Nov 9, 2021
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
And then like a cruise ship that it’s just like, you get some
That’s how Disney rolls. Yeah. Like if you want additional drinks, you could allow us that’s like extra, but yeah,
My seven-year-old says you get what you get and you don’t get upset.
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,
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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,
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.
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.
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.
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 magic.pixiedustandprofits.com 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):
Nov 9, 2021
|Despite its guarantee to be an out-of-this-world experience, our sticker shock was still astronomical. Listen now to hear how Disney prepared their audience well to buy into this experience, and how you can do the same with your customers.|
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Oct 26, 2021
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.
Hi guys. Welcome back to another episode of Pixie Dust & Profits. It is August 31st, 2021, or we’re recording this and this is relevant because normally when Nicole and I sit down to talk to you guys, we’ve actually mapped out the episode in advance. Like we think about the topic we want to talk about what the business lessons are, do some research to make sure everything’s backed up with facts, and then really dig down into the business takeaways that you can apply to your business right today. We’re going to do something a little bit different because Disney just dropped something really huge yesterday on August 30th, and we have to talk about it. So if we don’t really follow our traditional format, bear with us, but I promise we’ll, we’ll hit up on those takeaways. So what are we talking about? Disney has brought back their annual pass holder program.
Now benefits of an annual pass holder program is if you’re actually going to Disney more than 10 days in a year, it becomes cheaper. Basically means like every trip after that tends to technically be free because historically the annual pass was equivalent to a 10 day park ticket, a Disney trip. So you go regularly. If you’re a resident of Florida you are someone who lives close or does fanatics like Nicole and I, where you had to Orlando on the regular, as long as borders are open you have meal passes. That makes sense. Well, Disney has revamped their program. I think technically they’ve added in additional tiers and they’re charging more for less. So they’ve actually taken like perks that have historically been included with the annual pass. And they’re now out on. So let’s take a quick look at the four options available to us.
Let’s back up for a second though. Like let’s just talk about annual passes in general. Okay. So they’re not for every customer that you already have, like a set type of customer who is buying the annual pass. Like you said, usually break even was 10 days, but breakeven could actually be less than that. If you were taking separate trips because the cost of entry, the way Disney has always priced their tickets has been like it’s $200 for one day, two 50 for two days, 2 75. Like it starts getting to be like the price per day goes down when you stay longer. So if you were going to take two, four day trips in a year, an annual pass might make sense because that first, that first like, Hey, of the 200 or $300, it’s really, really rough. And so in the past, the annual pass holder program has been great, especially for locals and for people who go essentially more than once a year is what I would say. It was a good, a good plan. And we definitely took advantage of this because we would do things like go in January. And then when we would go to the next December. So it felt like a full year, but we were still using our same tickets. So we didn’t have to pay for tickets for both trips. And that’s why we’ve been able to go on so many trips at times we loved it. And now I don’t know how I feel about these changes.
Yeah. And like the other thing to consider with annual passes is it came with perks. So one bonus that you get is a discount off a certain restaurants. So if you’re doing a table service restaurant, for the most part, you got 10% off your meal. That’s also included if you are a DVC blue card member you also got discount on merged throughout the park. So it ranged between 10 to 20%, depending on the location in store, they also included PhotoPass which, you know, all those photographers at the park who take your photos, all those ride photos that you get when you’re like on mine train and like space, mountain, pretty much everybody that had photos, all of those would go on to your magic band and you would have them to look up afterwards if you had an AOL pass. And the beauty of it is like only one person in your party really needed it for you all to have your pictures.
Yeah. There’s definitely times where I’ve had an annual pass, but my husband and son did not. And so I got all the pictures for everybody because I knew I was traveling for work or whatever other reason. And now Disney has decided has they have for quite a few other things recently that things like the photo pass, which made annual passes great because your pictures were included for all of the trips you’ve taken, it’s now an upsell it’s not included in the base level. So you now need to pay an extra $99 a year to have your photos from your vacation. And that I’m pretty sure $99 was how much photo pass was like per trip for other people. So that price is probably up to I just think it’s just, it just feels very nickel and dime me. I’ve always gotten the pictures for my trips and I will admit that we used to love taking pictures with the characters and everything when my kid was little, but as he’s gotten older, his tolerance for wanting to wait in line to take a picture with a character has dwindled to nothing.
So I don’t think I would pay the $99 a year extra to get my pictures because we get so just fewer photos in general than we used to. And then you’re adding on this extra charge. And the other thing too is like, if you want some cool PhotoPass photos, you’re waiting in a little line to get to the photo pass photographer, who’s taking the picture and they’ve, you know, laid off quite a few PhotoPass photographer. So there’s less locations. So not only are you charging me something that I got for free for very many years, but now there’s less locations. I have to wait in line for it. My kid’s not even interested in it. And all for that one magical shot. Like I it’s just not just feels not so magical to me.
And then on top of that, like the base prices for the annual passes Nicole have increased. So let’s go back to what the options are. So there’s two Florida resident passes, which mean you have to live in Florida in order to be eligible for them. There’s a third pass that is only for Florida residents or Disney vacation club members like Nicole and I, and then there’s like the general past, which is called the Disney credit pass that like anyone who is basically Knopfler resident or DVC, my work can get. So the pixie pass starts at $400 for four residents. And it basically has like weekends blocked out in a lot of dates, blocked out. The Disney pirate pass has weekends, but a lot of like popular time periods throughout the year, like Christmas, Thanksgiving, Spring Break,
I think all of Spring Break is, you know, marched, April’s blacked out of there, like mid November to New Year’s is blocked out. Which is probably great for annual pass people who live in Florida. They may not care about going during the really busy times of year. So those passes might still work out, but they’re still significantly higher than they used to be. I mean, the pirate passes $700. And I swear the first time I bought an annual pass, it was around that much.
Yeah. And that was like the price that we used to actually be eligible for when we bought our DVC pass. And it basically had most states except the holiday season. So it’s interesting. I still have my annual pass that I bought like two and a half years ago that I never was able to activate because COVID happened. I was supposed to activate it first on a March 20, 20 trip with Nicole, if I recall correctly, remember
Yep. Supposed to stay at the Polynesian and do some podcast planning.
Yup. Yup. And it’s honestly 21. Yeah. So yeah, there’s quite a few dates in October, November, like all of, pretty much December, like any race weekend or anything in January, man. There’s like a lot of days close. And then after that you have the Disney story.
Sure. Surpass, I love the new names. Okay. Like let’s give some prompts for some of the things they did. They did. The logo is just, it’s modern yet throwback at the same time. I love it. I, I want that magnet. Please send it to me whenever I renew, because I will renew, even though these prices are crazy, but you know, like I love that. I love the names that they’ve come up for the annual passes. So they did some things. Right. But yes, let’s get into Disney source or a pass. Okay. So this is hundred dollars plus tax it’s always plus stuff. They always tell you the price without the tax included. And then you get hit with another $70 on top of how much the product is. This one is, is I think it’s a new level. There used to only be two levels like Florida resident than Florida resident and D or DVC member.
And now there’s three members, three levels for Florida residents. The top tier is Florida residence or DVC. So this is probably the one that I would be interested in and it’s $900 and still has blackout dates during holiday periods. I haven’t actually gotten a chance to look at the calendar to see if they’ve extended those, but historically those blackout dates have basically been the two weeks of Christmas to new year’s and then usually like a week or two around Easter. But that’s it. So I haven’t gotten to see if they’ve extended that he asked me, do you know?
Yep. So I just took a peak it’s basically Thanksgiving weekend. And then the holiday like Christmas from the 18th to the 31st of 2022. And that’s it. Everything else is open.
