Readers' Opinions

From Annette Forrest on February 22, 2014 at 7:27 PM
I can see how the ticket price increases are a big deal for people who go to the parks a lot. For my family, the most we've ever gone to WDW was twice in one year and that was just because of a lot of events that fell into place. We usually only make it to Florida once per year. I think $100 a day is the sweet spot for park admission. I'm fine with that.

I think what will happen is as prices to enter go up I'll just buy less souvenirs. It works out okay for me because my boys are getting older and want less junk in the parks. I've stopped buying tee shirts entirely and now look for bargains online throughout the year...and I can give the boys Disney shirts before our trip, and they can wear the shirts there. For 1/4 the price of the parks.

What would be the highest price I'd pay before it really felt expensive? I think $126/day would be too much. I think the admission could go up to $124.99 and I would think it would be steep, but not too much. But $126 and I think it would not be worth it for my family.

I bet, though, that my boys will be in high school before it would get that high. Maybe even in college. I bet in 10 years it will be $125 or more per day, easy.

From Rob Pastor on February 22, 2014 at 8:57 PM
If WDW maintains their percentage rate increases of the last few years, Magic Kingdom should reach $126 in 4 or 5 years.
From Annette Forrest on February 22, 2014 at 10:16 PM
The thing that no one really likes to talk about is that high ticket prices keep the Disney parks from becoming like Six Flags Magic Mountain, which has been overrun by gangs for years. If Disney did not charge high prices, the parks would be overrun by teenagers from the Orlando area. They would not be safe or enjoyable for families.

Having high prices discourages locals from coming. But families going on vacation just build their budgets around the ticket prices. I doubt people will blink much until it gets to $125 or so. But if prices were $50 or $60 to get in, I think Disney would be flooded with teens who would just come to hang out, get into trouble, not buy anything, and ruin the vacations of families who traveled far to be there.

Just my take on it. Would love to hear Robert chime in regarding how much high ticket prices are part of a strategy of keeping gangs and troublemakers out of the parks.

From 75.74.208.60 on February 22, 2014 at 10:54 PM
I hate to break the news to you regarding those teenagers from Orlando that you were concerned about...that $90 plus dollar price is a single day ticket price for Out-Of-State tourists...the ANNUAL Pass Rate can be as low as $230 for the ENTIRE year for those Orlando teenagers (189 potential days) ...that's $1.21 per potential day for Park Admission...just saying...my pass and my daughter's is $644 for the Florida Resident Premium Annual which has free parking no black out dates and includes the water parks and other features which amounts to $1.76 per potential day for Park Admission...again just saying....I actually will go around 50 days total which equals to $12.88 per park visit for the year...
From Manny Barron on February 23, 2014 at 1:13 AM
It's just business 101.
From David Brown on February 23, 2014 at 1:21 AM
And in a new development we go to our forestry correspondent who has some breaking news about what bears do there.....

As others are saying - theme parks are businesses so they are going to push their prices as high as the market will bear. If you don't like it, don't go. But as long as people go in record numbers the prices will continue to rise. And rise.

As a matter of interest Robert, what percentage of visitors actually pays the one-day price as opposed to the multi-day deals or passes?

From 174.64.107.55 on February 23, 2014 at 7:36 AM
The truth is, like this article mentions, it's the crowd level that sets the prices. More and more people visit every year and that means they will raise prices till it starts hurting attendance. If you live in Florida and go often, your best bet is to get annual pass. For the annual pass which includes unlimited visits, no blackout dates, free parking and discounts and perks when you divide the price into the 4 parks it's about $135 a year for each park. Currently it's about $99 per park per year for Busch and sea world. Universal is about the same as Disney. It's all about calculating costs. Price increases usually hurt out of state visitors more.
From 184.89.29.58 on February 23, 2014 at 9:00 AM
I work at Universal selling tickets and my Mutli-day vs One day was 69% multiday. Last year it was 70%.
From 98.85.129.61 on February 23, 2014 at 9:09 AM
I wonder if Disney will nickel and dime people over the magic bands. I could see them adding characters and charging a premium for limited time junk. I think they will start giving more fast passes to deluxe hotel guests or add an option where you can buy more then three.
From 71.46.57.69 on February 23, 2014 at 10:09 AM
Attendance appears to be growing rapidly at the parks more than justifying the increase. The Magic Kingdom seems to be struggling to handle the extra load though less so for the other parks.

