Disneyland Raising Prices, an Unpopular Perspective
By Andy Herndon (@andyherndon)
Two weeks ago I did a quick post on the raising of Disneyland prices. You can see that original post here.
Since that time many people have become pretty upset with Disneyland. Admittedly, Disneyland has been raising their prices again and again and again since the summer that Cars Land opened in 2012. Many families have sworn online to boycott Disneyland and start going to Knott’s Berry Farm (yeah right). In this most recent of price hikes, Disneyland also eliminated the sales of new SoCal Annual Passports. This pass gives Southern California residents (basically everyone from San Diego to Ventura) about 200 days a year to enjoy the Disneyland Resort.
I probably have a different perspective than many people on the Disneyland price hikes, and many of you will not agree with me. In fact many of you will vehemently disagree with me and that is okay. 🙂
Essentially, I’m not bothered by the increase in prices and it’s not because I’m rich, far from it.
Disneyland is setting attendance records. This, in spite of the fact that Disneyland has consistently raised their prices over the last three years. The attendance records have resulted naturally in very busy parks. Wait times for attractions are through the roof. My wife and I use to pride ourselves in going to Disneyland during the off season or during weeks that were traditionally slow. Our last two trips we planned during what was described by many crowd tracking websites such as isitpacked.com as, slow weeks. Well, they were not slow. It was busy. There is no slow time at Disneyland anymore. It’s always packed.
Many of you would think this is not a problem for the Disneyland Resort, as the more people who are there, the more revenue they get. This is true to a certain extent, however much of the crowdedness has come from Annual Pass holders. Now I’m not bagging on AP holders here, I am one myself. But the bottom line for Disneyland is the more crowded the park is, the less of a magical time guests will have. For Disneyland’s thousands of out of town guests, if they are not having a good time, they will take their money and go to any of Southern California’s numerous theme parks or tourist attractions.
Disneyland has tried others strategies besides raising prices to combat overcrowding. In early last year, Disneyland instituted a policy that would not allow anyone under the age of 14 to be in the park without an adult. This was to offset a trend that was reported by many local news agencies where local parents would drop off or allow their children at Disneyland after school, on the weekends and during the summer. Disneyland became a daycare of sorts for local kids who were able to afford the Annual Passport.
They have instituted a policy where multi day passholders must get their picture taken or present identification at the front gate to insure they are not using someone else’s pass or multiple people are not using the same pass over several days and weeks.
Disneyland also tightened up their policy toward guests with disabilities, to the anger of many in that community. Many guests were coming to Disneyland with fake or exaggerated disabilities in order to avoid the lines at many of the attractions. Others with legitimate disabilities were offering themselves as “tour guides” to families for a sizable fee. These families would be able to avoid the lines as they were with these “tour guide”.
Bottom line is, being in the park when it is crazy busy is not fun. Waiting 30 minutes for Pinocchio’s Daring Adventure (usually a walk on) is insane! If you want to know what I’m talking about, go to the park when there are no Passholder blackouts and see how far you get.This is also why Disneyland has discontinued sales of new Southern California AP’s in order to get a handle on things.
Many have said that these prices hikes are not in the spirit of Walt Disney. I realize that these price hikes over the past 3 years have priced many families out of enjoying Disneyland as often as they would like. But many of you who are Disneyland history nerds will remember the frustration Walt Disney himself had when a few extra thousand people showed up for the opening of Disneyland due to counterfeit tickets and an enterprising individual who had people pay him to use his ladder to climb the wall into Disneyland. It is in the spirit of Walt that Disneyland has to get the crowds under control, to ensure guests truly have a magical time in the resort. The park is not getting any bigger, so as prices continue to rise, the question is: how much is enjoying Disneyland worth to me?