Disney Moves to Seasonal Pricing for Theme Park Tickets
Walt Disney World and Disneyland made official this morning that their theme parks will start charging different prices for admission on different days of the year, starting tomorrow. The new seasonal pricing plan will create three pricing tiers for one-day theme park tickets: value, regular, and peak days. Disney will use its crowd calendars to assign days into one of the three price tiers, and single-day tickets now will be assigned to a specific day of use.
The upside is that the new plan will allow visitors who have the flexibility to visit on less crowded days to enjoy a lower-than-usual price for a single day's visit, as well as the smaller crowds in the park found on such days. The downside is that families with children in school likely will find it even more expensive to visit a Disney theme park, as many school vacation days likely will end up in the peak days tier.
Of course, most visitors — especially to the Walt Disney World Resort — visit using multi-day tickets. Those tickets will not vary by tier but the prices on them will go up across the board tomorrow, as well.
One day, one-park tickets at Walt Disney World will cost $124 for peak days at the Magic Kingdom and $114 at Epcot, Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios. Regular days will cost $110 at the MK and $102 at the other parks. Prices for the value days will remain what they are now — $105 for the Magic Kingdom and $97 for the other three WDW parks.
One day, one-park tickets to Disneyland and Disney California Adventure will cost $119 for peak days, $105 for regular days, and $95 for value days. Those tickets currently cost $99 on all days of the year. There will be 83 value days remaining in 2016 — all weekdays during the school year. And there will be 83 more peak days — during spring break, summer weekends and the holiday season in December.
Earlier this month, Universal Studios Hollywood adopted a dynamic discount system for one-day tickets bought in advance via the park's website. Universal kept the gate price of daily tickets the same for every day, but offers varying discounts based on the date you commit to visit.
The point of these variable, seasonal, dynamic pricing systems (whatever you wish to call them), is to provide another incentive for people to move their visits from busy days to less-busy ones. That allows the parks to better distribute their capital resources, as they no longer have to build excess capacity for peak periods that sits unused during less busy times.
In addition, peak pricing allows the parks to be more aggressive about admission increases, as these systems allow the park to avoid raising the price on less popular days, when people might not be inclined to visit at the higher prices.
Today's move leaves Universal Orlando's theme parks as the only ones among the nine most popular theme parks in the United States not to have some dynamic pricing system for its theme park tickets. Earlier this month, Universal Orlando raised prices for its one-day and multi-day tickets, beating Disney to what's become the annual late-winter price increases for tickets at major theme parks.
More Stories and Resources:
Oh boy, here comes the backlash...(ducks under table)
Oh Oh spadoodios.
For consumers, there is no upside to this new plan. Slow day prices aren't being cut, just remaining steady, but for how long? Six months? One year? Such a great value at a time when many of the park's best attractions are closed.
Pricing has gotten absurd at all the theme parks. Every year worse than the year before for admission, parking, food, gifts, hotels, everything, especially with no recent updates or added attractions at most Disney parks.
Really doesn't mean too much because it's just one day tickets at this point in time. Now, if & when, they extend that policy to multi day tickets it could get real confusing, or expensive, since most vacations embrace a couple of different crowd level days. Wake me if/when that happens.
Count me skeptical of how much this will redistribute crowds at the Walt Disney World Resort, given the high number of visitors on multi-day tickets. For the most part, this just seems like an attempt to discourage further the sale of what few single-day tickets the resort now sells on busy days. (Or to cash in even more on visitors inflexible or desperate enough to buy those tickets.)
Multi-day tickets will stop this from making a difference at Walt Disney World, and annual pass payment plans will stop it from making a difference at Disneyland.
I work in elementary education, and would absolutely encourage families of elementary school children to vacation during the school year. It's not high school or college; they aren't doing anything that can't be made up with advance notice to the teachers. I see a lot of parents who treat their (young) child's education with the seriousness of the Marshall Plan, and it's not necessary.
Yes. The problem of over crowding happened when they went to monthly payments. I've been going to Disneyland before and after they instituted the payment plan. It made a BIG difference. Now it's out of control and Disney is trying to figure out how to control the crowds. Raising prices didn't work, people keep coming. But the monthly payment people bring in too much revenue, and they're hesitant to give that up. They dug a hole for themselves......
