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Disneyland cranks up ticket prices

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Published: May 18, 2012 at 5:22 PM

Disneyland Resort announced ticket price increases today, topping out at a 35 percent increase on the price of the parks' SoCal Select Annual Pass.

Disneyland

The SoCal Select is Disneyland's lowest-priced annual pass, and is blocked out 195 days a year (weekends, holidays and summer break). Its price will jump from $199 to $269, starting Sunday, May 20. If you want to add parking an annual pass, that price will increase 30 percent, form $99 a year to $129.

Disneyland's top-of-the-line Premium AP, which is good 365 days a year and includes parking, jumps from $499 to $649 - another 30% increase.

Daily park-hopper tickets will increase up to 19 percent. The single-day park-hopper will jump $20, from $105 to $125. Non-park hopper daily tickets will see smaller increases, from five to nearly nine percent. The one-day, one-park ticket will increase $7, form $80 to $87.

Here are the old prices, the new prices, and the percentage increases:

TicketOldNewIncrease
1-day$80$878.75%
1-day Park Hopper10512519.05
2-day1581707.59
2-day Park Hopper17320015.61
3-day2092205.26
3-day Park Hopper22425011.61
SoCal Select AP19926935.18
SoCal AP26932922.3
Deluxe AP37946923.75
Premium AP49964930.06
Add AP Parking9912930.3

Readers' Opinions

From Bryan Fear on May 18, 2012 at 6:02 PM
I wonder what the motivation was for the price raise. Was it truly a rise in operating costs or an effort to thin out the crowds? ( Same basic idea that Comic-Con seems to use. )
From 76.216.224.176 on May 18, 2012 at 6:03 PM
Why do they increase the most on the Premium pass holders that end up spending the most amount of money in the parks?!?!?! That is CRAP!! That is what I think! Not sure I'll renew this price hike...especially since I'm 2 days away from being able to before the price increase and they wont do anything about it.
From David L. on May 18, 2012 at 6:31 PM
Disney is taking advantage of the DCA expansion. Guests are going to get a whole lot more out of their passes(except for one day passes) once Carsland and B. Vista st opens. Disney also spent over a billion dollars to build it...it's a good way to get more money. Finally, which AP wouldn't want to renew to see the massive expansion that's been growing in front of their eyes for the past 5 years? Bryan, both of your points probably are small factors. Operations will be going up and tons of crowds will be going in. I think for the first time ever, Disney is copying Universal(Harry Potter expansion -> prices way up), though i could easily be wrong...Another thing: Disneyland one day tickets will be higher than Disneyworld one day tickets.
From Robert Niles on May 18, 2012 at 7:06 PM
Prices aren't a function of operating costs. They're a function of (perceived) demand. Disney thinks Cars Land is going to be a huge hit, and is raising prices in anticipation. Just as Universal Orlando cranked up its prices in anticipation of Harry Potter.
From Brian Afdahl on May 18, 2012 at 9:42 PM
My pass was renewed in Feb. I just renewed my daughters tonight. Thank god still at 369 for deluxe. i think after this i will be taking a break. thats over 1400 dollars with my wifes pass also. i believe its because of new stuff there and the demand will be and also to thin crowds down. But they also have to pay for that 24k a nite fireworks show also.
From Phil B. on May 18, 2012 at 10:06 PM
Wow man....just, wow!
From Brandon Mendoza on May 18, 2012 at 10:34 PM
Whoa... perfect timing for me to renew last week! I had no idea the passes would be going up so much!
From Manny Barron on May 18, 2012 at 11:50 PM
Wow! A price increase isn't rare, but this price increase was a steep hike.
From Dominick D on May 19, 2012 at 5:32 AM
As Robert said, it's because of Carsland. I do agree though that this is a pretty steep increase.
From Daniel Etcheberry on May 19, 2012 at 7:31 AM
My park hopper will cost $20 more than I planned to spend. This price increase is too much!
From Rodney McNeill on May 19, 2012 at 9:16 AM
do you think this will happen soon at WDW due to fantasyland expansion? I'm thinking of getting a FL resident annual pass but I have yet to budge.
From AJ Hummel on May 19, 2012 at 11:13 AM
While I don't mind a small annual increase, I think this one is a little too much at once (especially for the passes). I have to assume they are doing it simply to keep crowds under control once everything at DCA is complete. Instead of raising prices, they should just modify their ticket system if that is indeed their goal. On the passes, remove the So Cal options and offer a no-hopping version of the Deluxe pass along with the current Premium Pass. I'm guessing this would cut pass sales down by nearly half. Keep one day tickets the same price they currently are, as I'm guessing the park is approaching the point where people will decide it is just too expensive and attendance will begin to drop.

