Episode 81: Disney vs. Universal (Transcript)

Jun 27, 2023



Nicole (00:00):
Hey everyone, welcome to the Pixie Dust & Profits podcast. I’m Nicole.

Yasmine (00:04):
And I’m Yasmine.

Nicole (00:05):
And this is our summer snack size series, snack size summer series. I don’t remember,

Yasmine (00:11):
I think’s snack size, summer series, snack

Nicole (00:13):
Size summer series. We’re doing short and sweet episodes all summer long just to get you thinking about your business at a time where we tend to focus on other people and let our business go by the wayside because we are enjoying the beach or family vacations or just, you know, soaking up some sunshine and getting other things done. So today’s episode is a topic that we talk about very often. I wanna preface this episode with, I recently took a vacation to Disney, of course, big surprise. But this time it was a much longer trip than we usually take, and we added on a surprise day at Universal. My kiddo and I have been reading the Harry Potter books, and so we really just wanted to explore the two Harry Potter areas at Universal. And we’re just gonna talk about the lifetime value of a customer in terms of universal versus Disney. So Yasmine, I don’t know if you’ve been to Universal, but I know you’ve kind of, we’ve talked about this a lot and you’ve kind of priced it out and

Yasmine (01:17):
All of that. Not in Florida, but quite often in California.

Nicole (01:22):
Yeah, so I, the, I think like the baseline that we should talk about is like, they have two very distinct models. We talk a lot about Disney’s Mo model, where basically the longer you stay the quote cheaper it gets because they want you to have like seven day tickets, right? You know, it’s, what does a one day ticket cost these days? $120. It varies by date, it varies by park. It’s kind of like, it’s, it’s a little overwhelming if you haven’t been to Disney before, quite honestly. So you, you pay like $120 for one day, two days is, you know, $215. You save three bucks and then you go all the way up. And so you probably cap out somewhere around $400 for a seven day. And I’m just quoting these off the top of my head. I’m not looking at anything. I’m just assuming that, because usually when we do the math, when you get an annual pass, it, it works out if you go for 10 days, two trips of five days, 10 days total, something like that.

Nicole (02:22):
And so Disney kind of has this model of stay longer, play longer, we have four parks, you know, explore every nook and cranny of all of them. And you know, in the last episode we talked about the Reedy Creek District. And visually, when you’re at Walt Disney World, it does not look like the rest of Florida. It, you are in a bubble. And this is why we missed the Magical Express, because the Magical Express would take you from the airport to the bubble and you never had to leave it. Lately on my trips, I have been renting a car now and so I, I see the outside of the bubble more and more and it’s, it’s really funny, like once you cross a line, it’s suddenly you’re in a completely different place. So Disney really wants you in that bubble and they price accordingly. Mm-Hmm.

Yasmine (03:07):
So with Universal, they do things a little bit differently. Now, universal doesn’t really have the sort of long stay appeal that the Disney like bubble does, cuz like Nicole said, you can go to the parks, but there’s just so much to do on Disney property. We once made a day out of like literally resort hopping on the monorail. We, we just ho visited every resort in the monorail. We had some food here, we shopped. Like, there’s just so much to do. Shout

Nicole (03:34):
Out to the Grand Floridian Cafe. It has my favorite meal there. The heirloom apple salad, my favorite, if I have any opportunity to go there, I will.

Yasmine (03:43):
It’s so good. But universal, I mean they have a lot of parks in Florida and I personally haven’t been you know, they’ve built out like their Harry Potter lands, they have some like water parks and stuff, but you typically don’t stay there for a week. At least not anyone I know does. Universal is usually like a one to like two day sort of visit and trip. You hit up like the, the areas and the lands that like appeal to you and it’s like an add-on to a Disney trip if that. So they basically priced to maximize their revenue from these short stay. So things are a lot more expensive.

Nicole (04:21):
Yeah, we definitely experienced that. So they do things like in order to take the Hogwarts Express train from Hogsmeade to Diagon Alley, which are two Harry Potter areas in different parks, you need to have a one day park to park or park hopper if you know Disney language pass. And so that costs more. You can’t just have a pass to one park. If you want to take that train, like you can, you know, see the train with your eyes, maybe if you wait in line and then not go on it, actually you can’t. They scan your band even to get in line for the train. And so they, they price accordingly. So your tickets are 200, $220 to be able to do, you know what is probably the biggest draw to the park is the Harry Potter right now. They know that you’re only there for a day or two In our situation, my child gets very motion sick and a lot of the rides at Universal, even the shows at Universal are 3D motion.

