Episode 51: Galactic Starcruiser: Pricing Out Your Audience (Transcript)

Nov 9, 2021



Intro (00:01):
Pixie Dust & Profits is a podcast for small business owners who love Disney and want to sprinkle some of that magic onto their own businesses. Join your host, Nicole Boucher and Yasmine Spencer as they explore the mouse’s $12.6 billion operation and break down exactly how you can apply these big-scale concepts to your own.

Nicole (00:26):
Welcome to this week’s episode of pixie dust and profits. Last week, we talked about pricing, pricing, audiences out nickel and diming what the new annual pass changes. And we’re going to continue that conversation a little bit right now with the galactic star cruiser, which is Disney’s latest hotel. It’s opening this spring, cross your fingers. And who knows if that timeline will stay intact, but it is a Star Wars-themed hotel where you arrive. It’s kind of like a cruise ship. It’s like a two-night excursion. Everyone arrives at the same time you get on the star cruiser together. And when you’re in the star cruiser, you were in a composed elite experience. You are a part of a star wars mission. There are rebel spies. There are you look out the windows and you’re actually looking into space because they have the windows framed with technology.

Nicole (01:24):
It sounds really, really cool. They’ve also teased stuff like lightsabers that actually open like the lightsabers in the movies. It sounds amazing. We knew that this would be a pretty penny, right? We’ll get to the pennies in a few minutes, but man, this is something that we wanted to do, but us both being introverts. I think we were kind of along the lines of, we would do this together. We’d get our spouses and we would come together. Like this sounds like something that would be really fun to do as a group. I don’t know that this is something I would do solo. My husband really wants to do this cause he’s into anything star wars. It includes experiences like landing and going into Galaxy’s edge and getting rides on rise. The resistance in the millennium Falcon also like building your own drawings and things like that.

Nicole (02:19):
So I’m going to come to that in a little bit, but let me reveal the price and remind you, this is two nights. This is like half a day at night, a full day, a half a day. And then get out on your way because we have another galactic star crew that needs to take off $5,000 starting. So for two people in a cabin it’s price like a cruise, right? Two people in a cabin, it is like $4,800, which comes to like $1,200 a night per person. If you’re going, you know, just you and your spouse, if you have, you know, three guests, it’s like $5,300. So the price goes up, but it goes up a little bit less with more people because you’re essentially only adding food, but you know, just for simplicity sake, once you add in the tax, the cheapest, this is going to be as $5,000 for two nights, no Yasmin and I both own Disney vacation club.

Nicole (03:18):
And I will say that I started with the vacation club contract. We sold that we bought a bigger contract so we could stay in bigger rooms and for longer stays, there’s all sorts of strategies when it comes to Disney vacation club and $5,000 for two nights is insane to me. When I bought into a program that, you know, my first contract, I think we spent about $12,000 for a hundred points that let us stay at a deluxe resort for, you know, five, six nights a year or so. And for 50 years, you know? So it’s like, I can’t even wrap my mind around two nights for $5,000. Even if every single drink and meal is included. And if you don’t drink that, when they say like, oh, drugs included, like that really just makes me feel like I’m paying for something I’m not getting, but wow. I’m just going to let $5,000 sit in your head. What could you do with $5,000 over two days

Yasmine (04:19):
Just to speaking about drinks, like it’s only one alcoholic beverage per meal that’s included where available. So it’s not even like unlimited

Nicole (04:27):
And then like a cruise ship that it’s just like, you get some

Yasmine (04:30):
That’s how Disney rolls. Yeah. Like if you want additional drinks, you could allow us that’s like extra, but yeah,

Nicole (04:36):
My seven-year-old says you get what you get and you don’t get upset.

Yasmine (04:41):
I love that. I’m going to steal that. Yeah. Yeah. It’s, it’s kind of like we knew it would be this expensive, but it didn’t really sink in until they announced the pricing. And again, keep in mind, this is during the low season, so it’s going to get even pricier. They say like, this is for voyage departure dates, most weeknights from August 20th, 2022 to September 17th, 2022. So this is,

Nicole (05:04):
That’s such a good catch. I didn’t even see that in the, in the little disclaimer text, because if you know, Orlando at all the off season is August 20th to mid September because kids are in school is hurricane season. Yeah. So it started, there we go. It starts at $5,000. And I think, okay. The thing that I think that made me most frustrated with this is that we had considered it, especially with the huge star wars fan in the house before we saw the pricing. But then when you start looking at the inclusions or like the, basically it’s like a cruise itinerary, but it’s all star wars themed. We started looking at it and it was like, you know, have a meal in the Cantina and all sorts of things, you know, Jedi academy and all that. They’re all things that already existed at Disney parks.