Given Walt's original intention of the place being affordable for families, I'm guessing he would frown at this steep price hike.

From Phil B. on May 19, 2012 at 11:22 AM
So Disney opens up a second gate years ago on the cheap, with a bunch of sub-par attractions, off the rack rides and shoddy theming. Then they make the correct decision to go ahead and do a park wide retooling to bring the park up to Disney's high standards, and the guests have to foot the bill for their mistakes when they should have done things right in the first place. A slight incremental increase is understandable, but 30% is pretty steep. I know, I know, Disney and capitalists defenders, they don't owe anybody an explanation.....it's their park....attendance is up....people will still crash the gates...the economy is bouncing back....blah, blah, blah. Doesn't mean I have to like it and I'm sure most AP'rs don't either.

And I whole heartedly agree with what AJ said about Walt. I understand he was a business man looking to turn a profit, but I wonder how an increase like this would sit with him and the idealistic views he made publicly known.

From Sylvain Comeau on May 19, 2012 at 12:20 PM
Hopefully this will thin the insane crowding that is plaguing the park for much of the year. Us tourists spend big bucks to go to Disney parks, only to be confronted with mobs of annual pass holders who paid a tiny fraction of the cost that we shelled out.

Disney's game of "screw the tourists" has to end!

From Daniel Etcheberry on May 19, 2012 at 1:32 PM
Their attitude is "I'll give you a better California Adventure, but you will have to pay a hefty price for it." I don't want to think how much will Disney World charge when they open Avatar Land.
From Dominick D on May 19, 2012 at 3:34 PM
I wouldn't expect WDW to have a steep increase until Avatar arrives.
From David L. on May 19, 2012 at 3:45 PM
At least Disney isn't raising some of their prices 70%, like what Universal did for the Harry Potter opening.
From 76.174.186.132 on May 19, 2012 at 5:38 PM
Have been bringing my family to Dland for 17 years with premium pass. Put up with the price increase. not anymore.
We all love Dland. Now they need to be brought to there knees. BOYCOTT NOW!!!!!
From David Brown on May 20, 2012 at 9:02 AM
I think we need to get a bit of perspective on this.

At $87 a single day ticket is the equivalent of £54 sterling, (sorry guys but I live in the UK and have to convert to get any sense out of this). That's less that I have to pay to see a decent live music show, eg Rush, and a lot less than major groups like U2. So - I get a whole day in one of the best theme parks in the world for less money than a 2 hour music show.... That's good value in my book.

Even with the increased prices the annual passes are pretty damn good value. I'm staggered that the SoCal pass used to be only $199. That makes no business sense at all. At $269 it still only needs you to visit 4 times and you are in credit. Assuming you live close enough to need an annual pass that's still a bargain. No one likes big price increases but in the cold light of day the new prices still represent extraordinary value and Disney, whatever some posters may wish, isn't a philanthropist - it's a commercial company. It can only invest if it has the funds to do so. Having a realistic pricing pattern is all part of that...

From Amy Smith on May 20, 2012 at 9:09 AM
I'm surprised that no one has yet realized (or commented) on the fact that a one day ticket to Disneyland at $87 is now more expensive than a one day ticket to Disney World at $85. Of course that's without hopper added on and most people don't buy a one day ticket anyway (at least on the East coast), but I still find it interesting. How long before WDW gets a price increase too?
From Mike Shirley Jr on May 20, 2012 at 9:58 AM
WWRD - What would Roy do?

Walt would've said no, but Roy would've convinced him otherwise.

Don't confuse the creative genius of Walt with the business sense of the man who kept the dream afloat.

