Posted Wednesday, November 11, 2015 8:22 AM | Contributed by Jeff
When Walt Disney World raised the price of its park passes last month, a less-noticed increase went into effect. Parking fees jumped from $17 to $20, one of their biggest increases ever. The fee was $15 early last year, meaning the cost to park has soared 33 percent in a year and a half.
Read more from The Orlando Sentinel.
...and yet it's still cheaper than Six Flags, and countless numbers of Disney guests won't have to pay it because they're annual pass holders, taking buses, and/or staying on property.
Also, saying a cost increased 33% seems sensationalized when it's a matter of going from $15 to $20.Last edited by sirloindude, Wednesday, November 11, 2015 10:41 AM
There is nothing sensationalized about it. A price increase from $15 to $20 is still a 33% increase and it's a huge increase.
As for being cheaper than Six Flags, the parking at Disney is now equal to the price at their parks with the exception of three parks -$25-Great America, $25-Great Adventure and $22-Discovery Kingdom.
The rationale behind the high parking charges at Six Flags was because of discounting at the gate and very low season pass prices. That's not the case at Disney.
But I would guess the rationale here is because there are other Disney sponsored modes of transportation. I would think the fewer people driving their own vehicles, the easier it is for the park to manage the movement of people efficiently. Regardless, I doubt they're anticipating a financial windfall from this $5 increase.
As noted elsewhere, Disney isn't pricing WDW for the masses; it's pricing the resort for people with a fair amount of disposable income and a proven willingness to dispose of it into Disney coffers. (I don't think there was any rationale at Six Flags beyond "what will the market bear for parking fees?", for that matter.)
I am assuming, based on the fairly limited research we do at the theater regarding pricing, that Disney did not make this move without being pretty certain there would be little pushback.
It would be interesting to know the breakdown. Between resort guests using Disney transit and Disney resort guests taking advantage of free parking at the theme parks or TTC lots, I wonder what percentage of the resort guests are actually paying the fee each day.
High fees for parking always strike me as greed. You don't get anything for the fee except for a small spot to leave your car for the day. You practically have to bring your car along, so there usually almost is no way around paying the fee. This doesn't only pertain to theme parks either.
High parking fees at theme parks kind of sets the tone for the rest of the day for me, unfortunately. We're going to screw you first thing, but don't expect this will be the first time we screw you today.
I mean, a one-day visit to Hersheypark which is only about 2.5 hours away, sets me back about $150. That's just for me. It's a lot more if I am paying for someone else as well.
Visiting theme parks have become so expensive that I just can't afford to do it as much as I would like to anymore.
And yet they still can't sell tickets fast enough.
Travis, Hershey is pretty cheap if you go at the end of the regular season. I went on November 1 and my ticket cost $26 after taxes (of course that's b/c I qualify for the senior rate but I believe that all tickets were significantly discounted at the time). Parking was only $9. Sweet! I don't remember what I paid last year earlier in the season but probably less than the $15 I paid to park at Dorney.
High fees for parking always strike me as greed.
Amusement parks are businesses. They're going to charge as much as they can. Everything an amusement park charges you for is based, so to speak, in greed. They charge high prices because the vast majority of their customers willingly pay those prices.
Kind of goes back to the idea of 'free' parking and a higher ticket. We've talked about it so much in the past, but if your customer base averages 3-4 people per vehicle, you slap on $5 or $6 to the gate and you're back to even - plus, you trick the people into good will. The people want lied to.
It's all nomenclature. The entire cost of a visit to somewhere is what matters. Doesn't matter how you break it up, that's just accounting. It's the same $60 whether it's $40 ticket and $20 parking or $60 ticket and free parking or $10 admission and $50 parking - none of those scenarios is more of a rip off than another.
And to think, when Six Flags first went to $15 people predicted gloom and doom. Although some of us (ahem...Gonch...ahem) said they were just positioning themselves as market leaders and welcome to the future and so forth.