Nicole (05:52):
It felt like they were kind of disjointed a lot of them at Hollywood Studios. Like I can go a droid, I can go build a lightsaber Hollywood Studios. I think the thing that, like, there wasn’t anything that felt new and special in that itinerary because it was just experiences that they’ve already had in the last however many years. And they’ve just kind of mushed them together to happen here. And maybe they won’t happen anymore where they did before. Maybe they’re exclusive to the galactic star cruiser now, but when you’ve gone to Disney long enough that, you know, what a star wars weekend is, it’s like, what did you do? Just take star wars weekend and put it inside the galactic dark cruiser and try to sell it to me again for $5,000. So some of those things really played into how I felt about the pricing, but we know people are gonna buy it.

Yasmine (06:38):
Yeah. And like the things that make this experience unique and a little bit different from a cruise ship is like, you actually get to participate in a story there’s a storyline. So like the cast members that you interact with their actors and characters in the story, you know there are even like baked in story moments in your experience where something’s going to happen. Maybe you have to smuggle something or go on an adventure to retrieves something special. So they’re trying to make it unique and you’re really role-playing during that weekend. So I think to consider as like, if you are going to go with kids, like you kind of want them to be old enough to like really get the most out of the experience. Nicole and I talked about like, you know, going with our husbands and leaving the kiddos at home because you know, your son might be like that old enough age to participate. But like my daughter is like not even two yet, so

Nicole (07:27):
Yeah. Yeah. He would probably be able to participate, but he’s also very like, he just be overwhelmed in that situation. You know, he might be tall enough to go on space mountain, but to get them on the teacups is a challenge in and of itself. So, you know, it definitely plays into the temperament of your family and the age ranges. And for that much money, I’d want to make sure everyone was going to have the best time of their life. Because when you start converting that into two zeros or a couple of nights at the Disney, the Grand Floridian, you know, it’s like, okay, I could spend $5,000 for, I say two nights, but it’s like half a day, day, half a day. You know, it’s, it’s not even like three full days. It’s two nights, two days and you could stay at, you could stay at any resort at Disney for much longer than two days because that’s the other part of this too.

Nicole (08:22):
It’s like, you’re not going just for this. If you were traveling from Canada from New England and you’re trying to come down to Orlando, you are not taking a flight staying for two nights and then taking a flight home, you were staying for at least five days. I’d say to get the most out of like the travel time it takes to get there. So not only is this $5,000 for just one part of your trip, then you’re going to plan the other part. You got to buy the park tickets. So you got to buy the, I don’t know, it’s just, it, it easily turns what was probably like a $5,000 week long trip into something that would be like 12, $13,000. And gosh, that’s a vacation, but you know, we’re, I’m kind of harping on it a little bit, but there are people who will buy this.

Nicole (09:07):
And you know, when you think about your business, you need to think about your value ladder. You know, you start with the low tier offer, usually it’s free or entry-level, our podcast is a great example. You can access this for free. If you want some extra time with us, then you can be one of our Patreon subscribers and you can get a little bit more from us, right? And that’s at a low there’s different price points there. It’s at a low, you know, it’s the first level of the ladder and it goes up and up and up until you reach pixie dust live, where you get unlimited one-on-one time with us for days, and also get some fun Disney experiences out of it. Right? So Disney knows that this is probably going to be in high demand. You know, it’s going to be the dual income. Child-Free, it’s going to be the lifelong star wars fans who have been waiting for this forever. And maybe the price will come down in a few years after demand dies down. But right now they’re going to find people who are up at that top tier level of wanting an offer like this.

Yasmine (10:09):
Yeah. And it’s, it seems like a one and done experience too. Like it’s not something that you probably do more than once, which is probably something else they factor into the price point. But what’s interesting. It looks like it’s just the same story over and over again. So at some point they’re probably going to refresh the story and the experience to get people to come back. So yeah, it’s, it’s an interesting product. Like, are we going to do it? I want to say no, I might have to try to like talk Nicole into it in like a year and say, we need to do it for a research for the podcast. And do like a couples trip or something, but it’s definitely not like something that’s like an easy, yes.

