Disney’s annual park ticket price increase occurred overnight for both Walt Disney World and Disneyland. In this post, we’ll share some details about the new prices, and offer tips for what you can do today to beat the increase. (Last updated February 19, 2018.)
Even though the price increase occurred, the good news is that you don’t just have to throw your hands up in the air in defeat. A handful of third party ticket sellers still have inventory of tickets at their discounted “2017” prices. For Walt Disney World, we recommend buying via Get Away Today, which still has a limited inventory of tickets at the old prices. (If/when they sell out, you might be able to find what you need at ParkSavers for similar prices.)
As predicted, prices increased across the board overnight on February 11, 2018. Walt Disney World raised the prices of its 4-day by $50 and the 5-day ticket to jump by $45. Shorter duration ticket price increased were more modest by comparison, with 1-day tickets increasing by $2 to $5 depending upon the park and season.
The biggest increase in 1-day tickets occurred with the Magic Kingdom 1-day ticket increasing by $5 to $129 before tax. Hopefully, if you’re reading this you’re primarily purchasing multi-day tickets or Annual Passes, as those 1-day tickets offer the worst bang for your buck–which was true even before this price increase.
The most noteworthy detail from the price increase is Disney’s statement that there are plans for “extending pre-published, date-specific pricing to multi-day tickets [to] further advance our efforts to spread attendance throughout the year.”
While that statement is sufficiently vague for this plan to take several forms, it sounds a lot like Walt Disney World is finally going to introduce some form of seasonal pricing for multi-day tickets, as they did for single-day tickets a couple of years ago. (Hence use of the word “extending.”) Honestly, we’re surprised this hasn’t happened sooner, and it makes complete sense that they’d roll this out before the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.
Given that the plan is to introduce this “pre-published, date-specific” pricing later this year, it sounds like a second price increase might be in store for later in 2018. Rarely does Disney tinker with pricing to reduce costs. More likely, the new “Value Season” pricing for multi-day tickets would be the current (new) prices, with Regular and Peak Season pricing increasing from that baseline.
This presents yet another reason to buy now at sellers where you can find the “old” pricing to avoid having to deal with tiered pricing for multi-day tickets. You can comparison shop the third parties to see which are cheapest if you’d like; the ones we recommend as being both safe and inexpensive are ParkSavers, Get Away Today, Official Ticket Center or Undercover Tourist.
If you missed this update yesterday and are considering the purchase of an Annual Pass now that the price increase has occurred, you should follow our Tips for Ticket Bridging Annual Passes. Prices for Annual Passes increased by the largest margins, and the only way to save on these now is via ticket bridging.
Disneyland Annual Pass price increases were especially brutal, with the Signature Pass going up by $150. As we’ve reported, Disneyland is using its Annual Pass pricing to thin crowds and deal with its parking shortage.
The Annual Passholder “situation” in California is a delicate balance. Disneyland relies much more heavily on locals during the off-season, but the AP population is so large that it causes serious over-crowding issues on days when lower tiers are not blocked out.
In short, Disneyland still needs Annual Passholders, but it needs them to visit on weekdays during the months of the year when tourists don’t flock to California. As we’ve written in the past, expect this “need” of Annual Passholders to change once Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opens.
Ultimately, you can view all of the large spikes in pricing as a precursor to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. This new land is going to be a game-changer, and it’s the big reason why there is no pontificating about a “middle class breaking point” where you might expect one in a post about Disney raising ticket prices by such large amounts of money. The sad reality is that, regardless of how many guests Disney prices out, there will be more than enough people eager to take their place once Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opens.
This new land is effectively a license to print money for Disney. Even though it’s over a year away at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland, Disney is starting to prepare for the unprecedented crowds those lands will attract. This is particularly true with Annual Pass pricing, as whatever changes Disney might need to implement with those requires advance-planning given the AP’s duration.
It’s still difficult to predict how Disney will handle the huge surge of crowds that Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will draw, but it certainly would not surprise us to see 2 more price increases before the opening of the land. With its opening likely to be late 2019 in Florida, it would be reasonable for those to occur next February and July or August.
However, it’s not outside the realm of possibilities for 3 additional increases, with another one this July or August, too. Later this year or next year, it also wouldn’t surprise us to see monthly payments eliminated, more blockouts, and/or parking removed from all but the Signature Plus Passport.
The addition of another pricing ‘season’ for the first month or so that Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is open, pricing for Disney’s Hollywood Studios that exceeds even Magic Kingdom, and a slew of pre-grand opening Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge hard ticket events, among other things, all seem likely. Of course, none of these things impact you today…we’re just speculating so you can mentally brace yourself for the sticker shock that will undoubtedly occur next year.
What do you think of this ticket price increase? Will you be buying today to avoid the price surge? What are your preferred type of tickets to get? Do you recommend Park Hopper or other add-ons? Do you have an Annual Pass? Any tips or tricks of your own to add? Any questions? We love hearing from readers, so please share any other thoughts or questions you have in the comments below!