If you’ve been to Disneyland or Walt Disney World anytime recently you know two things—it’s a lot of fun, and it’s really expensive. If you went during the busy summer months you know something else—it can be really crowded. Disney Parks are now considering a way to alleviate that problem. Their solution however, may make the cost issue even worse.
According to a story in the LA Times, Disney Parks are considering a new, tiered pricing system that would make park tickets more expensive during their busier season. Under the plan there would be multiple park tickets available. Gold tickets could be used all year round. Silver tickets could be used most of the year, except during peak, their busiest summer days, spring break, or holiday season. Bronze tickets would only be usable during off-peak times. The difference between a gold and bronze ticket could be around $15, although discounts would be available for multiple ticket purchases. Today a single ticket to for one day at Disneyland costs $99. Walt wanted this park to be for everybody, not just those who could afford it.
Disney is in the enviable position that they need to do something to reduce the crowds at their parks. Disney has become the one stop theme park for all things Marvel and Star Wars, not to mention all their own stuff. If anything the park is becoming more popular. Disneyland just began its 60th anniversary celebration last weekend and during their 24 hour kickoff the gates were closed twice due to the park hitting capacity. While this was a special event, the park hitting max capacity is not a recent problem. The parks have seen more than one price increase in recent years, much of it in an attempt to reduce crowds.
The pricing scheme was presented to Disney Annual Passholders via an online survey. The survey asked how a pricing change of this nature would impact their own attendance. Annual Passholders already deal with a similar structure as there are different annual passes, some contain blackout dates while others are good 365 days a year.
Raising prices is never a popular choice. Add to it the fact the parks already saw a price increase earlier this year. At the same time an overcrowded park can be equally, if not more, frustrating for children and adults alike. If you’re going to have to pay over $100 per person to get in, you’ll want to be sure you’re going to get a chance to do everything you want and not spend all your time standing in line.
At the end of the day, if this new pricing is instituted and it keeps people away, well that was the point. If it doesn't keep people away then fans of Disneyland and Disney World will likely need to get ready for the next idea, whatever that may be. In the end a less crowded park is probably better for everybody.