Nicole (05:24):
They’re just, they’re meant for older kids. I think you know, that teenager world because that’s different than Disney. So they kind of wanna hit that market, which is totally understandable, but there’s a lot for someone who doesn’t even really get motion sick, there’s a lot of rides that you get motion sick on. So we can’t really do much at these parks. We, we are just going to experience all of the Harry Potter that we can going into shops, you know, trying the butter beer, getting a wand, walking around doing some magic, and so they really get their money’s worth. The other thing that Universal does, knowing that you are probably only gonna be there for a day or two, so they have three signature premium resorts and if you stay at one of those resorts, you get what’s called an express pass. And that Express Pass lets you, for as many times as you want, go into the express line for a Ride Disney.

Nicole (06:15):
If you have been to Disney and you’ve heard of Genie Plus or the old Fast Pass system, usually you can only go on a ride once with that. So if you wanted to get Genie Plus, you cannot keep going on the same ride over and over, you can only go on once it’s one time Use Universal let’s you go on as many times as you want. And so you want to stay at one of those premium resorts so that way you get this like front of the line access. But those resorts come with a premium price tag, like $400 is probably the cheapest one at the cheapest time of year. You can buy that pass if you don’t stay at the resort. But they’re typically 800 plus dollars per person in your party. Yeah

Yasmine (06:52):
$205 if you were to go like this week. So if, if I could just like pop in with some numbers while Nicole was explaining everything, I’m like, okay, let’s just see how much this would cost. So right now they have if you buy two park day, two day tickets, so like you can park hop basically for two days, you can get three days for free. So like that seems like a good deal. So I add that on. This is for a family of two with one kid. Then if you wanna add on the Universal Express unlimited pass, that’s like $1,800 for like five days for a family of three.

Nicole (07:27):
And the thing that you don’t know if you don’t go to Universal often, and we experience because we did stay one night at one of the more premium hotels because I needed to make sure my kid could do all the Harry Potter stuff because we only had one day, well we only had one park day, we were not going for longer than that. A lot of their lines have a single rider line, which was actually faster than the unlimited pass line. And we are a family of three with a child who does not ride some of those more intense things. And so for us, we’re always gonna be in a single rider line. We don’t have someone else to watch our kid for us while we’re there. And so that express pass maybe not worth it as much as maybe for some other families, but I definitely, what we’re getting at here is Disney prices for you to stay a long time because Disney knows the longer you’re staying there, they can keep bringing your, your park tickets down.

Nicole (08:24):
They’re stuffed to experience every day. You could plan seven days at four different parks and water parks, all of those things you’re spending money on food, souvenirs, snacks, all of those things during that entire stay. Universal knows even if you get the two day pass at upgrades for three more days, you probably two days is enough to get everything done in all those parks multiple times over. And so they know people aren’t even looking to stay for five days, so they’re just gonna make that deal look sweet by saying you got three days free, you don’t need them. And so they’re pricing everything as if you were staying there for five days, but you’re only staying for two. So your hotels are expensive. Even things like trying to get a bottle of water while we were there felt so pricey. It was hot one day and this was the very end of our trip.

Nicole (09:20):
So we didn’t have any like groceries left over any, you know, water bottles. And it felt like we were being overcharged for every little thing that we ate or drank. So it wasn’t the best feeling. So when we cut down to it, we’re talking about this lifetime value of a customer. Are you going for someone or, or are your customers, is your ideal client someone who’s like spending a long time working with you or are they kind of, we’re just doing this one task together and we’re moving on. And that’s what you need to think about while you’re pricing your services. You know, if I’m helping someone as a consultant and I’m not doing the work, but they need me, they need to talk to me right now, they have all these ideas in their head, they need to clear it out.

Nicole (10:09):
I’m not doing the work so I can’t necessarily control the results and so I need to price accordingly. I have clients who are my monthly retainer clients and they come first in priority. Their projects come first. If someone comes in and they want just one day with me, there’s gonna be a little bit more of a premium because I have to shift around other projects. Sometimes I have to work late or on weekends to account for, you know, squeezing someone in. And so they’re getting that universal pricing versus the Disney like, Hey, slow and steady, we’re gonna get everything done. We’re we’ll work together over time. We know we have the time to get this done.

