Disney has increased Lightning Lane, Magic Key and regular ticket prices as of October 11, 2023 for the rest of this year and 2024 at Disneyland and California Adventure. With this 1-day, multi-day, Park Hopper, Annual Pass, and Genie+ costs are now up almost across the board. In this post, we’ll share price change info and offer commentary about the higher prices.
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 2023 price increase is the first since exactly the same date last year. Here’s how the latest Disneyland ticket price changes stack up, with some comparisons in the old versus new prices. Brace yourself, as some of these increases are pretty significant…
Ticket Price Increases
Single Day & Park
1-Day, 1-Park (Tier 0) – $104 (previously $104)
1-Day, 1-Park (Tier 1) – $119 (previously $114)
1-Day, 1-Park (Tier 2) – $134 (previously $129)
1-Day, 1-Park (Tier 3) – $154 (previously $144)
1-Day, 1-Park (Tier 4) – $169 (previously $159)
1-Day, 1-Park (Tier 5) – $184 (previously $169)
1-Day, 1-Park (Tier 6) – $194 (previously $179)
Multi-Day Single Park Tickets
2-Day, 1-Park – $310 (previously $285)
3-Day, 1 Park – $390 (previously $360)
4-Day, 1 Park – $445 (previously $395)
5-Day, 1 Park – $480 (previously $415)
Park Hopper Add-on
1-Day Park Hopper Add-on – $65 (previously $65)
2-Day Park Hopper Add-on – $65 (previously $60)
3-Day Park Hopper Add-on – $70 (previously $60)
4-Day Park Hopper Add-on – $70 (previously $60)
5-Day Park Hopper Add-on – $75 (previously $60)
Percentage-wise, these price increases range from 0% (so technically not an increase at all!) at the low end of the spectrum to 25% at the high end. Obviously, that’s a pretty huge range–but both the extremes are outliers. At the low end, the Tier 0 tickets did not go up at all, which is unsurprising.
In fact, we predicted that this starting price would not change our post from earlier this month that predicted prices, as a whole, would soon go up: Price Increases Likely Soon for Late 2023 & 2024 at Walt Disney World & Disneyland. The reason we didn’t expect the base price to go up is because it’s 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.
Last year, Disneyland pulled a page out of the Resident Evil playbook with a “zero” prequel for the ticket price tiers. At the time, we joked that it was named after the number of days that’ll be eligible for that low price. In reality, Disney has actually added more days at the $104 price point as part of its push to improve guest satisfaction.
In addition to prices remaining unchanged on the lowest ticket tiers, it’s also interesting that the percentage change actually goes up along with the ticket tiers. Tier 1-2 tickets are up by around 4% each, whereas Tiers 3-6 are up by 6-9%.
Honestly, all of this is relatively unsurprising. Despite the growing gap between Tier 0 and Tier 3-6 ticket prices, crowds have not really normalized across those dates. The last few weeks have actually been a pretty good example of this, in fact.
Setting aside the very end of last month when there was the typical rush to use the California resident tickets before they expired, September was relatively slow at Disneyland. Sure, it was busier than the same month ~4 years ago, but not bad by current standards.
Thus far, October has been like flipping a switch–especially over the holiday weekend–and that’s despite September being a sea of $104 days, and this month mostly costing $169 or $179 (pre-price increase). So it’s not a huge surprise to see increases of over 8% for those two highest tiers of tickets. Clearly, tourists on fall break are willing to pay the higher prices.
It’s not just regular tickets going up in price. Magic Key Annual Pass prices at the Disneyland Resort are increasing $50 to $150 depending on the pass type. Here’s a breakdown:
Inspire Magic Key: $1649 (was $1599)
Believe Magic Key: $1249 (was $1099)
Enchant Magic Key: $849 (was $699)
Imagine Magic Key: $499 (was $449)
No Magic Keys are currently available for purchase (only renewals), but perhaps that will change post-price increase. I wouldn’t necessarily count on that, especially heading into the heart of the holidays, as Disneyland is likely to be pretty consistently busy between October and mid-January 2024.
Due to California’s slower reopening than Florida, pent-up demand at Disneyland has lagged Walt Disney World. But if the latter is any indication, Disneyland is likewise going to hit a wall in early 2024, and will need to pull its own “levers” to entice back locals and tourists. Resuming Magic Key sales and offer more AP appreciation is probably one way of achieving that. For more specific predictions, see When Will Disneyland Resume Magic Key Annual Pass Sales?
Admission isn’t the only thing that has gone up at Disneyland. The Genie+ ticket add-on will now cost $30 per day for pre-arrival purchases, which is up from the previous cost of $25 per day. As a reminder, Genie+ includes PhotoPass at Disneyland, which is one reason why it costs more. The California parks also have a better Genie+ ride roster, so the line-skipping service is more useful.
As with Walt Disney World, same-day Genie+ purchases will be variably priced based on date and demand and now will start at $30 per day. With this change, we’ve already seen our first price increase, as Genie+ is $35 today at Disneyland:
This isn’t the least bit surprising, as Genie+ has been buckling during fall break. It has yet to fully collapse under the weight of California’s crowds, which is likely due to the more robust ride roster, but it’s gotten really close. (Over the holiday weekend, Genie+ sold out on at least two occasions–see the right screenshot above.)
Now, I’m not going to advocate for even higher prices on Genie+ at Disneyland, but selfishly as a local who visits the park casually and seldom buys Genie+ except for the sake of research, I wouldn’t mind it. Before you boo me in the comments, hear me out. In my view, this could improve the guest experience for everyone–both those using Lightning Lanes and standby lines.
This is because Genie+ does not have the same price inelasticity at Disneyland as it does at Walt Disney World. Pricing it much higher than it is right now would cause far more locals to balk and not buy it. That would mean fewer people clogging up Lightning Lanes. In turn, that would dramatically improve the standby experience–especially when it isn’t California’s tourist season. But that’s probably a different topic for a different day.