Well, that’s not bad because I think they know that one of the most popular times of year for DVC members to go down to Disney as the first week of December, the first two weeks of December, because there’s typically lower crowds, but the Christmas decorations are out. And the points for rooms are really low. Then they have adjusted that the P points have gone up to, to levels that they weren’t before. But I’m glad I was worried that they were gonna, you know, say this is for DVC members, but then block out our favorite dates here and then force you into the in credit pass, which is the past that’s available to everyone who isn’t a Florida residence or DVC member and taking this back a step. It’s not all DVC members either. If you buy your DVC real estate contract from a resale market and not from Disney directly, you do not have the ability to purchase the DVC perked, Pasch. So it’s not every DVC member that can even do that. So the vast majority of this offer is the credit pass, which is $1,300 plus tax for people. It doesn’t have any blackout dates, but it’s $1,300 in it still, it doesn’t include photos or
Access to the water
Parks. Oh yeah, yeah, no water, but this is just the four, just the four parks magic kingdom, Epcot and walking through and Hollywood studios. And I think the annual pass before this, that, you know, non-residents would get was probably around that $900 mark. I mean, this is a significant jump up at least $200, maybe $300. And that’s for one person, when you start thinking about the typical people traveling, I’d say for kids, you know, for a family of four family of five, I mean, this is just a level of just, it’s just so overpriced. And I don’t want to say overpriced. It’s just very high it’s, it’s an investment. And then we talked about like photos aren’t included anymore. The other thing is they they’ve recently taken away the magic bands. And so you have to pay like 10 or 20 or $30 for your magic band, which, you know, as an annual pass holder, whatever, I have a closet full of magic bands.
So I didn’t always want a new one every trip and it is only $10, but it’s like, if it’s only $10, it probably costs them what, $5, $2 to manufacturer, just throw it in. When we get the annual pass, you know, we’re coming again, you know, we’re spending on all of your overpriced food, like throw us a bone, you know, we’re really, we’re your top paying customers. And then I will say it is nice that they now have this option to include water parks. You know, you can upgrade to tap your photo, but you can upgrade to include the water parks. I don’t know that that that’s technically worth it because I think a waterpark pass is probably around the $60 mark or a $70 on a hundred dollars a year for like unlimited. So you’d have to go to the water parks twice to, to use it.
And, you know, despite our best intentions, I think we only ever get to the water parks once. Every other trip, even though we love them. And that’s just because the weather doesn’t always work out the way you want it to, or you’re just tired and don’t want to be in the sun and the resorts have really great pools. The other thing that these passes have introduced, I don’t know if the park reservation system is sticking around after COVID, it’s clearly here right now. And if you don’t know what that is, basically, if you plan to go to a park, you need to have a reservation in advance and that, so they can do some crowd planning. If you want to park cop and go to another park at like, if you want to go to Epcot, after going to Magic Kingdom in the morning, you have to wait until after 2:00 PM and you have to have that park cropping past.
And so these annual passes now have caps on how many park reservations you can hold at any one time. So the lowest, the Florida resident only $400 a year. They can only hold three park reservations at a time. Now the exemption to this is that if you have, if you have resort reservations at a Disney resort, you can have Parker’s operations for the full length of your stay. So if you’re staying 10 days on Disney property, you can have park reservations for those 10 days, no problems. This is just a limit of, without reservations to their whose works. You can only book three park passes. So if you have an annual pass and you like to stay off site, or, I mean, I know people who have second properties down there or timeshares that aren’t Disney timeshares, and they’re only going to be able to book three days.
And so it goes all the way up to five days on the highest pass. So I think this is really interesting because we probably talked about this in a past episode where they started giving all these perks to being a resort, stay to area hotels that weren’t Disney hotels, things like fast passes being booked at 90 days out, which FastPasses, aren’t a thing anymore. We did last week’s episode talking about that, but you know, the fast passes, the park reservations, like restaurant reservations, they started branching out and letting area hotels get those same perks and started feeling like, well, why are you staying on Disney property? If you know a hotel at a quarter of the price is getting the same perks. Well, here’s why, because if you’re not staying at Disney property now, and you have an annual pass, you can only book three to five days of your trip. And then you can just cross your fingers and hope that you’ll get a Hollywood Studio spot, but you probably won’t.
[Inaudible] On top of that. If you’re also staying on-site, they’ve added additional perks. Like you can go to the parks a half hour early in the mornings, and if you’re staying at deluxe resorts, you get an additional hour on select evenings at various parks. So they’re really trying to push people to spend more at Disney and like Nicole and I like Disney apologists to a degree, you know like we love Disney. But the takeaway here is that every business has to look at their business model and what they’re offering and increase prices at some point, because, you know, there’s increased cost of labor right now, Florida’s going through. And like a lot of the United States, they’re going through a massive labor shortage. They’re trying to hire for many spots. And, you know, in some cases paying a lot more hourly than they did historically before the pandemic.
And I mean, that’s a great thing. People are getting living wages and you could argue, well, they’re still not spending more than they used to, but they’re still making more than they used to because they’re operating at limited capacity. They’ve been dealing with losses for several quarters because of shutdowns and the pandemic. So like financially, while Disney has a lot of money, like they’re not in the best place or not where they have been. And they need to deliver shareholder value and make sure the company is profitable and raise prices. And, you know, we look at this in our client’s businesses all the time shipping goes up for items. The cost of goods sold increases significantly because manufacturing costs have increased for their products. When they look at their services and their programs and courses, the amount of time that they’re investing in it to deliver the most value to their student students is a lot more than they originally anticipated when they price out the program.
So, you know, it’s fair to charge for that value is Disney charging appropriately for that value maybe, but we’re just used to getting such a great deal that we’re going to renew, but we’re kind of doing it begrudgingly. And what we want to say here is like one year of reevaluating things, there’s ways to do it without necessarily off your most loyal customers. Let them know that this is coming down the pipeline and explain why with a few of my clients, when we had to increase prices due to just insane shipping costs and manufacturing increases, we’d let them know in advance. Like we gave them like 30 to 60 days warning that like, Hey, prices are going to go up in this timeframe. We’ve tried to hold off on increasing prices as much as we could, but we’re at a point where like, it’s just, it’s literally no longer when we’ve profitable for us to continue selling you the product at this cost.
And we’re doing a marginal increase. Let them know, explain why. And for the most part, like people will understand if you give them a reasonable explanation, but you know, timing in there with radically increased pricing, shiny new brand, which is like fun. We love it. Okay. It doesn’t really sit well with your customers. And like I said, Nicole and I were, we’re going to renew it at the end of the day. It will still end up being more cost effective than us getting like individual tickets. Every time we go. But it’s like 20 Disney years for me.
Yeah. Well, and the hard part too, is that renewal is always one of those decisions that you sit there and you’re like, do I bother? Or do I not? Am I going to go? Like, if you don’t have a trip planned, you start questioning it. But the renewal price is $150 less than getting a new pass. So if you don’t renew, when you do go back and you have to go buy that annual pass, you’re paying $150 more for something you could have already had. And so it just gets to be like, I don’t want to do this, but I kind of have to, am I booking a trip in here? So I’m honestly going to have to look at, you know, my vacation club points, situation, my family situation, and see are we going to bother to renew? Because you know, we might take a six day trip next year, but my kids getting older, we have to go during school breaks.
Now it’s a completely different way of vacationing than when we used to be able to go on a whim because, you know, he was in daycare and not in school school. So we’re going to have to evaluate all that stuff. And I just think that we knew something was up with annual passes because we weren’t able to buy them. I, fortunately, was able to renew mine before it all went to a state of flux. So I still have mine active, I believe until like April and then I’ll be able to renew into this new program. And then like we do, it’s going to come back with a price increase. But I think the thing that really surprised a lot of people was that it came back not just with a huge price increase, but also with restrictions that didn’t exist before perks that you had before taken away.