What they really need to do is stop the monthly payment plans on annual passes. That's the number one reason for overcrowding, at least at DLR.
In Florida, this isn't going to do anything. Very few people purchase one-day tickets at Walt Disney World, and those that do so are likely going to do so anyway.
This will make little difference because few people buy single day tickets. One thing that I think would help at Disneyland is switching passes to a seasonal basis. Have 3 seasons, each season the same price, but vary in length. Spring season passes would be from January 4th through May, Summer Season June through August, and Fall September through December. This would make people choose a season, and most will pick the off season because it's the best value, and Take the ease off Summer and especially Christmas. Whatever they do, they need to go back to the drawing board becausethis change will do nothing.
What I find interesting is that the company is exploring dynamic pricing structures -- something they can tweak at will to ensure their gate.
Anyone who thought that Disney would actually lower the ticket price during the slower periods was a fool. It was obvious that prices would only go
When I was a kid my parents took me out of school for my birthday or Christmas visits to Disneyland or Knott's Berry Farm so we could go on the less crowded days. I can see this type of pricing plan affecting DLR more then WDW with the crowds evening out and we tend to visit during the week on our Annual Passes so we will probably see larger crowds during the week.
Rounding off, there's a $20 difference between Peak and Value pricing. This adds a lot of money to the bill of a typical family. The tweaking around the margins of what guests pay makes it a very hard decision for people to consider going. Most visitors find it more economical to purchase a multi-day and multi-park pass. Since changing to dynamic pricing, the prices of all passes will goes up. I wonder if this means they will sell a 4 day weekday pass that blocks off Friday thru Sunday. They will sell an any day pass that includes Friday thru Saturday and costs 20% more. Just the thing to make me feels like the guy who got laid off and replaced by foreign workers. What happened to my Disney?
It saddens me to hear that anyone thinks it's okay to take a child out of school to go to a theme park.
This will do nothing in Florida, and almost nothing in SoCal to stop the parks from bursting at the seams. It's just a PR cover for raising the single-day ticket price over $100.
Overcrowding? A better solution is to have more space, more lands, more things to do. If they have ever growing crowds, then they need ever growing things to do. I never recommend people go during the peak seasons. Take the young kids out of school and enjoy a week. I do NOT see any serious advantage for the guests. No prices are being held low. It's another way to rake in more dollars.
Mr. Niles writes: "Count me skeptical of how much this will redistribute crowds at the Walt Disney World Resort, given the high number of visitors on multi-day tickets."
Mr. Brungot writes: "Overcrowding? A better solution is to have more space, more lands, more things to do."
I find it hilarious when people get angry about the price hikes, like it's not a for-profit business. The demand just keeps going higher and higher, so, guess what, the price will too! Does it suck for us, the consumer? Yup. Is it going to change? Not unless people stop going, and they haven't even plateaued yet, let alone gone downhill.
@184.108.40.206 It's not just price hikes that people are getting upset about. It's the lack of investment and continual cuts as well. All while the parks are doing record numbers, I'd hate to think how Disney would respond in another economic crisis.
Hey Shanghai isn't going to pay for itself. Disney has to go after revenue somehow or someway.
"the revenue I'm contributing for my one day visit doesn't really matter to Disney nor will they miss me if I don't visit"
Disney is in a no win situation here and really didn't go far enough to fix the problem. Yes Disney is going to make they more money, but the parks are overcrowded and in turn degrading the guest experience. Disney had 2 choices to reduce the number of people in the parks. Put a cap on the number of people allowed in the parks, which is a poor solution. Imagine planning your vacation to Disney, only to find that when you got to the park it was closed due to capacity. The other option is to raise the price during peak times to deter people from coming to the park during those times yet still allowing the free flow of people in to the parks. Disney went with the only option they could, so as much as everyone wants to call Disney greedy, this was their only option to reduce the number of people in the parks.
"Hey Shanghai isn't going to pay for itself."
"their only option to reduce the number of people in the parks.
@220.127.116.11 Or they could have invested in some new attractions over the years. How about opening some they've already closed? e.g Future World is a damning indictment of the Disney's current management.
This article has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.