The inevitable price increase


Well, another summer of “sticker shock”…

Yes, fellow Disney fans, that means the inevitable increase in the price of admission to theme parks. You can Google about it and find all kind of reasoning as to the continuing increase. Some from inside and some from out, some from the street and some from Wall Street.

The sad truth? It has not really changed what a day at the Park is like. Attendance continues. People keep paying the price.

I get the whole bit about shareholder value. Give the company props for keeping this group happy. If it means that the amount an average guest spends per day increases, then the Accountanteers are doing their jobs.

Yet on the other side of the coin, I can understand and appreciate the cries of those who say that greed and avarice were never part of why Walt created Disneyland in the first place. It would indeed be nice to look back with fondness and say that Walt created the park as a place where families could enjoy an experience together.

So, he did say that. But Walt was a showman. And just like other showmen, P.T. Barnum for one, Walt was a realist. He wanted guests to come to Disneyland to spend. He needed the income for the company that bore (and still bears) his name. Sure, it was great to create new entertainment that guests could experience.

Even in 1955, shareholders needed a profit. Without the potential for profit, Roy would never have let Walt start work on the theme park. Without profit, Disneyland would never have gone beyond the blue sky dreams. The same goes for Florida. Sure, Walt would have loved to have seen Epcot as he dreamed it. But profit from the dreams would have always been a goal.

One can indeed look at Disneyland admission prices over the last five years and add up the 33 percent increase. Yes, it is indeed above the gains made in income by the average guest. But have those higher prices stopped enough folks from coming through the gates? The answer is a solid no. The addition of Carsland and Buena Vista Street to California Adventure have given people the reason to visit for the first time or more. A visit to Disneyland on any day this year shows it to be as crowded as usual. People are still buying admission tickets, still buying that popcorn and soft drink.

Do I (and many others) like the new higher prices? No, not really. I could do without them. And yes, when my Annual Pass recently expired, I did not rush to renew it. That will come on my next park visit, some time later. Maybe this year, maybe next. I got my money’s worth and then some with a fair number of visits in 2012 and 2013. And no, the Company won’t live or die if I wait until that next visit.

If the price increase really had an effect on the number of guests, showing a dramatic decrease day in-day out, that is about the only way that the Accountanteers might look seriously at rethinking the increases planned in 2014. $100 dollars a day is out there and only a matter of time before it becomes the lowest price single park, single day admission.

From $1 dollar to $100 dollars. Now that’s a moment of Disney Magic that should give guests something to think about…


Posted in Disneyland, Ruminations | Leave a comment

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