Walt Disney World’s annual ticket price increase has occurred like clockwork, with multi-day prices going up for base and Park Hopper options through December 31, 2022. This comes after increases on hundreds of food items in early 2022 and a few months after the debut of Genie+ and Lightning Lanes. This post has details on the increases along with commentary offering our thoughts.
None of this is all that surprising. Price increases have been commonplace in recent years, predictably happening around the same date in mid-February every year. That’s why we’ve been advising readers to purchase tickets ASAP to lock-in current prices in our 2022 Discount Walt Disney World Ticket Buying Guide, as we’ve been expecting an imminent price increase. The bigger “surprise” is that Walt Disney World didn’t raise ticket prices last September to coincide with the start of the 50th Anniversary festivities.
The good news here is that Undercover Tourist, one of our recommended third party ticket sellers, still has tickets at the “old” prices for a limited time. By buying through them before they sell out of the old tickets, you can save up to $131 per ticket! You’ll need to act fast, as once those are gone–they’re gone.
As a general matter, Walt Disney World’s date-based ticket pricing system makes price increases very difficult to assess. This variable pricing obfuscates increases (which is probably by design), and it’s thus impossible for us to say which dates did or did not increase.
What we do know is that the lower and upper limits on pricing remained changed, but beyond that, we’re unsure of what has changed. It’s also presently unclear how–or if–these increases impact total vacation package pricing. With that said, let’s take a look at what has–and has not–changed as of February 2022…
WDW Single Day Ticket Pricing
The price range for single day tickets has not changed. The single day price still starts at $109, which has been the base price since the introduction of the date-based system back in October 2018. Likewise, the maximum 1-day ticket price is still $159. That’s up by $30 from October 2018, but unchanged since March 2019.
With that said, we have no clue how the distribution of price points has changed during that time. We don’t track the price calendar that closely. It’s entirely possible there’s a shrinking number of cheaper dates and growing number of more expensive dates.
Based on what I’m seeing, there actually has not been a significant reduction of $109 dates. Most weekdays in late August through September 2022 are still priced at $109, which has been the case for a few years. This probably reflects the reality of this being off-season, and Disney’s inability to redistribute attendance to these slower months (thankfully).
Conversely, it appears that there are more tickets at the $149 and $154 price points. There was a time when very few dates eclipsed $139, but that’s no longer true. We’re seeing lots of weekends at $149 or $154 that previously had mid-tier costs. Additionally, March and April 2022, plus weekends in May 2022, also seem to be more expensive.
WDW Base Ticket February 2022 Price Increases
Base tickets offer admission to one theme park at Walt Disney World per day for each day of the ticket. All days in multi-day tickets must be used during the valid ticket dates shown via Disney’s booking calendar.
Along with valid theme park admission, a park reservation at the same park on the same date is required. Reservations can be made using the Disney Park Pass system. (Disney’s booking calendar won’t let you buy on dates that reservations are totally unavailable.)
Here are the before and after prices:
1-3 day base tickets: No price increases (to the ranges)
4 day base tickets: now $447.70 to $596.74 (before $434.83 to $596.74)
5 day base tickets: now $484.52 to $646.87 (before $463.56 to $630.85)
6 day base tickets: now $496.43 to $672.25 (before $477.79 to $645.91)
7 day base tickets: now $511.10 to $694.46 (before $492.06 to $661.56)
8 day base tickets: now $545.19 to $716.20 (before $518.17 to $678.83)
9 day base tickets: now $563.46 to $738.66 (before $536 to $691.93)
10 day base tickets: now $582.09 to $752.40 (before $553.59 to $703.65)
WDW Park Hopper February 2022 Price Increases
The Park Hopper option allows guests to visit more than one park per day at Walt Disney World. Guests must make a theme park reservation via the Disney Park Pass reservation system for the first park they plan to visit.
After entering that first park (which is required), guests are able to visit the next park starting at 2 pm until each park’s regularly scheduled closure. The ability to visit a park is subject to the park’s capacity limitations, which have only been hit once: briefly at Magic Kingdom on October 1 last year, for the kickoff of the 50th Anniversary. (In other words, don’t expect that to be an issue.)
Here are the before and after Park Hopper prices:
1-2 day Park Hopper tickets: No price increases (to the ranges)
3 day Park Hopper tickets: now $416.37 to $555.88 (before $415.77 to $555.88)
4 day Park Hopper tickets: now $540.89 to $687.27 (before $525.35 to $687.27)
5 day Park Hopper tickets: now $572.47 to $739.92 (before $554.09 to $721.38)
6 day Park Hopper tickets: now $586.96 to $762.77 (before $568.32 to $736.44)
7 day Park Hopper tickets: now $601.63 to $785.48 (before $582.59 to $752.08)
8 day Park Hopper tickets: now $628.04 to $810.55 (before $608.69 to $769.36)
9 day Park Hopper tickets: now $649.96 to $827 (before $626.53 to $782.46)
10 day Park Hopper tickets: now $671.15 to $841.86 (before $644.22 to $794.17)
Finally, the before and after on Park Hopper Plus prices (as a reminder, this includes water park and other “sports-related fun”):
1-2 day Park Hopper Plus tickets: No price increases (to the ranges)
3 day Park Hopper Plus tickets: now $437.67 to $577.18 (before $437.07 to $577.18)
4 day Park Hopper Plus tickets: now $559.53 to $708.57 (before $546.65 to $708.57)
5 day Park Hopper Plus tickets: now $593.53 to $761.22 (before $575.39 to $742.68)
6 day Park Hopper Plus tickets: now $612.02 to $784.07 (before $589.62 to $757.74)
7 day Park Hopper Plus tickets: now $622.98 to $806.78 (before $603.89 to $773.39)
8 day Park Hopper Plus tickets: now $653.57 to $828.03 (before $629.99 to $790.66)
9 day Park Hopper Plus tickets: now $678.94 to $844.66 (before $647.83 to $803.76)
10 day Park Hopper Plus tickets: now $698.43 to $863.16 (before $665.52 to $815.47)
Although tangential to the main point of this post, we highly recommend almost everyone purchase the Park Hopper add-on, even after this price increase. Park Hopper tickets give you more flexibility and the ability to more dynamically plan your day.
