Disney has increased parking and ticket prices for the remainder of 2021 and 2022 at Disneyland and California Adventure, with 1-day, multi-day, and Park Hopper costs now up to 8% higher. Beyond the price increases, Disneyland Resort has provided an update on Magic Keys and the trams. In this post, we’ll share price change info and offer some commentary.
First of all, none of this is even remotely surprising. If you’ve read our 2021-2022 Discount Disneyland Ticket Buying Guide, you’re familiar with fact that Disneyland raises prices at least once per year. That didn’t happen like normal this February due to the closure–so it’s happening prior to the start of the hugely popular Christmas season.
Before we get going, the good news is that Get Away Today, our recommended authorized third party ticket seller, still has tickets at the “old” prices for right now. By purchasing your Disneyland park tickets via them, you can lock in the previous pricing and save significantly on multi-day tickets!
This October 2021 price increase is the first since last February, which followed the significant “Star Wars Surge.” That last one occurred the January before Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opened, and saw price jumps ranging from 10% on single day tickets to nearly 25% on certain Annual Passes. Some of those price increases were the largest in Disneyland’s history.
By comparison, this increase is more on the average side. However, it comes after the release of a significantly overhauled Annual Pass program, rebranded as Magic Keys. It’s also arriving before the rollout of Genie+ and Lightning Lanes at Disneyland, which are paid FastPasses that replace the free paper and paid digital MaxPass systems. Those are not price increases per se, but are designed to increase per guest spending–so same idea in practice. But more on that in the commentary.
For now, here’s how the latest Disneyland ticket price changes stack up, with some comparisons in the old versus new prices…
Ticket Price Increases
Single Day & Park
- 1-Day, 1-Park (Tier 1) – $104 (unchanged)
- 1-Day, 1-Park (Tier 2) – $119 (previously $114)
- 1-Day, 1-Park (Tier 3) – $134 (previously $124)
- 1-Day, 1-Park (Tier 4) – $149 (previously $139)
- 1-Day, 1-Park (Tier 5) – $159 (previously $154)
- 1-Day, 1-Park (Tier 6) – $164 (new tier)
Single Day Park Hoppers
- 1-Day Park Hopper (Tier 1) – $164 (previously $159)
- 1-Day Park Hopper (Tier 2) – $179 (previously $169)
- 1-Day Park Hopper (Tier 3) – $194 (previously $179)
- 1-Day Park Hopper (Tier 4) – $209 (previously $194)
- 1-Day Park Hopper (Tier 5) – $219 (previously $209)
- 1-Day Park Hopper (Tier 6) – $224 (new)
Multi-Day Single Park Tickets
- 2-Day, 1-Park – $255 (previously $235)
- 3-Day, 1 Park – $330 (previously $310)
- 4-Day, 1 Park – $360 (previously $340)
- 5-Day, 1 Park – $380 (previously $360)
Multi-Day Park Hopper Tickets
- 2-Day Park Hopper – $315 (previously $290)
- 3-Day Park Hopper – $390 (previously $365)
- 4-Day Park Hopper – $420 (previously $395)
- 5-Day Park Hopper – $440 (previously $415)
This is a clever move by Disneyland, as the base price for single day tickets doesn’t increase; it’s $104 before and after. The company can still tout prices “starting at $104 per day.” That has been the case for the last few years, and our commentary has been consistent throughout that.
Last time, me perspective was: “I’m honestly slightly surprised they didn’t move to 6 tiers and sprinkle in a few $99 dates to be able to advertise that.” Well, it would seem they followed that advice in a way, but instead of slotting the new tier into the low end, they added it to the high end. That was likely done so the direct comparisons of price increases don’t look as bad.
In addition to prices increasing, the number of lower tier days has seemingly been shrinking while the number of higher tier days is increasing since reopening. The more accurate way to view the price increases is likely in percentage terms, with prices jumping by 8% on the high end–perhaps a bit more for some dates if you factor in the inevitable tier shifts.
When it comes to multi-day tickets, most prices are increasing by $20 or $25 per ticket. Percentage-wise, these are about on par with the last go-round, with most tickets up by around 5%. Removing last year from the equation as an obvious outlier due to the closure, and these are fairly average increases by historical standards.
With that said, increasing the number of single-day ticket tiers is also a savvy decision from a crowd management perspective. In the past, there were pronounced attendance spikes when one season ended and the next began , and these graduated tiers with more incremental differences shouldn’t have that same issue.
At present, the Disneyland ticket calendar only goes through February 22, 2022. It’s thus possible we haven’t seen the full extent of pricing tiers. However, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve would be among the top dates, and those are “only” $159. Presumably, that’s because those dates already had their tickets for sale, and cannot change tiers now as a result. It thus remains to be seen when Tier 6 pricing will kick into effect; our guess is Easter and Spring Break will be the first dates with Tier 6 prices.
This isn’t to let Disneyland off the hook, but all of these price increases track with inflation levels for once. Since Disneyland last increased ticket prices, inflation in the United States has been roughly 6.8%.
