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Themeparks too Pricey?

Entrance fees are going up while the economy is going down.

From Karin S
Posted August 2, 2008 at 12:03 PM
With the current economical situation in the U.S., I was a little surprised Disney has decided to increase the price of a one day visit. At $75.00 per person over the age of 10, that can be pretty steep for some families. But then I realized you get a full day's entertainment (not counting food & souvenirs) for that price. My question is - do you think themeparks are still a good VALUE or are they pricing themselves too high for the occasional visitor? (I'm not including the folks who stay for a week and get multi-day passes - rather the folks who come to an area for a day or two and decide to do a themepark while they're there.)


Comments in chronological order. Most recent at the bottom. Scroll down to respond.

From Missy Renee
Posted August 2, 2008 at 12:03 PM
I would definitely NOT call a short one or two day trip to any theme park a good value, especially if you are specifically referring to the price of the entrance ticket in particular. I think the season pass or multiple day passes are a much better value...BUT ultimately you still are inclined to spend money on other things once inside the park. How much you spend in the park affects the overall "value" of those season tickets. So I guess in the end it comes down to your spending choices once inside the park...some people are more resolute to eat outside of the park, limit souvenier purchases, etc. And then some people (like me) just cannot resist that cold beer on a hot day, or that huge caramel apple that calls to me from the candy shop window...you know, the one that I refuse to share!

To me, the one day ticket prices at the gate are outrageous...

From Amanda Jenkins
Posted August 2, 2008 at 12:10 PM
My mother and I decided to take just a girls only trip back in 2006 to Disney World to celebrate my completion of my master's program. While there we met a family of five from Canada. They had never been to Florida before and were wanting to do as many of the theme parks (Disney, Universal, Sea World) as they could. We met them at the Magic Kingdom, and they were quite upset with how much it had cost them to purchase a one day base ticket. All of the children in their party were teenagers, so therefore they were paying over 300 dollars for a one day jaunt at the Magic Kingdom. They had not expected to spend so much for one day they told us and were unsure if they should even try to visit any of the other Disney Parks.
From that point of view I think that it is not worth just visiting for one day. Unless you are getting a package deal , which Disney shows that that is the only way to get a deal, you may not be getting all the bang for your buck. Now having said this it sounds as if I don't think Disney World and Disneyland are good enough to visit. If I could, I would go every other month to these parks, for I love them that much. But for just a one stop, I say no.

From J Whetzel
Posted August 2, 2008 at 12:35 PM
Theme parks are pricey, but what is not anymore? However, the prices are not all that horrible.

The average ticket to an NBA game is $61.50. An NBA game only gives you a few hours of entertainment, versus a whole days worth of entertainment at a theme park. At least with the cost of theme park admission, the money goes towards improvements to the park, where some of the money goes towards the outrageous salaries of the players. Not to mention that the food and souvenirs at the NBA games are just as expensive as they are at a theme park.

From M. Ryan Traylor
Posted August 2, 2008 at 2:04 PM
Here's a theory that has been bouncing around in my head.

1) How many people actually go to a Disney Resort for a day? I think most customers that do not have annual passes are their on vacation, purchasing a multi-day ticket. Albeit, that ticket is higher in price, but the per day price is far less than the one day admission.

2) Disneyland resort bases expects a lot of local repeaters. So here's what you do. Jack up the daily admission price to $75. Then remind the locals that there is a 3 Day Park Hopper ticket available at local grocery stores for $99. Sure you lose out on the gate profit, but now they are coming back for two other trips. That means, two more trips to restaurants, snack stands, and souvenir shops.

The SoCal Annual Passes are so generously priced that they are a steal, if you are willing to go on weekdays and miss the peak times.

As always, when you are a season/annual pass holder to any park, you must be a smart member. Just don't buy anything else once you are in the park. I never eat at any place inside SFMM. And eating at Disneyland is saved for a special occasion.

From Anthony Murphy
Posted August 2, 2008 at 3:20 PM
Yeah, I would figure there would be less people buying one day passes. Yeah its expensive, but it still hasn't gotten crazy yet. When we hit 80, it might start to get a little much.

I mean they can keep going up in price until people just stop coming. I doubt that won't happen for awhile

From Franki Brock
Posted August 2, 2008 at 3:23 PM
Even though the tickets may not be cheap, people still continue to buy them!!!

From Karin S
Posted August 2, 2008 at 3:22 PM
I tend to agree that people who live near parks will buy annual passes so the increase won't be an issue. But there are many who only have limited time and will only spend one day at a park.

Since we live in central Florida, we occasionally have visitors who want to head to one of the parks for the day. We have had annual passes at Universal and Disney (we're currently doing Busch Gardens) and as Florida residents, we can take advantage of the various discounts available; but our friends can't. Also, we're heading out of state for a family road trip and will be stopping one day in a city near a themepark and while my husband visits with a friend, my daughter and I will take in the park. That's actually why I thought of this topic when I read about the increase at Disney.

From Bruce Lane
Posted August 3, 2008 at 1:07 AM
Simple answer: Yes, IMO. Way overpriced, way undervalued.

More complicated answer: I think Disney, and others in this same price class, are running the risk of pricing themselves right out of business.

