Ticket Price Increase Could Come Soon for 2024 at Disney World

Walt Disney World typically raises prices once per year, with park tickets and more going up around the same time. This post offers offers details of past admission increases, when we’re expecting it to happen in 2024. Plus how to beat the potential increase and our commentary about possible motivations for and against increasing prices this month or waiting longer.

For starters, we should emphasize the “typically” in the sentence above, as prices increases are not a sure thing. Disneyland recently went over a full year without a single increase. Granted, that was the year-plus that the parks were closed…minor detail. More recently, and in a more normal environment, Walt Disney World also went a full 365+ days without raising regular admission prices. (More on that in a minute.)

In fact, it’s far more common for price increases to occur twice in a year rather than not at all. In 2022, Walt Disney World raised ticket prices twice–in mid-February and early December. That was actually a bit of a weird one, as Walt Disney World made structural changes and removed reservations for single-day tickets and gave three weeks’ notice before implementing the changes. But it was also effectively a price increase for most dates.

Walt Disney World and Disneyland have raised prices twice annually on a few occasions in the last decade. That’s why we’ve been advising readers to purchase tickets in advance to lock-in current prices in our 2024 Discount Walt Disney World Ticket Buying Guide and our Discount Disneyland Ticket Tips posts.

If you’ve read those posts, you’re likely already aware that Disney typically increases ticket prices in February and/or October. With only a few anomalies like late 2022 and ahead of the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, this has happened consistently since 2014. (Prior to that, price increases typically happened in the summer.)

In most of those years, Walt Disney World raised ticket prices in February–the last two years of October 11 price increases are actually less common than early to mid-February price increases. In any case, the best recent predictor of a winter increase has been the lack of a fall price increase.

As noted above, the domestic Disney Parks’ last major price increase happened on October 11, 2023. On that date, Disneyland raised rates on 1-day, multi-day, Park Hopper, Annual Pass, Genie+ and more. That was a traditional increase for Disneyland and, as such, we do not expect another jump in February 2024 for the California parks. This post concerns only Walt Disney World.

On that same date, Walt Disney World did raise rates on APs, parking, water parks, Memory Maker, and a number of restaurants. Walt Disney World also introduced date-based prices for fireworks dessert parties and tours, effectively increasing prices for those most dates, too. So it’s not as if WDW simply sat on its hands–a lot of prices went up then in Florida, too!

The question is whether this “counts” as a normal price increase. For many of you who are Annual Passholders, or even those who enjoy meals of food, it’s an obvious and unequivocal yes. Your admission increased by $30 to $50 per year, as did the stuff you eat and perhaps other things you do. Not only that, but Genie+ prices went up throughout the year, peaking at a new high of $39 in late December. No formal price increase announcement needed for that!

Dumb as the question of whether last year’s increase “counts” may seem, it’s worth asking because usually the big annual price increase targets single and multi-day tickets; that’s the focus, even if it’s irrelevant to you, personally. None of the increases that occurred last fall would preclude another increase this winter–and it’s also possible for Walt Disney World to increase just standard ticket prices without touching anything else.

It’s also not uncommon for Walt Disney World to raise menu prices multiple times per year, so just because those went up last October doesn’t mean it won’t happen again this month. We’ve seen that happen at both the start of the fiscal year in October and towards the beginning of the calendar year (late January or early February) on many occasions.

In recent years, it’s been happening more often than not. With the return of the Disney Dining Plan and real-world inflation, higher menu prices wouldn’t be the least bit surprising. (If menu prices go up, it makes the DDP look like a better value, incentivizing more guests to buy the 2024 Disney Dining Plan.)

To the point about park tickets, the last major price increase on those at Walt Disney World occurred on December 8, 2022. It’s been over a year since they last went up, which is fairly uncommon. We are currently in the anomaly where WDW ticket prices haven’t gone up in 365+ days. Disney waiting until October 2024 would put almost two years between increases, which seems unlikely.

Offering ‘forecasts’ about how much specific tickets will increase is a fool’s errand. If Walt Disney World does raise prices, expect them to go up by around 5-10% on average, with some remaining unchanged and others going up by 12-15%.