And honestly, I’m a little bit worried now because all of the Disney vacation club, blue card perks, all the blue cards expire this December. And so like, what are they going to do to that program? And I know that you have never buy a timeshare based on perks or anything like that, and that the perks can go away at any time. But it definitely is like, okay, if you’re doing this to your annual pass holders, what are you going to take away from us? Like, I really love the 20% discount that I get for souvenirs in the stores. And you know, 20% adds up when you’re buying things here and there, it doesn’t really work for like that water bottle or anything. But we bought clue the last time we were there and we shopped at the, even the Lego store, even the Lego store in Disney Springs, you get a discount.
So not 20%, I think it’s 10, but the Lego store giving a discount. Yeah. Take my money. Are they going to get rid of that? I don’t know. I don’t really trust them right now. They’ve taken away fast passes. They’ve charged and they’re charging us for that. They’ve taken away, like PhotoPass from our annual passes that it’s just, I don’t know how I feel about all these nickel and diming. And so there’s something to be said. When you were thinking about your own business, do you bundle everything, you make it an inclusion or do you piecemeal everything and let everyone pick their own plan and try to market that as a park, like choose the plan that works for you. Okay. But that always ends up more expensive than if you just give me the bundle option. Right. So just think about these things as you’re building your offers and your products and the sales and types of promotions you have.
And also like I’ve talked to quite a few people recently who want to just double the price of their course or their program. And it’s like, okay, you might think that leads to more revenue, but stop and consider this from the customer’s point of view, like, what is your end goal? Are you trying to serve more people or you’re trying to empower more people? Are you just trying to get more money in your bank account? Because I don’t know that doubling the price of your product or program or course, or whatever is going to increase your revenue because your pool of people who are going to buy into it might shrink drastically that you’re actually spending as much effort to get a fewer quantity of purchases for this same revenue net in the end. And so those are things to consider while you’re thinking about this and you know, why am I am, why am I increasing the price? And what is the justification for this? We know because we follow Disney’s, you know, quarterly reports to investors that they’re down quite a bit of money. Cause they were closed for a really long time because of the coronavirus. So I understand that they have been losing money and they’re looking for ways to increase that, but don’t treat the customers like they’re dumb, like clue them in into that too. It’s something we try to put so much pixie dust on it that it backfires.
Yeah. And like the other thing you need to think about is like, think about what changing your practices actually signals to your customer base. Like beyond the fact that, you know, they’re trying to make up for a rough year, really one comment that we’re seeing pop up time and time again in groups lately is that Disney is no longer affordable to the average American family. So they’re actually changing their target in some ways to go after more fluent customer base who will spend more on a vacation. And you know, they’re saying like, well, it’s going to be like less people are going to come to Disney. Well, maybe, but that’s actually a good thing in their eyes because they’re making, you know, maybe the same amount of money servicing fewer customers and that helps with capacity issues. Exactly, exactly. So that could be another way that Disney’s are going about things right now.
And you know, now that the average family, or like the budget Disney family might not be able to afford to go with a lot of these changes and like they might not buying a passes. They might just like you to go for a four-day trip and buy their tickets. But ticket prices have gone up. We talked about Bubash in last season’s episode where the annual Halloween parties historically have been like 1 29 at their peak. And we spent over $200 per person for a different type of party. And after hours of that three hours, it doesn’t have all the like items and events and prays and fireworks. For our event in October, that’s twice as much for like technically like half the value, but it was something that we were really excited to try and do. Again, these events are now being priced out of what the average like family can afford. So it looks like with these changes, Disney is also trying to pivot their market a little bit to go after a more affluent customer base and probably help their capacity issues because frankly, the only way that they can serve more people is if they open a fifth gate, which we know isn’t on the horizon anytime soon, especially after what happened with COVID. So it’ll be interesting to see how this plays out and what other changes are coming to Disney in the future.
Yeah. I just, my strategic thinker in me is just, are they thinking about the future of who who’s going to come here after the affluent, you know, to do all income child-free millennial demographic starts moving on, starts getting older. Like my kid has a love for Disney because we have gone so many times and because that’s our annual family vacation, but if you’re pricing him out of this, like, are you going to have another generation to pass this down to? And so I don’t, I’m sure they have brilliant minds working on all of these things. And I’m sure they’re thinking about that, but I think back to the Michael Eisner days where Disney wasn’t a cool place to be, it was like dad’s in grumpy t-shirts and Fanny packs and like millennials in some ways kind of revived Disney to be like, oh look, this fun, magical place.
Like I can disconnect from everyday horrors and realities and just like live in pixie dust and get some cool foods and just here’s an experience and experience it with me. And it did change the trajectory of who’s the target customer now. And I just hope they’re keeping that in mind with just Disney’s here for generations. And if you continue pricing people out, like, what is that going to mean for the future? So that’s probably too meta for a 20 minute episode, but we hoped you like this one, this was really off the cuff for us, but we started out originally going to record what we had planned. And then we were like, did you see the annual pass stuff? And it just turned out. Let’s just talk about it because we had a lot to say. So and join us next week for another episode. And if you are on Instagram, check us out there @pixiedustandprofits, we also have free goodies for you at magic.pixiedustandprofits.com, go check them out. We would love to hear from you and yeah, we’ll see you real soon.
Oct 26, 2021
Oct 12, 2021
Oct 12, 2021
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 he has been 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.
Hey, everyone, welcome to a new season of pixie dust and profits. And, oh my gosh. Do we have a lot of things to talk about? It feels like it has been an entire year with how much has been going on in the Disney verse. And first step is the 50th anniversary celebration, which kicked off just a few days ago. We are so excited because as of right now, we have the opportunity to go enjoy the 50th celebrations a few times and we’re looking forward to it. So we’ve been following it for months now. So join us today. As we talk about hyping up your products and making a big fanfare for a huge celebration in your business. And also we get to kick out about some of the Disney things that are happening.
Yeah. So we are so jazzed for the 50th anniversary and it’s not because Disney seemed to be inspired by pixie dust and profits like branding when they came up with their colors. I don’t know if you guys notice that. But we, we knew that the 50th was coming and based on how they treated the 25th anniversary, we knew that they would do something really big. And you know, they did not disappoint. They have been teasing all of the fun stuff. That’s coming up for the 50th anniversary for several months. Now
It’s even like a year, you know, cause they had like construction updates and stuff while
They painted the castle, like they updated the little like cones. Is there a proper term for that? The Tourette’s I think and painted them like a blue color in anticipation of the 50th a couple of weeks ago, the plaque went up and everything has this iridescence ear spelled E R no pedals movement,
Just everything has pixie dust. I was like gold sparkly. I am in love with the new castle. I know there were a lot of haters out there who don’t love the castle being changed if they think it looks too much like Disneyland’s castle, but I, my millennial heart is in love with the castle makeover and I’m so glad it is not the birthday cake of the 21st.
That was interesting. Let’s let’s leave it that, but it’s, it’s so pretty. And like my glitter and sparkle loving heart is like here for all of the updates. So like even the cast member pans have like little like rhinestones in it. There’s lots of glitz and glam. And needless to say, if we are super jazzed, especially because we’re going to be at Disney for the 50th anniversary, which kicks off on October 1st, 20, 21 it’s going to be a year long celebration. So like, if you don’t happen to be there in October, don’t worry. You’re still going to get to partake in all of the amazingness. But
I think they said it was going to be 18 months. So yes, you absolutely have time to get there. And they might’ve extended that because of how long COVID is and that they had to have reduced capacity and all of those things, but you absolutely have the opportunity to take advantage of the 50th celebration
This week. Like Nicole said, well, we want to talk about is the amount of lead-up that Disney has had to this event. They have done quite a bit, not only just actual like physical updates to the park, but they’ve been teasing the countdown. It is August 24th as of this recording. So we’re recording a little bit in advance. And right now there’s a countdown on the website, the sepsis actually going to be released after the 50th kicks off. And a few weeks ago they started teasing all of the merch. Like the Disney spirit sweaters have like glitter and sequins all over it. I need to get that. And like, everyone’s just so excited. They’ve added all sorts of like special events and parades. There’s going to be a new fireworks show magic kingdom.
