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Disneyland Article
How Much Could Tickets Cost In 2030 2040 And 2055

Orange County Register
Brady Macdonald
February 18, 2020
February 27, 2020
The latest ticket price increases have Disneyland fans once again complaining about the rising expense of visiting the Happiest Place on Earth, but wait until they see what it could cost to get into Walt Disney’s original theme park on its 100th anniversary in 2055.

Data analysis of historical ticket prices found that if Disneyland continues to raise prices at the rate it has for the past 20 years the cost of daily admission could increase nearly tenfold by 2055 when the Anaheim theme park celebrates its centennial.

Disneyland raised prices Feb. 11 on some single- and multi-park tickets and all annual passes ahead of the grand opening of the Marvel-themed Avengers Campus this summer.

Since 2000, the price of admission to Disneyland on its busiest days has more than tripled from $43 to $154, the new single-day price for the highest-tier ticket. That’s an annual average increase of 6.5%.

In a statement issued Tuesday, Feb. 18, Disneyland officials said it is not possible to project future price increases.

“It is impossible to predict what experiences or prices might be decades from now, so this story is deliberately misleading and has no basis in fact,” the statement said. “This flawed calculation fails to account for 20 years of ongoing investment, continued expansion and world-class entertainment and innovation.”

In recent years, Disneyland has adopted a tiered pricing system to encourage visitors to come to the park on slower days when prices are lower. On busier days the cost of admission is higher.

“A visit to our parks is the best value in entertainment bar none, and we offer flexible ticket choices to enable families to choose what’s best for them,” Disneyland officials said in an earlier statement.

What could Disneyland tickets cost in 2030, 2040 or even 2055 when the Anaheim theme park reaches the century mark? The projections, based on past increases, may surprise you.

If you think $154 is a lot, try adding a zero to the end of that price. That’s right: Disneyland ticket prices could reach nearly $1,500 by 2055 at the current rate of growth.

“If history repeats itself in terms of price increases, this is where we’re going,” said University of Central Florida economist Sean Snaith, who studies the economy of his state, which is home to multiple Disney, Universal and SeaWorld theme parks.

How do you project what a Disneyland ticket could cost in 10, 20 or even 35 years? We used Disneyland’s annual average price increases over the past 20 years as a benchmark. The Anaheim theme has raised prices nearly every year over the past two decades, sometimes hiking admissions twice in a year. The percentage increases have changed from year to year, but over time the rate hikes have remained surprisingly consistent.

What do the projections show?

The cost of the highest-priced one-day, one-park $154 Tier 5 ticket could rise to $164 in 2021 and continue increasing $10 to $12 a year until the park’s 70th anniversary in 2025 when the top-tier ticket could surpass $200.

By Disneyland’s 75th anniversary celebration in 2030 the price could be just under $300. Five years later, the projections show Disneyland tickets topping $400. By 2040, Disneyland tickets could be in the mid-$500 range for a day at the park, according to the projections.

From there, the pace quickens with daily tickets projected to climb approximately $40 a year until 2050 when Disneyland ticket prices are projected to reach $1,000 — on the park’s 95th anniversary.

Then the real pricing pain begins. Price hikes averaging approximately $80 a year are projected to follow until Disneyland’s 100th anniversary in 2055 when the cost of admission is projected to reach nearly $1,500.

UCF’s Snaith doesn’t expect Disneyland ticket price increases to maintain their historical pace through 2055.

“Are they going to be able to, for the next 35 years, have demand grow at such a pace as it has historically to justify or allow them to raise those ticket prices?” asked Snaith, director of the University of Central Florida’s Institute for Economic Forecasting. “There’s no guarantee that that’s the case.”

Fluctuations in attendance, demand and market conditions will regulate the rate of Disneyland’s ticket price increases, Snaith said.

“They could set a ticket price, but ultimately the market determines what they’re going to be able to sell,” said Snaith, who studies the economic impact of Florida tourism. “At some point, the demand for tickets is going to take a hit because I don’t think incomes are going to continue to rise as rapidly as ticket prices have going forward.”

Last year, Lance Hart of Screamscape — a website that covers the theme park industry — predicted that Disneyland would raise ticket prices to $155 in 2020. Hart was off by a dollar, largely because he rounded up in his projection.

Hart’s data analysis also projected Disneyland ticket prices for 2025 ($198) and 2030 ($269) in a study published on Blooloop. The theme park expert projects that Disneyland’s one-day, one-park ticket could cross the $200 mark in 2026, a year later than our projections.

Obviously there are many factors to consider when it comes to annual ticket price increases at Disneyland. The economy plays a role. So does consumer reaction. As well as public perception.

Surpassing key pricing thresholds generates big headlines that can create headaches for the park. The latest price increase brought headlines proclaiming “Disneyland tickets top $200.” The eye-popping $209 top-tier parkhopper price hike eclipsed the fact that Disneyland kept its lowest-priced one-park ticket at $104.

Imagine the headlines if Disneyland ticket prices were to top $1,000 — which could happen in just a few decades at the current rate of increase. That would be 400 times the cost of admission in 1955.

Of course, nobody can predict the future. Disneyland ticket prices could increase, decrease or remain flat over the coming decades. History suggests Disneyland tickets will continue to increase at a steady rate. Almost nothing has deterred Disneyland from annual ticket price hikes over the past few decades — not wars, recessions or the occasional attendance dips.

Fans complain about the price hikes, but more visitors keep coming back year after year. After declining slightly last year, Disney’s U.S. park attendance rebounded, the company reported earlier this month.

Today’s $154 ticket would have seemed wildly improbable 20 years ago when admission was $43. Will $500 seem outrageous 20 years from now if ticket prices incrementally surpass the $200, $300 and $400 benchmarks? Only time will tell.

In 1955, the year Disneyland opened, admission cost $2.50 for an adult “Deluxe 15” ticket book that included admission to the park and 15 attractions. Disneyland ticket prices have increased more than 5,000% since then.

In the summer of 1981, Disneyland began offering an all-inclusive ticket with unlimited access to the theme park’s attractions as an alternative to the traditional booklet with A to E tickets. The next summer, the ticket books were phased out completely. Disneyland ticket prices rose steadily to $16.50 in 1985, $31 in 1995, $56 in 2005 and $99 in 2015.

Southern California News Group business columnist Jonathan Lansner struggled to find any noteworthy price that’s grown annually as fast as a Disneyland ticket since 2000. Not the Consumer Price Index (up 2.1% per year), Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index (4%) or California home prices (5.2%). One of the few indicators Lansner found that has outpaced Disneyland ticket prices: Walt Disney Co. shares, which have appreciated at a 7.1% annual rate since 2000.

How do other local parks compare? Disneyland and Disney California Adventure are priced from a low of $104 to a maximum of $154 for one park on one day. Universal Studios Hollywood, which also has multi-tiered pricing, ranges from $109 to $129 for daily admission. Legoland California ($95), SeaWorld San Diego ($94) and Six Flags Magic Mountain ($93) all list similar front gate rates while Knott’s Berry Farm’s is lower at $84. Most parks offer online discounts off those prices.

Disneyland offers discounts for Southern California residents during the off season. SoCal locals can currently purchase $199 three-day single-park tickets that allow access to either Disneyland or Disney California Adventure or $254 three-day parkhopper tickets that will get them into both parks on a single day. The discount tickets bring the single-park price down to $67 per day and the parkhoppers to $85 per day. The SoCal discount tickets can be purchased through May 18.
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