Nicole (10:55):
I’ve never been a person who wanted to do a cruise, but you know, we’ve had a lot of interactions with people who have made me realize, okay, the cruises might be better than they sound like. The idea of being trapped around the water has never been my cup of tea. So I’ve been warming up to the idea of a Disney cruise and this is even more expensive than that. So you might have to really sweet talk me. I don’t know if there’s enough market research, maybe it’s just, I’m not a big enough star wars fan. I enjoy star wars. I, I will, you know, blast for me say, I really liked the new trilogy better than the original trilogy. But yeah, I may, maybe

Yasmine (11:38):
It’s like, it’s sort of like one of those experiences, like in Disneyland you can actually like eat at Baltz apartment above what does the parts of the Caribbean? And it’s like a thousand dollars per person and you need at least like people or something to partake in it. So it’s like, one of those is like once in a lifetime sort of like Disney experiences where you’re probably not going to do that again. But like for the sake of like being able to hang out in this exclusive place that not a lot of people really get to go to and have like an incredible like meal, you know? Yeah. You figure out a way to make it work again. Not for everybody. Definitely not for a lot of families. Like this is, this is like a birthday, Christmas and like a Persian. So Persian new year trip for like three years wrapped into one, you know, and this is huge. So it’ll be interesting to see like what the uptake is like reservations haven’t opened yet. You can’t really book it just now as far as we can tell. And I’m curious to see,

Nicole (12:36):
I don’t know if they’ll have any assets either. They might be anchoring us here in, in this realm. That’s tourist price anchoring us and the most off season off season that can be, maybe they’re just trying to get their feet wet to show us what the real numbers are going to be. If you wanted to say, go in the middle of summer vacation or spring break. I also think, you know, I understand the pricing, we are business people, like you mentioned earlier, this, the cast members need a level of training and acting experience that’s on a different level than the ones that are, you know, helping throughout the parks. I also know crucial. Yeah. And I also know it’s probably quite an expensive operations to turn this over every three days, you know, to, I mean, that’s not a lot of time, so I understand why they like kick you out at 11 o’clock and they need to clean everything to make sure the next group can come in.

Nicole (13:42):
So I do understand like operationally how big of a deal this is, but the pricing is really, really high. It also makes me wonder, like, where are deluxe resorts going? And the pricing schedule little known secret. Maybe if you are staying at the Grand Floridian, the contemporary, any of those big resorts, they do offer discounts all the time call and see if there’s a cash discount. So when you’re on that website and it’s like compared to $600 a night, that is not the price that most people are paying for those rooms. So again like that gets into the promotions here and maybe their pricing anchoring us on these, on these price points, but they’re going to be having some sort of promo once it does release of, you know, book your next trip and get three-day park passes free for, you know, your post trip experience, who knows what they’re going to do.

Nicole (14:37):
I think about that when it comes to pricing your own things, you know if you have something coming soon, getting people ready ahead of time to know what that might be. So they can start planning. I mean, they announced this in like July and the first cruises probably aren’t happening until May, June, possibly, which means, you know, booking, it might not open until February. So you’re telling us in July, we might not be able to book until January or February. You giving us that time to save all this money and to think about it. So if you do have some sort of product or offer that you have coming out soon, or you’re thinking about, and it’s a high ticket offer, leak it as early as possible. So you can get people ready to make that payment to understand what your payment plan system might be. And just go from there.

Yasmine (15:27):
Well, we’re curious to know you go on the Star Wars, Galactic Star Cruiser. If so, you know, hit us up comment at comment on Instagram, we’re @pixiedustandprofits, or if you kind of just want to have a conversation about this text us, I swear, it’s us, your fairy. Godmother’s wait, hold. Is that what it costs your business fairground. Okay. It’s us your business fairy godmothers on the other end. And you can give us a text of 2 0 7-2 0 3-6 7 6 9. And let’s talk about whether this is ridiculous or like absolutely genius. I’m like I’m here for that conversation. You can also sign up at to get all of our fun newsletters and emails. Thank you again for joining us for this episode and we’ll see you real soon.

Speaker 4 (16:28):



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