Disneyland Resort Update: Prices Rising, Buena Vista Maintenance

Written by Norman Gidney. Posted in Disney Parks, Disneyland Resort, In the Parks

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Published on October 04, 2012 at 11:55 pm with 49 Comments

Disneyland Resort is in full Fall mode. Halloween Time has begun, and there are the usual smattering of refurbishments and maintenance projects that usually crop up prior to the madness that is the Holiday season.  But what many have not seemed to notice is the slow creep upward on the prices for impulse buy items, and things like bottled water and vitamin water.  The park, while being kept up, is costing more to visit.  This week we check up on the multiple projects and further discuss the increasing prices of smaller items throughout the resort.

On a recent visit to the Disneyland resort we stopped by a churro cart for some water.  A simple bottle of Dasani that tends to go for $1.50  at any average convenience store normally cost $2.79 inside the berm.  To our surprise the price now was an even $3.00.

Other outdoor vending options have increased even more.  If you want a Churro, you will now pay $0.50 more at $3.50.  Care for a bottled soda?  That will be $3.25.  Vitamin Water now costs an insane $4.00.

This increase is not just limited to waters, vitamin water, and churros.  Prices at all Outdoor Vending locations have been slowly creeping upward along with the impulse buys in the stores.

Price increases are the nature of the beast at theme and amusement parks. With the rising costs of supplies over the years, incremental price increases are just what happens.  But this is not an increase due to inflation.  These are price increases designed to get an idea for what the market will bare.

$5.00 for a bag of stale candy corn?

A similar tactic continues to be utilized in the astounding increases for pricing of Annual passes.  They are beginning to see the tipping point there with many long time passholders are deciding not to renew.  Disneyland was, at one time, something that many families could enjoy at least once a year. Not anymore. Now, unless you plan well ahead by bringing your own food and water, you may find yourself priced right out of the park.  Sad.

The first class showmanship comes at a heavy price.

Speaking of upkeep, Benny is still missing in action from above the Roger Rabbit’s Car toon spin entrance.

Meanwhile, work continues behind Minnie’s meet and greet house.

And The ToonTown hills continue to peel away.

Substantial rebuilding and refurbishments continue at the Casey Jr. Train and Storybook Land complex.

The scaffolding has been removed from the side of the Bibbidy-Bobbidy-Boutique with no discernible changes revealed.

Here is the latest from the Fantasy Faire Village project.  Steel framing has been installed on top of the existing facade infrastructure.

If one is being charged premium prices one should expect a premium product.  Upon entering Disney California Adventure this week, we took time to soak in the beautifully detailed surroundings.  When it launched this Summer, this area of the park was given a back-story of being lived in. While there was aging, the cracked pavement, the weathered brass railings, these were intentional.  Buena Vista Street had a certain level of presentation.  It was lived in, but clean and sparkling as well.

Now, not even a year into its use, there are noticeable signs of wear and tear that need to be addressed.

These railings, intended only for Cast member use, are still visible on stage.

The beautiful park benches that flank the planters in the center of the street used to
glisten with a clean wood finish

They are already becoming scuffed and worn.

Thankfully there is one thing that has remained totally up to par since day one.  The Streetmosphrere is still as vibrant and appealing as ever.  Our favorite is the Dog Lady and her pet, Lady.  For Halloween she is sporting an adorable new costume.  Find her and pay her a compliment.  The pooch loves flattery.

With the arrival of the Frankenweenie exhibit and movie preview,  Award Wieners has debuted a new hot dog and drink.

The expansion of Ramone’s Body Shop is now underway.  The space that was originally designed as a Fastpass distribution center for Radiator Springs Racers is now closed up and is getting a new look.

No more stroller parking for you!

Inside the existing store, one section has been closed off to allow for an expansion to go through to the other building.

The big new E-ticket seems to have resolved many of its operational issues, with most of its effects working all of the time.  The one unpredictable element is on the outside, with the continuing problem with the beautiful pine trees during the exterior portion of the ride.

