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Reported Disney World Survey Details Potential Ticket Price Changes

May 26, 2015, 5:04 PM · Is the Walt Disney World Resort considering another major change to its ticket pricing structure?

This afternoon on Twitter, @TurkeyLegJeff posted a survey from Disney World that detailed a new pricing structure, where ticket prices would vary by day of the week and season of the year. Keep in mind that this is simply a survey looking for consumer response. It is not an official new change from Disney. (At least, not yet, anyway.)

The proposal would introduce "Gold," "Silver," and "Bronze" price levels for one-day, one-park tickets at the Walt Disney World Resort, which would in turn influence multi-day ticket prices. The TL;DR is that ticket prices would go up for people visiting on the busiest days.

Of course, to pull this off, Disney would have to start tying its admission tickets to specific days on the calendar. Currently, Disney World tickets can be bought without regard to the days that you will use them. Once you've used the first day on a multi-day ticket, you have 14 days to use them all, but Disney doesn't restrict which days within those 14 you can visit the parks.

Switching to such a system would add yet another variable in pricing a Disney World vacation. Not only would you need to consider differences in hotel prices and airfare (if applicable) for different potential vacation times, now you'd have to factor differences in ticket prices, as well.

The potential upside? There's the possibility that such as system could reduce overcrowding on the busiest days in the parks, as higher prices, theoretically, would reduce the demand for those days. The downside is that the demand would shift to less popular days, increasing the crowd sizes on days that now enjoy lighter crowds. And of course, the big downside is higher prices for most visitors.

What do you think?

Update: Disneyland is surveying the same concept:

Replies (52)

May 26, 2015 at 5:27 PM · I believe Disneyland Paris has a similar price structure in place.
May 26, 2015 at 5:30 PM · I think it would be way too hard to manage. I am sure that your multi-day tickets would still be one price as that would be the benefit of getting multi-day tickets. Whether you were there on a Saturday or Monday, it would be the same (I hope). I definitely don't like the idea of having to plan my days that far out. I would have to think twice about a visit to the parks if it were so orchestrated. Bad Idea!!!
May 26, 2015 at 5:34 PM · As a Florida resident who does not have an annual pass, I like the idea. It would be easy for me to shoot up on a lower priced day and plan my vacation around that.
May 26, 2015 at 5:58 PM · Bad idea. Doesn't mean they won't do it, but it's a bad idea.

It's bad enough you have to reserve your fast passes a month ahead of time if you want to go on anything popular. This would only add another layer of complexity when they're still figuring out how to make fast pass + work right for people with large parties.

May 26, 2015 at 6:02 PM · Tokyo Disney tickets are also park specific and day specific. Not sure about price variation because of course I am not comparison shopping, but would be easy to implement under that system.
May 26, 2015 at 6:10 PM · Definitely a bad idea for the consumer. Like everything else, trying to monetize everything to increase profits and pay the largest salaries more. Soon I can see surveys for paying more for food on the busiest days as well.
May 26, 2015 at 6:22 PM · I got that survey too based on my visit last fall. My dates fell into two categories, and if that happened (under that hypothetical scenario) the survey told me I would have to pay at the higher rate for a ticket covering all of my dates. Notice that most of the weekends -- even in slower seasons -- are a higher category than the surrounding weekdays. Kind of like DVC pricing. So goodbye to weeklong park visits unless you are willing to pay the higher price for all of your dates. And it's not like they are going to make a bronze tire cheaper than current rates -- just that the other tiers would be higher. I don't feel WDW suffers from as dramatic weekday/weekend fluctuations like Disneyland to justify that part of the tiering structure.
May 26, 2015 at 6:35 PM · Last I was there, Universal Studios Singapore also adjusted admission price by day and required that you declare the day of your visit when buying a ticket.
May 26, 2015 at 6:39 PM · The goal is crowd management while managing marginal revenue. The issue is the APs when higher profit multi and single day passes make the most money.

How about doing away with seasonal passed and surcharging APs during the busy season. Get a slow day due to weather and give a late day special with a food credit for the amount of the surcharge after 5PM to APs. Get the APs and the marginal revenue when it's slow while reducing APs during busy periods. The top 10 busiest days get the biggest surcharge.

