This weekend, the Walt Disney Co. abruptly increased the price of park tickets at Disneyland. It increased the price of an adult (age 10 and older) single-day park pass 4%, from $92 to $96. They have been increasing the price of park entrance each year about 4% consistently over the past few years. This price is more in comparison with the park prices at Walt Disney World.
The biggest change is the price increase to Annual Passports. The Deluxe Annual Passport increased 4% taking the price from $499 to $519. This Annual Pass allows park entrance days 315 days per year. Blackout dates for this pass include mostly Saturdays and a few Sundays as well as some holidays. The Premium Annual Passport, which offers no blackout dates, is priced at $699. The big announcement though was that Disneyland will stop offering the Southern California Annual Passports. These passports offered a discount rates to Southern California residents with an larger blackout calendar (only 215 park entrance days per year).
Many locals are angry with the increase and the end of the Southern California Annual Pass. Let’s be honest – a Disney vacation is expensive. One of the largest costs is the park passes. Many people complain about the prices being too high, but let’s consider why the price is so high. Keeping the prices higher is a way for Disney to control the crowds. Right now, there is too high of a local crowd that have annual passes for the parks, and they create high volume of people mainly on the weekends. Disney has been drastically increasing Annual Passport prices for a few years now in an effort to diminish their local crowds. They have been trying to find the price point that will actually keep enough of them away. This may sound odd to want to keep people away from the parks, but this is one of the biggest problems for Disneyland.
Before anyone gets angry at me for saying that the local crowd needs to get smaller, I want to say that I used to be an Annual Passport holder myself. We would head over to Disneyland on a weekend night at our leisure, ride some rides, maybe eat a snack, and then head out. While this sounds fun and lovely (and it was), that isn’t the crowd that Disney wants in the majority at Disneyland. They want the vacationers who will stay a few days, dine every day, and spend a large amount of money in the parks on souvenirs and gifts. This is why they offer discounts on multiple-day passes. They want you to stay more than one day. Hence, why a one-day park ticket price just went up. They are trying to control the crowds.
Park guests can’t have it both ways – they can’t have less expensive tickets AND smaller crowds. Its either one or the other. And Disney is choosing the smaller crowds. I have to say that if I’m going to spend all that money to get into the park, I don’t want to have a giant swarm of guests making it miserable.
If you are planning a trip to Disneyland in the future, know that it is always a better deal to buy multiple day park tickets from Disney. And hopefully some of these changes will bring about lower crowds at the parks. But who knows…those local Disneyland fans are pretty determined!