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There's a new way to splurge atDisney's (NYSE: DIS)largest and most expensive Florida theme park. Disney's Magic Kingdom -- the only theme park in the planet to have entertained more than 20 million guests last year -- is adding Kingdom Cabanas to its arsenal of upsell products.
Theme park blog WDW News Today is reporting that the Magic Kingdom will begin renting in-park cabanas on Sunday. The cabanas are located in the Tomorrowland section of the park, offering private and shaded seating with room for as many as eight guests per cabana. A mini fridge is stocked with complimentary cold beverages, and a lockable storage trunk is available to keep personal belongings secure. A fruit basket and a one-time delivery of ice cream treats are also included, as well as personalized Mickey-eared caps and reserved viewing areas for parades and fireworks.
This isn't the kind of pampering that comes cheap. Disney is charging $649 plus tax for the daily cabana rental. That's a lot of money, but the theme park giant probably won't have a problem filling up the tents. With folks paying as much as $124 for a one-day ticket to the park and an average of more than 56,000 guests a day, it's loaded on any given day with patrons who are themselves loaded.
This obviously isn't Disney World's first foray into cabanas. Some of its high-end hotels have poolside cabanas. Disney's two water parks -- and several regional water parks across the country -- offer cabanas that can be reserved at a premium. Disney's Magic Kingdom may be the first high-end theme park to go this route, but it probably won't be the last.
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It doesn't matter if you think it's a lousy idea. All it takes is roughly 0.2% of the guests attending the park on any given day to be won over by the concept for it to succeed. It's going to be popular with wedding parties, celebrities, and conventioneers. It's going to be popular with well-to-do young families who typically head back to their hotels in the afternoon for a midday break.
Disney has been aggressively trying to milk more money out of its guests, something that will naturally peeve visitors but also delight shareholders if tourists keep coming. It costs as much as 18% more for a one-day ticket to a Disney World park this holiday season than it did a year earlier. Annual passes also experienced double-digit increases late last year. Disney began blocking off its best parking lot spaces earlier this year, selling them at a higher markup than regular slots.
When Disney World attendance started to dip -- a rare event that the theme park giant experienced during the March and June quarters -- it was easy to wonder if Disney was getting too greedy for its own good. However, Disney surprised investors by revealing that year-over-year attendance inched higher in Florida during the potent summer quarter. With that kind of momentum perhaps serving as validation for the rollout of new VIP experiences, it's safe to say that Kingdom Cabanas won't be the last of the premium add-ons at the world's largest theme park resort.
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