May 26, 2015 at 6:57 PM · I think it's a bit complicated and can cause you to pay more than you should. If part of my vacation is over a bronze rate weekday but then one day is a silver or gold I would have to pay silver or gold rates during the weekdays. It should be like hotel rates. You buy the tickets at various select rates and when you enter a park it uses one of your valid tickets for the day. You can still receive the discount with how many days you purchase. Also, all the tickets can be bundled together as one to keep the park hopper option and the 14 day expiration window.
May 26, 2015 at 7:04 PM · Pretty soon, you'll need a special Disney Master's degree to plan your Disney vacations. Everything's just getting too complicated, planning wise.
May 26, 2015 at 7:24 PM · Interesting chart. What they need to do is allow ticket purchases in line with Fastpass reservations. Another thing is eliminate Annual Passes in favor of ticket book of pre-paid admissions.
May 26, 2015 at 7:42 PM · Honestly the best way to tame the crowds is to just not have budget and local annual passes. Complicating the pricing system doesn't solve much.
May 26, 2015 at 7:52 PM · Not in favor of this. To me, it just seems like a way for Disney to get more money out of visitors and is just an additional complication. I don't know how Disney will handle split visits, but I would be pretty upset if my visit had, for example, four bronze days and one gold day, but I had to buy gold tickets for all five days. I would be okay with a peak season rate for select periods, similar to what ski areas do, but the three tier system with the proposed calendar just seems like a really bad idea.

I've said it before, but I've never visited Walt Disney World and while they won't stop me from visiting, all the changes in the past couple years have definitely lessened my interest. I've got a feeling this change would probably repel a lot of people who are on the fence about making a visit.

May 26, 2015 at 11:39 PM · I haven't thought it over yet, but my initial impression? This kinda sucks.
However, I would be in favor of this if it meant that Disney started paying their front line CMs properly. Not holding my breath on that score.
Another thing: I would HATE to have to tell them in advance which days I'll be visiting. That's nonsense. I suppose people accept it in Asia, but it sucks even more spontaneity out of our already over-planned theme park vacations. Give us a break already.
May 26, 2015 at 11:50 PM · Honestly this just makes me not want to visit Disney theme parks in Florida anymore. First came the terrible new Fastpass+ and now they are considering charging different prices based on the time of year you visit? It´s just ridiculous, I can only visit the theme parks during peak season since I am in college and it seems unfair that I would be charged more than other guests who get to visit on less crowded times. Also, those people who visit during the off season will find the themeparks more crowded than they usually are due to lower prices. Not suporting the idea.
May 27, 2015 at 2:12 AM · Maybe they assume everyone is booking up their fastpasses and dinner reservations so they already know what days they are going to the park. This may be a way to encourage everyone to use magic bands, or they think everyone will be using them anyway. The pay the highest price for the whole multi-day ticket thing may be a requirement if you want flexible day tickets, but if you are willing to state your specific days in a 2 week period of a multi-day ticket maybe you can just pay the gold/silver/bronze price for each specific day.

Besides evening out the crowds, this could help with staff planning. If WDW knows that a huge number of people have tickets for a given day they can schedule more cast members to work, have more food available, and maybe schedule an extra parade or show. On days that they suspect lighter traffic due to low advanced ticket sales, they can have fewer cast members scheduled to work. Right now Disney has no way of knowing how many people will show up on any given day and if they are understaffed it takes time to call more people in and get them suited up.
I know people have been upset about overcrowding for special events, this would give them an idea of how many people intend to show up for special events, although if they don't black out annual pass holders they will still be in the dark about that. Specific days at the park could "sell out" 2 weeks before a given day, which would let people know in advance not to go that day and try to buy a ticket, because they won't get in, instead of having tons of people waiting outside to try to get in. They can cut off new ticket sales for a day if they look at the current occupancy of the park and consider how many people have day specific ticket who have not entered the park yet if the numbers are getting too high. This would solve the problem of day guests needing their tickets refunded if they can't get in, or back into the park, because they traveled to get to the park and don't have an option to go another day. If people traveled a long way, they want to be in the park, they don't want a refund.