Built up demand + anticipation= $$$$

Cars land just went from "Ka-chow" to "Ca-ching"

From 98.222.201.229 on May 20, 2012 at 11:03 AM
If you factor in sales tax WDW tickets still cost a little more than DLR tickets. The big shocker is the leap in AP prices--DLR's PAP ($649) is now priced significantly higher than a WDW park-only pass ($553).
From Frank Forrester on May 20, 2012 at 12:11 PM
@David, the price increase for the Annual Passes is crazy. Disney charges the most for Annual Passes than any other park. For Disneyland Annual passes you are now going to pay anywhere between $269 and $649 and if you want to add parking to some of the passes you will have to add $129 and this is only for 2 parks. Disneyworld is almost as bad as it costs you over $500 for 4 parks and if you want to add the two water parks and Disneyquest it's around $100 more, but their passes already include parking. I have the highest level of Annual Pass for Busch Gardens which is their Platinum Pass and only pay $162 a year for it and it gets me into all the Seaworld & Busch parks along with their Aquatica & Water Country USA which is 8 parks and I get better discounts than Disney.
From Manny Barron on May 20, 2012 at 12:37 PM
Even with all the complaining, Disney California Adventure will easily set a record attendance year, Disneyland Park itself will see an attendance jump and Disney Exec's will be swimming in our cash.

Thats just how it is, unless people stop going, which by the way is impossible, Disney will continue to raise prices.

Having said that, see you at Disneyland this summer!

From David Brown on May 20, 2012 at 12:42 PM
@Frank.

I wasn't comparing pass prices with those available from other parks. As someone who doesn't live in the US and therefore who doesn't currently consider any sort of pass I just observe that even the increased prices represent astonishing value for money. If other parks are under-selling themselves as well with annual pass prices I'll predict a general price-rise right across the board. The other way of looking at it is following my analogy of prices for music (rock) concerts - When I was younger I could see a show for £20, even a big band. Suddenly bands worked out that instead of making a loss on touring they could make money from it by charging more and prices doubled within a few years. Now the going rate is £60. The thing is people still went to the shows. They just expected more bang for their buck. It seems to me that Disney is delivery quite a lot more bang for it's buck at Disneyland/California Adventure. People will squeal, but they'll still sell enough passes to make it well worth while, and within a year or two it will all be forgotten... That's how it works, whether people like it or not....

From 72.64.145.141 on May 20, 2012 at 7:07 PM
Pricing is not a function of cost, it is a function of demand to max profit before reinvestment.

Demand is up to extremely high levels. Add to that demand is incredibly high for locals. The business evaluation is simply that the park is underpriced and that the underpriced demand is locals.

Consider that overloaded parks stress the park infrastructure and the per visit margin is higher for tourists, Tourists are also realizing that the overloaded park reduces value to themselves. Shuffling prices is more about demand management and targeting higher value customers while keeping operational and maintenance costs in control.

From Stevo B on May 20, 2012 at 9:07 PM
Neighborhood parks and beaches are looking pretty good these days.
From 70.56.236.101 on May 20, 2012 at 9:15 PM
If you want to compare music events then I think an all day music festival like the "Van's Warped Tour" would be a fair comparison. Disneyland $87 (full day of A-E ticket attractions) - Van's Warped Tour (A full day of music featuring 63 top classic and modern bands.) $36
Win - Warped Tour.
From 86.132.230.217 on May 21, 2012 at 12:21 AM
I think $36 for 63 bands is perhaps an extreme example. The going rate for a festival (2 days) in the UK is about 8 times that amount...
From Rob P on May 21, 2012 at 3:27 AM
And here's one for Disney to consider :

Affordability for the average customer = Down 10 %

From 70.56.236.101 on May 21, 2012 at 6:59 AM
Price of 5 day hopper in 2006 $179
Price of 5 day hopper in 2012 $290
Price increase of 62%
Average wage of cast member in 2006 $8.75hr
Average wage of cast member in 2012 $9.50hr
Wage increase of 8%
From Anon Mouse on May 21, 2012 at 7:38 AM
Back to the old way of enjoying Disneyland. One visit a year.
From Tyler Stover on May 21, 2012 at 8:15 AM
An anonymous commenter wrote: "Why do they increase the most on the Premium pass holders that end up spending the most amount of money in the parks?!?!?!"

