Friday, January 30, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Are we there yet? Economics 101 lesson might lessen the pain

TanyaPereznewW

By
From page A9 | June 12, 2013 |

Last week I read something in the Los Angeles Times that caused me to have a minor tizzy.

According to Daniel Miller’s story on June 2, “Walt Disney Co. raised entry prices to its theme parks in California and Florida.”

Specifically, “A single-day ticket to either Disneyland Park or Disney California Adventure Park in Anaheim for visitors 10 or older now costs $92, up from $87 — a jump of nearly 6 percent.” The one-day Park Hopper Ticket (allowing entrance to both Disneyland and California Adventure) is now $137. And prices have been increased steadily, with a 28 percent increase since 2010.

I think the sentence from the article that really enraged me was this: “Recent price boosts have helped Disney’s bottom line. Its parks and resorts posted operating income of $383 million for its fiscal second quarter — a gain of 73% from a year earlier.” What the? Is Disneyland just about greed and shareholders’ fattening portfolios?

As I was lamenting to my husband, the economist, he logically pointed out, “Yeah, but Disneyland is packed with people every day of the year, so it’s not hurting them to raise their prices.”

Yes, but it’s hurting me! I don’t want normal people to miss out on the fun of Disneyland, a place that was 20 minutes from my house when I was a child; a place that cost my parents $6 for 11 attractions in 1975 (http://ocresort.ocregister.com). People shouldn’t need an annual income of $100,000 to be able to spend a couple of days at the Happiest Place on Earth.

After my husband explained some simple economics principles, I felt a little bit better. Maybe you’ll feel better too, assuming this bothers you at all.

A common problem for most families when planning a trip to Disneyland is choosing a time that won’t involve crushing crowds. Obviously most families with school-aged children have to plan their visits to coincide with school breaks; i.e., when the most people will be there. What can Disneyland do about controlling the crowds? It has to ration to control demand.

I don’t know if you’ve ever braved the crowds of Disneyland during one of its peak attendance times, but my family and I went a few spring breaks ago and it was unbelievable. Our kids were practically in tears begging us to not have to go back the second day of our planned trip; we went to the beach instead.

That’s not the experience Disneyland wants people to have or the kind of magical memories that bring visitors back.

So for Disneyland to ration its resources, there are only a few options: It can allow only a set number of people in, on a first-come, first-served basis; it can implement a lottery system; or it can increase prices to keep crowds manageable.

If ticket prices dropped to, say $25, and the first 40,000 guests were admitted, 40,000 people would start lining up the night before the park opened. The area surrounding Disneyland would be a tent city, populated primarily with unemployed or poor people. Because who has time to wait in line overnight to get into Disneyland? Either people without jobs, or poor people who were hired by rich people to wait in line for them. This doesn’t really solve the problem.

If Disneyland employed a lottery system to control the crowds, would-be visitors could apply for a window of time to hopefully get chosen to buy tickets. This system is what the NCAA does to ration Final Four tickets. If you are lucky enough to get picked, you then get to pay a fortune for basketball tickets. Maybe this is preferable to ever-increasing ticket prices, with Disneyland selling 40,000 tickets every day of the year for (an arbitrarily chosen amount of) $60 each.

What they have decided to do is increase ticket prices, which is an effective — if distasteful — way to ration demand. The idea of a family of four spending $840 for two days’ admission  to Disneyland — to say nothing of transportation, food, hotel … cha-ching! — is insanity. But families keep doing it.

Ski resorts also have been controlling crowds with this method of rationing. Ticket prices have steadily climbed for years, and it’s not uncommon to pay $100 per lift ticket per day to ski in the Lake Tahoe area. I miss the days of $20 lift tickets, but the crowds would be overwhelming at that price. Longer lines and less skiing is the trade-off.

I realize this is a pretty cruddy trade-off, but I hope it will make you feel a wee bit better as you fill out the paperwork for your second mortgage to fund your trip to Disneyland.

— Tanya Perez is an associate editor at The Enterprise. Her column publishes every other week on Wednesdays or Thursdays. Reach her at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at @enterprisetanya

Comments

comments

.

News

Town hall focuses on Coordinated Care Initiative

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1

 
Schools give parents tools to help kids thrive

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Suspected Ebola patient being treated at UCD Med Center

By San Francisco Chronicle | From Page: A1

Need a new best friend?

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2 | Gallery

 
Stanford University to get $50 million to produce vaccines

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Two more cases of measles in Northern California in children

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Dartmouth bans hard liquor

By New York Times News Service | From Page: A2

 
Walkers head out three times weekly

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3Comments are off for this post

Free tax preparation service begins Monday

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

 
Vote for your favorites in Readers’ Choice poll

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

No bare bottoms, thanks to CommuniCare’s Diaper Drive

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Storyteller relies on nature as his subject on Saturday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Still time to purchase tickets for DHS Cabaret

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
All voices welcome at sing-along Wednesday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Great Chefs Program will feature Mulvaney

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

 
February science fun set at Explorit

By Lisa Justice | From Page: A6 | Gallery

 
Take a photo tour of Cuba at Flyway Nights talk

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6 | Gallery

See wigeons, curlews and meadowlarks at city wetlands

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8 | Gallery

 
.

Forum

Time for bed … with Grandma

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

 
A ‘new deal’ for the WPA building

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

Protect root zone to save trees

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

 
Weigh quality of life, density

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

Olive expert joins St. James event

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

 
We’re grateful for bingo proceeds

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

.

Sports

UCD has another tough football schedule in 2015

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

 
Gould’s influence felt mightily in recent Super Bowls

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

Mustangs hold off UCD women

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
UCD men set new school D-I era win record

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Sharks double up Ducks

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Sports briefs: Watney, Woods start slow at TPC Scottsdale

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

Recall that first Aggie TV game, national title?

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B8 | Gallery

 
.

Features

.

Arts

‘Artist’s Connection’ launches on DCTV

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11

 
‘Song of the Sea’ is an enchanting fable

By Derrick Bang | From Page: A11 | Gallery

 
Gross’ paintings highlight a slice of Northern California

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A12 | Gallery

February show at YoloArts’ Gallery 625 is ‘Food for Thought’

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A12 | Gallery

 
.

Business

.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Comics: Friday, January 30, 2015

By Creator | From Page: A9