While things do not seem to have gotten too much worse, they certainly have not improved.

Finally, the Earl of Sandwich project continues to plod along at a glacial pace in Downtown Disney Anaheim.  It appears that the dining room has now been expanded past what was originally planned, allowing for more dining space.  A red frame work has appeared in front of the store front, while considerable foundation work seems to be occurring under it.

Inside, the controlled chaos moves forward

The tedious paint job has not yet crept from this particular spot.

D23 Discount
We recently noticed that D23 has begun giving renewal discounts of $5 to $10 for current members.  We did a little digging and found that this is not special pricing, but rather a permanent discount for renewing members.

That should do it for us today on our report from the Disneyland Resort.  Prices continue to rise on big and small items alike.  Work continues on the multiple projects inside Disneyland proper. Earl of Sandwich STILL isn’t open.  Yep, it’s a normal day in Anaheim.

Don’t forget to visit MiceChat and D23 at the Gay Days info center this weekend.  Both have some great things to giveaway.

    D23 will be selling 500 limited edition rainbow Tinkerbell D23 pins
  • MiceChat is giving away a copy of Disneyland Paris: From Sketch to Reality on Sunday at the official MiceChat Noon Meet.  Stop by the MiceChat booth at the Gay Days Info Center for your chance to win!

About Norman Gidney

Norman Gidney, also known as Fishbulb, produces and edits many of the articles on MiceChat. Tune in every Tuesday for the Orlando Parkhopper and every Friday for In The Parks. But you'll also find his photos in the Weekly Round Up, SAMLAND, and numerous other columns on the site.

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  • Zeathos51

    Adam here. Thanks for the update. I’ve never been one to buy drinks and chuuros. I mostly saved for the New Orleans restaurant with the fish and bread bowls. It sucks though. I’m wondering, where do those kind of trees grow on Route 66? The cactus makes sense but the trees……… I don’t know. Hey, Downtown was the majority of my shifts working at DCA. I always liked that area where Downtown meets the hotels. I’m looking forward to that sandwitch shop.
    Knotts Berry Farm is the kind of place you you can go to eat and still enjoy it without going into the park. Downtown Disney is great, but it doesn’t seem to grab my attention without a Park admission. But hey, I’ll be going to check out the sandwitch shop.

    Thanks for the update!

  • PirateLover

    Great update. I can’t belive the soda and water prices! We all know how much a can of soda costs. There is no “cola shortage” that I know of. No bottling plants on fire or shut down for repairs. If average daily crowds are 40,000 guests and if 10% of them buy a soda, it comes out to approx. $360,000 extra a year they make, for doing nothing more then changing the price of a soda on a sign by $0.25. ($720,000 extra profit if 10% of the people buy a churo!) I’m just guessing at crowd levels and percentages, but I think I’m on the low side. So it looks like a million $ or so profit per year just from these 2 items. If they we concerned about APer’s not spending in the parks, they are not going to make it any better with these prices.

  • mratigan

    Come on Siney
    I know your a company and I the end need to make money but food the high??

  • Barbossa

    Is it just my eyes? Those aren’t pine trees at Radiator Springs Racers. Those are Cedars in the photos.

  • eicarr

    Well hopefully we can assume all this new revenue will be used to reinstate the staff Christmas party.

    The last couple of years I’ve gone I’ve told people I’ve gone with to not bother smuggling in cliff bars and water because snack and meal prices are now more reasonable(and becoming part of the fun i.e. sampling an assortment of stuff at the cozy cone). Eating park food is pricy, but seems a value with inventiveness and quality. But, if this keeps up, I won’t hesitate to retun to NOT buying most of my meals and snacks in the park. Breakfast in my hotel with Costco bagels etc., cliff bars for morning and/or afternoon snacks and either lunch or dinner at the hotel with food from home while taking a reast from the afternoon crowds. 3 months ago I made someone turn around(a few feet outside the hotel room) to put back their bottled water, now I’d send them back if they didn’t have it.