One prediction we will make (again) is that the starting price of 1-day tickets will NOT go up. These still start at $109–but only for Animal Kingdom–which has been the base price since the introduction of the date-based system back in October 2018. Maintaining this $109 starting price is an important talking point for Disney. When costs of visiting are discussed in the mainstream media, there’s typically a quote from a Disney spokesperson reiterating that the base price has not gone up in over 5 years.

That’s technically true, but the practical reality is that 95% of tickets actually cost more. That is, unless you are only visiting Animal Kingdom for one day during the off-season. Our guess is that 1-day tickets to DAK don’t account for a tremendous amount of ticket sales, so the ‘static base price’ talking point is largely fluff. (It does really underscore why Animal Kingdom needs expansion, though!)

One question is whether Annual Pass prices will go up again after just increasing in October 2023. I would bet against this, personally. No tiers of Annual Passes for Walt Disney World have sold out since sales resumed last year, despite Disney warning on day one that they’d likely sell out that day.

Even with the introduction of ‘good-to-go’ days and return of all-day Park Hopping–which Walt Disney World could use to market APs having “more value than ever” and thus justifying a price increase (nevermind that those are the partial restoration of things taken away back in 2020)–I just don’t see it.

Demand has softened in general, and Walt Disney World will now want/need locals and diehard fans to help buoy numbers during times that would otherwise be slower. One thing I could see happening is higher prices for the lowest tier in an attempt to ‘nudge’ Pixie Dust Passholders to higher tiers. But then again, Walt Disney World may not want to lose ‘borderline’ APs, especially since that tier helps fill the parks during the off-season. Also, they could’ve done that last fall but largely opted against it, so it also seems unlikely.

The good news is that you can guard against the possible increases on admission. If you have a Walt Disney World trip planned between now and December 2024, you can buy tickets now to lock-in current costs and guard against future increases. There will almost certainly be one price increase between now and the end of the year, even if it doesn’t happen until October 2024 for whatever reason.

See our 2023 Discount Walt Disney World Ticket Buying Guide for recommendations on where to buy to save the most money. That also covers topics like whether to purchase Park Hoppers, AP breakeven point, and more.

With that said, if you’re on the fence but planning on buying via an authorized third party ticket seller, you are probably fine to wait until after the price increase is announced/occurs. For the past decade-plus, authorized sellers have maintained inventory of the existing tickets at the “old” prices, usually for a couple of weeks after the price increase. I can’t remember the last time that was not the case, so it’s safe to say it’ll likely happen again with potential price increases in February 2024.

However, if you’re booking a Walt Disney World vacation package that includes tickets, DO NOT WAIT. Book something ASAP. Once those prices go up, there’s no workaround for getting the old prices. Your only alternative would be a room-only rate, and buying tickets separately via the aforementioned authorized discount sellers.

The good news is that there are already a ton of discounts available for now through early Fall 2024. (See All Current Walt Disney World Discounts for 2024.) Vacation packages, including discounted ones, reflect the price of tickets when originally booked. This means if ticket prices were to go up overnight, you’d pay more for the Free Dining Deal, tomorrow than you would today.

This doesn’t just apply to brand-new bookings…it also applies to most modifications. (There are some exceptions to this; adding something to your package–like the Disney Dining Plan–typically is not considered a modification that triggers repricing of package components.) But if you have a vacation package booked today and ticket prices increase, and you then apply a retroactive discount, you’re going to pay the new rate for admission.

Over the years, we’ve heard from readers who have been surprised that their price is higher with a discount than without. This is usually why–base prices increased between the time they made the reservation and the time they applied the discount. That’s why it’s best to both lock-in rates and apply discounts ASAP, whenever possible.

Obviously, it’s not possible to apply discounts to stays in October to December 2024 (aside from bouncebacks), but it is possible to at least book something now. One good example would be room-only discounts, which currently run through June/July versus Free Dining, which is available through the end of September 2024. Perhaps you’re on the fence about which will be better for your family, and are waiting for room-only rates for July through September in order to properly compare.

Don’t. At least, not if you’ll also need to purchase tickets. Book Free Dining now and cancel/modify if the room-only rate paired with future ticket prices ends up being better. (Or you could do the rough math right now by looking back at last year’s discounts for late summer/early fall and assuming the percentages will be the same for 2024–they should be–and making a semi-informed decision on that basis.)

