2020 Annual Pass, Park Hopper, and multi-day ticket prices have increased at Walt Disney World, as Florida prepares to open Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway and Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure. This comes ~6 months after a huge hike for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, which was under a year after the prior increase. (Updated February 12, 2020.)
The other bit of good news is that this doesn’t impact regular one park per day tickets, which is likely welcome relief for many reading this. (See update below.) This additionally does not impact those of you booking vacation packages. In this post, we’ll offer more on all of that, plus additional pricing commentary, and a breakdown of the before and after pricing…
Let’s start with the Annual Pass price changes for Walt Disney World. As soon as we saw the 2020 Disneyland Ticket Price Increases, we anticipated this would follow. Because of the Disney Premier Annual Pass that offered unlimited admission to every Disneyland and Walt Disney World theme park, Disney often likes to take the “opportunity” to increase prices for one coast’s APs when they raise prices at the other.
The aforementioned Disney Premier AP is now up to $2119. Walt Disney World’s flagship AP, the Platinum Plus Pass, increased from $1219 to $1295. Here are the other before and after AP prices:
Disney Platinum Plus Annual Pass up to $1295 from $1219
Disney Platinum Annual Pass up to $1195 from $1119
Disney Gold Annual Pass up to $719 from $699
Disney Silver Annual Pass up to $539 from $519
Disney Weekday Select Annual Pass up to $369 from $349
EPCOT Afer 4 Annual Pass up to $319 from $304
Just as interesting are what prices did not increase. Florida Resident rates have remained unchanged for both the Disney Platinum and Platinum Plus Passes at $899 and $999, respectively. Another Florida Resident exclusive AP, the Disney Theme Park Select Pass, also saw no change at $439.
Finally, there was no movement on either of the water parks annual passes, which offer access to Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach. ($139) or the Water Parks After 2 Pass ($89).
Park Hopper Ticket Price Increases
Moving along to the Park Hopper add-on increase, we’re simply seeing an across the board increase of $5 for this option. This is not a per day increase, but per ticket. This is irrespective of ticket duration or whether you’re opting for the Park Hopper or Park Hopper Plus option.
This means that the added cost of the add-on for a 1-day Park Hopper has increased by $5 from $60 to $65, and at the other end of the spectrum, the cost of adding Park Hopper Plus to a 10-day ticket has also increased by $5 from $100 to $105. (And by extension, everything in between has also increased by $5 per ticket.)
Note that this does not impact previously booked vacation packages for future travel dates, nor does it impact newly-booked vacation packages. In other words, you could book a new package with a hotel stay today and you’d still pay the old prices.
After some confusion about the fireworks dessert party alcohol availability (which is still unresolved), we called twice to confirm this and received the same answer both times. That doesn’t mean the answer we received will be true tomorrow, but at the time we’re publishing this, it’s accurate.
Our suspicion is that vacation package pricing will eventually reflect this change, and that another broader price increase is on the near-term horizon for Walt Disney World. The fact that single day tickets are unaffected strikes us as odd–especially given that attendance is up.
February 12, 2020 Update: After initially reporting that this doesn’t impact non-hopper multi-day tickets, we’ve since been informed by several readers who have indicated that their before/after prices have increased. In comparing prices on DisneyWorld.com against third party sellers, that appears to be true.
Unfortunately, Walt Disney World’s date-based ticket pricing system makes this very difficult to assess. This variable pricing obfuscates increases (which is probably by design), and it’s thus impossible for us to say what did or did not increase. We do know that the lower and upper limits on pricing remained unchanged, but beyond that, we’re unsure of what has changed. Some readers have reported ~$20-$40 price increases on their multi-day tickets. (As with the Park Hopper changes, this doesn’t impact vacation package pricing…for now.)
Again, you can still purchase Walt Disney World tickets at the “old” pricing via Get Away Today, but only through February 20, 2020. As always, we recommend locking in current pricing as soon as you know you’re going to be visiting Walt Disney World. Buying tickets today is a safeguard against future increases. (For the best deals, see our Money-Saving Tips for Walt Disney World Tickets post.)