May 27, 2015 at 3:18 AM · This looks amazingly like DVC pricing structure which has worked well for years, although it is complicated. I hope they do this, or at least raise prices. The crowds are so thick it is tough to get a room or dinner reservation unless you book it 10-11 months out. As a fan and stock holder I would be willing to pay more to be able to enjoy the parks better.
May 27, 2015 at 4:50 AM · There is no such thing as a quiet day at Disney so I dont think it will make a difference. Shame that the current crowd levels that Disney seem acceptable are really causing the whole experience to go downhill.
May 27, 2015 at 5:54 AM · Please remember that this is just a survey not necessarily something to get so worked up over and angry about. I can tell you one thing though, doing away with annual passes will do nothing but cause an increase in single and multi-day tickets.
May 27, 2015 at 6:08 AM · If it is a Tuesday that comes before Monday or after a Monday that is Sunny and hits 90 you pay 'X'. But if that same day is 89 or Less you Pay 'Y'.

But 'Z' says we can change it anytime so the above rule does not really matter unless we invoke it depending on the month and year...

May 27, 2015 at 6:51 AM · "The downside is that the demand would shift to less popular days, increasing the crowd sizes on days that now enjoy lighter crowds."

This is my biggest concern. It wont' be a concern though if/when they begin selling fastpasses. I'd easily pay $10 per FP on busy days - and we'd allocate more vacation time to Disney.

May 27, 2015 at 6:58 AM · As a non local AP I hope they don't get rid of the AP's but don't like this structure at all... So what like you all have said, if my vacation started 4 days on Bronze and 1 day in Silver or Gold, and I have to pay all Gold, what happens with it rains the entire day of that "GOLD" day...I have to pay a premium and get soaking wet? lol

I'm one of the few people that really enjoy the typical 1-2pm shower while at Disney because it pushes a lot of the crowd out of the park and also cools down the afternoon temperature wise.

May 27, 2015 at 6:59 AM · This is a move that makes logical sense for Disney as it looks to fill every single day in the park with as many guests as possible while avoiding overcrowding. As a local resident, this sounds like a good plan for me as I can choose lower-priced days without regard to planning around weekends or holidays. However, it will really be painful for families who can only make the trip between Christmas and New Year's, as that has to be the most-attended week of the year for the parks.
May 27, 2015 at 7:38 AM · While I hate the new FP+ (it is my firm belief that it has only made lines longer for attractions that did not have FP), I do not view this with the worry that I had with their other changes. The biggest problem Disney has for me right now is crowd control. It is out of hand. I know they do not want to engage in the 'pay more to skip the lines' like Universal and Six Flags (which the Six Flags Flash Pass is an extreme waste of money), they need to do something. If this help manage crowds better, then I am for it. I do think that since they now have billions from Marvel and Star Wars and the stupid arm bands are firmly in place, it is time to build a fifth gate in Orlando and figure out how to cut down the wait times. Honestly, I would have already gone back to Disney since my last visit, but we instead are going only to Universal due to the line wait times alone.
May 27, 2015 at 7:39 AM · This looks like a terrible idea, and it wouldn't save consumers money. The current prices would likely be the lowest rates, and they're essentially upcharging for tickets at other times. It's another way to set up Walt Disney World more like a cruise ship where you're paying for different seasons and setting up experiences in advance. It's the opposite of convenient.
May 27, 2015 at 7:54 AM · Seems too complicated and as stated before it could still make your overall trip more expensive if is covers multiple price ranges. It would also suck for those of us willing to go during the off season to avoid the crowds. It will make the off season busy too because people will see the price break during those off season times.
May 27, 2015 at 7:58 AM · As a local and an AP holder... AP's aren't your concern. They're not going for park open to park close on the day after Christmas. They'll likely avoid the busy times already, except for weekends. This seems to be about punishing people for taking vacations at the peak times of the year, the way airlines and hotels increase rates, they want to do that with park tickets. Why deal with that?
May 27, 2015 at 8:35 AM · I would doubt that it would have a major effect concerning the time of year a family vacations. Perhaps only a small percentage would change visit times.The main costs of visits are rooms, travel & food. Most families schedule visits to WDW due to circumstances such as school attendance, job vacation limits, weather etc. Disney already discounts hotels & food to spread vacations around. No matter how the smokescreen is represented, it's purely an accounting move to make more money, in my opinion. And I imagine the effect on AP's pricing, if that plan would materialize, would be even more significant.
May 27, 2015 at 9:49 AM · That is the whole idea of doing this, spreading out how busy it is.
May 27, 2015 at 1:01 PM · Check out the prices! Even during the Bronze time you are looking at $475.30 for a 7day WDW pass. The current price for a 7day pass is $335. No thank you!
May 27, 2015 at 1:06 PM · I think this is actually a great idea. This is not the exact plan that will become reality but I think the final result will be good for most people. People will plan a time that fits their schedule and budget, and there would be a leveling out of attendance. I think the fairest way for people planning trips on days that have different rates is to charge the maximum rate and give back the difference if they go on less expensive days. That way you are not reserving the exact day you go but you still get charged differently based on the days you visit.
May 27, 2015 at 3:13 PM · After seeing that this is also being considered for Disneyland and taking some time to think about it I'll say this: I am okay with this change if Disney can guarantee a better experience on more expensive days without taking anything away from the cheaper days. Think about other industries where there are variable ticket prices and you'll find that the more expensive options often offer a better experience. For example, a ski area may charge more during peak season but will have all the terrain open with good snow cover, or a sporting event may charge more for some seats but those offer a better view closer to the action. If Disney could make a guarantee that all attractions would be open on gold days and that lines won't be excessive (say longer than 45 minutes), I'd have no problem paying a little more to visit on one of these days over chancing a bronze day as I'd probably get enough out of it to justify the 15% upcharge.

