Walt Disney World raises prices for busiest times of year

Posted Friday, March 15, 2019 11:48 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Budgeting for a Disney trip can take a lot of planning. With prices that now vary by day or week due to anticipated demand, here's his guide to understanding Walt Disney World's latest (and magical) price hike: According to Disney's website, from Christmas to New Year's, a one-day, one-park "peak period" ticket is now $159 plus tax, a $30 increase.

Read more from WKMG/Orlando.

Friday, March 15, 2019 2:36 PM

Somewhere in the distance I think I can hear poor people sobbing. Though its tough to hear through the sounds of the waterfall in my backyard retreat on my winter estate.

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Friday, March 15, 2019 8:50 PM

I don’t know if Disney has released this type of information but I am curious as to what regions are supporting the increased demand. Whereas some Americans have adopted the viewpoint that they are somehow entitled to an economical trip to Disney, I doubt this same mentality exists outside of the US. In other words, I think there is more price sensitivity in the states that could potentially be offset by new “must-do” marketable attractions, and international visitor growth that is equally as responsive to the IP (Pandora, for example).

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Friday, March 15, 2019 10:38 PM

It's a fair question, but if you are from, say...Europe...doesn't it make more sense to go to Paris?

I'm not sold on the fact that Americans feel entitled to an economical trip, but rather that a lot of people simply see it as a rite of passage they must do.

Over the past 24 months, many people I know have made trips to WDW during this "sweet spot" (the holidays), and financially I have no idea how they pulled it off other than going into debt.

Which is also a popular American tradition.

Then again, it would be fun to know what percentage of visitors to WDW and DL come from the states and elsewhere.

Last edited by OhioStater, Friday, March 15, 2019 10:41 PM
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Saturday, March 16, 2019 6:40 AM

You can probably approximate WDW's ratio by looking at Orlando tourism generally. Not so much with LA.

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Saturday, March 16, 2019 5:28 PM

I spent a day at Disney last week. The experience was okay, but the amount of time spent in queues was horrendous. If doubling the prices reduces queues, I'm all for it.

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Sunday, March 17, 2019 1:07 AM

Richard Bannister said:

I spent a day at Disney last week. The experience was okay, but the amount of time spent in queues was horrendous. If doubling the prices reduces queues, I'm all for it.

Is it spring break time? We went the week before Xmas and didn't spend almost any time in queues. (We did have Grandma and Grandpa for extra Fastpasses and a shorter kid to active Rider Switch, but still). I think this is the idea behind Club Level Fastpasses, the $12K VIP tour, and the rumored introduction of other paid fastpass levels.

Do people buy single day MK tickets during that week? I mean, obviously the price increase will disincentive it even further, but how many people were doing it in the first place? And if they were, I can unequivocally say they were doing it wrong.

Last edited by ApolloAndy, Sunday, March 17, 2019 1:09 AM
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Sunday, March 17, 2019 4:16 AM

ApolloAndy said:
Is it spring break time?

By last week, I should have said two weeks ago.

It was Sunday 4 March, and the place was rammed.

FWIW, I have a multi day park hopper with no expiry that I bought back in 2005. I've still got two days on it, too.

Last edited by Richard Bannister, Sunday, March 17, 2019 4:16 AM
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Sunday, March 17, 2019 7:23 AM

ApolloAndy said:
Do people buy single day MK tickets during that week?

We went during Christmas a few years ago, and spent Christmas morning at Studios. We were walking out of the place at about noon, or maybe 12:30, and there was a HUGE line at the ticket windows. HUGE.

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Sunday, March 17, 2019 11:39 AM

I am amazed that anyone buys anything at the ticket windows. Were they all yelling at people to get off their lawns or how they used to walk to school uphill both ways (or how we used to have humans flying planes, not MIT Computer Scientists).

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Sunday, March 17, 2019 12:10 PM

Richard: You were here at a fairly average time. I went to MK one day in that range and it was "fine" with a few FP's. Honestly, since moving here, I don't recall many times I've waited long periods of time the way I did at Cedar Point in July.

Orange County spring break is this coming week, but the proper blackout spring break is the middle two weeks of April.

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Sunday, March 17, 2019 4:01 PM

Brian Noble said:

You can probably approximate WDW's ratio by looking at Orlando tourism generally. Not so much with LA.

By that logic..."The 5 percent year-over-year increase in visitors was powered by domestic travelers, while visits from international travelers remained soft. With those numbers, Orlando held onto its title as the most visited destination in the United States"

https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/florida/articles/2018-05-10/record-72-million-tourists-came-to-orlando-last-year

It would appear that domestic visitors may be the biggest driver of growth for Disney World, and yet also the most vocal critics of pricing increases.