I know I can’t wait for it. I mean, they took away wishes, which, you know, rest in peace. And then they gave us happily ever after, which is this projection show on the castle, which is fun. You know, it’s different, it’s not a huge firework show, but I am so excited for new fireworks. And I was actually really surprised because you know, some of the things we talked about before is Bubash, doesn’t currently have any plans for fireworks. So the fact that they’re, you know, unveiling an entire new show around the time that the Halloween party would be for the 50th is super exciting because we get to see a new show. But yet they’ve been leading up to this forever. It feels like, and all that does is build the FOMO, the fear of missing out. And even though it’s 18 months long, we’re going to be there in the first month.
And no that wasn’t intentional how we chose this trip for fixing us live event. If you want to go to the next one, make sure you get on the wait list at pixiedustandprofits.com/live. But, you know, we didn’t know that it was starting October 1st and we’re just super glad and lucky that we get to be there at that time. So let’s talk about celebrations in your business, launching new products, what we can learn from Disney and how they did this. Okay. So October is when it comes out, but they started showing all the merchandise in August two months before he can buy it because all the Instagrammers are wearing it and looking forward to it and sharing the pictures and planting the seeds in your head. Because when you go to Disney, you’re going to bring that budget up a little bit higher, so you can get the special ears.
And Disney does a really good job about their branding in general, but there’s different sub brands every single year. Every time we go, because we go often, there’s a different theme for the year and a different color at so earlier this year we were there and it was color blocking and very eighties inspired. So I got a sweater. Well, I’m going back in October and I’ll probably buy another sweater because it’s a completely different theme now with the 50th anniversary. So when you’re thinking about your business, thinking about it in terms of seasons, I mean, we did that with the podcast. We have different seasons for the podcast and our look changes a little bit in between those episodes in between those seasons. We think about like, what, where are we heading now? What, how are we editing our brand a little bit? How are we elevating what we’re doing?
And so thinking about that in your business too, it doesn’t necessarily have to mean the colors you’re using, but it could be what you’re talking about. When was the last time you updated your content pillars? When was the last time that you looked at the pictures on your feed and felt like, do those really align with like, what’s going on in the Instagram world right now? You just need encouragement for that. But yes, sub brands are so important because the 50th anniversary is almost like its own product at this point, just like star wars, just like Hollywood studios, just like Epcot. They all kind of have their own sub brands. And it’s really important that each standalone, because that’s that much more money people are going to spend.
It’s also like a great visual identifier of like the different products that you have on your suite, whether they’re like service based products, info products, or physical products. So this brand that I’m gonna reference isn’t by any means a small business, but like bath and body works releases the same sense pretty much every year. And every year they update like the design and theming of the stickers. They put on the candles and on the little so bottles and stuff. And like, I look forward to, I just want to see what’s going to be their interpretation of like Chris full morning, this year from a visual standpoint. And they even actually like have different designs. So depending on like your aesthetic, you can probably find that like popular candle scent that you love in a different bottle design. So it fits better within your house.
And Hey, if you don’t want the sticker showing at all, they got little holders for that. But think about how you can make things stand out visually because you can sell the same thing, kind of like over and over again, if you have a physical product, if you put a twist on it, we talked about like repurposing things in your business. In a previous episode, you have a shirt design that’s super popular, release it in two or three different colors and see how that performs. Sometimes people love something so much they’ll buy multiples of it. Or it actually,
It got worn and it was their favorite shirt and they were like, I need another one because you get to a certain point in your life where you don’t want to think about next outfit. You just want to buy the one, you know, already fits.
Yeah. And yeah, we we’ve been there. So making it easy for them and letting them get like a little updated design is perfect. Cause they have an old favorite, but it feels like something new. So think about how you can use branding and colors that pull from your either original brand or Disney’s case. They sort of went with the theme that, you know, pulls away from the standard, Walt Disney world logo, branding, and colors, and they’ve created something completely unique that really signifies the 50th anniversary. So you can add hype, dazzle and pizazz to really anything in your business and it’s worth celebrating each milestone or product as if it’s something really special. Cause it is
Yes. Yeah. And milestones could be, you know, obvious ones like hitting 10,000 Instagram followers. So you can get the swipe up feature or they could be less obvious. It could be something like, Hey guys, I finally, you know, made it an entire summer with summer Fridays where I didn’t work. Like that’s a milestone you can celebrate and share to you know, how many orders you’ve had on your site. Or this is the first time in the summer that I had orders every single day. Like you can make milestones that feel maybe small or innocuous, but they are big milestones for you and where you’ve come in your business and then you can celebrate them and bring your audience in for the celebration with you because they’ll feel a sense of ownership to making that success happen. Right? So there’s also a lot of other stuff going on with the 50th anniversary.
So there’ll be increasing capacity this fall, once the 50th anniversary starts. And in order to keep order, I guess they have announced some pretty big changes that I’m sure we’ll talk about in another episode, but fast pass, which is a special lane that you were able to book 90 days before your trip to quickly get through the lane, you get to choose a couple of rides a day will no longer exist. Now fast pass has been closed since COVID began because they wanted to control how many people were going through the lions. And it just made things easier from that standpoint and in its place. We now have Jeannie plus Janey plus is going to be a service that helps you kind of plan your itinerary throughout the park. And again, we’ll have a whole episode on DV class, but the important thing here is that they know that the 50th anniversary is coming. They know more people are coming because they’ve been building that FOMO for so long.
It’s super cool how it works. So there’s been a lot of controversy because again, it is replacing FastPasses, but genie plus is great for basically people who aren’t Nicole and I who might want to go a little bit more with the flow. Don’t create spreadsheets, the plan, you know, every day of their trip. So they can be as efficient as possible and maximize how many rides that they get on. And it actually looks into real-time metrics of the park and sort of gives you an itinerary as you go. It takes preferences into consideration. So what rides are like must do’s for you. And based on that, it’ll like, give you suggestions, like, Hey, now’s a great time to go on like mine train because it’s the lowest weight of the day. And it’ll actually predict like the expected wait times throughout the day.
So they put in a lot of data analysis into this. So what does this have to do with FastPass? Well, you no longer actually get free, fast passes with your stay. So as Nicole said, you could book 90 days out previously, if you’re staying at a resort 30 days out, if you were offsite or an annual pass holder that is gone in order to get sort of like advanced fast passes or access to the lines, you have to pay an additional $15 per ticket per day for genie like plus. And what that does is it works similarly to max pass at Disneyland and that’s going away and being replaced with G plus two. And what it does is it actually lets you like book a fast pass one at time. So no more advanced bookings, like you book your first one first thing in the morning, and then once you use it up, then you can book another one and you do it all through your phone.
So you don’t have to like go to any kiosks or stalls, like get your fast pass ticket. You do one at a time, which in theory should give you more than three fast passes a day because you’re able to like book them in quick succession. Again, if you’re a planner, could make things a little bit tricksy because you know, you might want to eat somewhere, but then go on a ride that’s all across the park and have to hope it all the way over there. But the other thing that they did was add in the lightning pass, which allows you to pay an additional fee to ride two top tier rides in every park. So for example, my train that we referenced, that’s rumored to be one of the rides where you would pay like an additional amount to get like a fast pass to that. And you can only book two per day. There’s only two rides in every part that will be eligible for this. People are because frankly like this was something that they saw or saw as included with their tickets in the past. And now it’s an additional fee. So you’d be paying $15 at minimum to book your FastPasses sort of, as you go and then, you know, potentially an additional 15 to $50 because it’s going to vary depending on time of year and how busy the parks are for the additional rides.
