Walt Disney World announced earlier this week that it would expand its seasonal pricing on one-day theme park tickets to all multi-day tickets, starting next month.
That means that the price of two- through 10-day tickets to the Disney World theme parks will vary by "value," "regular," and "peak" seasons as they now do for one-day tickets. Visitors will need to pick a specific date for their tickets to become valid, and the price of those tickets will depend upon which of the three seasons those dates fall into.
What we don't know yet is what any of those prices will be. Two years ago, when Disney switched to seasonal pricing on one-day tickets, it actually dropped the price of value-season tickets to the Disneyland theme parks in California, relative to what Disney charged for one-day tickets before the change. Might a rare price drop be possible for some Walt Disney World Resort theme park tickets this time?
I cannot recall the last time that Disney World dropped the list price of any of its theme park tickets. (Readers, inform me in the comments, please!) So a price decrease for Disney World tickets certainly would be rare, if not unprecedented.
Most of us are assuming that the net change with next month's switch will result in price increases. Peak-season prices for multi-day tickets certainly will rise... and perhaps substantially. Regular season prices likely also will drift up a bit, as they did earlier this year. But things get interesting at the value level.
One of the big reasons why Disney is switching to a seasonal pricing model is to shift attendance from busy seasons to less-popular ones. Load-shifting attendance allows Disney to increase its annual visitation without having to spend any money to increase its parks' capacities. Raising prices at the high end can discourage attendance on those days, but cutting prices at the low really helps drive the attendance to days when the park operates far below capacity.
Or at least, when they used to operate far below capacity. Disney has been using special events, from runDisney weekends to Epcot festivals, to drive attendance into its former "off season." Now it will try to use baseline pricing changes to accelerate that shift.
But how aggressive will Disney get with this? Could Disney try to get by with leaving value pricing flat, hoping that a second price increase in less than a year drives people away from other days? Or will Disney really push the shift by offering a rare price cut on its theme park tickets?
We find out on October 16.Tweet
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