This years attendance figures will be interesting when released. WDW had significant attendance loss in 2001-2002 and reaching the 2000 level in 2004. This was followed by significant growth in 2005-2007, small growth in 2008-2011, and about a 2.4% net increase in 2012. Their price increases seem to very roughly follow attendance gain plus inflation plus about 2%. I suspect twice a year price increases will become the norm due to all the to try to make the changes smaller and reduce the press. Also would make the audience slightly more receptive to seasonal pricing in the future.

Disney sees the high price of the one day ticket as a promotional tool for the multi-day visit. The multi-day annual family vacation is the target customer and their pricing structure makes this extremely clear. One-day visitors may be highly profitable, but they want to convert them to the multi-day stay sleeping in a Disney Resort spending their whole budget at WDW.

The Florida AP's are needed in the off season though as busy as they are, they probably increase costs more than they benefit Disney during peak season. Disney has been incredibly effective at off peak marketing with things like Food and Wine/Flower and Garden, Sports special events, and small conventions. Seems Disney would be better off adding more value like parking to the off-peak seasonal passes to switch the demand.

From 173.227.104.102 on February 23, 2014 at 10:45 AM
Wow $99 for 1 day magic kingdom.

I saw a really interesting show, Brain Games that explains why businesses do it. Its called the decoy effect.

Here's the clip: http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/channel/brain-games/videos/the-decoy-effect/

Basically, 1 day at magic kingdom for $99 seems like a total rip-off - and it is! They price it ridiculously so that their other options seem like a much better deal. 1 day is $99 so why not do a seasonal pass for $300? If you go 3 times, you've already paid for it.

From TH Creative on February 23, 2014 at 10:49 AM
I have to believe if Disney is so focused on optimization as it relates to the visible operations within the park, the company most be hyper-aware (sorry) of the price points of its product.

I doubt many here would argue with the assertion that a decision to increase ticket prices is a process that involves casting dice. Former Disney CEO Michael Eisner once said Disney is not "recession-proof" -- specifically citing gas prices and the cost of plane tickets (jet fuel). But then no one can control those outside variables. Disney can only embrace assumptions based on its internal, (very) educated guesses.

Having said that, I know a local family who had wanted to take their six year old girl to the Magic Kingdom last Saturday. They asked friends on FB if any cast members could sign them in.

Today on FB, they posted photos of their family ... at International Drive's Fun Spot.

From Daniel Etcheberry on February 23, 2014 at 11:40 AM
If WDW fix the Yeti and start building Star Wars land, then raise the price.

When those parks cost 50$ in the past, I didn't see any gangs. So I don't buy that argument.

From 209.44.133.160 on February 23, 2014 at 11:55 AM
"Wall Street Disney Gang" killing the goose that laid the golden egg.

Universal is looking better all the time. Knott's Berry Farm is looking better all the time.

Disney is becoming a playground for the rich and entitled. The middle class should look elsewhere.

From TH Creative on February 23, 2014 at 12:41 PM
Directed at "anonymous" (209.44.133.160): So you're trying to claim that a day at Universal Orlando is "cheap?"

(Chuckle)

Tell us, how are things over there in Universal's marketing department?

From James Rao on February 23, 2014 at 2:33 PM
^Great point, TH.... too bad you left your hat at DHS and can't cover it.

The fact of the matter is that almost no one (annual pass holders aside) goes to a Disney park for just one day. Last year my family of five went to Disneyland Resort for five days and our tickets equated to about $50 each per day. When we went to WDW for ten days in 2010, it was like $30/day. Far as I am concerned Disney still offers the best vacation value in town.

From 173.168.195.105 on February 23, 2014 at 4:31 PM
Have not been to Magic Kingdom since I moved from southern Callie , my home, to central Florida over 12 yrs ago. However, believe me when I say that Florida locals MORE than do their share visiting,as well as working for Disneyworld.