Yeah. And I mean, I see both sides of it. Disney is already a really expensive vacation and now you’ve added another layer of basically pay to play and pay to play really only hurts the people playing. You know, we’ve seen this with my gamer communities and things like that. And it’s on a whole nother level when you bring it to theme parks. That said though, the other theme parks in the Orlando area already have paid things like this. And so it was without fail. You know, writing was on the wall that this would probably happen at Disney world. My hope is just that it disperses clouds. And when we go back to, you know, our very first episode about the power of magic bands and we talked a lot about FastPasses passes and dispersing crowds throughout the parks you know, this is just an update to that.
Now we talked about magic bands of bringing them, the technology of them, being able to see where people are in a park at any point in time. Well now they can use that data and the genie plus system to disperse crowds even further. So they can pull right up and say, oh, Hey, you’re in, you’re in the central, you’re near the castle. How about you go to adventure land and here’s the next ride you should go on. And then five minutes later, someone’s in the exact same spot in front of the castle and it tells them to go to tomorrow land. And so they can kind of disperse crowds with it. So hopefully even though this has an extra cost, the experience for all Disney goers, including those who didn’t buy it and who are in standby lions have a better experience because you know, you’re not standing by for three hours because all of the FastPasses have arrived together.
You know, we can just hope for the best and we will be experiencing it on our trip in October and we’ll report back with how it works. But I just want to highlight the reason we’re talking about this now is that because with the 50th anniversary, they needed to find ways to get more people in because they’d been hiding it for so long. In addition to everyone being cooped up from being home for so long, they have pent up demand for vacations already, and now you have a limited exclusive event opportunity. And so demand is going to be really, really high. And introducing this at the same exact time, I think has a pros and cons list for Disney. So pros being, hopefully it can disperse crowds, obviously they’ll make a little more revenue. And all of that, I think on the content, we’ve talked about some of the struggles that we have with Disney it, and I am just hoping that the Disney or the genie service actually works as intended when you were, you know, both launching a whole new, a 50 year product at the same time as you’re launching a genie class product.
That’s a lot to take on even for a company as big as Disney. So it remains to be seen how successful it gets rolled out. But I’m just going to use this as a word of caution for you when you were looking at developing new products or new approaches in your business to maybe not take on two really huge things at the same time, especially when you’re a small business owner, because the more divided you are, the longer it takes for things to get out there. And the easier it is to overlook things that might’ve been solved if you worked on them separately. So I’m going to go with my risk averse hat there and say, maybe you shouldn’t try to, you know, do all of these things at once.
Yes, we know how poorly that typically ends. And we don’t want that for you. Well, thanks again for joining us for this new episode. I know there was a lot to talk about and like it’s been insane this summer with all of the Disney updates. So stay tuned for future episodes. As we dive into more of what Disney has done over the summer and have coming up and the lessons that you can learn from them, if you don’t follow us on Instagram, please do we share you know, exciting Disney updates there. And we go a little bit deeper into certain elements of the Disney experience. You can follow us @pixiedustandprofits.
And if you want to text us, it is us who answer. So ask us a question and we’ll get back to you real soon. I it’s 2 0 7 2 0 3 6 7 6 9. And we would love to hear from you, see you real soon.
Aug 5, 2021
In January, we found ourselves needing to meet with one of our clients in person, and we had another client trip that was also on the other end of Florida in the Panhandle. So one idea that we came up with was doing a Pixie Dust & Profits business intensive, and we actually spent four days in Orlando, close to Disney property, where we sat down with our client and went through her entire business. We did a deep dive into what happened in the past six months and came up with our plan for the next six months and worked in a little bit of Disney magic.
We discovered a few interesting things that we think you guys would be super interested in learning about.
This trip marked the start of our Pixie Dust & Profits podcast, so we could finally start working on this podcast that we had been talking about for at least six months. We had the name of it. We had 12 episodes outlined for it. And we had yet to record a single episode. When you work with as many clients as we do, sometimes their work takes precedence. And if you don’t know, we are both operations strategists working on the back end of a number of teams, which we feel incredibly fortunate to do. We’re the ones coming up with strategies, plans, analyzing numbers and trying to really move things forward so they can grow and scale their businesses. So because of that, as much as we wanted to start this podcast many, many months ago, it took us a little bit of time to get things off the ground, but we did it. We got it done and done is better than early.
So, let’s start off with the beginning of the trip and what we ended up doing. We met with our one client for that deep dive intensive. And of course it wouldn’t be a Pixie Dust & Profits business intensive if it didn’t actually involve a trip to Disney. So we did our very first after-hours event. Now, we’ve been to Disney quite a bit, we’ve been on all the rides. So why would we spend what was basically an extra hundred dollars to go to an after-hours event? And of course, take our client along with us, right?
Well, we were working hard during the day, doing this deep strategy work, figuring out the teams that we’re going to be working with, and how to implement a big project we had coming up. Then, at the end of the day at seven o’clock, we would go to this after-hours event. It was dark out. So it wasn’t super crazy hot either.
There were so few people in Magic Kingdom! It was February. So it was kind of cold actually. And we were all wearing sweaters and pants, which is unheard of in Orlando. And we just had such an enjoyable experience walking around without any heat, without any crowds. You also get free popcorn and ice cream and drinks, and probably a bunch of other things that we can’t remember at this point while you’re walking around the park. So if you fancy getting a Mickey Bar, it is included. And even if it was kind of on the chilly side of things — we are from the North, we were able to handle that ice cream and what was 65 degree temperatures like champs.
On that trip, we actually did what we like to consider the highlight of our business career: delivering a financial report on the People Mover. You know, we found ourselves trying to take like a little bit of a break to enjoy our Mickey Bars and our sodas. And you know, we thought, “Why not now to talk about financial results?” We had everything prepared. So we walked our client through how we did for the past six months, what our goals were for the next six. And frankly, we wish we could do all business meetings on the People Mover because that would just be such a treat.
The thing that we really want to stress here with this after-hours event is that, from a business perspective, Disney got people who have annual passes to pay more money and to come to something they already have access to. That just got us thinking about your business and how you can give little order bumps and one time offers and things for your customers to spend just a little bit more money with you, even if it’s for the same thing that they already have, but with an elevated experience, right?
What we were paying for was not just to go to Magic Kingdom… we can go to Magic Kingdom any time. We were paying for less crowds walking onto seven doors, mind train, and Peter Pan’s flight. Like when do you do that? You wait 15 minutes in line with the FastPass or you’re waiting an hour to get in. And just to have all the treats our heart desired. It was an amazing evening. It was just low stress. And we actually were able to hit every single ride we wanted to! And when you compare that to the price of a regular park ticket, I think it’s around $150 for a single day, you get less time in the park, but we were actually able to maximize that and have an enhanced customer experience.
There are ways that you can take your existing offers and add an additional level of experience, a higher touch point and charge more for it. And your customers would be fine with paying for it. One example is if you have a group program. Obviously when someone’s coming into a group program, they’re sharing your time and your expertise with a bunch of other people. Now, if they want your one-on-one advice outside of the weekly or monthly calls that you have, you can charge them a little bit of a premium for that and get them to pay extra for one-on-one access.
