Vote of the week: What theme park discounts will Disney offer in 2010?
Don't be fooled by news reports claiming that a vacation to Walt Disney World will be more expensive following Disney's annual price increase
last week. Published ticket prices are like the "rack rate" for a hotel room. Sure, some people pay them, but many more find deals.
As the economy continues to struggle, many observers expect the Walt Disney Company to continue to discount the cost of its theme park vacations in 2010. Count me among them. But don't take my word for it. I asked editors at several other websites that cover the theme park industry to offer their predictions, too. And all expect continued discounts from Disney.
Arthur Levine, About.com Guide to Theme Parks:
Unlike Madame Leota, I don't have a crystal ball. But based on this year's plethora of offers, I'd expect Disney to continue making almost anything and everything available to boost attendance and hotel occupancy as long as crummy economic conditions prevail. While I was surprised, given the sour economy, to see Disney stick with its annual August ritual and jack up ticket prices a few days ago, I would not expect them to offer discounted multi-day passes--at least at WDW--beyond the savings built into the existing Magic Your Way program.
Mary Waring, MouseSavers.com:
Unless there is a radical change in the economy by the end of this year, I would expect that next year we'll see the same type of deep discounts we saw this year at Walt Disney World. That means something like the "7 nights for the price of 4" vacation packages in January-June, discounted summer vacation packages, and "free dining" vacation packages in late August through early December.
At Disneyland, I would expect to see continuing discounts on tickets for Southern California residents (2fer tickets, $99 specials, etc.), plus the usual vacation package discounts like "everyone gets in for the kids' price" in January-April, "5 nights for the price of 3" in April-September, and "4th night free" in September-December.
Al Lutz, MiceAge:
At Disneyland (with a healthy local visitor base, and busy new attractions schedule) the story there is about how much more they can get out of the customer, so if the numbers hold my thought is that you won't see much of a change or increase in any current discounting.
They have a different situation in Walt Disney World. Without a strong base of locals, lots of rooms to fill, and past management slow to schedule new attractions and resistant to upgrade/refurb what they already have; my thought here is that they will have be more aggressive in offering discounts. Expect to see more formerly extra cost options to be free - triggered/increasing as stays are lengthened. I would also expect to see more package deals focused on transportation discounts.
In this unsteady economy everything is subject to change; which is why I haven't done much more than generalize here. But one thing I am sure of is that there is no company more adept at adjusting their plans than Disney, others only wish they had their problems. ;)
Let me throw this question to you now. Of the discounts Disney's run in the past (or have been rumored to run in the future), which one would be most likely to get you to book a vacation visit to the Walt Disney World or Disneyland Resorts? You can vote in both polls, but select just one option in each. And if you are not interested, or unable to buy with any discounts, those options are available, too.
Tell us your thoughts, in the comments, about which types of discounts motivate you to book trips, either to Disney theme parks, or anywhere else.
Scheduling note: I've been laid up by a nasty cold here in Orlando, so we've pushed back our trip to SeaWorld to Sunday. I'll file a report, with photos and maybe some video, Sunday night. Thanks for reading.
I also got this response from Lance Hart at
Interesting topic, and one that is very important to my family as we pushed back our 2009 WDW trip to 2010 because of the work on Space Mountain and the work at Universal. We won't push the trip back again, so WDW 2010 is going to happen!
Meal plan is great, better with it being free!
We've been sucked into free meal plan the last 2 years. Park food is so expensive...
For me and my hubby the 4-7 deal would be enough to get us to return in 2010. But even better for us, would be if WDW decides to keep there Armed Forces Salute Program going along with the deeply discounted prices to stay at the Disney Resorts for military personnel.
It was actually prety mild here in Orlando yesterday afternoon. Definately a cold maker. One minute hot, one minute mild, so not surprised you have a cold.
Sorry to hear your not feeling well Robert...looking forward to your report on Seaworld....
As I have an AP for Disneyland, the only way I can get my non-AP holding friends to go now is through at least the 2 fer Tickets. The more the merrier! That was always my favorite discount before my AP.
Definitely the free airfare. Flying from Ottawa to Orlando is pretty damn expensive, and driving eats 26 hours each way.
There is a reason why WDW doesnt have strong local customer base compaired to Disneyland.
We were sucked into the buy 4 for 7 nights back in February. We then were able to buy our sons (at the time 1 year old and a 4 year old) all the toys they wanted. So Disney probably got more money out of us than expected. We would more than likely take advantage of this deal again and save our DVC points for a large extended family vacation. I'm more than ready to plan some vacations. Bring on the Deals!!!
Sadly being a english holiday maker these offers are never enough to encourage me to rush a trip in, although disney dinning is intended to help a 2 week vacation being a family who always stay at a disney hotel but spends equal time in the competitors parks this never really works out to being a saving, i think some how free disney park tickets would be a much better insentive.... over here we can purchase a disney ultimate tickets that lets us in to all of the parks every day (hopping about as much as we like between them). (dont belive you have that over there?). I think we also suffer not being big eaters and having 2 vegetarions in our party does dampen down the amout of food we consume compared to an avwerage family.... but we are not alone. where every body who vists wdw needs tickets, and the more time they keep you in there parks the more you eat drink & spend ! but i suppose when we buy a package holiday to the usa we pay so much for flights tax hotel etc the tickets seem like the smaller cost....
I voted "None" in both polls because, for me and my family, the current military discount plan is what is putting us at WDW so much this year, and without a similar discount, we wouldn't go as much next year. We live in Central FL as well, so hotel discounts/free nights are lost on us. And the flaw in the 'free dining' deals they have are that to get them, you have to a) stay onsite and b) purchase the MYW package, WITH tickets. Granted, with my (current) military discount, I can afford to eat in the parks, no prob. But next year? Who knows?
my wife and me are at our final times with disney world,cant afford much more price increases we have alawys stayed on site.we have never missed a year since 1975.sometimes 2 times a year. we need something like the free dining plan to help with the cost.
I'd love to go back to the original mouse, but with airfares pushing $1600 for a family of four, and limited days available (putting a road trip out of the question), I can't even look that way unless Disney can work out better deals with the airlines...
They definately need to sweeten the deal for Florida residents, though I did take advantage of their birthday celebration this year. Busch Gardens and Universal offer much better values so unless I'm in need of a Disney fix, I'd go with one of the other parks.
I voted I have no interest in visiting Disney World in 2010 and Disneyland would have to be free. I would love to visit Disneyland and all other Anahiem and nearby theme parks one day but it isn't the cheapest or most straightforward place to get to from Manchester, UK at the moment. One day I will visit though. As for Disney World I recently visited in June 2007 and will be going back this November so have no plans for a revisit in 2010 and possibly not until I go back with children.
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