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Disneyland Article
When Will Disneyland Next Raise Prices To Limit Attendance

Splash Mountain
ID:
TMS-4001
Source:
Orange County Register
Author:
Robert Niles
Dateline:
October 23, 2018
Posted:
November 06, 2018
Status:
Current
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Something unusual happened in the theme park business last week. The Walt Disney World Resort in Florida changed its ticket prices and Disneyland didn't do a thing.

The Disney theme parks had developed a habit in recent years of raising their ticket and annual pass prices at the same time. But last week, Walt Disney World rolled out a wide-ranging change in the way it prices theme park tickets that Disneyland has not yet matched - and might not.

Disney World now charges different prices on its multi-day tickets for different dates of visit, extending the pricing system both it and Disneyland introduced on one-day tickets two years ago. Ticket prices for most days went up, but Disney cut prices on a few days - a rare price decrease for the company.

Disney said that it made the changes in part to encourage people to shift their visits from crowded periods to less-busy times of the year. So why wouldn't Disneyland do the same?

I can hear the thought passing through the minds of many Disneyland fans reading this: "What less-busy times of the year?"

Exactly. Date-based pricing for single-day tickets and annual pass block-out calendars have done much to help fill what used to pass for an off season at Disneyland. So has an expanding calendar of special events, including Halloween Time, the revived Food & Wine Festival at Disney California Adventure and the Festival of the Holidays. That doesn't leave many weeks when Disneyland's theme parks are sitting around with empty queues to handle the overflow from the peak seasons.

Weekdays during the school year used to mean walk-ons for even top rides throughout the parks. But this month I have seen wait times consistently run over an hour for rides such as Star Tours and Splash Mountain on weekday afternoons, when schools and jobs used to keep people away from the parks. Just imagine how bad it might be next fall, after the new Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge land opens next summer.

If Disneyland does expand date-based pricing for its tickets, I wouldn't expect any price cuts at the low end. Disneyland doesn't have enough slow days left to fill to bother with that. If anything, Disneyland needs to cut its attendance to more manageable levels throughout the year.

Obviously, the company wants to keep increasing its revenue instead of cutting it. Date-based pricing at Disneyland could provide one way of doing that, by pushing higher average price increases than Disney might be able to get away with charging the same prices across the board. Disney also could make more changes to its annual pass program to increase spending while limiting attendance, as it did earlier this year in announcing park-specific blockout calendars for next year.

Disneyland might have sat out this most recent Disney World price change. But I don't think many fans expect Disneyland to stand pat on its ticket and annual pass programs much longer. Not with crowds filling the parks they way they have been this month.
 
Attractions Referenced

Splash Mountain

Star Tours: The Adventures Continue

 
Lands Referenced

Star Wars Galaxys Edge

 
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