So if you offer a bonus clarity call or a bonus strategy call, you can discount that from your usual price. Because again, they are a customer, but get them to spend an additional hundred, $150 for that hour of your time, which is going to be insanely valuable for them because just like Disney, they’re not competing with everyone else for your time. This can also be something like a Slack channel. If you just want to have access to someone for a month to be able to talk to them or Voxer, if you prefer a voice communication, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a 30 minute call.
It could also be a bundle of things that you’ve sold in the past, or you have sitting on your hard drive that you use in your own business already — like our Business Bundle ;). Just tweak it up a little bit and make it more of a template. Don’t give them over your customer information, but you can sell these little things. In addition to the regular product that you’re selling, you already have them sold. This is the best opportunity to give them just a little bit more that they actually need and want, and they already have their credit card out. So it’s a perfect win-win for them and for you.
Think about getting your Magic Band. How genius is it for Disney to offer the opportunity to pay $10 more, just $10 to get a custom band?? When we go to the parks, we know those Magic Bands are $25. So this is another opportunity where you can easily sell something. We’re already coming. Now Disney can just send us that one little extra bump and it’s only $10. You can do the same thing — but think about it across 20 clients. You’re charging $10 or $25 for something, and that adds up very quickly. It’s not necessarily additional time or effort on your part. You just set up the system and it delivers that bonus and that’s extra money you’re raking in every month.
We encourage you to look at your business, look at the products and offerings you have. What are ways that you can add a little bit of an extra touch point or a little bit more value to your customer in a really meaningful and intentional way that you can charge more for?
The best way to do this is to create a Customer Ascension Model, which can show you easily how you kickstart a sale — and continue to sell to customers once you have them in the door. We have a totally free Customer Ascension Model in our Business Bundle. This is the same model we use with all of our clients when mapping out their strategy!
Jul 29, 2021
Hearing that in your day to day life might make you wonder if the compliment giver has some Hannibal Lecter-esque tendencies… but it’s something that’s totally common to hear when you’re on property, as Disney vacation goers say.
In fact, walking around at Disney World or Disneyland, you’re hard-pressed to find someone who isn’t showing their Disney love in the form of a cute Minnie Ear headband, a funny Disney themed shirt or some sort of other Disney accessory.
Case and point—We’re delving into the entrepreneurial world that Disney has spurred and inspired themselves. It’s called the Small Shops and these shops are by Disney fans like me and you who create shops to sell Disney-inspired gear and accessories to decorate your home, things to wear in the park. And even some things that are really innovative and enhance your overall Disney experience.
When I (Yasmine) was a kid, I’d go to Disneyland often because I had family in LA. And we’d always go for the day, but I had never experienced the magic of the world until I was an adult. In fact, I was 34, my first trip to Disney World. I spent so much time planning every moment of the trip. And I just remember going on to shop disney.com and looking at all of the cool ears and wishing I can get them all to match all my outfits because of course I was going to try Disney bounding for my first trip there, but the shop doesn’t really ship to Canada and it was going to be really expensive to get five different sets of years to match every single outfit.
I went to Etsy just to see if anyone had anything or I could find anything that would be an adequate replacement. And my mind was blown. I ended up not only finding a whole bunch of years to choose from but I found a pair of ears that had sparkly, interchangeable bows. So all I had to do was buy five or in my case, 10 different bows, and I could match every single outfit. I was able to Disney bound as all the princesses and have ears to match with only one pair.
I (Nicole) did a run Disney race. It was my first one and I was really excited about it, but I was more in my head about the running than about the experience of it, because I am not a runner. I trained for months to try and even be able to finish a 10K and the extracurricular side of it didn’t even come to my mind until probably a day or two before we were leaving to go to the race. And it’s a big deal to run a Disney race! Apparently there are costumes, there are tutus, anything you can possibly imagine. And the joke I had made when I first signed up for the star Wars run was that my husband was running on the dark side. He was the rival run. So it’s the dark side versus the light side. He chose the dark side and I chose the light side.
And if you are a Star Wars fan, you probably know that hope is what the rebellion is built on. So I would use this phrase when I was talking about this run; I’m huffing and puffing with hope because I don’t know if I can actually run a 10 K, right? And so I get there and you know, it’s two 30 in the morning, the race is starting in three hours. And I see all these people wearing amazing outfits that they either made themselves, or they went to Etsy and found. And I was like, man, I really should have gotten a shirt that said huffing and puffing with hope. And I felt so left out and came home. And I immediately went to Etsy to search for “run Disney” to see what’s even available.
There’s a whole industry that supports people who are addicted to running and Disney. It’s amazing how many small shops created all this stuff, probably because they are Disney runners and they went and wanted all these items for themselves. And now you can see, Disney’s kind of copying them in some ways, because when I entered the expo, the first thing you do when you get to run Disney, is you have to go pick up your bib and they have an expo there and it’s just insane how many products they have available to you.
And they’re specific to the race you’re running too. They have 5K shirts, they have 10 K, they have challenges, they have special metals, commemorative pins, everything possible. And so there’s so many things to buy while you’re there. And that’s all spurred from the fact that these other industries are creating things. They may as well create and upsell it. So we definitely spent a good number of dollars in that little area to commemorate our first run Disney. And now we’ll probably be back because of it!
I read a lot of stories about parents wanting to save money and shopping in the parks and stopping at Walmart and Target and picking up cute little Elsa costumes and Mickey shirts so they have Disney gear in the parks that they don’t have to spend Disney parks prices for. But now they have so much more choice and they’re stepping beyond the sort of standard Disney licensing products or licensed products.
They are able to buy from independent sellers that are coming up with the most creative and let’s be real slogans for shirts. They’re coming up with cute costume accessories. If you go on Etsy and you search for Mickey ears right now, you’re going to come up with over 39,000 results. Let that sink in for a second. 39,000 different types of Mickey ears, and Disney has won their shop 10, 15. I know they’re constantly adding things, but it doesn’t compare to the selection that you can find online.
I also think that people making their own and selling them spur Disney to get into this let’s-create-as-many-ears-as-we-can. Let’s have the vault again, where we put some ears away, we bring some new ones out. There are way more, many ears now and styles and options than there were even two or three years ago. When we would go as an adult we didn’t even see people wearing many ears as much as you do now. Now everyone has a different color for every outfit I personally travel with too.
I want to take a second to talk about some of the innovative products that they’re coming up with. So did you know that you can actually buy a case to hold your Minnie ears? I don’t know about you, but like I carefully wrapped them in my suitcase. Try to make sure, you know, the bows don’t get smushed, but how cool is it that there’s an actual accessory for those hardcore Disney fans to protect their most valued accessory?
And one of the things I saw with the run Disney stuff is there are people who make things like plaques and things. You can hang on the wall in your house to display all the metals you get, because you know, you do one run Disney, you’ve got to collect all the rest of the metals. So it was just really interesting to see because I never would have thought of that. Like I said, I’m not a runner. And I don’t have these metals from all these races, but you bring it home. You need to display it somewhere. It’s not going to go in the closet. So now you can get a piece to hang it on and it spurs you to go on more Disney trips.
There are these really cute wooden Mickey signs that you can basically hook all your magic bands around. You can add four or five, but you really want to fill it up to really make that a display piece in your house. So same thing with the Run Disney medals, you would actually want to go to Disney to get more magic bands to fill that up. So they are coming up with really interesting ways to protect and display your Disney fanaticism, which is so super cool.
I think it’s also important to talk about how yes, before you could go to Target or Walmart and just get a simple shirt with a Mickey face on it. But now there’s different styles. And I mean, there’s a whole industry of children’s clothing, right? You can have high end children’s clothing where you’ve got these like princess inspired dresses that are still Orlando weather friendly because that is not what the traditional princess dress is. That’s usually a little bit like starchy. The kids don’t really want to wear it all day long, but they do. You can go find some really cute Disney inspired gear from these small shops.
