Theme parks are so predictable. Universal Orlando recently jacked up admissions prices by a few bucks, just as it did last year in the weeks before kids start their summer breaks. It was only a matter of time before Disney followed suit.
Walt Disney World in Orlando and Disneyland in Southern California did just that on Sunday. A single-day ticket for adults (10 and up) to Disneyland increased from $87 to $92. A one-day child admission (ages 3 to 9) is now $86. In Orlando, the one-day adult pass to the Magic Kingdom goes from $89 to $95. Add in tax, and your day of fun at the “most magical place on earth” runs $101.18. The one-day child pass to the Magic Kingdom now costs $89, or $94.79 after tax.
Prices to Walt Disney World’s other parks, such as EPCOT and Animal Kingdom, are slightly less: a single-day adult admission costs $90 plus tax. Multiday passes to Disney parks increased as well. A four-day adult ticket, for instance, which ran $256 recently, now costs $279 — plus tax, plus another $59 for the Park Hopper option, which allows guest to enter more than one park on the same day.
These rates might seem high even before the price hikes. But when Universal instituted its price increase, a company spokesperson made the case that its admission rates represent great value: “We set our prices to reflect the value of the entertainment experience we offer,” Universal’s Tom Schroder said.
Predictably, Disney spokesman Bryan Malenius said essentially the same thing over the weekend. Via the Orlando Sentinel, he said, “A ticket to our theme parks represents a great value, particularly when you look at the breadth and quality of attractions and entertainment we offer and the special moments guests experience with our cast.”
The most obvious way to bring down the per-day cost of admission at these parks is to, well, it’s to spend more money overall via a multiday ticket or a vacation package that includes multiday admission. This strategy brings down the per-day admission price for the guest, while simultaneously increasing the amount of money the theme parks get out of each guest — not only in the form of admissions passes, but through food, drink, and souvenirs sold inside the parks.
Could the price hikes wind up keeping some travelers away? Possibly, and that wouldn’t necessarily be bad from the theme parks’ perspective. Many guests complain about the parks being overcrowded and lines being too long. The high prices could thin the crowds, which would in theory make the visit a better experience. And the people most likely to stay away would be the folks on tighter budgets — who can’t afford the admissions, let alone the pricey food and extras.