Disney World Changing How It Prices Theme Park Tickets
This week is 'Disney Week' here at TPG, but the surprise announcement from Disney related to big changes in ticket pricing was decidedly not in the scheduled coverage line-up. The updates to Disney World ticket pricing were announced Monday in an official Disney Parks video and blog post.
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Disney World moves to date based ticket pricing
Beginning October 16, Disney World will change how you buy tickets to its Central Florida theme parks. In addition to launching what they hope is a more streamlined booking experience sprinkled with tips from the Disney Parks Mom's Panel and more based on your selections, how tickets price is also changing. Once these changes take place, gone are the varying prices for one-day tickets based on which Disney World park you plan to visit (Magic Kingdom currently costs the most). While a one-day ticket price will no longer vary based on the park you choose to visit, it will continue to vary based on date. In fact, date based pricing is expanding.
For the first time, Disney World is introducing date-based seasonal pricing for multi-day tickets tied to the exact dates of your trip. Expect to see peak season dates cost more and off-season dates cost a bit less. Some dates may cost the same as today. Until now, only one-day Disney World tickets had seasonal pricing — multi-day tickets were a consistent price throughout the year.
Another major change coming on October 16 is that Disney tickets will be sold to be used on specific dates. You will have to pay extra if you want to purchase tickets without a specific date in mind. Currently, Disney World tickets have expiration dates, but you don't have to know exactly which date you will use the tickets at the time of purchase.
Some Disney tickets will cost more, some will cost a little less
While today's announcement did not come with exact pricing details, a closer look at the Disney Parks video provides some pricing examples. Unfortunately, Disney has confirmed to TPG that the prices in the video are just for the demonstration and not necessarily reflective of the new prices. New multi-day ticket prices will not be released until October 16. However, a Disney spokesperson confirmed to TPG that one-day park tickets will vary from $109 - $129 per day (currently $102 - $129 per day). Note that all prices mentioned are pre-tax.
While the exact prices in the video are just for demonstration, the ideas behind the prices are solid. The Disney Parks video above shows four-day ticket prices for November 2018 with the daily price varying from $81 to $97 per day for a four-day ticket used during that month. If actual prices are anything similar, that is a relatively wide range when you multiply the pricing bands out for a whole family. As always, expect peak family travel dates to price at the higher end of the scale. If you can sneak in an off-peak visit you will likely save not only on lodging, but on ticket prices.
The new Disney video also breaks the bad news that you will have a shorter period of time to use your multi-day tickets than you do today. Currently, you have up to 14 days from the first day in the parks to use your multi-day tickets, but in the video's example, you just have from November 12 - 18 to use a four-day ticket. This still gives you some time to do other things on your multi-day stay rather than visit the parks on consecutive days, but it is a shorter timeframe to work with than you have now.
If you want 14 days to use your multi-day ticket, the video indicates you will have to pay extra. The added benefit of that extra fee is that you will also be able to use your tickets on flexible dates instead of fixed dates -- in other words, just like the current system.
While Disney has yet to spell out all of the exact details of the new ticket pricing system, there is enough information in the newly released video and blog post to know that these changes mean tickets are getting pricier in some situations, especially for families who like to travel during peak times. In other situations, some Disney World ticket prices may go down a little bit for those who can travel on the least busy dates.
A Disney spokesperson emphasized that one of their major goals with these changes is to continue to try and spread attendance throughout the year to improve the guest experience. Coming from someone who waited over two hours to ride Flight of Passage this summer, I get the need to spread out attendance.
To end with some good news, in the video, you can see the Disney Visa advertising a $250 bonus available for new cardholders (up from $200 now). While that might also be for demonstration purposes only, let's cross our fingers that is a sign of good things to come from Mickey and friends.
We will keep you posted on the new Disney World ticket prices as they become available next month. In the meantime, if you have upcoming Disney World travel plans on peak dates, buying tickets now is probably not the worst idea.