Disney Increases Prices: Are the Resorts Still Worth It?

Disney has announced a price increase for its Anaheim and Orlando theme parks. The Disneyland and Disneyworld resorts will see an across-the-board price increase of approximately five percent, bringing the theme park pricing in line with that seen at other California day parks. Disney claims that the price hike was introduced to increase revenue and refurbish the parks more consistently.

The price increase could be a timely and strategically intelligent move for Disney, as significantly more Americans begin to travel domestically. With the cost of international travel out of reach for many debt-ridden American families, the cost effective alternative of a domestic vacation is often the only available alternative. Disney’s parks offer a simple, well-branded vacation opportunity.

Disney’s pricing strategy has always been fairly intelligent, particularly on the corporation’s side of the equation. Tickets to Disneyland and Disneyworld are typically purchased in advance using the park’s website, separating the cost of the ticket from the experience at the park. It’s a classic sales trick, and it’s one that appears to have been highly successful for the company’s theme parks.

However, residents of Anaheim and nearby Los Angeles have voiced complaints about the price hikes, claiming that they should not be an annual occurrence. While Disney has traditionally raised prices in line with inflation and higher earnings, this year could be the first year that sees a price increase alongside a major recession.

Patronage at Disneyland has increased following the opening of the park’s new Disney California Adventure section opened in 2004. While the parks are currently popular, attracting thousands of tourists and California natives daily, Disney plans to increase patronage further by refurbishing the park’s historic ToonTown and Adventure World sections. The price increases will go into in effect in early August at both Disneyworld and California’s Disneyland.