Monday marks one year since Disneyland last raised its ticket and annual pass prices. So, like the well-trained consumers we've all become, many of us are awaiting the next annual price increase announcement.
But when will it happen? Okay, it's inevitable that Disney will change its prices at some point. And it is hard to imagine that Disney would cut its prices significantly, even after a down year for attendance. So prices are likely going up. The question is... when?
Even though Disneyland raised its prices last January 6, that wasn't the last time that Disney made a big change to its tickets in 2019. In May, Disneyland introduced its new Disney Flex annual pass, which it clearly hopes will become the future of its annual pass program.
Under the Flex pass, fans are blocked out only for the two weeks around Christmas and New Year's, when all but the most expensive Signature Plus passes are blocked. But the Flex pass will get you into the parks automatically only on several dozen weekdays during the school year. On all other days, you must go online to reserve a day up to 30 days in advance to use your Flex pass. Reservations are not unlimited, but if you work the system effectively, you can get almost all the access of the Signature pass at about half the cost.
Disneyland raised its prices aggressively last January in anticipation of Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge luring thousands of additional visitors to the parks each day after it opened. Thanks in part to the big price increases on tickets (as well as the delay in opening the land's signature Rise of the Resistance attraction), those crowds pretty much stayed away, with overall attendance actually declining at Disneyland's theme parks last summer.
While Disney was hoping to "manage" its crowd levels with the price increases, I don't think anyone believes that Disney is happy with attendance declines. That provides some incentive for Disney to at least stand pat with its ticket and annual pass prices for now.
With variable pricing on daily tickets, Disney can adjust its pricing structure without across-the-board increases. And it can manage demand for annual passes by switching up benefits and blockout dates, as well. Just this week, Disneyland announced that the Alfresco Tasting Terrace at Disney California Adventure will become an annual passholder exclusive lounge, starting Monday.
Everyone I have spoken with who has switched to the Flex pass loves it, but Disney does not make it easy for passholders to switch from one type of pass to another during their year. You can upgrade, but you have to pay the full difference between the pass prices and not a pro-rated increase, based on how far into the year your annual pass is. And you cannot downgrade at all. So Disney needs a full calendar year for all of its annual passholders to have the clean opportunity to switch to the Flex pass at their renewal time.
Disney almost never gives its visitors advance warning of price increases, so it's up to analysts such as us to use our knowledge of Disney's track record to advise fans when they should rush to get their tickets in advance of a possible price increase. So my best guess is that the clock is now ticking for Disneyland's next price increase, with the odds of it happening getting more likely the closer we get to the Flex pass's first anniversary on May 21.
But if you do get caught out, third party authorized resellers often have a stock of tickets that they may sell at the "old" price after an official price increase. Our travel partner is one of those authorized resellers, so check our Disneyland tickets page for discounted tickets to Disneyland and Disney California Adventure, either now or especially right after Disneyland announces its next price hike.Tweet
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