Disney significantly increases annual pass prices in US parks, considering dynamic ticket pricing

Posted Sunday, October 4, 2015 9:48 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Disney is increasing the prices of its annual pass programs in California and Florida, as well as changing some of the benefits.

For the Disneyland Resort: Read more from The Orange County Register.

For the Walt Disney World Resort: Read more from Brighthouse Bay9.

For the consideration of dynamic ticket pricing: Read more from NASDAQ.

Sunday, October 4, 2015 9:51 AM
Jeff's avatar

For us in Orlando, that's going to be a $130 increase, each, when we renew next July. While it's not going to stop me from renewing, it sure does cause me to pause. I believe they went up $50 this year, and last year was $30. As much as I complain, clearly the demand is driving this.

Dynamic pricing seems obvious. I can't believe they're not already doing it.


Jeff - Webmaster/Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

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Sunday, October 4, 2015 12:43 PM
rollergator's avatar


You still have Zoidberg.... You ALL have Zoidberg! (V) (;,,;) (V)

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Sunday, October 4, 2015 1:00 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

If you need a lesson on how to print money, look no further than Disney. Whatever they're doing, they're doing right.


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Sunday, October 4, 2015 1:58 PM
Tekwardo's avatar

Well, I mean, they purchased Marvel
And LucasFilm, so, duh.


cebeavers.tumblr.com

Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.

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Sunday, October 4, 2015 2:03 PM

Pixar cost them almost as much as those two combined.

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Sunday, October 4, 2015 2:26 PM

I get that they are rising prices and putting a premium on visiting the Magic Kingdom, the most visited theme park in the US. My question is this: if the park is so crowded, why do they leave facilities closed? Tomorrowland Terrace and Tortuga Tavern (opposite Pirates) are closed 95% of the time and seeing the horrific lines the restaurants get, it does not make sense.

Table Service is improving at least, since they are finally reopening the old Tahitian Terrace restaurant and turning it into the new Skipper Canteen restaurant. Now, can we get some expansion going and build new attractions to accommodate those record crowds? It is sad that Disneyland with a much smaller park has more attraction capacity than Magic Kingdom.


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Sunday, October 4, 2015 2:46 PM

I wonder how much has to do with seasonal help? They probably have busier peaks than DLR, and therefore more seasonal part time staff.

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Sunday, October 4, 2015 3:53 PM

Absimilliard said:

if the park is so crowded, why do they leave facilities closed? Tomorrowland Terrace and Tortuga Tavern (opposite Pirates) are closed 95% of the time and seeing the horrific lines the restaurants get, it does not make sense.

My last several trips have been during busy times (Easter, Christmas, Summer) but Tortuga had lunch hours and Terrace was open for both lunch and dinner pretty much every time I'm there. I can't vouch for the lines, though, as we tend to escape to one of the MK-area resorts for lunch.


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Sunday, October 4, 2015 4:39 PM
Jeff's avatar

Yeah, they seem to be appropriately open to handle crowds. Honestly, I don't go during holidays or spring break, but I've never waited particularly long for counter service at MK in the two years I've lived next door, which suggests they are operating in an appropriate manner.

Now I have waited 20 minutes for Dolewhip, but that was mostly my personal issues. Now that they've moved it to a location that can service more people, there is never a wait.


Jeff - Webmaster/Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

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Monday, October 5, 2015 4:22 AM

One interesting thing just happened quick service wise at the MK: Pecos Bill went from the old Burgers, pulled pork sandwich and fixing bar thing to a whole Tex-Mex menu. Fajitas, Rice bowls, Burritos and the like. I am curious to see what effects it will have on the lines there and if that will put a lot more pressure on Cosmic Ray's? Does that mean Tomorrowland Terrace will be open more?

If I compare the Magic Kingdom to its closest rival attendance wise, Tokyo Disneyland, Magic Kingdom is lagging behind capacity attraction and restaurant wise.

