Disneyland raised their ticket prices again yesterday and with it came the inevitable complaints. It seemed like I couldn’t go anywhere on social media without seeing comments about Disney’s “greed” or that they’re pricing average families out of being able to visit the parks. It does appear that this is one of Disney’s highest increases in recent history, but just how bad is it? I decided to do a little price checking.
When Disneyland opened in 1955, it only cost $1.00 to get in. That doesn’t seem like much but consider that not only did visitors have to then pay for every attraction in addition to the admission, most other amusement parks had free admission. Considering the average price per attraction in 1955, it would cost someone $14.20 to ride all of today’s attractions had they existed in 1955. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Inflation Calculator, that would be $129.67 today if Disney were just keeping up with inflation. Of course, Disney had a lot fewer attractions in 1955 so it cost less. Even so, I created a table showing how much the price has increased to visit Disneyland Park for one day (regular period, not value or peak) and compared it to other costs*.
|Price in 1955||Price with Inflation||Today’s Price||% Increase|
|Disneyland Ticket (1955 Attractions)||$ 7.50||$ 70.53||$ 129.00||183%|
|Disneyland Ticket (2018 Attractions)||$ 14.20||$ 129.67||$ 129.00||-1%|
|House||$ 10,950.00||$ 102,978.21||$ 222,800.00||216%|
|New Car||$ 1,900.00||$ 17,868.37||$ 36,000.00||201%|
|UC In-State Tuition||$ –||$ –||$ 13,900.00||13900%|
|UC Out-of-State Tuition||$ 300.00||$ 2,821.32||$ 42,900.00||1521%|
With a child in high school, I think it’s those college tuition hikes that are soon going to prevent my Disney vacations. Yikes!
Regardless, Disney did raise prices and we are going to feel it, but by how much? Is it enough to prevent people from visiting? For that, I did a price comparison.
|Increase per Ticket||Increase per Day|
|1 Day, 1 Park VALUE||$ 7.00||$ 7.00|
|1 Day Park Hopper VALUE||$ 7.00||$ 7.00|
|1 Day, 1 Park REGULAR||$ 12.00||$ 12.00|
|1 Day Park Hopper REGULAR||$ 12.00||$ 12.00|
|1 Day, 1 Park PEAK||$ 14.00||$ 14.00|
|1 Day Park Hopper PEAK||$ 14.00||$ 14.00|
|2 Days, 1 Park/Day||$ 15.00||$ 7.50|
|2 Days Park Hopper||$ 20.00||$ 10.00|
|3 Days, 1 Park/Day||$ 20.00||$ 6.67|
|3 Days Park Hopper||$ 25.00||$ 8.33|
|4 Days, 1 Park/Day||$ 20.00||$ 5.00|
|4 Days Park Hopper||$ 25.00||$ 6.25|
|5 Days, 1 Park/Day||$ 20.00||$ 4.00|
|5 Days Park Hopper||$ 25.00||$ 5.00|
I don’t think this increase is enough to prevent the occasional visitor from vacationing at Disneyland Resort. In reality, tickets for my next trip are only going to cost $75 more than they did yesterday. Where I think visitors will see the biggest pinch is in the annual passes. The Select Annual Pass didn’t go up by much, only $30, but there are a lot of blackout dates during which that pass can’t be used. If you want an annual pass that’s good every day of the year, the price went from $1,149 per person to $1,399 per person. For a family of four, that’s an extra $1,000 per year.
So, where is all this money going? I don’t know for sure, of course, but it is public record that Disney is making a lot of improvements. Nearly everyone knows Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is coming to Disneyland this summer. I don’t think that tells the whole story, though. Simply do a Google search of Disneyland and you’ll see they’ve been hit with some extra expenses recently. They increased their minimum wage from $11/hour to $15/hour from July 2018 to January 2019. That’s a 36% raise for a lot of their employees, which would impact any business. In addition, the City of Anaheim voted to cancel Disney’s tax subsidies to the tune of about $267 million. Whether you agree with the raises or tax subsidies or not, one can’t argue that if Disney’s expenses increase, like any other company, they’re going to find a way to increase revenues, too.
All in all, I’m not thrilled about the price increase. Who would be? “Yes, please let me pay more for something ,” said no one ever. I don’t think the price increase warrants the amount of backlash I’ve seen on social media, however.
For me, I’m going to instead worry about how my Disneyland visits can continue while I’m paying sky high college tuition.
* Prices for this comparison came from various sources including: