Walt Disney World yesterday raised many food prices across the resort. The increases may have been small in amount, but the percentages add up, with the price of a Dole Whip going up nearly 17%.
Here's some perspective, though. A Dole Whip now might cost $6.99 at the Magic Kingdom, but over at Universal, a Butterbeer costs $7.99. Even with this latest round of price increases, in some ways Disney remains underpriced relative to other entertainment options around the country.
That's not something that many Disney fans want to hear. Disney has provided a world-class entertainment experience for millions of fans, including many who have been priced out by other sources, including pro sports, Broadway tours, and live concerts. None of us wants to be priced out by Disney, too, so whenever Disney raises prices, many fans are going to complain.
With recent changes to annual pass programs as well as changes to the sizes and prices of food across its theme parks, Disney has shown that it is ready to close the gap and begin pricing a Disney theme park visit at something closer to true market rates for this type of entertainment. Disney's top-line prices long have led the industry, but many of the company's most loyal fans have paid far less than those "rack rates" by taking advantage of annual passes, local resident tickets, Disney Dining Plan deals, Disney Vacation Club point rentals, and other offers.
But Disney has a problem when fans using those deals begin crowding out other guests who are willing to pay closer to the rack rate. That's why - ever since the pandemic provided the hard reset that allowed Disney to revamp its operations - we are seeing Disney make changes.
Will they work for Disney? We will find out the latest when Disney releases its next quarterly earnings report on February 9. But a more complete picture detailing the effects of Disney's emerging pricing strategy will not become clear for several months - and even then not until Omicron and the ongoing pandemic stop confounding customer spending patterns.
Until then, as always, keep your eyes open for deals and other opportunities as you consider what's best for your next vacation or getaway. Don't get upset because something isn't as good a deal now as it was in the past. Few things are anymore. Keep your focus forward and find the best deal that's now available for you and your family - whether it's from Disney or someone else.
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