For “evidence” of this, look no further than standby at Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway the last several months when it was a low-demand Individual Lightning Lane. Speaking of which…
Also starting today, Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway joins the Genie+ ride roster at Disneyland. The company previously announced the change but did not provide a starting date. This explains the why of that–its debut was timed to coincide with the price increase, and not simply at some TBD date in the future.
Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway was previously one of 3 Individual Lightning Lane attractions at Disneyland Resort, with Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance and Radiator Springs Racers being the others. Leaving those bona-fide E-Tickets as the lone Individual Lightning Lanes makes sense, especially since very few people had been purchasing ILLs for MMRR in the last several months, anyway.
Speaking of things that were previously announced, guests purchasing or holding theme park tickets are now able to view the theme park reservation calendar and book visits for dates up to 180 days in advance. This will give you greater visibility into the theme park ticket options at a variety of price points on the calendar for the days you’d like to visit, including select days with tickets priced at $104 per day.
Disneyland announced this change would happen later in October 2023, and now we know why. In any case, it’s live now. You can currently view and make park reservations through some dates in April 2024. This should be a win for those who like to plan trips in advance, and don’t mind guessing about park hours or entertainment.
As I said before, this is non-news in my view. Park reservations for Disneyland and Disney California Adventure have become much easier to book, with it being very rare for dates on the regular ticket calendars to fill up more than a few weeks in advance. I can’t recall the last time anything was gone over a month in advance, but Thanksgiving and Christmas could buck that trend. So really, this gives the illusion of greater convenience or whatever, but changes very little in reality.
That’s especially true without a corresponding change to the park hours and entertainment calendars, or dining reservation booking window. Again, personal bias talking, but I hope this doesn’t change. Disneyland does not need to become Walt Disney World 2.0 when it comes to unnecessarily high planning stakes. California is a more chill place and parks, and the laid back planning style reflects that.
Park Ticket Price Increase Commentary
If you read last year’s ticket price increase commentary, you should probably skip this section as it’s mostly unchanged. Suffice to say, I’ve lost the capacity for surprise when it comes to Disneyland price increases.
Although there’s been a bit of a slowdown at Disneyland this year, the first week-plus of October 2023 has been a very good illustration of demand for Disneyland still going strong. As noted above, September was hardly slow by historical standards, but it was downright blissful as compared to this month.
I doubt anyone who has visited Disneyland in the last week could say with a straight face and without emotion that Disneyland does not have a rational and objective basis for raising prices on the busier days of the year. Quite clearly, revenge travel is still strong and the parks have a devoted and passionate fanbase. The busy Christmas season is right around the corner, which was so popular last year even at top-tier prices that Disneyland ran out of reservations and suspended ticket sales.
On top of that, inflation is still an issue. Thankfully, this is starting to decelerate as consumer spending also starts to cool, but inflation does remain elevated. Its own costs having increased, Disney has a motivation for raising prices. It also has a degree of justification, as consumers are already accustomed to paying ever-increasing prices.
However, it’s also fair to point out that with the end of free FastPass+ and introduction of paid Genie+ and Lightning Lanes, which Disney previously indicated that roughly one-third to half of guests are purchasing, the effective cost of visiting has gone up by more than 10%. In order to have an equivalent experience as compared to pre-closure, you’ll need to spend an extra $30 per day, at least, and that’s just for Lightning Lanes. That’s still not exactly apples to apples, but it’s close enough for the sake of our comparison.
With that said, it is fair to point out that, upon returning, Bob Iger indicated that he was “alarmed” by previous price increases and layoff plans in leaks to media. He has also made moves to improve guest satisfaction, with positive changes at the beginning of the year on both coasts (including adding more $104 days at Disneyland). More recently, the ‘meatier’ guest experience improvements have occurred at Walt Disney World, which is partly a matter of the Florida parks playing catch-up.
It’s also partly a matter of Walt Disney World seeing a slowdown. Iger confirmed on the most recent earnings call that attendance and hotel occupancy are both down at Walt Disney World. 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. Disneyland has comparatively overperformed, but it also saw lagged pent-up demand…so it’s also likely to slow soon!
For several consecutive quarters, per guest spending at the domestic parks has been up more than 40% versus the same quarter in 2019, an absolutely staggering number. This has been 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.
In any case, it’s hard to make a compelling case that Disneyland 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.
We’ve spent many days in the parks over the last few months, and the crowds have been mostly bonkers. This is something we’ve touched upon elsewhere, but there’s been a bit of a slowdown, but still nothing like Walt Disney World. With fall break plus the heart of the Halloween and holiday seasons arriving in full force, it stands to reason that crowds are only going to worsen.
In short, as long as consumers keep spending and pent-up demand is strong, people will pay the prices for Disneyland park tickets, Genie+ and Lightning Lanes, and whatever else has gone up in price. The serious issue will come down the road when people are not feeling so hot about their economic circumstances and future. If Walt Disney World is a good snapshot into the future for Disneyland, that shouldn’t be too far down the road–probably early 2024. So the clock is ticking on all of this runaway spending and Disneyland’s pricing power.
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, it’s still our belief that things aren’t too far from normalizing. At some point, pent-up demand fully and finally fizzles out, inflation on necessities influences discretionary spending, higher interest rates, underperforming investment portfolios, and growing household debt will bring the party to an end. It’s already happening at Walt Disney World, and is likely just a big lagged at Disneyland due to the respective reopening timelines.
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. 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 price increases to Disneyland base ticket and Park Hopper price increases? What about higher prices for Magic Key Annual Passes? Thoughts on the changes to Genie+ at Disneyland Resort? 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!