Guests in Southern California have been abuzz the past few days since Disneyland Resort announced a significant increase in price that took effect Sunday, May 20th. The price-hikes range from a significant $7 boost to the One-Day One-Park ticket (now $87) to a staggering $150 to the Premium Annual Passport (now $649). So far, the only price increase announced that affects Disney World is the Premier Annual Passport, which gives yearlong admission to both Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts. That “Super Annual Pass” goes from $749 to $849. While a $100 hike is definitely a substantial amount, it still remains a pretty good option for APs in Orlando or Anaheim looking to visit the other coast for multiple days.
Could Walt Disney World be seeing similar ticket price increases soon?
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First of all, we have to look at the timing and reasoning behind the Disneyland price increases. On June 15, the Disneyland Resort will be finishing a 5 year long renovation that’s attempting to make California Adventure a park that Disney can be really proud of. This makeover, which includes additions like World of Color, Cars Land, and Buena Vista Street, has been reported to cost anywhere between $1.2 and $1.7 billion, which is well above the original cost for the park. Disney has invested substantially in DCA, and interest has never been higher for Disneyland’s second gate since the park opened with a whimper in 2001. Raising ticket prices less than a month before the grand reopening of California Adventure makes sense, but it still is a painful increase.
It’s especially painful on Disneyland’s local annual passholders, who saw the biggest increase in prices. (Full disclosure, I am a Disneyland Annual Passholder). Disneyland has a much higher percentage of locals visiting the park than Disney World, and the number of APs at Disneyland has become a concern for the Anaheim Resort. According to Al Lutz, there are now one million Annual Passholders for Disneyland, 30% of which have the premium annual pass with no blockout dates. Because of reasons Mr. Lutz lays out in his column, Disneyland just does not have the space and infrastructure to accommodate the visiting patterns of these annual passholders. It makes economic sense that Disney would make the Annual Passport prices skyrocket if they want the number of Annual Passholders, and Premium Passholders, to go down. It just hurts the wallets of many Southern Californians like me who love Disney.
So, will ticket prices increase for guests in Orlando? All signs point to yes, but I doubt it will be as drastic as Disneyland. First of all, while New Fantasyland continues to roll out, it is not as huge of an investment as the complete retheming and reboot of DCA. Secondly, Walt Disney World does not have the same problem of too many Annual Passholders that Disneyland does. WDW ticket prices have gone up steadily over the past few years, and management at Disney World increased the park’s ticket prices in June last year.
As I wouldn’t bet against the trend continuing, look for prices to get a modest bump around the same time this year, but not nearly as much as Disneyland, thankfully.