This is especially key right now, with limited operating hours, missing entertainment, and Genie+ and Lightning Lanes offering better bang for buck if split across multiple parks. In particular, being able to move between Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Epcot is incredibly valuable–especially until Fantasmic returns (hopefully soon!)
Park Ticket Price Increase Commentary
Frankly, I’ve lost the capacity for surprise when it comes to Walt Disney World price increases. In this case, I’m more surprised at how long the company has gone without increasing prices. This is the most significant change to tickets since February 2020.
At this point, attendance is trending upwards, pent-up demand is still strong, the parks have a devoted and passionate fanbase, the World’s Most Magical Celebration is proving popular, and Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind and Tron Lightcycle Run are two high-profile additions debut between now and 2023. Why wouldn’t the company increase prices?
On top of that, inflation is running hot around the globe, with the United States hitting a 39-year high of 7% last year. Most of these price increases are in the neighborhood of 4%, or lower than inflation. Many tickets didn’t increase at all. The least expensive single day tickets haven’t gone up since October 2018.
However, it’s also fair to point out that with the end of free FastPass+ and introduction of paid Genie+ and Lightning Lanes, which Walt Disney World has indicated that roughly one-third to half of guests are purchasing, the effective cost of visiting has gone up by more than 4%. In order to have an equivalent experience as before, you’ll need to spend an extra $16 per day, at least. That’s still not exactly apples to apples, but it’s close enough for the sake of our comparison.
Moreover, you could argue that an “equivalent experience” is not possible for anyone at any price point. Some shows, nighttime spectaculars, and atmospheric acts still have yet to return. Walt Disney World theme park hours are still reduced. Much is missing from the normal, pre-closure guest experience. This really isn’t even arguable–it’s indisputable that Walt Disney World is offering less and charging more. It’s also indisputable that enough people are having no problem paying.
During Disney’s most recent earnings call in February 2022, CEO Bob Chapek directly addressed price increases. He said that Disney’s theme parks are seeing unprecedented demand, and have pricing power as a result. Chapek also boasted that the company’s “domestic parks and resorts achieved all-time revenue and operating income record despite the Omicron surge.”
Per guest spending at the domestic parks was up more than 40% versus the same quarter in 2019, an absolutely staggering number. This was driven by a more favorable guest and ticket mix (read: fewer Annual Passholders), plus higher food & beverage and merchandise spending, as well as contributions from Genie+ and Lightning Lanes. Revenue and operating income exceeded pre-pandemic levels, and that’s even as Disney continued capping attendance.
It’s hard to make a compelling case that Walt Disney World has any sort of pricing problem, at least for now. Even with all of the recent (non-ticket) price increases, the company is posting unprecedented numbers and demand is off the charts.
At this point, it would seem that price increases will continue unabated until the next economic downturn or there’s a precipitous decline in consumer sentiment (Hmmmm). Given the high number of “Most Expensive Day Ever” and “#BROKE” shirts (among hundreds of other similar Etsy designs) visible in the parks right now, we do think Walt Disney World has a serious pricing reputation and perception problem.
However, as long as consumers keep spending and pent-up demand is strong, people will pay the prices…and then spend even more to wear shirts complaining about said prices. The serious issue will come down the road when people are not feeling so hot about their economic circumstances and future.
At that point, it’s a question of whether discounting will be enough to incentivize guests to return, or if irreparable brand damage will have been done during the last decade or so of increases. We don’t have an answer to that–no one does–but it’s definitely something about which we’re curious.
Ultimately, our expectation is that this will be the only price increase on multi-day base and Park Hopper tickets at Walt Disney World. The company has gotten away from two annual increases (they were happening in February and October for a few years), which is at least one silver lining in all of this.
Beyond that, it’s still our belief that things aren’t too far from normalizing. (You might call it wishful–or delusional–thinking!) At some point, pent-up demand fizzles out, inflation on necessities influences discretionary spending, and the stimulus money plus what people saved during the pandemic is going to be depleted.
When all of some of that happens, consumers will return to being more cost-conscious and price sensitive, and things will normalize to at least some degree. However, there don’t appear to be any signs of those things happening anytime soon. So, get used to high prices, heavy crowds, and nickel & diming at Walt Disney World and Disneyland as this record run of revenue and income continues for the foreseeable future. We’ll be paying careful attention to all of the changes, and will keep you updated as we learn anything new.
What do you think of these Walt Disney World multi-day base ticket and Park Hopper price increases? Will you still be visiting the parks this year, or are you priced out? Do you agree or disagree with our assessment? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!