Recession or none, Walt Disney World in Florida jacked up its ticket prices yet again on Tuesday. Starting Thursday, a one-day, one-park adult ticket price will cost $82, a record for Orlando. That's an increase of 3.8% from the price hike the Mouse put into place just a year ago.
Children, who at Disney and other theme parks cease to be children at age 10 and begin paying the adult fare, will now pay $74, up $6. The price increases are for all Disney theme parks, which in Orlando are the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney's Hollywood Studios, and Disney's Animal Kingdom.
Disneyland in California also pumped up the prices. Adults now pay $76 (up from $72) for a one-day, one-park ticket. For the right to visit both its parks (Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure) in one day, the price broke the $100 barrier. It's now $101. Parking also rose $1, to $15 a day. It's worth noting that until the 1980s, parking there was just $1.
In Florida, Disney sells tickets based on how many days a guest intends to stay at the resort. The company usually quotes prices that are insanely low because they're based on stays of as long as seven nights, which relatively few families take. Prices rose for every length of stay. A seven-day ticket, which cost $234 per adult last week, is now $247. The optional privilege to "hop" between two or more theme parks on the same day during a stay also rose, from $52 to $54.
Wednesday, August 4, is the last day a customer can purchase tickets at the 2009-2010 prices, but bear in mind that hoarding them will not be cost-effective for most visitors to the Orlando resort. That's because they expire 14 days after the first use unless the customer also purchases the expensive "no expiration" option, which starts at $22 per ticket and peaks at $213. The options is not available for single-day tickets.
Theoretically, one could buy a 10-day ticket at the expiring price and then tack on another $213 to make those 10 days last forever, but it's going to be a while before that $213 will be offset by future ticket price increases.
Stitch Kingdom, a fan site, lays out the complicated array of ticket options in a chart that's updated with the new prices.
Price hikes are as much an annual tradition at Disney as Christmas and school holidays, and each year it pumps up the fees following the peak of summer vacation season and around the time of its second-quarter financial results.
Disney's price hikes usually inspire rivals Universal Orlando and SeaWorld to jack up their ticket prices as well.
Orlando to follow suit, and given the success of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter attraction, Universal is almost sure to raise rates soon. A SeaWorld spokesman said a ticket rise is not currently in the cards for that park.
I recently paid a visit to Disneyland, where I found out about a novel new fuel being used in its historic steam locomotives:
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