I live in Orlando and can tell you first hand that vacationers to this point have absorbed the $3/gal gas jump quite well. The roads are always busy and the parks are always packed. I have seen the periods of the season that usually slow down get smaller and smaller.
Will there be a breaking point on the prices? Probably. I would be surprised if there is another change in prices for at least a year at Disney.
For my money, $41 per day is a fair price for an experience such as Disney. You can pay a lot more for a lot less elsewhere.
You're always going to have potential customers who have never been to Walt Disney World or Disneyland and they're going to pay the price to go because Disney has become such a big thing in our lives--almost without our realizing it. Often imitated, rarely duplicated, everybody and their brother has gone to Disney and said how magical a time they had, and that's going to influence people to think this is something they have to do at least once in their life.
Even at the WDW resort, where there are three other Disney theme parks to choose from, the average tourist will opt for Magic Kingdom because it is the flagship park. Epcot, The Studios, DAK, no matter what they do, they can't compare to MK in the mind of the uninitiated.
So, assuming that the other Florida resorts don't decide to play Disney's pricing game, their only other options are to a) NOT be like Disney and convince the public that NOT-Disney is as cool as, if not cooler, than Disney or b) do Disney better than Disney can do Disney. Right now, the only theme park resort that has done, is doing or can possibly do it is Universal Orlando. The combined forces of the marketing department and Universal Creative are pushing have been hard at work not simply trying to out-do Disney, but to offer a formidable alternative.
Regardless of what the theme parks do or don't do with their pricing, our nation stands on the precipice of a serious national emergency. The recent shut down of an Alaskan based oil field to repair corroded pipelines won't cause a shortage, but will raise prices, and there's no relief in sight. Americans will have to ask themselves at what point is too much too much? We pay the pump prices now because we have no choice--ours is a nation of convenience, and things are simply too far apart across the country to NOT have a personal vehicle. Eventually, it's going to be impractical to plan extensive vacations (heck, it's getting tough on the wallet just making an hour drive to Orlando). The parks and resorts will lose guests and money, and people will, in turn, lose their jobs, compounding the financial problem.
It basically says Disney is making a killing in all 4 branches.
According to Disney CEO Robert Iger the assessment is right on target (from today's Orlando Sentinel): "A relatively small percentage of people who go to Walt Disney World buy a single-day ticket," Walt Disney Co. President Robert Iger said in a conference call with investors Wednesday morning. "We're really trying to guide behavior into a more multiday-ticket approach, a multiday stay. . . . We're trying to extend length of stay. We're trying to attract more people to stay longer."
I think that Disney raising prices affects the immediate marketplace in Florida. Generally Sea World, Universal, and Busch all raise their prices pretty much in accordance with Disney. Everywhere else isn't affected. Disney and Universal prices are about the same in California as well, but there are lower priced parks to choose from as well. Perhaps keeping prices down a little would help boost attendance more outside of Disney gates.