Despite ongoing concerns about the economy and the pandemic, U.S. Disney theme parks seem to be thriving — and Disney is responding by hiking prices to what are already pretty steep admission fees. In fact, according to a report by CNN, Disney’s newest price increase “outpaced the US annual inflation rate of 8.2%” in both California and Florida locations.
The park released its new prices on October 11th, including increases in admission for Disneyland in California, the hotel valet services, the “skip-the-line” ride experience service, and food items at Disney World in Florida.
“For a family of two adults and two children (ages 3 to 9) to park a car at Disneyland Resort during the busier season around Christmas, hop between its two parks and use the Genie+ service, they would now spend $1086 for that single day. That’s before they eat any food or buy any souvenirs. Before the recent price hikes, the cost was $988 (an increase of almost 10%),” CNN explained.
Some feel the price increases are to the detriment of the public; Pete Werner, who is the CEO of a Disney fan website, says, “The bottom line is ‘make more money with fewer people. And we don’t care who we price out to do it.’ And I’m going to tell you that the quality of the product is less, in my opinion, is less now than it was prior to the pandemic, yet the price has gone up considerably.”
However, that’s not what an official from Disney thinks. He shared that the price increase is “The positive outcome of a strategy that prioritizes the guest experience. When we focus on delivering a world-class experience, we know our guests will spend more time with us immersed in our stories.”
It seems he’s right — Disney has an account that’s specifically geared towards maximizing the Disney experience, and they are also working closely with social media influencers to visit and promote more elevated experiences at the park, like gourmet dining and outlandish desserts.
Though the single-day ticket price for their slow season has remained at $104 for over two years, number of days this price is available has dwindled over time. “On the other end of the spectrum, a single-day ticket in Anaheim, California, that allows entry to one park during a busy season such as Christmas jumped from $164 to $179, about 9.2%. To add, the ability to hop between Disneyland and Disney California Adventure is an extra $65, up 8.3% from $60,” CNN reported. For Universal Studios, their single-day ticket price during the high season increased to 3.9%
TikTok Influencer Zachariah Porter, who has 3 million followers, shared hilarious skits in the theme park during a trip hosted by Disney. These media trips not only cover the magic of the quintessential Disney trip but also exclusive and top-dollar add-ons and custom experiences. This is, no doubt, sending families to the parks regardless of the price tag — or at least the ones who can afford it.
Travel agents are finding that while people complain about bloating prices, the parks are still packed.
“For 25 years, I’ve heard that ‘I’m not going to Disney World’ on one hand, while they’re handing them their wallet with the other,” Werner told CNN.
Whether you support it or not, a trip to Disney is officially expensive AF. And if you want to do a bunch of special add-ons, like line-skipping and fancy meals, get ready to spend even bigger, while still navigating crowds.
Maybe if you’ve dismissed the idea of a family trip to a faraway place in the past, now’s a great time to consider where you might be able to get more bang for your vacation buck.