Not that I agree with the price increases, but in-park spending is actually completely the opposite of that scenario. Occasional guests spend the most, and the more often someone visits the less they spend incrementally in park. Once-in-a-lifetime tourists are likely to spend a boatload of money on souvenirs and will want to spend good money to eat at the better restaurants with good atmosphere (Hello big buck Blue Bayou and character dining). Their daughters will want to be princesses, their sons pirates. Premium APs do none of that. They don't need as much Disney stuff, they're usually pretty well stocked except for collectables, they're not going to hit up Bippity Boppity Botique or the Princess Fantasy Faire, and when you're in the park every other weekend you're not missing out by eating off-site for less money. I have found it a little odd that Disney has been so focused on courting premium APs with monthly payments and the like, while at the same time converting every store to be a mini-emporium selling plushies and generic Disney Parks tourist stuff, things APs almost never buy.

Back to the price increases, 30% is eye-watering high and is definitely cause for re-evaluation, especially with a kid on the way - that will get expensive quick, and as someone else said it might be time to go back to the old once-a-year plan. The only thing that might take the edge off is if it really does bring the crowds under control. If that does happen to a significant extent then just maybe the price could be worth it. We'll see...

From 141.248.3.2 on May 21, 2012 at 11:40 AM
Here's an idea for revenue.

Keep park admission the same price. Dramatically raise the fees for strollers, either the parks or you own. Crowds wouldn't be so bad with that stroller army in the way of what used to be simple movement across the park. More money + thins out the crowding issue. I know it's a farcical example and would never happen but every time I go there and deal with the crowds it crosses my mind.

From Andy Guinigundo on May 22, 2012 at 11:34 AM
That's silly 141.248.3.2. Obviously, Walt didn't envision that it'd all be that popular otherwise he'd have made the park bigger. And, the kids are there to stay...
From Vickie OConnor on May 22, 2012 at 11:45 AM
I love Disney theme parks, but I would like to see a week or month long ban of their theme parks in order for them to stop raising prices in a bad economy.
From 159.83.252.230 on May 22, 2012 at 12:53 PM
You know I have had a pass for the past 7 years, but I think when my pass is up for renewal I will let it go. That is rediculous. I have a Premium Pass and to raise it to over 600.00, I think this is the point where I will say good bye to Disneyland/California Adventure Parks and take my money to Six Flags, Knott's Berry Farm and Universal Studio's. For the over $600.00 price that they are charging I can get get all three of the above Season Passes and still have change left over to spend in each park. It was nice while it lasted, but I will have to say so long to Disney for now until they realize everyone are not millionaires and they come back up with some reasonable pricing.
From Sue Francis on May 22, 2012 at 11:27 PM
I don't think you can compare Disneyland to a rock show. Just sayin. The price increase is a bummer but we will renew our passes this year.
From 108.38.196.139 on May 23, 2012 at 11:49 PM
@Tyler Stover: I come from a very large family, and we all have had Premium Annual Passes for 15+ years, and we spend quite a bit of money at the parks. We stay at the hotels and do character dining multiple times a year, and we buy souvenirs nearly every time we go. The women in my family even all have collections of the high end Disney Doomey and Bourke handbags sold exclusively in the park. I myself bought a new one at $170 five days ago!! You may be right in the case of some SoCal Select Passholders, but I can assure you that anyone else is simply a hardcore Disney fan who will always shell out for collectibles and comfort food. That being said, Price hikes on annual passes are nothing new, but never have they been so extreme! I grew up in the park and my plan was for my daughter to do the same ... Unfortunately, my family has grown and we all have children of our own now, and the price hike may make thise plans impossible. Its very sad, but 2013 may be my first year since I was ten to not call Disneyland home. I'm hoping I get a significant raise this year or that Disney has a change of heart.
From 174.254.81.15 on May 24, 2012 at 1:34 PM
This price increase is a TREMENDOUS DISNEY ABUSE, because instead of gradually increasing the price some disney hot shot decided to jack it up 30% not everyone is a millionaire in california, unlike disney geeedy executives, no annual pass for me this year.

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