Posted Monday, May 21, 2012 1:54 PM | Contributed by Brian Noble
Prices for tickets at the Disneyland resort went up last weekend, with the basic one-day ticket going up nearly 9%. The company said in a blog post that it believes the theme parks are still an exceptional value, particularly with all of the new attractions recently added. The new Cars Land in particular, at Disney California Adventure, is a huge new attraction.
Read the blog post from Disney Parks Blog.
$290 for a 5-day park hopper is still a really good deal. That's $58 per day.
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What shocked me about the increase was not for the day tickets, but for the Annual Passport. The premium annual passport going from $499 to $649. A $150 price increase in just one year. What happened to the $15-20 a year price increase?
It seems like an explicit decision to "thin the passholder herd" to me...and not entirely a bad thing from what I understand. This is from Al Lutz, and his writing style is annoying, but he usually has pretty good information on DLR:
For those that are not local to SoCal, it's almost impossible to fully grasp the devastating impact that the AP's have on the DLR. It's hard to believe that a Friday in October can have higher attendance than a Saturday in July, but that's what happens. Imagine Kings Dominion being jammed on Sundays, but literally quite manageable on a Saturday. The APs flock in, not spread out over the full day, but typically in large concentrations (after school/work) and flood the parks, at just the point when most parks would be starting to thin. It's not unusual to have a 1o minute wait to get through the turnstiles at 6:00 on Friday, with all lanes open. It also plays havoc with parking/staffing/etc. A classic example is the "24 hour event" at DL, which caused complete gridlock on the interstates and surface streets, not at rush hour, but between 9-11pm, almost 100% of which was AP's, who were "just then getting to the park".
In fact, Sundays are actually often more crowded than Saturdays, since the two lower tiers are blocked on most Saturdays. Add to that the fact that Annual Passholders use the park differently (it's a non issue for them to camp out for Fantasmic 3 hours or more before show time), and you can see how that ripples through the experience of higher dollar spending occasional visitors.
I'm not blaming the AP's, heck, I am one (premium too). But Disney has gotten themselves into a trap with the APs and the only way out is to price them sky high, and thin the herd. The fact that the Premium AP was $279 in 2004, and is now $649 is astounding. It will be very interesting to see how the rest of this year actually shakes out (as most AP's won't expire until Xmas), with the crush of crowds expected for the renewed DCA, (Carsland et-al), carrying on through HalloweenTime and then the Holidays.Last edited by CreditWh0re, Tuesday, May 22, 2012 1:15 PM
How long before the obligatory "they're pricing themselves out of customers" comment?
Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."
the Disney nerds are already taking up their pitchforks with chants of "think of how many children will never get to experience Disneyland". There will be no shortage of customers this summer. In fact, all initial estimates are for unbelievable numbers starting 6/15 all the way through January.
The big winner out of all of this might just be Cedar Fair. Knott's has been steadily sprucing themselves up, and might just pick up the "Disney AP is too expensive, let's give Knott's a try at 15% of the cost for a year" crowd. Magic Mountain isn't close enough or family friendly enough (yet) to pick up the Disney exodus, but Knott's has been hitting all the right notes lately. I'm sure that has nothing to do with Mr. Ouimet's arrival. :)
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