Disney and Universal invested heavily in theme parks during recession

Posted Tuesday, June 4, 2013 10:34 AM | Contributed by Jeff

While other companies were retrenching and cutting back investment during the recession, Disney made massive and costly improvements to its global theme park empire. Last year, the company poured $3 billion into its theme parks. Universal also made significant investments with Harry Potter in Orlando.

Read more from USA Today.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013 10:37 AM

Check out the graphic at the top of that story, listing WDW prices by year. I guess I didn't realize that the "high" prices are actually a fairly recent phenomenon.

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Tuesday, June 4, 2013 11:56 AM

Wow. The price has pretty much doubled in the last decade.

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Tuesday, June 4, 2013 12:59 PM

With the crowds the way they are, they are practically forced to raise prices just to keep the guest experience relatively sane. In all honesty though, I think one of the main reasons for the huge jump in attendance was the introduction of monthly payments. It rivals our monthly cable/internet payments.

And I know I sound like a broken record, but Knott's is the best value in the area now. I'm sure we'll be back to Disney next year though. My son loves Adventureland to death.

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Tuesday, June 4, 2013 1:26 PM

Am I wrong in thinking that Disney attractions are even better than they ever were? I mean gone are the days of flat rides supplied by Arrow and glo-in-the-dark painted flats in the dark rides. With technology at its finest being employed and the cost of Imagineering and construction rising at a faster rate, maybe it's no wonder. Disney attractions are top o' the line and guests come to expect more and more Magic. And for that we will pay, pay, pay.

If Six Flags asked me for 95 bucks I'd say fuggetabout it. But when it's Disney, like everyone else, I'm in.

Now, this may be the tippy top for a while. I think when consumers hear a nice round number like 100 bucks...

Last edited by RCMAC, Tuesday, June 4, 2013 1:29 PM
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Tuesday, June 4, 2013 1:57 PM

Oh good, now I can answer a question I had from the other thread discussing Disney prices. Adjusted for inflation using the Bureau of Labor Statistics calculator, the prices would be in today's dollars:

2013: $95.00
2012: $88.11
2011: $82.70
2010: $81.05
2009: $78.04
2008: $74.52
2007: $74.02
2006: $72.67
2005: $66.68
2004: $61.24
2003: $59.40
2002: $58.17
2001: $56.46
2000: $58.07
1990: $45.37
1981: $27.50

Of course that doesn't really mean much since the park isn't the same as it was in 1981... I was just wondering, because I find it hard to compare admission prices across even just a few years, knowing that the value of a dollar changes.

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Tuesday, June 4, 2013 2:02 PM

^That's exactly what I was thinking, trying to make more of an apples-to-apples comparison...

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Tuesday, June 4, 2013 3:54 PM

Also, back in 1981, I think admission didn't cover the cost of rides.

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Tuesday, June 4, 2013 6:38 PM

Excellent point... when did they drop the Ride Ticket Books and go to the one price for all?

Oops. Looks like it was 1982.

Last edited by CPJ, Tuesday, June 4, 2013 11:15 PM
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Tuesday, June 4, 2013 7:31 PM

Please don't quote the previous post.

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Wednesday, June 5, 2013 4:20 PM

Hmmm...talking about pricing and the rate of increase reminded me of a post I made in 2007. (scroll down, there's a list of prices about 3/4ths of the way through the post)

I took the rate of increase from 1999/2000 to the then current prices (in 2007) then extrapolated that out to 2015.

I had WDW hitting $99 in 2015. Looks like they might get there just a little before that.

I always think it's funny how "in the moment" people tend to be in regards to pricing. No one stops to think that those silly-cheap prices of yesterday probably weren't silly-cheap back then and that compared to the future, we're currently paying the silly cheap prices of yesterday.

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