Disney criticized for raising annual ticket prices soar

October 8th, 2015

Recently, many families are deterred from taking a trip to Disney Theme Parks due to the excessively high ticket prices.


With a single day pass for Disneyland priced at $99, and at $105 at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, it is difficult for many Americans to afford to take their families to Disney for a week, or even an extended weekend.


Unfortunately, there is no relief for families who that have been saving up for a magical trip to Disney World, as they have just raised the price of their annual passes above the thousand dollar price point.


Many consumers are wondering why the price hike happened. Most attribute it to the addition of two new attractions to the park, as well as an increased demand for tickets.


Disney plans to bring two new installments to the park to its location in Florida.


Within the next few years, a “Star Wars Land” will be added.


Also to be added to the park is a “Frozen” attraction, as this 2013 film is Disney’s highest grossing animated film to date.


The premium annual pass was previously priced at $779, but is now, at $1049.Consumers will be forced to buy a new annual pass that has different benefits.


The new pass, called the “Signature Plus Pass,” includes all of the same benefits as before including free parking, and free photo downloads taken of guests on roller coasters.


This pass also includes unlimited entry to the park, except for the few blackout dates.


These blackout dates span approximately two weeks, and are meant to discourage pass holders from visiting the park on its most overcrowded dates.


The park’s most popular dates are at and around Christmas and New Year’s Day. Discouraging customer’s from coming on those days will decrease problems with over crowding and long wait lines.


Having logged record breaking attendance for the last three years, Disney’s theme park attractions are filled to capacity. With only two major Disney theme parks in the United States, they are having trouble complying with excess demand for tickets.


However, Disney has a plan.


They have been debating switching to a demand-based pricing plan where tickets may be priced lower on days that tend to be less busy, and higher on days that the parks tend to experience overflow crowd issues.


Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Robert Chapek said, “We have to look at ways to spread out our attendance throughout the year so we can accommodate demand and avoid bursting at the seams.”


By offering consumers more incentives to visit the park on days with less traffic, customer turn out should be spread  more evenly throughout the week.


Walt Disney theme parks are not the first to adopt this pricing model. Uber, the ride sharing program, has a higher rate per distance rided on the weekends than it does during the week.


Uber has found much success with this price model. They have concluded that their customers are still willing to pay the higher rate because they want the service bad enough.


One could conclude the same thing about those who want to purchase passes for a day or even the whole year at a Walt Disney theme park.


While this is a strategic move by Disney, many consumers are upset with the price change because prices were already raised back in February, causing it to be harder and harder for Americans to afford.


Editor’s Note: Information from Market Watch, The LA Times and Forbes was used in this report.