The long time Vice-President that ruled the Magic Kingdom with an iron fist (don't believe me? Check inside Bonjour! Village Gifts, the store in the New Fantasyland and you will see his portrait hanging on the wall) has been moved to the Studios, It should hopefully mean that the Magic Kingdom will breath a little better and get the attention it deserves.


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Monday, October 5, 2015 10:35 AM
Jeff's avatar

I completely disagree with your assessment. I've not had any issues with restaurant capacity at MK. Granted, I never do table service there anymore, because frankly their options aren't very good compared to most everywhere else on the property, but I don't find myself waiting in line for stuff. Ditto on attractions, save for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (which you can still usually do in under an hour at some parts of the day). All bets are off during spring break and the holidays.


Jeff - Webmaster/Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

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Monday, October 5, 2015 1:58 PM
janfrederick's avatar

They just got us back as passholders. We'll probably not renew again next year and will wait until the new attractions are open (and if the prices aren't up another 50%. But hey, the parks are crowded and people are paying.


"I go out at 3 o' clock for a quart of milk and come home to my son treating his body like an amusement park!" - Estelle Costanza
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Monday, October 5, 2015 3:41 PM

janfrederick said:

But hey, the parks are crowded and people are paying.

I think this pretty much nails it in one sentence.

Disney keeps on raising prices across the board year after year (far beyond inflation levels) and they keep on posting record attendance gains. It's simple supply and demand and currently there is a huge demand for a Disney vacation. All of the cool kids are doing it now...

The bubble has to burst eventually, history has proven this. The question is just when. And when it does, it will be interesting to see what happens in say 5, 10, 20 years if/when the "Disney Fad" wears off and attendance/revenue stop growing, or even decline. It has to happen at one point and "when people stop paying", whenever that may happen, will make it very interesting to see how Disney reacts.

Last edited by Hanging n' Banging, Monday, October 5, 2015 5:05 PM
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Monday, October 5, 2015 4:12 PM
slithernoggin's avatar

MiceAge ran a lengthy piece today, of course. The author feels its shameless profit-mongering: the author calls "managing demand" and "looking at ways to spread out attendance" lip service since Disneyland hasn't had a "viable new E-ticket" since 1995.


Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.
-- Groucho Marx

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Monday, October 5, 2015 4:42 PM

Having a season pass at Disney, like any other theme park, really numbs you to the excitement of the place as you go more and more. Theme parks in general have become too season-pass oriented, which bigger crowds and a lesser guest experience follow. Is it better to have lesser crowds at higher prices and a better guest experience, or offer the product to more people at a lower price? It seems though that the price increases are not reducing crowds and only leading to a more expensive, less pleasant vacation.

Disney is without a doubt the best theme park experience as far as atmosphere, but after the last few trips I am considering not going back for a while because of how crowded it is. While wait times aren't horrible, maneuvering among that many people all day long takes away from the relaxation of the vacation.

With the crowds they are obtaining, higher prices will follow. I agree that eventually they will reach their limit, but where will that be?

Last edited by super7*, Monday, October 5, 2015 4:44 PM
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Monday, October 5, 2015 5:15 PM

Hanging n' Banging said:

Disney keeps on raising prices across the board year after year (far beyond inflation levels) and they keep on posting record attendance gains.

The bubble has to burst eventually, history has proven this.

So, which is it? I've been following this forum for more than 15 years. The only certainty when Disney raises prices is that someone will predict the doom and gloom that's inevitable. I'm still waiting on it to happen.

I'm sitting in the airport on the way home from my first real trip to the Mouse in 11 years. Possible trip report forthcoming.

Last edited by bigboy, Monday, October 5, 2015 5:17 PM

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Monday, October 5, 2015 5:33 PM
slithernoggin's avatar

Nothing goes up forever.