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 Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance using the virtual queue and boarding pass system. While this is being used (and there’s no end of it in sight), being able to move between Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Epcot is incredibly valuable. Normally, the ability to start in the park with morning Extra Magic Hours or spend extra time in Magic Kingdom (or whichever park is your favorite) is also a nice luxury.
Park Ticket Price Increase Commentary
Frankly, I’ve lost the capacity for surprise when it comes to Walt Disney World ticket price increases. At this point, attendance is up, the parks have a devoted and passionate fanbase, and a slate of new additions rolling out pretty much non-stop between now and 2022. Why wouldn’t they increase prices?
In our post about Disneyland ticket price increases, we discussed how attendance was soft last summer at Disneyland. This meant that opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge didn’t meet expectations, which was both the cause and consequence of attendance woes. (Again, we covered this in our Why Are Star Wars Land Crowds So Low?post.)
Speaking to this perceived problem at the time, Disney CEO Bob Iger said: “we do not feel that we have a pricing issue at our domestic parks.” Just last week, Iger was asked about it again on the Walt Disney Co. Q1 2020 earnings call, and seemed generally unconcerned–indicating they’d pivot approaches when it became necessary.
Last fall’s attendance at Walt Disney World after the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge probably didn’t meet expectations, either. With few exceptions, we experienced low crowds and implored readers to take advantage of Extra, Extra Magic Hours, which were downright dead.
The key difference between Disneyland and Walt Disney World is that this occurred during the off-season in Florida, whereas it came during California’s peak tourist season. The expectation of crushing crowds and the need for Extra, Extra Magic Hours in September–during hurricane season and right after school went back into session–was always wishful thinking.
Since November, there has been absolutely no attendance slump at Walt Disney World. In fact, January and February 2020 have been far and away the busiest Jan/Feb we’ve ever experienced…which comes after the same months last year were the busiest we had ever experienced up until that point. (Which came after the same was true during the previous year.)
It’s hard to make a compelling case that Walt Disney World has any sort of “pricing issue,” at least on park tickets. Hotels might be a slightly different story given some of the discounts we’ve seen. Even then, occupancy has been shockingly high the last two months, and availability quite limited.
At this point, it would seem that price increases will continue unabated until the next economic downturn. Given the staggering 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 consumer confidence remains high, 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.
The most surprising thing to us about the latest round of Walt Disney World ticket price increases is that they largely do not impact Florida Residents. As we’ve noted previously, there is an ongoing population explosion in Central Florida, with several cities in the Orlando metro area being among the fastest growing in the United States.
Many of these new Florida residents are families fleeing the Northeast and Midwest who are more enthusiastic about Disney than longtime locals. If new home prices and construction around Walt Disney World are any indication, these transplants are also on the more affluent end of the spectrum. (Behind Magic Kingdom, there’s been a proliferation of subdivisions with no end in sight–most of these have homes starting at over $300,000 and ranging up to $800,000.)
This is significant because it means Walt Disney World, traditionally a tourist destination with a far lower Annual Passholder pool than Disneyland, has likely increased its AP population in the last few years. This is despite all of these price increases, which one would assume are thinning the herd.
Anecdotally, this has been our experience in the last year-plus at Walt Disney World. School breaks, weekends, evenings, and other times when locals would be turning out in larger numbers have been disproportionately crowded. This has been especially true with Disney’s Hollywood Studios since Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance opened, and during Epcot for the last few festivals.
It’s thus somewhat surprising that Florida Resident Annual Passes and pricing largely remained unchanged. When it comes to pricing, Walt Disney World doesn’t do things arbitrarily. There must be a reason why Annual Pass prices are increasing for non-locals but not Florida residents, but for the life of me, I cannot figure out what that reason might be.
The slight bump in prices for the Park Hopper add-on makes much more sense. Walt Disney World has offered several ticket specials in the last six months or so to normalize attendance among the parks and prevent guests from spending more time in Magic Kingdom while only doing half-days in the other parks. This is another step in that direction, albeit a baby one.
Ultimately, we highly doubt that this will be the last ticket price increase of the year at Walt Disney World–there’s a decent chance it’s not even the last one of the month. With several new things debuting soon in the lead up to Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary, it should be an interesting year. 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 Annual Pass price increases? Will you still buy one, 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!