Last edited by Fun, Sunday, March 17, 2019 4:01 PM
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Sunday, March 17, 2019 4:46 PM

Fun said:
It would appear that domestic visitors may be the biggest driver of growth for Disney World, and yet also the most vocal critics of pricing increases.

Hmm. Either those aren't the same people, or what they complain about doesn't impact their behavior.

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Sunday, March 17, 2019 5:51 PM

Yeah, its a little like the "no one goes there any more, its too crowded" line. Price increases are pricing people out but their attendance continues to grow.

Ultimately I think there are plenty of people who can afford to go to Disney. And without going into debt, eating Kraft mac & cheese for months at a time, driving 25 year cars, etc. Doesn't mean everyone can but Disney doesn't need everyone to go.

As we have discussed before, its a rare business that is looking to raise its prices to thin its demand. Great place to be. Most businesses are in the opposite position of trying to keep prices constant or even decrease them but at the same time figuring out how to make money.

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Monday, March 18, 2019 2:57 AM

Jeff said:

Richard: You were here at a fairly average time. I went to MK one day in that range and it was "fine" with a few FP's.

I was caught out a bit by the fact that my ticket was too old to prebook Fast Passes and though they swapped it for me on the way in there wasn't a lot left.

I got there at noon, and did Slinky Dog before park hopping into the Magic Kingdom. Once there I got Seven Dwarfs, Under the Sea, Space Mountain, Pirates (FP), Haunted Mansion (FP), Small World, and Big Thunder Mountain (FP).

Eight rides in ten hours including a park hop isn't awful. But I'd contend that doing that for an extended vacation would not be my idea of fun. I'd much rather go places like Fun Spot America where the wait (if it exists at all) is short.

Last edited by Richard Bannister, Monday, March 18, 2019 2:59 AM
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Monday, March 18, 2019 8:35 AM

Eight rides in ten hours with a part hop seems ideal to me. We typically get in and out to one park expecting 4-5 rides in the hours.

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Monday, March 18, 2019 10:16 AM

Ideally, I would love to be able to increase it to 4 pre-booked Fastpasses instead of 3, and to allow for park hopping. It would be great if I could, for example, get a morning FP+ at Studios and then an afternoon FP+ at Epcot on the same day prebooked.

As a local that recently got an Annual Pass after a few years off, the system is nice when I am planning on quick trips in and out of the parks in the evening or on a day off. If I was trying to plan full park days on a vacation, I definitely would feel like there were some limitations, especially if I paid for a Park Hopper. I know once you use your three you can book more at any park, but the same-day inventory is very hit or miss.

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Monday, March 18, 2019 10:22 AM

That sounds like a great day at Disney, especially when you toss in the park hop. Relatively speaking, your wait times were short.

I don't mind waiting a half-hour or so to ride something that's worth it, especially when I like hanging out with the people I'm in line with. Not to mention at Disney they do a decent job of actually making the line itself relatively interesting; you're not just weaving back and forth in a monotonous queue with nothing to see.

I'd take that for an extended trip with the wife and kiddos.

Maybe it's changed over the past couple seasons (the last time we were at WDW), or maybe we just got lucky, but we never had an issue finding more FP's after using our 3.

That said, 4 is better than 3.

And by your post I'm assuming FP's all have to be at the same park? We've never done the hopping, so I guess that never crossed my mind.

Last edited by OhioStater, Monday, March 18, 2019 10:27 AM
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Monday, March 18, 2019 11:40 AM

Correct, even if you have a Park Hopper or Annual Pass your three FP reservations are limited to one park.

It can really be hit or miss for same day availability. Looking right now at Epcot, for example, if I just showed up today and wanted to book Fastpasses, the "big five" of Test Track, Soarin', Frozen, Mission: Space, and Spaceship Earth are all fully booked today. However, if you stay on the app and refresh every few seconds, eventually you are bound to see something open up as other guests modify and cancel. But my experience has been that true E-Tickets generally are full 4-5 days out. And I have yet to see anything for Slinky Dog Dash or Flight of Passage ever available with my 30-day window, as the resort guests with a 60+ day window seem to snag all of those.

My best advice for those who are doing full days is to hit rope drop and get some riding in right away, and to start your reservation times around 10, but to try and have all done by early afternoon so you have the potential to get more if they are available.

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Monday, March 18, 2019 12:08 PM

I grabbed one for FoP on a same-day refresh (and was hopping from another park) in early February. I was very surprised.

I did the math once using some guesstimates of THRC and maybe a 60/40 split of FP vs. standby, and it didn't seem as though 4 per guest is possible on an "average" attendance day. That might have been true only of parks not named Magic Kingdom, I'm not sure, but I'm not really in the mood to go looking for it right now.

I suspect if the park's capacity were such that Disney *could* do 4 per guest per day in advance, they would.

Last edited by Brian Noble, Monday, March 18, 2019 12:09 PM
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