system.
Guests now have to make a Disney Park reservation to enter a Park. Park Hopping is allowed, but only after 2:00 p.m., and you must enter the Park you have a reservation for first. By doing this, Disney can control its capacity quickly, but it has taken the spontaneity out of the Guest experience. You no longer can just show up to Magic Kingdom, but must make sure there is room for you before you arrive.
As the summer progressed and capacity increased, scoring a Disney Park Pass went from impossible to much easier, which was great news for those who visit often or don’t want to decide on what they are doing every day, weeks, or months prior.
Today, Chapek commented on the system and how it helps them control not only Guests, but yield as well.
“[Our reservation system] gives us the ability now to really on a real-time basis direct people, ensure that we have the right mix of guests in the park, and control the demand in ways that frankly we’ve never been able to do. That then enables all the consumer interfaces that we’ve put in place, things like Genie — either the free part of Genie, the complementary part of Genie that’s going to improve everyone’s visit to our parks and ensure that they minimize wait times and maximize the fun, if you will. But at the same time that’s also enabled for our Magic Key Program at Disneyland Resort and our new Annual Pass program at Walt Disney World.
So that reservation system is really key to do all those, but each one of those, because it changes the mix of who comes on what day, also gives us a chance to benefit our shareholders and manage that yield and process. So it’s all made possible by our reservation system but with several interfaces at the same time so that each Guest can take advantage of to essentially customize and personalize their experience in a way that they couldn’t do before.”
As you can imagine, before this, Disney could never be sure how many Guests to expect in each park each day, which could affect staffing. Now that they know precisely how many people to expect, they can staff accordingly and have enough product provided for that amount.
It has already been said that the reservation system is one that will be sticking around for a long time, even once capacity has returned to normal. Knowing this, and hearing Chapek’s comments, it is clear that the system provides the company a big help for their Park operations as it will no longer be used for managing how many Guests can enter due to COVID, but eventually, just be a tool for Disney to anticipate crowds or lack thereof.
Are you a fan of the Disney Park Pass reservation system?