It’s also possible that Walt Disney World elected against regular park ticket price increases last year on October 11 for a reason, and the underlying rationale since then is unchanged. On the last 3 earnings calls, Disney CEO Bob Iger has indicated that attendance and hotel occupancy are down at Walt Disney World, as the Florida parks underperform relative to the Parks & Resorts division as a whole.

Disney executives have repeatedly ‘warned’ investors of a slowdown at Walt Disney World due to the end of revenge travel and conclusion of the 50th Anniversary. Walt Disney World did a “great” job of capitalizing on revenge travel, raising prices and increasing per guest spending by a whopping 40% as compared to 2019.

Consequently, it might be time for the company to take its foot off the gas and pump the brakes on runaway pricing. There’s already the 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 yet even more price increases certainly can’t help.

The flip side of this, though, is that recession fears have mostly cooled and the latest stats from VisitOrlando and MCO Airport suggest that there’s been a slight spike in demand since the start of 2024. We’re seeing signs of this in wait times data and, anecdotally, our experiences on the ground, but we won’t know for sure until the next earnings call. Walt Disney World is still being pretty aggressive with discounts, including during Spring Break.

Honestly, I’m not extremely confident that Walt Disney World will raise prices on regular park tickets (or anything else) in February 2024. I was far more certain about the one last October, which did happen but (surprisingly) excluded Walt Disney World tickets. At this point, an increase this winter strikes me as about 50/50.

On the one hand, never bet against Disney raising prices, especially when the “annual” increase hasn’t happened in over a year. Regardless of the underlying circumstances or reasons for prices not going up, it’s always the safer call that they will–Disney isn’t shy about being aggressive with pricing.

On the other hand, there’s probably internal apprehension about the perception of even more price increases, and also how it’ll negatively impact the already-soft forward bookings. There’s also the fact that almost all other prices did increase last October and the circumstances aren’t materially different now versus then.

One wildcard is the aforementioned Genie+ pricing, which has gone up (effectively) throughout the last year with the debut of per-park pricing and just higher prices in general. Although separate from admission and (arguably) optional, this paid FastPass service does act as a de facto increase to admission prices, for the most part.

Perhaps Walt Disney World is satisfied with hitting pause on sticker price increases and hitting guests with higher line-skipping prices. Or perhaps they’ll wait until pre-arrival Lightning Lanes debut, and roll together the new pricing scheme for that and higher ticket prices at the same time. (This would actually make a lot of sense, and would be similar to the atypical December 2022 price increase.)

Another wild card is that Walt Disney World long ago adopted the “Kohl’s Model” to pricing, where the sticker prices are almost meaningless due to discounts. Even during the Great Recession, Walt Disney World kept raising prices…while also ramping up the special offers.

As Kohl’s learned ages ago, if the base price is higher, it makes the discounted rate look like even more of a bargain! So there’s always the possibility that Walt Disney World won’t raise ticket prices even more in Winter 2024, and then increase the percentages for package discounts in the future–effectively acting as an offset and incentivizing more on-site stays.

Ultimately, it’ll be interesting to see what, if anything, happens with prices at Walt Disney World in February 2024. It’ll be interesting to see whether capturing extra revenue is worth the headlines that further cement Walt Disney World as a travel destination with sky-high prices. Even if recession fears have eased, consumers are becoming more cost-conscious and less free-spending. Accordingly, Disney may want to back away from its reputation as being increasingly expensive.

Planning a Walt Disney World trip? Learn about hotels on our Walt Disney World Hotels Reviews page. For where to eat, read our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews. To save money on tickets or determine which type to buy, read our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post. Our What to Pack for Disney Trips post takes a unique look at clever items to take. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Ride Guides will help. For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide for everything you need to know!

YOUR THOUGHTS

Thoughts on the potential price increases? Think Walt Disney World will raise admission rates in February 2024, or will they keep a pause on pricing in place? If it doesn’t happen this month, think it’ll occur with the roll out of pre-arrival Lightning Lanes? Do you think Disney is going too far with increases in a way that’ll leave lasting reputational damage, or will the company be able to quickly pivot along with economic circumstances? 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!

16 Responses to “Ticket Price Increase Could Come Soon for 2024 at Disney World”
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