Doing research for this episode, I started getting ads served to me on Facebook for some of these small shops and, you know, things that I would come across were high-end designer-ish brands for kids that were designing Disney inspired gear. So they had like bomber jackets with Mickey ears on the back and they were beautiful and gorgeous. And I just keep thinking as a parent, my daughter would outgrow that in like a month, but it is adorable. And I need that for my trip!
Another super interesting thing with small shops is yes, they’re creating things for kids, but they’re also expanding the possibility of what adults can buy that are Disney related. So we tease our client about this quite a bit, but she once said to us that when she thinks of adult Disney fans, she thinks of someone wearing a super faded Donald duck shirt from like 20 years ago. And let’s be real… for the longest time, that’s kind of all there was. It was Disney kid’s clothes, but in adult sizes and the small shop industry has been able to create really fun, trendy, really cool shirts that you actually want to wear as a grownup and created this entire market of products for Disney adult fans.
You can buy high-end Disney jewelry with like your favorite quotes on it that are 24 karat gold bracelets. You can buy designer handbags. You know, coaches definitely put out a few Disney bags. Kate spade has too, but some of these Disney’s small shops are actually creating artisan handcrafted leather goods that are Disney inspired as well. So you’re not gonna buy those things for your kids, but as an adult, you might like to splurge on, or dress up your Disney outfit when you’re in the park. So it’s really cool that they basically created an entire market that in a way, Disney was kind of ignoring, had forced Disney to really step up their game.
Disney came out with so many more ears because they noticed these small shops coming up with super creative and crafty designs in 2017. Disney doubled the amount of merchandise and specifically licensed merchandise that they had in shop disney.com. They noticed that in 2016 retail sales are falling by 6%. People just weren’t spending as much time in malls. And why would they, when they had a plethora of options available to them online at their fingertips? Just not from Disney. They closed a lot of Disney stores all around. Now that’s just really trendy and modern with the clothes that they have.
They’re kind of bringing back some of the eighties style, early nineties style, and how the shirts are cut. Well, that’s my biggest deal with t-shirts as a woman. And I’m sure most of you can relate. They just aren’t ever cut for our bodies. They’re so square. And they actually make things that fit in, look nicely on all sorts of body types, because everyone loves Disney. And it’s just been great to see that, that transformation, I never bought souvenirs or merchandiser gear and I’ve been to Disney many, many times. And I will say that I didn’t start buying these things until probably the last two to three years, because nothing really ever appealed to me. And now they’re creating these designs that I would actually wear outside of the parks without feeling bad about it, because it’s not a faded Donald duck shirt saying that I’m going crackers or something silly.
Disney’s actually collaborating with some of these like small shop artisans to bring you more creative and innovative products. I’m a big makeup fan. I spent way too much money at Sephora. And some of the collections I’ve been super jazzed about was ColourPop’s collaboration with Disney for both the designer princess collection and the villains collection. Yes, I bought every single piece. No, I will never wear a purple highlighter, but I really, really wanted that highlighter with Ursula on it. Cause it’s super cool. So they’re actually making it more accessible to get cool Disney things by partnering with brands that have an entirely different audience space and in a way, capitalizing on the nostalgia of Disney. And that has really turned around retail sales for Disney. So we’ve talked a lot about what Disney has done, what small shops have done to change the industry and how it’s impacted Disney.
What we really want to get at here is that you as a small business owner: can you think about things that you’ve created for yourselves and how you can market that to other people? Because a lot of these products from these Etsy shops really stemmed out of someone who really wanted this for themselves and then realized that there were other people in that predicament too. So for an example, there is a travel planner out there named Magical Miranda, who makes a planner specific to Disney. So it’s got all the different dates in there that you should know about. Like Mickey’s not so scary Halloween party is coming up and after hours events and all sorts of things like that, that is something that you probably thought you needed when you were planning a Disney trip and couldn’t find anywhere. And now she makes an annual planner.
So that way you can buy it and you can use it as a regular planner and just get a little bit of a Disney fied feeling to your day, make a magical day for yourself. But you can also use it to plan those trips that you are going to plan. So that exists because she needed it for herself or for her clients because she a travel agent and then she put that out there for everyone else. So what do you have in your business that you use all the time that you think is so simple and basic, and everyone must do this and how can you get that out to people?
It’s funny, there are tools and systems that we use every single day that we kind of take for granted. And sometimes it takes someone else just being like, Whoa, that’s a really cool process to understand the potential that exists there because here’s the thing, not everyone works the way that you work. Not everyone thinks the way that you think. So you always have something of value to share. I think it’s just a matter of looking at your business and finding out what’s that thing that’s uniquely yours. It could be inspired by someone else’s system, but format it in a way that works for you. I mean, that’s what all of these small shops have done. It doesn’t have to be a hundred percent original. It just needs your take on it. So we really encourage you to look at your business and find what those opportunities are. In fact, our amazing friend, Christina Scalera, who you may know from our intro is all about finding ways to create digital products in your service-based business so you can bring in passive income. She has a ton of great resources on how you can start to find out what those opportunities are in your business and how to go about creating digital products that you can actually sell. Check out our episode where we talked all about copyrights:
We also want to encourage you to think about that white space in your industry. What do you have and what can you provide to people who you may not even know that they need?
You could be sitting on a goldmine and you don’t even know it.
Jul 22, 2021
If you’ve ever been to Disney World, you’ve probably walked by the infamous purple wall a thousand times, maybe not a thousand, but you know what we mean. This is just a simple purple wall that’s in Tomorrowland and Magic Kingdom that people have just grown to love.
It all started with an Instagrammer. One day they took a photo and used #purplewall and launched an entire phenomenon.
We’re going to be digging into how Disney tapped into this trend and created a whole product line around it and how you can capitalize on trends that your audience are asking for.
Back in the 2000’s, Disney was really struggling with this problem where attendance was down; 9/11 had just happened. There was a recession and people weren’t coming back to Disney. They were noticing that they were struggling to remain relevant with the new millennial generation. Their parents grew up with very limited entertainment options going to Disney world was a big deal. And it was like a rite of passage for millennials’ parents. But for millennials, they grew up seeing Disney everywhere. They saw it on TV. There’s Disney channel, there’s Disney Jr. They saw it on Instagram and Facebook everywhere, but there was no reason for them to be coming there because the old way of looking at Disney was sweaty, hot people, riding rides and faded Mickey T-shirts. And you know, that’s not really a pretty picture. Disney really needed to figure out a way to tap into this tech oriented generation.
They started watching how they were interacting with their brand and amplifying it. They saw people on Instagram taking pictures in front of a purple wall that probably got cleaned in the mornings and never thought about it again. And that was it. And they capitalized on it. They saw people starting to line up to take pictures of the fashion that they were wearing in front of that wall. So what do you think Disney did? They started to monetize it.
There are purple wall ears. There are backpacks, there are shirts. And even if you take out the fact that they created a brand new color, think about the fact that they knew people were taking pictures in front of that to highlight what they were wearing. So they started making clothes that looked like the clothes that Instagrammers wear. That way, they would wear those clothes in front of the purple wall. So they’re wearing Disney gear in front of a wall in Disney world in a Disney. They’re just perpetuating the Instagram story of you-need-to-come-to-Disney-world-because-it-is-a-blast-to-be-here. Look, we’re all smiling. We’re all happy. We’re wearing bright colors and you are missing out.