(although, oddly enough, I can't find a definitive thread for a gonchaback. I think the bitching about their parking prices that year manifested itself all over the place.)
Options for parking are include it in admission price or charge separately for it. I prefer the a la carte approach in that you pay for what you use. If you drive by yourself, you will pay the full cost of parking. If you drive in a vehicle with multiple other people, your parking costs are effectively covered in part by everyone in the vehicle. In each instance, one parking spot is being used (and paid for). If you are dropped off at the park, you don't pay for parking.
If you include the cost of parking in the admission price, you can advertise your parking as "free" which has a big marketing benefit to a lot of people. Will also appeal to people who drive by themselves or with one other person.
Effect of what Disney did here is to offer incentives for people to stay at Disney resorts, get a pass, use Disney transportation, etc. Though with a 7 day park visit trip, you pay an additional $35. Doubt that will make or break many decisions. And as noted, Disney is having no problems bringing in visitors.
Not sure how many paying customers they get each day for parking. But the would take in an additional $1.825 million per year for every 1,000 parking spaces paid for each day.Last edited by GoBucks89, Wednesday, November 11, 2015 3:15 PM
I just buy passes that include parking. It's been a while since I paid attention to parking prices.
This definitely falls into the "why shouldn't they?" category. I reckon a good number of visitors to Orlando have been to their regional Six Flags many more times and are used to seeing 25 buck parking. I know the last time we were at Disney, about 2 years ago, I thought the parking was cheap... well, comparatively speaking. And I may be wrong, but I thought it already cost 20 to get into the Universal garage.
As far as the money not exactly being a windfall I guess I'd agree. But I also stop to think about WDW, which has at least one parking lot you can see from space. I know Magic Kingdom doesn't fill all 12,000 spaces on a daily basis, but if they did they could stand to collect 240,000 bucks. That ain't exactly hay, and after all, EPCOT has 11,000 spaces, too. There's expense to operating and maintaining huge parking facilities, sure, but I dont know. Can it possibly come close to the revenue collected even, let's say, on a half-full average rate?
Another thing I don't know is what percentage of vehicles might have free parking attached to a resort visit or annual pass or something, but I have a sneaky feeling most of the cars in the lot every day paid to get in.
Anyway, the way things are these days 20 dollar parking shouldn't surprise anyone. I think we paid 25 last spring at The Palace at Auburn Hills, and that was just plain old concert parking. They probably get the same or more for Pistons games.
Not surprising really, Disneyland Resort is $18, and down the road Knotts is charging $17, Universal Studios Hollywood is $18, with SF Magic Mountain collecting $20 at the toll booth. As a comparison, across from Disneyland the Anaheim Convention Center charges anywhere from $15 to $25, while over at the Honda Center it can be anywhere from $16 to $25 depending upon the event. It is what it is.
Posted this on Facebook back in June when booking hotels for NYC:
As I said then, this is why people from the area don't bat an eye at the $25 parking at Six Flags.
No, that's why people don't drive themselves in NYC. :)
Lord Gonchar said:
It's all nomenclature. The entire cost of a visit to somewhere is what matters.
Exactly. Back again to where I work: Blue Man is a very popular show in several cities, but we're not operating on anywhere near the scale of Disney. That said, the pricing for everything you have the opportunity to buy is based in part on how much the company has determined you'll likely be willing to pay for the whole experience. If any individual component -- parking or T-shirts or a dinner package or a souvenir program -- are priced too high, we're losing money.
"Now remember, we're in the Itchy lot."
Dutchman's and LG's posts back to back make me think of something else when it comes to "high" parking passes -
It strikes me that SO much of a theme park's core demo is suburban folks who expect to never have to pay to park anywhere for anything, because that's what they're used to.
Meanwhile I work in an urban center where parking for workers averages $18 - $22 daily, so I see articles like this and think "Of course it costs $20 to park at Disneyworld. Duh." All about perspective I suppose.
"Now remember, we're in the Itchy lot."
"Remember, everyone, we're parked under the Sun Sphere." -Nelson
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