If, however, there is no such guarantee and you don't get anything more out of a gold day than you would a bronze day, I am 100% against this change. The parks are expensive enough as it is, so charging more without offering a better experience is not going to go over well. Especially if guests have to pay the upcharge when their visit is split over different price periods, I could see this driving people away to search for alternatives. Before Disney implements this, they really need to consider the fact that they have some serious competition now and without continued investment in the parks it is difficult to keep raising prices. Perhaps when there is something new to offer, Disney can look into this idea again, but based on what is currently offered I don't think either park at the Disneyland Resort would be worth $115.

Also, if Disney's primary goal is just to reduce crowds, there is a really simple solution (at least in California)...revamp the Annual Pass Program.

May 27, 2015 at 3:35 PM · Is it bad when I first read the title then the first bit of the article, I was hoping and thinking that slow days would be like $80, silver days $90, and gold days at $105 for MK? Couldn't imagine paying $125/person/day. Too complicated.
May 27, 2015 at 7:50 PM · I just completed the survey today. Frankly, I cannot see how this is going to have an effect on crazy busy days. There is a reason why everybody goes to Disney World at the same time: holidays. In a perfect world, if you could choose when the kids are going to be off school, that would be great and therefore, you could plan on going to WDW in February, or maybe May, instead of July or Christmas...

But for the vast majority of people, it does not work like that.

The way I see it, it's more of a way for Disney to increase revenues by charging more to people who don't even look at ticket prices. Let's face it, a large amount of people who go to Disney just don't care how much the tickets costs. Such customers will still go to WDW during busy time, regardless of how much it costs.

And then, people who cannot afford the price premium, and who cannot take their holidays at a different time, more than likely will have to spend their limited ressources elsewhere.For them, WDW will then become a theme park Shangri-La, a once-in-a-lifetime vacation.

Slowly but surely, WDW is getting more and more inaccessible for the average family, which goes against the values that Walt Disney himself preached when he opened up his first park a long time ago. He built a safe, entertaining and magical place to go for people of all ages, race, color and income.

It's sad to say this, but for the next generation, maybe when one would think of WDW, instead of having found memories who instantly put a smile on your face, the first thing that would come to mind instead is the thought of an inaccessible place, that only the wealthy can afford to visit, where greed as taken over the original spirit of dear Walt.....