Disney has taken this trend even further. Think about the last time that you went to Disney or the last Disney family you followed on Instagram, right? It’s not just the purple ears and the cute clothes. Disney has made the entire park experience completely Instagramable. And by doing this, they’re attracting a bigger and bigger millennial audience. We know some of you hate that term, but the easiest way to categorize people between the ages of 25 to 35 for them, Disney has become a place to go, to have a fun experience, to hang out with their friends and to basically create FOMO. They’ve turned attending Disney World into some form of social currency amongst their peers. Right? Well, and it’s super fun. They get to come in and just have oversized treats like a giant chiro.
If you’ve ever got one of those, like almost as big as your head cupcakes at Disney…let’s be real. How many of you have actually finished it on your own? You either need a buddy to help you out, or you’re taking a couple bites and it’s just too much and you might be tossing iy away, but those limited edition treats are what brings people back more and more. They can create fun photos for Instagram AND obviously have a great time in the parks.
So let’s talk about this audience that Disney has attracted with all of these Instagrammable options like foodie delights and more. We tried to look into the shift in who was coming to Disney World; the families versus adults who are coming on their own. We found that majority of millennial parents and non-parents who are millennials are more likely visiting a theme park in the next year. So the fact that Disney is attracting these millennials not when they have young kids or even before that they have kids is ensuring that they don’t have to deal with that situation where attendance is on a decline for at least another 15 to 30 years, because they’ve basically created a new built-in audience of long time Disney fans who will keep coming back for that awesome experience.
And millennials are more likely to justify the cost of things like this. 62% of millennial parents and 65% of non-parent millennials think of the park as a good value for the money. And their parents are like, no, it’s really not. Only 50% of their parents even agree with that. Millennials generally value the experience and the story around everything going on. They are willing to invest in that and not in stock.
Disney has turned the entire park experience to be more Instagrammable as a benefit for just customer flow throughout the parks. Think about it. If you think the idea of someone waiting in line to take a photo in front of a purple wall is ridiculous, then let’s flip that. The longer they’re waiting in the line taking photos of a purple wall, or their giant cupcake, or their Mickey Bar, is less time that they’re waiting in line with you increasing the wait time for Seven Dwarfs, Pirates of the Caribbean or Haunted Mansion. Disney has essentially created an attraction out of every element of the park and not just the actual rides themselves. They were even watching how people act in lines just to see how else they can improve the experience in this technology world.
They noticed people in line waiting for their favorite rides playing heads up. And so instead of letting people keep playing heads up, they created their own app, the Disney Park Experience app. And you can play that while in line and it’s like geo location. You have to actually be near the attraction in order to play that specific game. So one of those games was heads up and they were like, why give people another way out? Give them the full Disney experience… immerse them 100% in Disney. Let’s give them their own heads up game that has Toy Story characters.
It’s as easy as looking at the macro trends and the habits that you see from your audience. What are they digging right now? What are they watching? What are they listening to? How are they consuming? Content is the biggest takeaway. So Disney noticed that people were sharing their experience with an audience and essentially advertising for them by creating that FOMO. But how can you translate this to your business?
Well, if you’re noticing that your audience is shifting towards listening to more audio books, for example, maybe that tells you that the way that they like to consume content is an audio form. So next time that you’re putting out a course or any type of program, make sure that you add an audio only version for them because you know that they have the habit of listening to a book when they are driving or on the treadmill, or just cleaning around the house, make it as easy for them to consume your content. So we can actually ensure that they complete your next program and achieve the benefits that you’ve set out for them.
Watch your audience, see what they’re doing, actually take intentional time to stop. Don’t think about your products. Don’t think about your own business. Just look at the people who are looking at you. You can go over to your Instagram profile, you can click on who’s following you and you can scroll down that list and click five to 10 people every few weeks and just see… hey, what are they sharing? What are they talking about? Do they like to share things that have quote graphics? Do they like to talk about churros? If you’re a really big brand and they’re using your products, reconnect with them. You don’t necessarily have to go send them a direct message or anything like that, but just see what they’re doing. And if someone’s doing something that really interests you, then go ahead, reach out, send a direct message. What are you really into lately? You know what people love to talk about the things that they love. So it’s a win-win.
Download our FREE Biz Bundle, which includes our best tips & tricks for sounding authentically you on social media and with your marketing materials. Because, at the end of the day, you can be as simple as a purple wall and still stand out!
Jul 15, 2021
Disney’s streaming service, Disney+, launched in the U.S. and Canada in November 2019. But in the months before that debut, marketing emails were sent to Disney superfans like us, sharing special signup offers and building up the excitement for the platform and sharing signup offers.
Early signup offers included a prepaid option for three years and two years. Eventually, a prepaid one year option and a standalone option debuted, as well as a bundle including Hulu, ESPN, and other brands.
Even though there were issues with accessing the early offers in Canada, as well as tech issues with the platform after the launch, we think it’s safe to say that Disney+ overcame those to become a successful streaming platform. They reported around 10 million sign ups within the first day. A year later in November 2020, the subscriber number reached nearly 74 million.
You can learn a lot from the Disney+ rollout and apply it to your own strategy when launching something new for your small business.
Coming up with a variety of offers is a good way to appeal to your different customer personas. Not all of your customers will want the Disney+ three year prepaid option, for example. And not all of your customers will want to pay it month by month.
In our case for Pixie Dust & Profits, we decided to offer a pay-in-full option and a payment plan option. When you pay in full, it’s a one-and-done thing, and you can get that business expense in before the end of the year. A payment plan may cost a little more in the end, but it’s easier and more digestible for some people. Basically, our options appeal to our different customers.
When putting together offers and bundles for your own biz, look at your customer buying habits. What products would your customers find valuable in a bundle? Which services complement your new offer? Figure out how to meet your customers’ needs and offer them value.
Fun fact: Disneyland held its grand opening on Sunday, July 17, 1955. Opening Day festivities included a dedication, a parade, and 6,000 invitations to exclusive guests. Designing Disney politely said that “the event did not go smoothly,” but as we described it on the Pixie Dust & Profits podcast, it was more of a hot mess.
Counterfeit tickets galore meant that over 28,000 attendees showed up, compared to the 11,000 expected. Rides broke down. There was a plumbers’ union strike, meaning water fountains went dry during a record heat wave in California. Food and drink ran out. In some areas, trees were still being planted, paint was still wet, and asphalt was still soft.
What you can take away from the Disneyland Grand Opening and the Disney+ rollout is that you should treat your launch plan as a guide. You have to be flexible, because your launch will probably not go perfectly according to plan. No matter how much you prepare and practice, things will crop up that are unanticipated or out of your control.
Yes, a disastrous launch is a frustrating and scary thing to experience. And they can definitely be discouraging. But take each one as a learning opportunity.
Figure out what went wrong and how it should be fixed for your next launch. Analyze what went right and brainstorm how you might make it even better in the future. Focus on learning and improving rather than what failed, and every subsequent launch of yours will run more smoothly.
We like to implement a post-mortem after every launch is over. We review what went well and what didn’t. We pinpoint the successes and the challenges, and talk about what we can do better for next time. You can do the same for your business. Not only will you set yourself up for success, but you can celebrate the small wins, too. Those are easy to overlook when you’re focused on what went wrong.
An unsuccessful launch does not mean that your offer was bad. It just means that your launch could have been better.
Maybe it could have been marketed differently or earlier. Maybe a different software should have been used. Maybe your audience didn’t resonate with the copy or content. There are so many moving parts to a launch, which is why it’s important to review it so you can figure out what to tweak for your next one.
And if you’re having trouble figuring out what went wrong, ask your customers for feedback. Some people will give you suggestions that you never even thought of before. Others may give you feedback that, well…isn’t so nice or helpful, but you don’t have to implement it all. The point is, insight from the other end can be really valuable.
If a launch doesn’t go as well as you expected, remember that you’re not alone! We’ve had those days, and our clients have too. What matters is what you learn from it and how you can make your next one a success.