As a matter of fact the good people of South America visit and spend MORE $$ here in the parks, etc, then the likes of the above poster who seem to think the high prices of Disney equates to some kind of exclusivity that only Middle and Upper class Americans afford !

Really, the nerve!

From 107.203.33.84 on February 23, 2014 at 5:12 PM
When we go to Disney world, we go for magic. There are never any rough,loud vulgar guests. I would pay 200 dollars to keep Disney the wholesome , clean and safe place it is!
From 209.44.133.160 on February 23, 2014 at 9:17 PM
Let's compare:

Price of a 3 day ticket at Universal Orlando: $126.00

Price of a 3 day ticket at Disney World: $274.00

Universal offers consumers a better value. The price is lower, the lines are shorter, and Universal has the newest E-ticket attractions in Orlando.

From Amanda Jenkins on February 23, 2014 at 9:33 PM
I agree with James. Most people traveling to Orlando are going to plan on a multi-day visit to the Disney parks. I belive the ones who will truly feel the bite of this increase are those who do not plan and research ahead of traveling. A few years ago, while at the Magic Kingdom, I met a family from Quebec. While talking, they began to discuss about how expensive it was for one day for their family of six. Plus, they were under the impression that many of Universal's rides were located in DHS (also that DHS was part of the Magic Kingdom). These people had just assumed (and admitted) that they were sure everything would be fairly cheap and be in one spot, thus only needing one day to do all there was to do.

These increases just prove that the individual has to plan and decide where to spend his money.

From Kevin Maw on February 24, 2014 at 3:48 AM
We know this is going to be the 'Disney Way' of doing business, and sadly we have no choice but to pay the increases whenever they raise gate prices.
I do read many comments on blogs and forums, that it is still worth it.
Reflecting upon that, yes, it is worth it if you can afford it.

Disney appear to be creating a bigger divide for those that have and haven't the means to go and have some fun. While we face that problem in every walk of life, Disney ought to hold up a little and bear in mind that more and more families become heartbroken by the knowledge that they will never visit the place of their dreams.

Some might say 'tough', but that was definitely NOT the 'Disney Way' was it?
The success of Disney is down to everyone that couldn't make the parks, didn't make the movie theatres but still clung on to their dreams.

I love WDW, but little projects like MyMagic+ have detracted away from the 4 Orlando parks. Bigger gate prices should mean more fun, but New Fantasyland aside, Disney are investing more in 'money suckers' like Disney Springs and Magicbands than they are their core park activity; Fun!

From James Rao on February 24, 2014 at 4:57 AM
Problem is, Anon Poster 209.44.133.160, three days at Universal is probably one day too many, and three days at Disney is probably two days too few. The comparison is a little apples and oranges in that respect.

And to TH's point, the one day ticket is the one causing all the fuss, and Universal's one day ticket at $92/day (and soon to be raised, I am sure), is really just as expensive as Disney.

Neither park chain is where one goes for a bargain, at least not when you consider that you can get a season pass to Silver Dollar City or Dollywood (two premiere non-Disney/Universal theme parks) for ~$75.

But Disney and Universal are ultra expensive for a reason - they are the industry leaders. And for the most part, you get what you pay for... and most folks only go once every two - three years anyway, if they go at all. So it is an event for which most people save for years, and for which park admission is usually the "cheapest" of all the expenses.

From Gabriel Schroll on February 24, 2014 at 7:43 AM
When I worked at EPCOT Main Entrance, as late as early last year, we implented a new policy that if a child looks to be younger than 13 (I think that was the age), he or she must be accompanied by an adult (or someone over a certain age). It was to discourage parents using WDW as a cheap babysitting option.

Apparently there are a lot of parents who can't afford proper child care and would buy an annual pass for a child, drop them off at one of the Disney parks, and then head to work, only to pick them up afterward.

I can't imagine a parent would do this, leaving a kid in a park all alone. Yes, Cast Members are good about locating and taking care of lost children, but the whole idea of this disturbs me!

I guess this didn't really have to do exactly with the original post, but the "Orlando teen gang" thing caught my attention.

