Milking fans for all they’re worth – and then some

I’m still shaking my head in disbelief after reading Disney’s new prices for a visit to its Disneyland resort.

Starting Sunday, a one-day, one-park ticket for Disneyland or California Adventure park rises to $104 from $97 for low-demand days, such as weekdays in May. That is a 7.2% increase. Meanwhile, the consumer price index for the 12-month period ended in November rose 2.2%.

A ticket for regular-demand days will rise to $129 from $117, a 10.3% increase. The price of a ticket on peak-demand days will rise to $149 from $135, a 10.4% increase.

For annual passes, the least-expensive Southern California Select Pass, which blocks out all weekends, most of the summer months as well as a big part of the fall and winter holidays, will cost $399, up from $369, or 8.1% more.

. . .

For the Deluxe Pass, which includes admission to both parks on select days, customers pay $799, up from $729, a 9.6% increase.

For the most expensive pass, the Premier Pass, which includes parking, access to both parks and no block-out days, the price rose to $1,949 from $1,579, a 23.4% increase.

There’s more at the link.

As Entertainment Weekly pointed out, “for a family of four going to Disneyland on a popular day, that’s $621 before you’ve even walked through the gates”.  Does Disney perhaps think its customers are made of gold, or have dollar trees growing in their back yards?  At these prices, only relatively wealthy customers will be able to afford entrance.  That’s fine for Disney, but not so fine for the millions of kids from less wealthy families who’ll be shut out.

$621 is more – sometimes a lot more – than the monthly food budget for many families!  Oh, well . . . I don’t suppose that matters to corporate executives.  They’d rather ignore most of the people whom Walt Disney founded his corporation to entertain, and focus on the fatter cats.  The (Mickey) mice no longer count.



  1. Sorry, Peter, but you're wrong on this one.

    I've got a passport, I could be there in 10 minutes on a bicycle, I hit the park about 30-50X/year, and currently, the place is packed like the Fourth of July every day of the year, even on Tuesdays in February when it's pouring rain.

    And later this year, the much-anticipated StarWarsLand (or whatever they're calling it) opens, which will make the place like festival seating at a Who concert in Cleveland for the next 6 months, until the furor dies down.

    They could double the new prices, and it would still only be a good start.

    Walt built the unkillable goose. The more they raise the prices, the more people show up.
    And there are now…what…six resorts worldwide, and twelve parks, not counting the Aulani (which makes Vegas resorts look like non-profits by comparison), eight TV stations, and a fleet of cruise ships?

    In 1966, after Walt died, Disney approached ABC about buying the whole lash-up for a paltry few tens of millions. In the ultimate corporate Whoopsie!, ABC turned them down, because they couldn't see how the company fit its corporate vision.

    Instead, in 1995, Disney bought ABC for $19B. And now owns A&E, History, Lifetime, ESPN, Rocky & Bullwhinkle, the Muppets, LucasFilm, Pixar, Marvel, they're trying to buy the entire Fox empire, and will probably end up buying Mattel and Milton Bradley one of these days, essentially cornering the market on everything kid/entertainment/game/toy-related.

    This is not just a little amusement park and cartoon studio anymore.

  2. As with gentrification and really high priced real estate areas, Disney's doing whatever it takes cost wise to keep out the black gangs, hispanic gangs, etc. It works. It has worked for a very long time.
    The first time a wilding negros out of control happens at an amusement park, they're doomed and will shutter forever.

  3. The price hike is pretty steep but when you add airfare, hotel, rental car and meal (outside of park), I bet Disney doesn't get 30% of my total vacation spending. Universal Studios prices are similar to Disney's.

  4. Don't like abortion? Don't have one.

    Don't like guns? Don't have one.

    Don't like Disney's prices? Don't go there. Works for me. And has, for over 25 years….and I would not take my grandkids there and don't recommend their parents do so either. Ever………….

    Disclaimer: I DO like guns. I abhor abortion, which is just convenience-level birth control to those who engage in it. And I abhor ALL Democrat policy. Also Democrat-lite policy (AKA Republicrat Ruling Class policy). Now you know. Disney stuff-absolutely not on my radar, nor will it ever be again, even though I have been to Disney World. Once. Never again.