Forward-looking expectations for inflation are lower in 2022 as supply-chain bottlenecks start to resolve themselves, but non-transitory inflation is still expected to be significantly elevated as compared to the last decade. This puts Disneyland’s price increase below inflation expectations for the holiday season and beyond.
However, as touched upon above, this is not Disneyland’s only pricing “adjustment,” for lack of a better term. In addition to increases on these regular tickets, Disneyland will also soon roll out the Genie+ and Lightning Lane systems. (See our Guide to Genie+ at Disneyland and Lightning Lane FAQ for more background and info on how that’ll work.)
While use of these paid FastPass programs won’t be required, it’ll replace the free paper version that used to be offered alongside MaxPass at Disneyland. Meaning the total all-in cost to have the same experience at Disneyland in December 2022 will be much more than 8% more expensive than it was two years ago. (Disneyland was closed last December, so no comparison there.)
Moreover, a strong argument could be made that the same experience is not possible at any cost. Disneyland still hasn’t brought back Fantasmic, World of Color, daytime or night parades, stage shows, and a variety of other entertainment that is integral to Disneyland and Disney California Adventure.
Even those who are “not parade people” are disadvantaged by the lack of entertainment at Disneyland and DCA. Shows soak up significant crowds–and that isn’t happening right now. This exacerbates congestion and feels like crowds in the parks, negatively impacting the experience for everyone.
Parking Prices & Tram Update
Disneyland has also increased parking prices, as reflected below:
- Theme Parks – $30 (previously $25)
- Hotel Self Park – $40 (previously $25)
- Hotel Oversized Self Park – $45 (previously $30)
- Hotel Valet – $50 (previously $35)
Additionally, Disneyland announced that tram service from the Mickey & Friends and Pixar Pals parking structures will not return until early 2022. Tram service has been suspended since Disneyland Resort began its phased reopening in April of this year.
While we personally prefer walking from Mickey & Friends, not everyone is us. It’s a fairly long walk–especially at the end of a long day–and there’s no good excuse to not operate the trams. There is no healthy safety justification to not run open-air trams, especially when enclosed buses packed with people are operating from the other parking lots.
We’ve been fairly forgiving of Disney’s slow restart during the phased reopening, recognizing that labor shortages are impacting businesses around the country. We do not give Disney the pass on this one. It’s inexcusable at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World.
Conveniently, the company has enough labor to operate outdoor vending carts, gift shops, and other locations that directly generate revenue. Yet not the “complimentary” (or rather, included in the high cost of parking) trams? Give me a break. This is a cost-cutting measure, plain and simple.
Magic Key Passes
In addition to all of the price increases, Disneyland announced that it has “sold out” of its Dream Key annual passes in the Magic Key program. The Dream Key was previously available to all guests for $1,399 and was the higher tier of Annual Pass, with the most benefits and no blockout dates.
The Believe and Enchant Keys remain available for all guests to purchase, and the Imagine Key is also available to Southern California residents.
Notably, none of the Annual Pass/Magic Key tiers that are now available include parking (it’s 50% off for the Believe AP, but everyone else pays full price). This means the parking price increase is effectively an ex post facto increase for Annual Pass prices for many Magic Keyholders.
Nevertheless, suspending sales of the Believe Key is a good move. Magic Key reservation availability has been incredibly limited, even for the top tier pass. For practical purposes, those higher passes might as well be lower tier ones, as they all offer the same availability. To that point, there’s literally nothing available on Fridays, Saturdays, or Sundays–the days most locals have off work.
Weekday availability also isn’t great, with almost nothing left in October before options open up in early November. Then there’s nothing for Thanksgiving week, followed by mostly just Disney California Adventure as the starting park throughout December. Probably not what locals had in mind when buying Magic Key passes, many of whom are now quite vocal on social media about how they’re feeling cheated.
Ultimately, these price increases are understandable in light of current crowds and attendance at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure, and we “get it” from that perspective. Pent-up demand is clearly higher among Californians than the company anticipated when launching the Magic Key Annual Pass program. Albeit indirectly, higher prices for tickets and parking is one way to relieve that pressure since there’s no way to “undo” the Magic Keys already sold.
Nevertheless, this doesn’t sit well with us. The price increase comes at a time when there are still a ton of operational cutbacks, and the “right” way to address congestion and alleviate attendance woes at this point is to scale up. Bring back entertainment, extend operating hours, and do everything possible to enable the parks to better absorb crowds.
Labor shortages are definitely a pronounced problem, and it’s easier to second-guess how the company is slow-rolling reopening from the outside looking in. However, it’s also pretty clear the approach being taken is one to maximize revenue while minimizing costs. All of this would be more forgivable if Disney were clearly doing everything in its power to resume normal operations and the parks were still being overwhelmed by sky-high demand. But that isn’t the case.
What do you think of the 2021-2022 price increase on Disneyland tickets and parking? Surprised by anything? Angered or understanding about the price bumps? Do you agree or disagree with our assessment? Any questions? 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!