May 27, 2015 at 8:21 PM · This price increase will happen because Disney executives are greedy pigs. Oink. Oink.

How can you make money the Disney way?

Step 1: Systematically underinvest in new attractions while cutting back on old attractions.

Step 2: When fans complain of overcrowding, raise prices and tell customers it's for their own good.

Step 3: Rinse and repeat.

May 27, 2015 at 9:43 PM · Hope this doesn't be a reality soon. This is another excuse to increase prices and make the park more easy for moderate to rich people to visit with less crowding. The last year's Disney have taken some decisions that separate the social class more apart.

If they use that chart of prices for seasons, they should take the actual price as the average and I mean the silver tickets. Then for the golden ticket an increase of let's say $15 and the bronce ticket a reduction of $15. That will make the lighter days, crowded and lighten up the peak season a little. It's an incentive to visit the low seasons days because they are cheaper than the regular actual ticket. Is the only way to do it for now, and let the people make adjustment for the already planned vacations. After a year or a year and a half, if necessary, increase the prices again.

May 28, 2015 at 11:02 AM · To make this work, they need to stop selling multi-day park hopping passes. You buy a day pass for every day you visit. This will instantly wreck trip planning for the prices will vary unless Disney will honor tickets already sold. To upgrade to the current prices at the parks mean the ticket booths will be swamped by the guests whose tickets were rejected at the admission gates. How would it be like to pass the security check points at the Magic Kingdom, get rejected at the MagicBand entry, return to the ticketbooths, line up, buy upgrade, repeat. It will be a horrible situation. Or perhaps upgrade charges are instantly recorded on your account with your MagicBand. Return home. Charged an additional $200, but "I already paid $1500!!!" A nightmare for customers.
May 28, 2015 at 1:48 PM · Oh, goody a new complication to visiting the parks.
May 28, 2015 at 2:27 PM · I found the comments on this thread to be very interesting as, like most of us, the money allocated for my family vacation is a precious thing.

So, we all agree that this is just a survey and that we should not think that this is actually what Disney will implement. I thought it would be interesting to run the numbers as "proposed" on the survey to see how it might affect our family if something like this were implemented.

I used the WDW website to calculate the "Current" price for a single WDW admission (with Park Hopper) for one to ten (1 - 10 ) days. I then used the pricing info from the survey page to calculate the "new" price (with Park Hopper). My numbers do not include any sales taxes.

If we assume that a family has school kids and can only visit from, say late June to early August (Peak times for Gold pricing), it looks like those guests will see a significant increase in their admission costs.

A seven (7) day admission would rise from the current $399.00 to $676.50 - an increase of 70%; a ten (10) admission would rise from $429.00 to $751.50 - a 75% increase. And remember, all ticket expire in 14 days.

I have to admit that if our whole family were making the trip, we'd have to have several long discussions regarding our itinerary.

May 28, 2015 at 3:56 PM · I think its a great idea. People shouldn't have to pay full price when half the park is under construction.

The solution to pre planning is simple. Offer the new price to people buying the tickets at the park the old fashioned (and imo better way), and the folks who buy online should pay full price with the opportunity to recieve a price adjustment or gift card voucher for the difference in price on the day of their visit at the chamber of commerce or city hall.

May 28, 2015 at 5:58 PM · I have to agree to an extent to the nameless person above me. I do think it's fair to less when parts of the park are closed for refurbishment. But Disney isn't proposing lowering the off season price, it's proposing raising costs on more popular days. If it was me, I'd keep the three price points, but keep the middle or bronze price the same, the gold or highest price be just a few dollars more, and silver the lowest price ,$10 less. Disney won't lower the price but it would at least make them look like they aren't totally being greedy.

And about Disney being greedy. Disney's attendance keeps going up. And it's because people are for the most part willing to pay for it. People can complain and rightfully so that Disney hasn't added attractions as fast as their competitor. But Disney is still far ahed of Universal. Disney has been better for decades and Universal is now only matching Disney. A theme park is not a right, and Americans have far nicer standards of living than much of the world. If people feel bad because they don't get to go to a theme park then they need a different mindset. Disney has always been for profit and if you think they overcharge, don't go. Just remember that if you are reading this, you may not have as much as a some, but you still have more than most.

