So yesterday Walt Disney World made the oh-so-earth-shattering announcement that resort guests will now generally be charged an overnight parking fee. The fine print can be found here – but the gist is that for reservations made on or after March 21 of this year, standard overnight parking for resort guests will cost $13/night for value resorts, $19/night for moderate resorts, and $24/night for deluxe resorts. There’s a carveout for DVC members staying in DVC deluxe villas for cash or points or staying elsewhere for points.
The Disney community was of course all a’flutter over the change and I’ve been among the people curious about the thinking behind it. Having slept on it, I think I’m now in a position to share with everyone my entirely fictional take on what the fly on the wall heard during this particular meeting.
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Executive 1: Okay John. I know you said you had something important to talk about. I hope that’s true because I moved the yeti meeting AGAIN for this and that situation is starting to get ridiculous.
Executive 2: This is going to take about 5 minutes. Tops. You didn’t need to cancel anything.
E1: Meh. I already canceled it. Those guys are getting irritable. I don’t want to call them back again.
E2: Fair enough. Anyway, this will be quick. Basically tons of resorts are charging guests for overnight parking. Even Universal is doing it.
E1: You know we don’t care what they do.
E2: I know. I know. But stick with me here. I’ve been running the numbers and if we charged just $13 a night for value resorts, $19 a night for moderate resorts, and $24 a night for deluxe resorts….
E1: Wait – why in the world would it be tiered based on the resort level? It’s the same parking space.
E2: Oh. Um. I don’t know. That’s just how I ran the numbers.
E1: Gotcha. Carry on.
E2: So as I was saying, if we charged just $13 a night for value resorts, $19 a night for moderate resorts, and $24 a night for deluxe resorts…here look. I made a spreadsheet.
E1: John. You don’t need to make your own spreadsheets. We’ve talked about this. We have people for that. And they have the actual numbers.
E2: You know I love this stuff. Look!
*Yes. I mocked this up. Don’t judge me. I pulled the room numbers from Touring Plans and didn’t cross check them. If they’re a little off they’re still close enough. People with cars is a total guess for the sake of running some numbers. I reduced the number at DVC resorts drastically since members staying there are generally excluded from the new policy.
E2: We’d be making an extra $170K. EVERY NIGHT.
E1: You totally made up these numbers, John. And you’ve assumed 100% occupancy every night, which is close but a little high.
E2: Some of them. And yeah. But you get the idea. Oh and I excluded DVC members since there’s something in their contract that made it seem like we couldn’t increase the cost of their stays. Also those people kind of scare me when they’re angry.
E1: Good thinking. Have you run through how this is going to affect behavior otherwise?
E2: We’ve talked it through. With these numbers the effects should be minimal at most. The mega-fans that obsess over everything we do will yell for a minute. But they’re not going anywhere.
E2: Anyway, like I was saying. No one is going to fly instead of drive because of this because the price of air is still way over this new charge. People are probably a little less likely to rent cars, but that’s a good thing because it keeps them using park transportation and on property. And we all know there’s a congestion problem with traffic and parking so even a few less cars is good.
E1: Fair enough. But this meshes strangely with other recent decisions – like when you talked me into offering perks like 60 day out FastPasses to guests at the good neighbor hotels. Are we trying to push guests off property?
E2: Have you tried to book a room on property lately??
E1: True. Maybe the people complaining about room availability will like this. I don’t know though. It still feels cheap to me. We’re not Spirit Airlines. We’re Disney. I don’t like the nickel and diming. Walt wouldn’t either.
E2: I know. I know. It’s a slippery slope. But this isn’t even going to hit the average family’s radar. It’ll show up as a charge on the bill at checkout. And everyone is doing it. People will complain for a few days and then this time next year people will have forgotten that this ever wasn’t our policy. Everyone is doing it. Let’s just rip the bandaid off and do it too. It’s a lot of money. And we’ve got a lot of projects. These road projects aren’t paying for themselves. And don’t get me started on Galaxy’s Edge.
E1: Enough said. Write it up for the website and let’s announce at noon next week. Leak it that morning to make sure that no one but the crazies threaten to storm the castle.
E2: Done and done.
******Our legal department (aka my paranoid alter ego) would like me to stress that I made this up completely and have absolutely no access or insight into the actual situation that led to this change. No harm was done to any flies (or DVC members) during the creation of this post.