Walt Disney World announces date-based ticket pricing

Posted Monday, September 24, 2018 1:12 PM | Contributed by Jeff

From the blog post:

With all there is to see and do in our parks, we know guests are increasingly looking for easier ways to plan a vacation with personalized options that fit their individual needs. Beginning Oct. 16 on DisneyWorld.com, guests will be able to access our new online vacation-planning destination and purchase tickets priced by the date of visit. These changes are designed to simplify the booking experience, give guests an enhanced way to purchase theme park tickets and help them more easily plan the Disney vacation of their dreams.

The new online vacation-planning destination features park offering overviews, travel tips from Disney Parks Moms Panelists and customized suggestions based on each guest’s personal preferences – helping guests make more informed decisions.

When guests are ready to purchase tickets online, they may use an interactive online calendar, which displays different prices based on the dates guests choose to visit and states tickets will need to be used during a specific time period. The calendar also allows guests to quickly see the lowest-priced days within a month. For example, prices may be lower during off-peak travel periods.

Read more from Disney Parks Blog.

Monday, September 24, 2018 1:27 PM

I'm sure this surprises no one. I'm surprised they didn't roll this out sooner, but also wouldn't be surprised if getting their IT infrastructure capable of handling it took some time. This will give you another data point to figure out when the parks are most crowded. The more expensive the tickets, the busier it will be. (I used to use room pricing, but this is even more obvious.)

Monday, September 24, 2018 4:20 PM

Agreed Jeff. I think we are all familiar with this concept from purchasing travel and hotels but it makes sense that they would do it with theme park admission eventually.

Monday, September 24, 2018 5:40 PM

This is why I don't feel like I have much to say around here very often anymore.

This is an obvious move. So obvious that we - collectively as a forum - suggested it, discussed the finer points and moved on at least a decade ago.

There's nothing left to discuss...except maybe why it took them so long.

Monday, September 24, 2018 6:16 PM

I would bet it was software. Disney is about as classic "big dumb company" as it gets, and from what I hear, most of these systems were never built to handle true online loads and interaction. Everything I've learned about making software, they do the opposite, or involve a hundred contractors from 50 agencies and have them all meet once a week to give status updates at the same time. Horribly wasteful and inefficient.

Monday, September 24, 2018 6:17 PM

So will they be lowering prices during off peak times or raising prices during peak times? Or will it be some combination of the two?

From an outsider's perspective Disney is doing this now because in anticipation of Star Wars opening up at Hollywood Studios. Waits for Avatar attractions were pushing 8 hours when they opened. Without a thinning of the crowds I can't imagine what Star Wars lines are going to be like during peak season. 10 hours?

Monday, September 24, 2018 7:12 PM

I expect that maybe the lowest-season prices will be about what they are now, with everything else increasing. They've been raking in attendance lately, so you'd imagine there is some pricing power there. More likely, an increase between a little and a lot.

Last edited by Brian Noble, Monday, September 24, 2018 7:13 PM
Tuesday, September 25, 2018 9:08 AM

Very cool and about time!

Tuesday, September 25, 2018 3:33 PM

Jeff said:

Disney is about as classic "big dumb company" as it gets.... or involve a hundred contractors from 50 agencies and have them all meet once a week to give status updates at the same time. Horribly wasteful and inefficient.

While not at all on the tech side of the company, that is how Park Operations operated as well. What could have been e-mail chains or an occasional conference call instead involved weekly and monthly meetings that involved driving to a location not convenient for anyone at a time that didn't work for most so we could all agree to give it some thought and do it all again next time.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018 4:49 PM

A lot of big companies still roll that way, and they wonder why they get beat by smaller and younger companies. Some parts of Microsoft used to be that way, but when I was there it was definitely in a transition stage. The areas winning and changing weren't doing that. It was the difference between, say, Xbox and Windows.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018 5:24 PM

If this has an impact on crowds, I welcome it. I am at the stage of life (disposable income, small kids) where flexibility>>time>>money. I've said for years that if I could pay 25% more for tickets and have 25% less people in the park, I would do it in a heart beat.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018 6:36 PM

Why stop at 25%? I would be willing to pay 100% more if there were 100% fewer people in the park.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018 10:13 AM

This also goes by the name "dynamic pricing" -- where prices are not set in stone but calculated based on different factors. Some baseball teams use it to price their games.

I noticed that Disney offers a relatively cheap season pass for all four parks (FL residents only) -- but the catch is that its M-F only and most of dates that kids would be off from school are blacked out... so no holidays, summers, spring break, or winter break. I might try it at some point, but it would be a big drain on my PTO, so it would be a big commitment. But it seems to follow the model of trying to fill the park on days that are harder to fill and not taxing Saturdays and the summers as much.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018 11:42 AM

After I left WDW, the Weekday Select pass was the AP I purchased. I work Sunday-Thursday at my current job, so I could go any Friday I wanted as well as evenings after work, which worked out well for me since Thursday is "my Friday". I haven't done a WDW pass the last two years simply because there isn't really anything bringing me back right now. But knowing I wasn't going to use it for peak season or busy Saturdays anyway it worked for me. I honestly wish Universal had something similar, as the price difference between Power and Preferred was only $30, and I literally make up $22 of that the first time I park in the garage.

It's the same as dynamic pricing for a sporting event or concert. When I visit my parents in Cleveland, my Dad and I usually take in an Indians game or two. Weeknights in April, May, and September when kids are in school are significantly cheaper than a July weekend homestand. I think it is a great way to provide incentive to come during the times these places "need" people.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018 1:13 PM

Trackmaster said:

This also goes by the name "dynamic pricing" -- where prices are not set in stone but calculated based on different factors. Some baseball teams use it to price their games.

Yup. Discussed in detail 9 (going on 10) years ago around here. Hence, my earlier post.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018 2:52 PM

And just this week we discussed how we were surprised it didn't happen sooner because we're so awesome. High five!

Wednesday, September 26, 2018 4:44 PM


I'm a Florida resident, but I live in Miami, so I couldn't really get to the Disney World before it closed anyway from work. So pretty much any M-F off-peak day I'd have to take PTO. With all the traveling I like to do, seeing family, and going on road trips to parks more coaster focused, I preciously guard my PTO.

Thursday, September 27, 2018 3:56 PM

My concern has always been that it may price working people out of spring and winter breaks. Sometimes it's the only time they can get off with the kids. Winter breaks in my field are the easiest times to get time off.

Thursday, September 27, 2018 5:07 PM

I understand that, from the average consumer's perspective, this will almost certainly create an increase in cost or a decrease in flexibility. However, I've always thought that as people who post on an internet roller coaster forum, we should welcome the increase in options and tailored experiences. If we're not going to be the ones to show up on a weekday in the middle of February for the cheap rate, who is?

Thursday, September 27, 2018 5:16 PM

And that's the reason that the Halloween and Christmas events last two months each. It isn't practical for everyone to come at the same time. I don't know how people get away with taking their kids out of school at arbitrary times, but clearly they do.


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