Disney World increases ticket prices for the second time in a year

(CNN) — If you’re planning on going to Walt Disney World in 2023, you can still buy next year’s tickets at current rates until December 8. That’s when prices on most ticket types will be increasing, including single-day tickets, multi-day passes and annual pass renewals.

The company’s flagship resort in Orlando, Florida, already hiked up ticket prices in February, making this the second time in a calendar year that entry into the “most magical place on earth” has become more expensive.

A Disney spokesperson said that this is driven by continued strong demand and significant investment across the company’s theme parks in recent years.

The current price for a one-day, one-park ticket is between $109 and $159, depending on demand. But starting December 8, that range will now also depend on the park you choose to visit. Three out of the four theme parks will be more expensive to visit, with Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios both seeing more than a 12% increase.

As of December 8, one-day, one-park tickets will be:

Disney’s Animal Kingdom: $109-$159 (same range as today)

Disney’s Hollywood Studios: $124-$179

EPCOT: $114-$179

Magic Kingdom Park: $124-$189

Those who purchase such single-day tickets, without a park hopper, will no longer have to make a park reservation for that day. Park reservations are still required for all other ticket types.

Varying ticket prices

Disney notes that the high end of the one-day, one-park ticket, $189, applies to only Magic Kingdom for nine days around the week of Christmas to New Year’s when crowds are highest. Magic Kingdom is the most visited theme park in the world and the most popular of the four parks at Walt Disney World.

Currently, park reservations for Magic Kingdom are no longer available for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve in 2022.

Don Munsil, president and co-owner of Mouse Savers Inc., a website that tracks discounts and prices at Disney parks, said Disney’s Hollywood Studios is the next most popular park, in large part because of Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge.

He said this price change by park is about demand management.

“Their bottleneck is often the Magic Kingdom. Lots of people want to come to the Magic Kingdom. And Disney would really like to get people to spread out and try the other parks. And they’ve tried keeping the prices the same as a way of sort of signaling that they’re all just as good. But I don’t think anyone has ever bought that idea,” he said.

Munsil said perhaps lower single-day prices at other parks will draw people to them.

Prices will also increase for multi-day tickets, but a Disney spokesperson did not offer specific price details.

“We continue to focus on providing guests with the best, most memorable Disney experience, and we’re doing that by growing our theme parks with incredible new attractions and offerings,” the spokesperson said.

“We are also making planning easier with new 1-day tickets that automatically include a guest’s theme park reservation and continue to provide a wide range of options to visit throughout the year, including our lowest priced ticket of $109 which has not changed in more than four years.”

The $109 ticket applies to only Animal Kingdom and will be available on 20 days out of the year, during a lower-crowd season. These tickets are mostly available on weekdays in late August and September.

Those who want to hop between parks in the same day will also see the “park hopper” price vary by date. Effective December 8, there will be some dates where park hoppers will remain $65, but other dates will see higher rates.

Annual pass prices rise

Prices for most of Walt Disney World’s annual pass renewals are also going up. Effective December 8, three of Walt Disney World’s four annual passes, which are currently only available for renewal, will increase in price by up to $100.

The price of the Disney Pixie Dust Pass will remain the same: $399. New sales are currently possible for the Pixie Dust Pass.

New sales are paused for Incredi-Pass, Sorcerer Pass and Pirate Pass. But prices are going up as follows: Incredi-Pass will go up by $100 to $1,399; Sorcerer will increase by $70 to $969; and the Pirate pass will go up by $50 to $749. Renewal prices on these passes are offered at a discount.

Tom Bricker, co-founder of DisneyTouristBlog.com, said Disney World fans are “increasingly disillusioned with ever-increasing prices coupled with cost-cutting measures and myriad ways in which the company has made visiting its parks more tedious.

“However, pent-up demand remains strong and the parks are crowded, for now. Already, investors and analysts have questioned how Disney will adjust to a recession or economic downturn. In that event, it remains to be seen whether Disney will be able to pivot and maintain strong numbers, or if the higher prices and assorted frustrations are alienating lifelong fans and causing irreparable brand damage.”

Changes to dining reservations

The resort has also updated its dining reservations policy, effective immediately. Reservations can now be canceled up to two hours in advance of the reservation time without a cancellation fee, with the exception of three locations. Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue, Victoria and Albert’s and Monsieur Paul will keep the policy of no-penalty cancellations up to 24 hours in advance.

Disneyland in Anaheim, California, has similar changes planned for dining reservations.

“Disneyland Resort plans to update our dining reservation policy to allow for same-day cancellations later this month,” Disneyland officials said, also allowing cancellations up to two hours in advance.

But unlike Walt Disney World in Florida, the California resort will still require park reservations for all ticket holders, and it will be keeping a flat rate of $65 to hop between parks.

At that time, both resorts increased prices for the Genie+ skip-the-line service and merchandise like custom-built light sabers and droids, among other things. Disney World also bumped up prices of hundreds of food items.

Disney has invested more than $31 billion in new guest experiences in the past decade.

In an earnings report earlier this month, Disney reported $7.4 billion in worldwide parks revenue, a 36% boost from last year. Higher crowds and higher spending per guest drove that revenue, according to the report. It stated that growth in guest spending was due in part to the introduction of the paid Genie+ skip the line service.

Top image: The Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom theme park on July 30, 2022. (Octavio Jones/Reuters)

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