  5. @HMS Defiant

    Disneyland was taken over by hippies once, in the 70s. It's the only day the park was closed for cause. Never before nor since.

    They now pay handsomely for a substation and permanent police presence, within the resort, and mostly out of view (except at the outer perimeter metal detectors and security screening areas).

    Before what's now Six Flags Magic Mountain was purchased by Six Flags, they were a reasonably-priced coaster park, and five minutes by car from the worst Hispanic barrios of northern Los Angeles city and surrounds.

    After multiple open-air gunfights (I'm speaking first-hand here), attendance cratered.

    After Six Flags bought it, they instituted a dress code, hand searching, metal detectors, etc. The gang bangers and ACLU pissed and moaned, but no dice. The hard-line security changes stuck. If you look any sort of gang-banger-ish, you're bounced out the gate. It's now family-friendly again.

    Same thing happened at Universal City Walk: the media geniuses at Universal didn't think about security, and it quickly became an open-air gang mart.

    Watching it go belly-up, they hurriedly contracted with LASO for security, consisting of 10-man roving patrols and orders to roust any troublemakers RTFO, and within a year, they had reclaimed the space, and it's thriving ever since then.

    Part of the reason Disneyland is Disneyland is that they've consistently priced the riff-raff out, and ruthlessly expunge any trouble-making on the premises.

    And one other note for our bloghost: while they may have raised prices over the old prices, I don't think their last increase was a year ago, but I haven't checked. 7.7% increase ever three or even two years ago is far less than inflation. Raising prices every few years is not the same as annual increases.

    And Anaheim regularly bends Mauschwitz over a barrel for $$$ every time they can, for every reason under the sun, because they can.
    That's why Disney bought virtually the entire county in FL for WaltDisneyWorld: they are the government there, so a lot less of that nonsense.

    How bad is increasing prices hurting Disneyland?

    Well, they're about doubling the acreage of the current seven-floor parking structures, to accommodate the inundation of people that keep flocking there. And contiguous real estate is probably worth around $1M/acre. The guy with the mini-mart franchise on any contiguous corner nearby probably drives a Lamborghini.

  6. to HMS Defiant: great point, and one I never considered, but makes perfect sense, yo……I look at your website weekly as well……

  7. Yep, I'm with Aesop on this one, ~$10/hr is cheap entertainment. Admission covers all rides, and you can bring in food and drinks if you're hard core. We never do, eating there is part of the experience. The food is good, and you get plenty for the price. If the value proposition wasn't there, the place would be empty… well, full of Brazilians, but otherwise empty.

    In the early 80s I witnessed a fight between two of the diversite' at Busch Gardens. They had picked up pieces of pipe from behind a fence and were swinging at each other. Took a while for security to get there too. I thought at the time, you'd never see that at WDW, both because they discourage those sorts of people, and mainly because they wouldn't leave a pile of pipe out in the park.

    Disney is way more egalitarian than Universal. Disney's Fastpass system is free and has built in limits to make it more fair. Universal sells 'go to the front of the line' passes to whoever has the money to pay. Very distinct class differences at Universal parks.


  8. It all comes down to the question "do you need that or not". I can understand peoples' need for entertainment and if they are ready to pay that price, well its their money. I personally would rather spend that money on a skiing trip, which is still a rather expensive proposition. Someone else may opt for cheaper entertainment, like going trekking or something like this.
    In the end it comes down to economics: as long as there are enough paying customers Disney can keep asking for that price and make a ton of money in the process.

  9. Several years ago, after a major price hike, they stated that they would increase prices until they don't have to turn people away because the park is full. That's all they are doing now, as crazy as it seems. They aren't even min-maxing the profit, just max capacity.

  10. Family friends or co-workers once, years ago, took a trip and included a trip to DisneyWhatever… and a day or two later had day at the beach. The kids decided the beach time was the better experience. Sure, Disney has a lot to offer… but.. the offerings are "canned".. the beach.. is open option. So one might have to pack a lunch. That's a skill worth learning.

  11. Those are rookie numbers, they need to get them up. My resort now charges $209 at the window for a day on the slopes.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *