Lessons From Top of the World Lounge and Savi’s Lightsabers
You would think that the two wouldn’t have anything in common. One is a lounge in the Disney Vacation Club Bay Lake Towers. The other is a premium opportunity to build your own lightsaber in the new Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Both have been in the news lately. I didn’t get a chance during my time at Disneyland’s new Galaxy’s Edge to build a lightsaber. But I’ve read many reviews, and I’m astonished how many–including those who didn’t want to shell out the money in the first place–said that the experience was a highlight. Interesting that some would rate this activity one of the most impressive of the massive 14 acre land that just opened at Disneyland and is soon opening at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
We were the first to announce that $200 price tag of participating in this retail moment. When word finally got out–people were in shock. But the press has been very positive on this expensive–but amazing experience. Those who have done it, not only loved it, they wanted to bring their friends, family and children to do it.
The press on The Top of The World Lounge has not been so kind. Only a few weeks ago they announced an exclusive “Membership Magic” event on the 4th of July that would costs $99 to be able to partake of a buffet of small bites and desserts, along with beer and wine. While there you get to see the amazing 4th of July fireworks.
So unless you’re willing to fork out the $99, you don’t have access to the lounge. By the way, the first announcement of this was apparently $106, but then they did a re-take on the announcement making it $99 and clarifying that the lounge was only open to those partaking in the event.
DVC members–who already pay a premium–were ticked. One responder, Thomas, wrote on the Disney parks blog site:
“As a BLT owner, I find this move to be quite distasteful. I booked BLT for that night and luckily booked a theme park view, so I don’t need to pay the $99 per person fee (plus tax and gratuity) in what seems like an ever-increasing shakedown of DVC members. For my family of four, that would have meant another $400+ out of pocket. Not a small amount.”
On the DVC boards, RLHornbeck wrote:
“With only 3 weeks’ notice this is absurd! At this point we can’t change fast passes, dining reservations, or where we are staying but DVC can change anything? The only thing my 6-year old asked to do on this trip is now gone. How do I tell her DVC screwed us and we can’t go to the lounge? They have changed everything lately in order for them to make more $$$$ and I have had enough.”
BrerFrog on the DVC Info site noted: “at that price though $99 x 77 official capacity = $7623, seems like not much money to anger so many DVC members.”
BrerFrog is right. $99 is half the price as the lightsaber. But if you aren’t offering something of significant value–in this case some token snacks and drinks–it doesn’t matter how much–or how little you charge. People won’t respond favorably. Add to that poor last minute communications when people have planned their vacation for months and you have a recipe for a mess.
Of course, it’s Economic 101: supply and demand. Maybe it will sell out. But even if it does, it will come at the price of upsetting some of your most loyal customers. You’ve made a mistake if your biggest advocates are suggesting boycotts on the very thing they love the most. Sell out or not, it doesn’t sound like a formula for magic. Not in the short term. Not in the long.