Visitors to Disney theme parks can blame Uber for a potential ticket price increase as Walt Disney Co. toys with the idea of adopting a surge-pricing model at the park’s California and Florida locations (as reported by the Wall Street Journal). My first thought was disappointment and frustration too … but then I started wondering, is it really that bad of an idea?
Firstly, let’s get down to what’s actually on the table. So far the only price changes that have been made (as of this month) are with annual passes. Disneyland now separates guests into three tiers—at the high end there’s a $1,049 ticket with no blackout dates, and at the low end a $599 pass that doesn’t work on summer weekends or popular holidays. Disney World in Florida also announced a similar change with its annual passes.
The considered surge-pricing model would affect daily and multi-day ticket prices to bring up attendance during mid-week and off-peak times. Currently, a one-day ticket (for anyone over ten years old) costs $95 at Disneyland and $105 at Disney World. At that high starting price, it’s understandable that alarm bells sound when you start throwing around the term “surge-pricing.” But let’s take a look at what that actually means.
RELATED: Disney Theme Park Tickets: Now $105
Say you’re looking to travel to Disney over a long weekend in summer—say July 4th or Memorial Day—you’d be looking at a price increase with the new model. However, if you were to instead go during midweek in winter, you could be spending even less than the current price for a one-day ticket.
As someone who does not enjoy large crowds and waiting in lines, I appreciate this. Pricing based on demand is already how the travel industry works, so it does make sense for theme parks to abide by the same model in order to control crowds and discourage travel when, simply put, it cannot handle the volume.
The park plans on surveying previous guests to gauge reactions on varying price points throughout the calendar year. In the future, this does mean Disney could potentially increase prices at peak travel times, or would keep prices the same during low season but offer additional perks. Only time will tell.
The proposal comes after Themed Entertainment Association announced that Disney only showed 1.3 percent growth in attendance in 2014. However, the company has generated almost twice as much in new revenue with the introduction of its MyMagic+ bands than it has by increasing attendance.
With construction of Star Wars-themed areas at both Disneyland and Disney World starting in 2015, it seems like perfect timing to start toying with the idea of a ticket price increase … based on demand that is.
You Tell Us: What do you think of a surge-price model for theme parks?