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Disney World is Raising Ticket Prices and Removing Some Reservations
Walt Disney World is raising costs and making significant changes to park reservations, single-day tickets, and pricing. This post provides information and our analysis of the reasons for the new strategy, how it will affect the visitor experience, and more.
Although significant, this is just marginally unexpected. Not in the same way that Walt Disney World had numerous price increases at the beginning of the fiscal year. This included new (expensive) date-based pricing for the Genie+ service as well as Savi’s Workshop for Handmade Lightsabers. In addition, Walt Disney World increased the cost of hundreds of menu items throughout its resorts and parks.
The unexpected element is that this didn’t happen then and that this is Walt Disney World’s second annual ticket price rise; the first occurred in mid-February. Even that is not unusual. In our 2022–2023 Discount Walt Disney World Ticket Buying Guide, we have been urging readers to buy tickets in advance to lock in current pricing because of this.
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It’s not a surprise, even though we didn’t necessarily anticipate another hike this year. Sadly, at Walt Disney World, they are all too common. The good news is that tickets are still available for a short period of time at the “old” cost via Undercover Tourist, one of our recommended third-party ticket vendors. You can save a lot of money on each ticket by purchasing from them before the planned price rises at Walt Disney World go into effect.
The cost of single-day tickets is rising for the first time in several years. These will now vary by park and remain at a base price of $109, which has been the case since the date-based system was implemented back in October 2018. On the other hand, Magic Kingdom’s maximum 1-day ticket price is rising for the first time since March 2019.
Having said that, we are unsure of how the distribution of price points has altered during that period of time. The pricing calendar is not something we closely monitor. There was likely a declining number of less expensive dates and an increasing number of more expensive dates even before this.
JUST IN: Walt Disney World will introduce park-specific pricing on 1-day, 1-park tickets starting Dec. 8. Prices will vary based on date and park:
Animal Kingdom: $109-$159 (no change)
Hollywood Studios: $124-179
Magic Kingdom: $124-189 pic.twitter.com/QBCAzJ5elR
— Ashley Carter (@AshleyLCarter1) November 15, 2022
Additionally, we are unsure of how that distribution will change over time, but we do know the new pricing ranges. Beginning on December 8, 2022, Walt Disney World will institute park-specific pricing for single-day, single-park (i.e., non-Park Hoppers) tickets. The following are the price points:
The ranges are due to the dates influencing ticket costs, as they were before. Demand-based pricing, but not dynamic pricing, means that dates that are anticipated to be busier also cost more. (With thanks to Scott Gustin, a theme park journalist.)
Additionally, starting on December 8, single-day, non-Park Hopper tickets will no longer require a Disney Park Pass reservation. Because these are park-specific, that would be unnecessary. As a result, the system at Walt Disney World will instantly arrange a reservation for you.
Only individuals who purchase 1-day tickets on a specific date and park will be affected by this change. The majority of visitors will keep making reservations for theme parks. Park Hoppers and multi-day tickets will require reservations, as before. For these ticket kinds, the Park Pass system has not changed (yet?).
The price to add the Park Hopper (and other options) to your ticket will vary by day in addition to the start of park-specific pricing at Walt Disney World on December 8. Walt Disney World has not yet published pricing details; when they do, we’ll update this page.
Again, these are the second price hikes for park admission in 2022, so we’re hopeful that the price rise for Park Hoppers won’t be too significant. Of course, our expectations and what actually transpires are frequently completely at odds with one another.
Similarly to that, those APs will notice a rise when sales begin even while new Annual Pass sales are still on hold. The updated costs for each tier are as follows: Walt Disney World has not provided an official response to the question of when new AP sales would resume. In our article When Will Walt Disney World Resume Selling Annual Passes? we discuss our current expectations.
Regarding remarks on the price hikes, I no longer have the ability to be surprised by them. This sentiment is shared by the commentary in several other recent posts (plural) about price increases, but it is still valid here. Even though this is Walt Disney World’s second price increase of the year, it is still not a great shock. Crowds are overwhelming, there is still a lot of unmet demand, and the parks have a loyal and ardent following.
Two of the busiest attendance months of the year, the bustling Christmas season, have begun. Christmas was such a busy time of year last year that Walt Disney World ran out of reservations, even at premium prices, and temporarily halted ticket sales on certain dates. This holiday season should be even busy, in our opinion.
Additionally, global inflation is at an all-time high, with the United States reaching a four-decade record above 8% this year. The majority of these price hikes are in that area. Additionally, beginning October 2018, the cheapest single-day tickets have not increased in price.
It’s also fair to note that the price of a trip to Walt Disney World has increased by more than 10% as a result of the discontinuation of the free FastPass+ service and the introduction of the paid Genie+ and Lightning Lanes, which according to Disney, almost half of guests are purchasing.
You must spend an additional $25 each day, just on Lightning Lanes, to have an experience that is comparable to that of pre-closure. Even though it’s still not an exact comparison, it’s close enough for our purposes. CEO Bob Chapek has specifically addressed price increases in earnings calls and interviews throughout the year, preparing fans for more of the same.
He claimed that Disney’s theme parks are seeing unprecedented demand and as a result have pricing power. Additionally, Chapek has bragged about the company’s domestic parks and resorts setting all-time highs for operating profits and revenue.
The domestic parks’ per-guest spending has increased by more than 40% annually compared to the same quarter in 2019 for a number of quarters running. An improved guest and ticket mix (i.e., fewer Annual Passholders), better food and beverage and merchandise spending, as well as contributions from Genie+ and Lightning Lanes, have all contributed to this. Even with Disney continuing to curb attendance, revenue and operational profits surpassed pre-pandemic levels.
In essence, according to Chapek, the consumers are in charge since Disney will keep raising prices up until customers start to object as long as they keep flocking to the company in droves and are willing to spend more. (Instead of online complaints that are disconnected from actual action, in the form of lost sales and decreased demand.)
Unfortunately, Chapek is right—at least temporarily. At least for the time being, it is difficult to make a strong case that Walt Disney World has any kind of pricing issue. The company is reporting unparalleled numbers, and demand is through the roof—all despite the latest (non-ticket) price increases.
The 2022 crowds at Walt Disney World have been insane, barring the early fall off-season. Despite not yet reaching Disneyland’s ridiculousness levels, the Florida parks are rapidly approaching 2019 wait times (though almost definitely not raw attendance levels due to the parks’ limited capacity, which worsens “feels like” crowds). We won’t go into great detail about this because we’ve covered it in innumerable crowd reports and Disney Doesn’t Want Lower Crowds.
In other words, customers will continue to pay the higher costs for Walt Disney World park tickets, Genie+ and Lightning Lanes, and whatever else has increased in cost as long as consumers continue to spend money and pent-up demand is high. The severe issue won’t surface until people are less optimistic about their financial situation and future.
Then, the decision will be made as to whether offering discounts will be sufficient to entice customers to return, or if the last eight to ten years of price hikes have done irreparable harm to the brand. No one, including us, has an answer to that, but it’s unquestionably a question we’re interested in learning more about.
We’re not on our own. Wall Street analysts and investors questioned CEO Bob Chapek and CFO Christine McCarthy about contingency preparations to keep the business on pace to fulfill its financial targets during a probable recession in 2023 during the Walt Disney Company’s fiscal fourth quarter 2022 earnings call.