As a side note, I've only been to Magic Mountain once, and my wallet was stolen. Definitely has incredible roller coasters, but the park is not even in sniffing range of what Disney offers, and price could very well be part of it. More, it's a culture thing, and by that I mean a company/corporate culture. Six Flags doesn't give you an experience. It doesn't have a brand. It doesn't go the extra mile to take care of guests, nor train their employees to do so.

It is what it is, and Disney is the leader in family entertainment for a reason.

From 161.113.20.135 on February 24, 2014 at 8:29 AM
I think the arguement that people arnt saying here is it worth the money. Im from the UK this base daily ticket works out at around 62 pounds. The average theme park ticket in the UK is around 30-40 pounds. When u see it as a stand alone amount it may look like alot of money. However, Disney world is huge compared to your average theme park, the amount of rides and services you are recieving is next to none. Whilst there is an element of coroporate wanting to increase revenues you can never aid that the disney exerience ever falls short of excellenence. Whilst there can be made for the argument that disney may not develope new attractions at the rate some people will like, the buildings are alway in tip top condition, ever restroom is always clean and hygenic. The bottom line is you get what you pay for. You can buy a ford for mercedes money and get ripped off but you cant by a mercedes for ford money. Whilst the cost does add up I would rather see the continued level of service and experience then see a decline as the management cut costs.
From 161.113.20.135 on February 24, 2014 at 8:36 AM
In response to

Let's compare:
Price of a 3 day ticket at Universal Orlando: $126.00

Price of a 3 day ticket at Disney World: $274.00

Universal offers consumers a better value. The price is lower, the lines are shorter, and Universal has the newest E-ticket attractions in Orlando

Im sorry whils Universal is a great day out its is just that ... you can do all of universal in 1.5 days. It takes a week + to do all of disney. So dollar for dollar its disney that is better value for money. And its not all about E ticket rides. Universal has to keep throwing more money at the park because the rides it choses are based upon franchises that have a limited shelf life. Universal have some big rides but also alot of rides that are so run down and tire they can be skipped. Thats not good value

From Anon Mouse on February 24, 2014 at 9:19 AM
The very slight increase of $4 to bring the Magic Kingdom price to $99 is a big psychological barrier. That is the bigger issue. I just can't imagine paying that much for one day at ANY theme park. Then the multiday/park passes go up as well at an increase of $14. It is all so overwhelming. For a single person, this is not a problem, but most people going to theme parks are with their families.

Often, the price increase are compared with other entertainment options like concerts, shows, and sporting events where the more popular acts can be well over $100 a ticket. Where the comparison breaks down is often you're not bringing a family of four to these events. The better comparison is Disney On Ice. I went to shows that are purchased at $25 a ticket for good seats. You get an entertaining show at a good price that are suited for the audience of Disney fans.

Now, it is evident that families have to visit other places like SeaWorld, Universal, Legoland, and local carnivals and amusement parks. They are adequate to satisfy kids in general to ride the carousel or the train. Leave Disneyland or the Magic Kingdom as a treat every couple of years. Or perhaps wait for the local specials like what Disneyland is offering now... $129 for 2 parks, one park per day. That's a bargain (although still pricey for many).

From Michael Owen on February 24, 2014 at 2:33 PM
Increasing one day prices isn't just a reaction to growing attendance figures, it's part of a strategy to push consumers towards the multi-day tickets which, by comparison, offer a much lower cost per-day.

It's the same reason your rarely see Disney put discounts and other incentives on one-day tickets, they'd rather offer discounted dining plans, or other such offers, on multi-day, on-site, visits to encourage higher spending.

From 72.231.205.84 on February 25, 2014 at 3:38 PM
I visited WDW last October for the first time in about 20 years. The one thing I was very disappointed in was the lack of 'modernization', it just seemed like they haven't done a ton of updating over the years. I was kind of surprised going through most of the rides at the lack of technology, for example the lack of HD video screens.
It also just seemed like things weren't as spruced up and nice as I expected them to be. Tomorrow land was a joke. The gocart we were given wouldn't steer, we asked to re-ride in one that worked.
We had a great time, just overall for the prices I wish they were doing some more updates!
From 108.209.22.9 on February 26, 2014 at 3:51 PM
I really don't like to spend a lot of money to stand in long lines