There will come a time when the market will start to back off from the prices Disney charges at its domestic theme parks. Not next year, probably not in five years, but the time will come. Though (assuming Disney is still a well-run company at that time) I'd guess there will be less of a bursting bubble and more Disney proactively adjusting pricing -- not raising season pass or ticket prices for a year or two, for example.

Check out that MiceAge article for doom and gloom. I'm pretty sure Disney wouldn't have increased prices as it did without having some solid research backing up the decision to do so.


Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.
-- Groucho Marx

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Monday, October 5, 2015 6:04 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Disney is a different beast within the industry. We say that all the time.

I'm gonna go out on a limb and say, this isn't a bubble. This is 60 years of Disney ingraining itself on people..on families.

DL is 60 years old, WDW is 45. That's not even a lifetime. But it is potentially three generations.

I'm sure most people have some sort of tradition (whether conscious or not) of visiting the local regional park every summer or every other summer or on some sort of regular basis. You live in Pittsburgh, you grow up going to Kennywood. That sort of thing - it just is. And on a regional level that's solid. But Disney (especially WDW) operates on a different level. Imagine that sort of 'tradition' built into familes all across the country.

If Joe Six Pack was 10 when he first visited Disney in the early 70's, then he took his kids in the late 80's and they're taking their kids today. That's three generations of being sold the Disney stuff about familes and a trip being special and making memories. By the time you hit that third or fourth generation, it's not a question of 'if' anymore. It's a question of 'when' and 'how often' - Disney is part of that family's culture. It's what they do. And if Joe has a couple of kids and they have a couple. You have four kids growing up with Disney as something that "just is" in their lives - not unlike religion or any other lifestyle choice or belief.

"I grew up catholic"
"I grew up with a strong work ethic"
"I grew up going to Disney World"

I know it seems a little out there, but I think Disney is transcending the business/customer relationship in this way to some degree. Demand continues to grow as each generation of Disney person continues their families way. People travel far and wide at whatever expense to pass that on to their kids - the experience, the memories, they want to share that. That's what Disney has done so well in selling themselves (and delivering for the most part) over the past half century.

I think it goes much deeper than some bubble of interest that's bound to pop. I think you're seeing the fruits of years of cultivating a customer base in a very specific, emotional, ingrained and effective way. Going to Disney World is a right of passage for a large segment of people. It's more than that for some. For those people (and there's enough to fill those parks to capacity at peak times for a long time to come) it's just the price of doing what they do.

I don't think this is a bubble in the sense that you guys are talking. I think this is just the result of doing incredibly effective for several generations.

Oh, and Disney hates poor people. So there's that too.

Last edited by Lord Gonchar, Monday, October 5, 2015 6:05 PM
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Monday, October 5, 2015 6:27 PM
Jeff's avatar

Hanging n' Banging said:
The bubble has to burst eventually, history has proven this.

Not exactly. A bubble occurs when demand quickly falls off. Disney may level off at some point, but it doesn't mean that demand will suddenly implode. It's extraordinary how well they handled the recession.

slithernoggin said:

MiceAge ran a lengthy piece today, of course. The author feels its shameless profit-mongering: the author calls "managing demand" and "looking at ways to spread out attendance" lip service since Disneyland hasn't had a "viable new E-ticket" since 1995.

We may complain that coaster enthusiasts are completely disconnected from business concepts, but Disney people definitely bring it to a new level. I don't know how you complain about a lack of new attractions while acknowledging attendance growth and not understand that basic supply and demand are in play.

Lord Gonchar said:

DL is 60 years old, WDW is 45. That's not even a lifetime. But it is potentially three generations. I'm sure most people have some sort of tradition (whether conscious or not) of visiting the local regional park every summer or every other summer or on some sort of regular basis.

I'm not sure which interview he said it in, maybe it was ours, but Matt Ouimet tapped into this notion in talking about his goals for Cedar Fair. You aren't setting up a visit just for next year, you're setting up for the next generation as well.


Jeff - Webmaster/Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

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