Disney California Adventure and Disneyland 2019 ticket prices increased overnight on 1-day, multi-day, and Annual Passes. The jumps range from under 10% on single day tickets to nearly 25% on APs with no blockouts during Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge’s grand opening. In this post, we’ll look at the big changes and offer some commentary.
First of all, none of this is even remotely surprising. We knew at least one price increase was coming before the debut of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. If you’ve read our 2019 Discount Disneyland Ticket Buying Guide, you’re familiar with this. Previously, we expected the first price increase last fall, around the time Walt Disney World moved to date-based pricing on multi-day tickets (which was originally expected for Disneyland, too).
While we didn’t expect the “Star Wars Surge” in early January, it’s hardly unexpected; we just figured it’d be in February, like normal. Whether the timing is simply coincidental or deliberately moved forward to put more space between this price increase and another in Fall 2019 is a good question, and one we can’t really answer. That’s probably contingent upon just how large of a driver Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is for attendance.
Here are the old versus new prices on Disneyland tickets:
1-Day, 1-Park (Value) up to $104 from $97
1-Day Park Hopper (Value) up to $154 from $147
1-Day, 1-Park (Regular) up to $129 from $117
1-Day Park Hopper (Regular) up to $179 from $167
1-Day, 1-Park (Peak) up to $149 from $135
1-Day Park Hopper (Peak) up to $199 from $185
2-Day Ticket up to $225 from $210
2-Day Park Hopper up to $280 from $260
3-Day Ticket up to $300 from $280
3-Day Park Hopper up to $355 from $330
4-Day Ticket up to $325 from $305
4-Day Park Hopper up to $380 from $355
5-Day Ticket up to $340 from $320
5-Day Park Hopper up to $395 from $370
The biggest increases come to the higher tiers of Disneyland Annual Passes. Deluxe goes from $729 to $799, Signature from $999 to $1149, Signature Plus from $1149 to $1399, and the coast-to-coast Premier jumps from $1579 to $1949. The only APs that will have access to Disneyland for the summer once Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opens are the Signature and above.
Parking is also up by $5 per day, likely in part because they can and in part to encourage car-pooling by Annual Passholders. Even with the new parking structure likely to be finished in time for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, there are still concerns about the local infrastructure buckling under traffic demands.
As has been expected for a while, MaxPass has increased from $10 per day to $15 per day. Even at the new price, we’d still recommend it for busy days, and if it includes easy access to the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge attractions, it’ll be worth it every single day of the year for that alone.
The interesting thing about the Star Wars Surge is that it occurs in the midst of an unprecedented Disneyland ticket sale, with travel dates January through May 2019 offering general public deals that are typically only available to Southern California residents.
In other words, you can mostly side-step this price increase on single and multi-day tickets between now and May 23, 2019 simply by purchasing tickets via this deal. Granted, those specials have some blockout dates and don’t apply to anyone renewing their APs, but the point is that this is largely a ticket price increase being announced now that won’t totally take effect until June.
That’s why we’re calling this the “Star Wars Surge.” It’s not like this is some secret or insightful analysis by us; these prices are obviously being driven by the new Star Wars land. Galaxy’s Edge is expected to open in June 2019 (lightly pencil in June 23-24, 2019 on your calendar), and tickets before it opens are on sale to lure guests to Disneyland, whereas ticket prices are increasing afterwards to capitalize on what will likely be significantly heavier demand.
It should also be of little surprise that the biggest Star Wars Surge is on Disneyland Annual Passes–particularly those that will have access to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge from day one. While price increases on the lower tier APs are relatively modest, if you want to see Star Wars land before August, you’ll be buying single or multi-day tickets, or paying over $1,000 for your Annual Pass.
We saw this coming a couple of years ago, and we predicted some changes in our “The End of Disneyland as a ‘Local’s Park’.” While not all of the predictions in that article have come to pass (yet), there’s little disputing that Disney is going in the direction of positioning Disneyland as more of a tourist destination a la Walt Disney World.
As Annual Passholders, this impacts us disproportionately. Our Annual Passes increased in cost by $370 each, which is the biggest jump I think we’ve ever seen. That definitely stings, but I can’t really say it’s unfair. We’ve long said that if prices are going to increase, the burden should be disproportionately borne by APs, rather than those planning once-in-a-lifetime or infrequent visits.
We detail the burdens created by Annual Passholders in that ‘No Longer a Local’s Park’ article above, and I’m not going to relitigate any of that here. I know it’s a controversial perspective, especially among a readership that likely contains a lot of Annual Passholders.
As for those planning vacations, this is not nearly as bad as expected. If you’re doing a 3 to 5-day trip, you’re paying a total of about $20 more per ticket. That certainly adds up if you’re a family of 4, but it’s honestly not nearly as bad as we anticipated. Perhaps this is because these visitors are the demographic Disneyland wants to court, and the amounts tourists will spend inside the park on food and merchandise is also forecast to be pretty staggering.
(Quick aside: if you’re planning a summer trip for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and haven’t yet booked your hotel, do it now. Book something with free cancellation if you’re not totally sure what you want yet. Once third party hotels know the grand opening of Star Wars land, you can expect many/most of them to spike their prices pretty dramatically–to a degree that makes the Star Wars Surge on tickets look paltry by comparison.)
Overall, it’s going to be an interesting year at Disneyland, and ticket prices are just one of the many things that you can expect to change. We’ll be following everything, and trying to provide you with advice to navigate it all.
What do you think of the “Star Wars Surge” on ticket prices at Disneyland? 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!