Yasmine (10:50):
Yeah, like my retainer rate versus my regular rate is different and there’s a bit more of a discount with ongoing retainer clients because it also on my end guarantees like, you know, I I say guarantee, but like I have an agreement with my clients, I’m gonna be working with them month over month for in years in some cases, right? So it makes sense to give them a bit of that like deal because the lifetime value of that customer is infinitely more than, you know, someone who will come in for like a short project or shorter engagement. And again, things aren’t price learning

Nicole (11:25):
Curve with a short project, right? That’s when you’re coming in and you dunno their systems and you’ve gotta, you’re, you’re spending an intense amount of thinking time understanding everything that’s happening

Yasmine (11:36):
And that gets priced into the package for like a shorter engagement because you can’t just like dive into someone’s business not knowing anything and expect to have like, you know, reasonable results. So all of that might make, you know, a one month engagement seem more expensive than what a client who might get slightly more hours pays for one month of a retainer. But that with that client, like I’ve been working with them for like four or five years now, so I literally know their business like the back of my hand and the constant updates and you know, meetings that we have keeps me in the loop so I’m able to accomplish more in a shorter period of time simply because of that background knowledge. But with short-term engagement, you have to learn all that stuff in order to do the work, to have results.

Nicole (12:20):
And just to say like one is not necessarily better than the other, they’re just d different. Oh no. And so you need to price differently. So for everyone out there who is, you know, looking to do v i p days or anything like that, you’re gonna probably price those higher than if someone were a continual client. And sometimes one of the things that I see that trips people up in our industry often is they are trying to charge v i p day rates to a retainer client. Mm-Hmm. and re and no one wants to book. And well, because an ongoing cost is so much more, at some point it becomes do I hire an employee instead that might actually be cheaper. And so you need to like think about some of these things. The reason why a day rate can garner so much more is because the client is in a pressure cooker, right?

Nicole (13:06):
They have a project they need to get done, they wanna get it done by a certain date, or they don’t have a skillset that you do have and they need it right away. And that’s what a V I P today is great for and that’s why a garners a premium. You have a steep learning curve and you need to do it quickly and you need to do it well for them to pass on good feedback about you. But retainer is completely different. Like Yasmine said, you can do things more efficiently because you know the brand so well because you’ve been working with them for so long. And so my retainer clients I think the last time I raised my rates was probably like two Januarys ago. And I know that inflation is crazy and I could ask for a raise in rates, but there’s also, there’s a back and forth relationship there.

Nicole (13:50):
And so just think about that lifetime value of a customer when you’re considering the types of products your customers are buying from you and what their experience with you is like. There’s nothing wrong with preferring Universal’s approach over Disney’s approach. They’re just different. And clients might have different expectations. Me being a very big Disney person, knowing that system in and out, I knew Universal was a luxury purchase that we were making for a very specific reason. And I still left feeling like gutted like, oh, that was so much for one day. We had fun, we have great pictures, but we probably will not be doing that again. It’s not a routine until he wants to ride roller coasters at like 17.

Yasmine (14:38):
Yeah, absolutely. What are other ways that you are incorporating lifetime value in your business? We’d love to hear, let us know by commenting on Instagram. We’re at Pixie Dust & Profits

Nicole (14:50):
Now. If you wanna have more conversations like these with us and spend some intentional time thinking about the products and services that you sell, who your target market is and how to price everything that you have going on, then you might wanna consider joining us at Pixie Dusts live. It’s happening this October. pixiedustandprofits.com/live at this event. We do a yearly planning session. We get into the weeds with what your product is, with what your business is. This is a very exclusive event. We only have five seats. It is Yasmine and I as coaches, and we also have another coach who comes along with us who talks about content, content strategy, developing that runway for your launches that you’ll have coming. And this is an event where you can get all of this business planning done and also get to have some fun at Disney World. So again, we have five spots for that. We only have two available as of this recording. So if you’re interested in that, pixiedustprofits.com/live and we hope to see you there.

Yasmine (15:53):
Thanks for joining us again, and we’ll see you real soon. Bye.



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