For comparison's sake: Zoos and oceanariums have considerably more overhead, in many ways, than any theme park (water quality control, food for the critters, veterinary bills, grounds and facilities maintenance, etc.), but I don't know of any such park, with the obvious exception of Sea World or Discovery Cove, that's charging more than (at most!) about $20 or so per adult. And, if you buy an annual membership with AZA (about $60), there's an awful lot of zoos in the country that will let you in free, and you get a nice monthly news magazine as well.

I think, if general theme park prices keep going up like this, people are going to look at other ways to spend their time and money, just as there's been a lot less driving since gas prices started going through the roof. If theme parks suffer because of this, they will have only themselves to blame.

Happy travels.

From Alfonso Giordano
Posted August 3, 2008 at 9:44 AM
$75 sounds high for 1-day ticket, especially dealing with crowds and lines and the heat, old attractions, fading paint, broken effects. Maybe they should make it $150 and cut the crowds in half and fix up the parks, make them cleaner, and add new attractions. Oh but then you lose the profits off all the thousands of 1-day ticket buyers on food and merchandise, but those people don't spend money on that, they leave for lunch and stay off property... we would rather have the people that stay on property and buy multi-day tickets, but then we will lose that $12 parking fee for 1-day guests. Maybe they should change the prices weekly, depending on attendance, oil prices, food costs, labor, and the stock market. I own a restaurant, the cost of business has gone up so much due to oil/food costs I'm surprised Disney hasn't gone up even higher....anyway i'm sure Disney's accountants can figure it all out...

I would still pay, then again I go to New York every year and a broadway ticket is $120 now for good seats (or $250-300 for premium) for an always sold out hit show like The Lion King or Wicked, (which are mostly tourist attended.) Yes, there are deals for less popular shows or worse seats but also no kids prices or other entertainment like at Disney.

Most Zoos are non-profit and Epcot (the living seas) and the Animal Kingdom have more costs than typical zoo's.

From Joshua Counsil
Posted August 3, 2008 at 3:23 PM
Anything with that caliber of entertainment is pricey.

Compare it to a movie. I pay $10 on average to see a movie that is usually around 100 minutes in length. If you were to drag that movie over a 12-hour period (roughly the time I spend at a theme park), that would be the equivalent of 7.2 movies, or approximately $72, nearly the price of a one-day Disney pass. Add to that the concessions and you realize that anything entertaining is pricey.

Is it too expensive? Sure it is. That's why it's a treat and not a commodity.

I consider myself a theme park insider, but I rarely make it out for more than one theme park vacation in a year. They are expensive. So are movies, sporting events, and bars.

From Mark Hollamon
Posted August 4, 2008 at 7:44 AM
I guess the only "kinda" shcoking angle to me about the increase is Disney already stated that they feel bookings are going to be soft the next quarter for them and even though $4 is not going to make or break anybody on their vacation (if they are coming to Disney that is) the perception to some is that they just keep raising prices during tough times economically and maybe people start looking elsewhere to spend their vacation $. Just seems like poor timing.

From Debbie Henry
Posted August 4, 2008 at 8:37 AM
Mr. H and I will be traveling to Orlando in October and staying in our timeshare which I hope the fine people at the resort will invite us to a sales presentation and offer us Disney tickets for attending. :0)
Not planning on going to any other park. Just going for relaxation, shopping and to visit a realativea on both sides. Been to Orlando many times, (skipped the last 5 years tho), so it will be nice to see all the changes.

From Jeff Nielson
Posted August 4, 2008 at 2:20 PM
The MORE it costs to get in, the LESS people in the Park. The LESS people in the Park, the HAPPIER I AM!!!

WOO HOO!!!!!

NUFF SAID!!!!

From Kathy Barr
Posted August 4, 2008 at 2:38 PM
yes, its a bit pricy for a 1 day visit, but some of the amusement parks in Pa. are getting just as high HersheyPark is 49.95 ages 9to 54, Dutch Wonderland is 64.95 ages 9to54, DorneyPark is 35.99 48"tall in shoes or under the age of 62,Six FLags in NJ is 49.99 and some don't even offer that much entertainment. Anyway I would want to spend more than a day in Disneyworld unless I had an annual pass and lived in Fla.

From Larry Zimmerman
Posted August 4, 2008 at 7:42 PM
Seems like $75 is my upper limit -- then add $12 to park, too! Of course, nobody pays the one-day price... FL residents have all kinds of ways to save, anyone can pre-buy over the 'net and save at least $5, and those staying at least 5 or 6 days get some break on the per-day price. If you visit 7 days, the FL resident AP makes economic sense (10 days on the non-resident AP). And any visits beyond those are essentially "free."

From Mark Hollamon
Posted August 5, 2008 at 5:22 AM
Larry is right. If you are a tourist, you are going to feel the pain much more than a FL Res. We can get tix on the cheap most of the time. A FL res 7 day ticket with no exp and hopper options averages $49 per day, but practically nobody in FL would buy that when you can purchase a preferred pass for about $500 for the year. My wife and I go on average 4 times per month. That's about $10 per visit over the year.

From Debbie Henry
Posted August 6, 2008 at 6:18 AM
I like what Jeff said!! lol

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