Walt Disney World in Orlando and Disneyland in Southern California have hiked their entrance prices. The increases, which went into effect Sunday, come just in time for the start of peak season and closely follow a hike in admission prices to Universal Orlando's theme parks.
Prices for Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom increased from $89 to $95 for a single-day ticket for adults ages 10 and up. Adding in tax, a visit to the "most magical place on earth" reaches $101.18. A one-day child pass, for ages 3 to 9, to the Magic Kingdom reached $89, or $94.79 with tax.
Single-day tickets for those 10 and up to Disneyland rose from $87 to $92, while a one-day child admission, for ages 3 to 9, is now $86.
According to an article in the Los Angeles Times, the cost for a day pass has risen 28 percent since early 2010, when it was $72. Prices were previously raised in August 2010, June 2011 and May 2012.
Multiday passes to Disney parks also increased, including for instance the four-day "Magic Your Way" adult ticket, which jumped from $256 to $279, plus tax, plus $59 for the addition of the Park Hopper option that allows guests to visit multiple parks each day.
"Like any business, we evaluate and adjust our pricing based on a variety of factors," Disney spokesman Bryan Malenius told NBC News. "A ticket to our theme parks represents a great value, particularly when you look at the breadth and quality of attractions and entertainment we offer and the special moments guests will experience with our cast."
In May, Disney's parks and resorts reported an operating income of $383 million for its fiscal second quarter, a gain of 73 percent from the previous year. "Higher operating income at our domestic operations was primarily due to increased guest spending and attendance at both Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort, the addition of the Disney Fantasy cruise ship, which launched in March 2012, and higher occupied room nights at the Walt Disney World Resort," the report reads. "These increases were partially offset by increased costs. Increased guest spending was due to higher average ticket prices, food, beverage and merchandise spending and daily hotel room rates. Higher costs were driven by new guest offerings, including investments in systems infrastructure at Walt Disney World Resort and resort expansion at Disneyland Resort, as well as labor and other cost inflation."
According to an article in the Theme Park Insider, "History shows that whenever one of the Big Three in Orlando — Disney, Universal and SeaWorld — raises prices, at least one of the other follows." It appears that Disney did just that.
The changes to Disney's ticket pricing come just two weeks after Universal Orlando raised its own, becoming the first big theme park in Orlando to raise base prices above $90.
The cost of a one-day, one-park Universal ticket increased from $89 to $92, before tax. Single-day tickets for admission to both of Universal's parks rose from $124 to $128.
“We set our prices to reflect the value of the entertainment experience we offer,” Universal spokesman Tom Schroder told the Orlando Sentinel. “Our guests continue to tell us we offer great entertainment at great value. Our new pricing has options as low as about $42 per day. And we will continue to offer a variety of value-driven, multi-day vacation packages for guests and their families.”