May 28, 2015 at 6:16 PM · Whatever happened to just "going to disneyland"? you'd need a master's degree to plan a visit.
May 29, 2015 at 3:43 AM · Oh ok I didn't realise it was concerning a price increase. In that case I think paying more than 100$ per day to visit a theme park is absurd. Especially when Tokyo disneyland requires less than 60$ fora day visit and delivers a far superior product.
May 30, 2015 at 4:11 AM · When I go to Disney World, I go for one full week. I stay in a Value Resort, and I enjoy an 8 day pass (7 nights). What will this do for me? Probably just cost me more. I already have to deal with what time of year I prefer. I try to avoid the hot summer, and I try to avoid going when school's out. Are they trying to make Sea World and Universal Studios seem worth while on the expensive days at Disney?
May 30, 2015 at 6:24 AM · It would be nice for WDW to implement a change that would actually benefit consumers, instead of making it harder for them to understand and costing them more money for their vacations. When Disney is financially sound and doing quite well for themselves, to continually nickel and dime consumers shows a greedy side that takes a lot of the magic out of your magical vacation, and prevents those on fixed incomes from being able to partake of the full experience.
May 30, 2015 at 3:30 PM · It very sad for me that Walt wanted a fun place families, know it is oy of reach for most families in the oc
May 30, 2015 at 4:46 PM · Guess it's time to pull the trigger on that AP...
May 30, 2015 at 5:13 PM · Been there 24 times over the years isn't that enough for Disney? I guess when the shuttle program disappeared a couple of years back all these rocket scientists decided to move over to Disney and come up with these wild ideas.
Totally greedy. Only in the current environment where they can do nothing wrong do they come up with these smug greedy ideas. I have a solution....go to one Disney park on your vacation for ONE DAY and then go see the real Florida like the beach. I read recently that Disney caters to a core customer with an income of 80,000.00 plus...well guess what that's fine with me I figured as much! anyway!
May 31, 2015 at 9:00 PM · grumpy emoticon
seriously? I recall when you had ticket books and no admission fee. THEN and ONLY THEN, was it the happiest place on earth.... I love to go to your parks, but being a single parent, who was disabled early in life and now survives on a small pension, I no longer can afford to go. ANd yet, you are going to raise prices yet again? Are your bank accounts SOOOOO dry that you cannot afford to give th public a break???? If you made it more affordable for people to come , more people would, instead of charging more so less can... common sense to me but then you are so rich you cant see through the green of your greed.... Bring back tickets, or make it an option. Charge people $25 to get in, give them a wrist band and a the opportunity to purchase only a ticket or two... if it is $25 bucks to ride on ride, that is a bargain to me! When I go, since I am in a wheel chair, I only get to ride like one or two rides these days as it is. Hardly worth the prices you charge.... I would SO go way more often IF I had to option to pay $25 to get in and then $25 per ride I wanted to ride... keep your general admission, sure, but give others options too!
June 1, 2015 at 7:49 AM · Many people argue in other forums that the prices are too low because of park congestion. This survey means they won the day. One thing is clear, prices are rising. I don't think Disney will not have some sort of tiered pricing for day visitors. I do expect more moderate price increases for multi-day park hopping passes with block out dates for holidays or busy days of the week, thus the introduction of add-on days for extra charge. Expect reserved Magic Your Way passes at Disneyland with no park hopping.

These price increases will certainly make Disneyland and Disney World even less affordable for families. Park attendance will most definitely be impacted almost immediately thus I believe Disney will gradually introduce the concept in test phases. If customers eat it up, there will be more of it. The survey shows the most extreme example. There's a lot of room to have varying degrees of the plan, but a 30% price increase is a non-starter. Even Disney's annual price increases of barely 3% shows how sensitive they are to price increases.

June 1, 2015 at 8:33 AM · Seems like it would be somewhat unfair for a lot of people whose only choice is to go during a school holiday. Flights and accommodation are vastly more expensive during those periods, as it is. It'd be an extra kicker if park tickets were raised as well.

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