Disney’s latest blitz of upcharges is giving the common folk a glimpse into the royal VIP treatment.
But can the commoners afford the hype?
During the past six weeks, Disney has rolled out a number of high-priced extras. They range from the nearly $700 private cabanas in Tomorrowland to a $49 per person ice cream social to meet Princess Tiana and view the parade aboard the Liberty Belle Riverboat. Big spenders can pay $150 for a progressive dinner around the Seven Seas Lagoon or spend an extra $25 to take an Express Bus for park hopping.
The upcharges are part of the Enchanted Extras Collection billed by Disney as a way to enhance the guest’s experience.
“As these are trotted out one by one it’s easy to be overwhelmed and feel nickel and dimed to death,” said Kyle Burbank, author of the Laughing Place blog. “However it’s important to remember that not Disney or anyone else is forcing a single guest to purchase these extra services.”
In fact, many of these extras are not advertised to the public. Actually, special perks have been offered to VIPs for years and Disney is now opening them up to anyone that can come up with the extra cash.
Some speculate that the extras are a new revenue source as a way to avoid another ticket increase. Others claim it’s just another way for the well-heeled to avoid long lines.
The Express Bus allows guests to exit a backstage area and enter another park. The $25 charge helps them avoid the lines at the main entrance to the parks.
There are rumors that celebrities like Tom Cruise and Mariah Carey have bought their way into spending a night in the Cinderella Castle Suite. But according to Disney officials, the only way to sleep in the castle is by winning a contest or through a special invite. The suite was originally built as an apartment for Walt Disney and his family when they visited Florida.
The opulent royal bedchamber, which can sleep up to six people, was the grand prize for one lucky family each day during the Year of a Million Dreams promotion in 2008. Visitors can spot the suite from the bridges to Liberty Square and Adventureland. Just look for the small stained glass windows above Cinderella’s Royal Table restaurant.
And while Disney has yet to put a price on Cinderella’s bedroom, there is a host of other fancy options up for grabs. The upcharges have been announced in rapid succession. This may be a look at how Disney plans to operate in the future, or it could be just another way to see how much money Disney can squeeze out of their guests.