    It takes a little planning and packing on my part, but they might be making substantially less money from me not more. Soda was near reasonable so I never gave it a second thought, but now… I drink 2-3 diet cokes per day in the park but would now replace 1-2 with tap water. I’ll just adjust my buying habits again and skip the fun/unique park items if they turn from overpriced to gouging.

  • skoolpsyk

    well, we used to spend some money in the park, now we spend none…

  • Meryl

    Rising prices is out of control. I visit Disneyland about once a week and have seen the prices increase almost weekly. I did notice that the salads in Tomorrowland’s Pizza Port are now smaller and the prices up about .50 and the almonds are missing from the Chinese Chicken Salad(the chicken remains tho proportionately smaller), the mystery trading pins that used to be $2.95 are now $4.95, jackets last year at $39.95 are now $59.95. So, yes, this report is accurate and alarming. Once-a-year-visitors will probably not blink about the prices because they are not aware of the increasing costs, it bottoms out to be an AP concern. AP’s are much more discretionary because we notice so much from visit to visit. I guess I would be okay, if the price increases reflected unigue merchandise design, which I have not found during my visits this year. I still love going, but, I am undecided as to whether or not renew my AP. I am also wondering if Disney has intentionally increased prices to discourage AP. Any thoughts on this or anything else? Love all the info here, cheers, M

    • aggiemullins

      I’m a once a year kind of guy to WDW where the same thing has been happening on prices. Ridiculous and greedy price gouging to a captive audience. I expect this from six flags and my local movie theater. It’s a little difficult to believe its the “Happiest Place on Earth” when you feel like they’re trying to constantly pick your pocket.

      You say it’s mainly a problem for AP people, but I disagree. For the first time in 10 years, I’m heavily considering renting out my DVC points and taking my family and my money elsewhere. Anymore 10% across the board price hike and I’ll absolutely do it. We just can’t afford it anymore.

  • chesirecat

    The price increases look horrible, IMHO, in that they are pretty big jumps. I mean, $4.00 for a bottle of water? Over a month ago I went to Carsland, and was pleased to see that Flo’s was selling the turkey dinner for about $11 bucks, I guess not too bad given how much food you get, but the prices for snacks and drinks and Filmore’s really surprised me. I think they are upping the prices of discretionary items outside of the big meals, such as bottled water and churros. Really disheartening that the salad options are smaller and more expensive, I already thought the salad sizes were ridiculously small.

    Regarding the cedar trees . . . they got hit with the heat, and look like they are recovering. Yeah, they’ll have to wait for the browned/dry parts to fall off, but don’t see how they could hurry the process along unless they went out to the trees with tweezers and started removed the dried stuff.

  • brem

    Churros up here in Seattle are $1 and larger at Costco, but $4 at Safeco Field where the Mariners play (and lose). Price gouging is common at any entertainment destination. Heck at Safeco, they charge $9 for a pint of beer.

  • daveinfontana

    Here is what needs to be done. No one visits Disney or it’s hotels for a week and lets see what happens.

  • jcruise86

    Very good update, Norm! Thank you! The park benches looked good to me in your photos, but I’m grateful to you for catching things that should be improved. I’d like to see you and Kevin Yee both let loose in a park with cameras to see who could find the most & the most severe flaws. Then the bankrupt, graffiti-plagued City of San Bernardino’s chamber of commerce should hire you two to do the same in their town.

    We’ve got some browning bushes on our humble estate so that seems kind of natural to me, and I was impressed with the RSR plants when I was recently there, but peeling paint is always bad.

    In DCA, I believe the most reasonably priced soda is in Ghaiadelli’s. And they’ll smile and give you a big piece of delicious chocolate just for entering the store.

    In Disneyland, consider getting a free cup of ice in Pizza Port and pouring in a can of soda that you bring in. If they see enough people engaging in this protest they . . . who am I kidding. They’d probably ban folks from bring in food and drinks.

    • jcruise86


    • clara

      “Then the bankrupt, graffiti-plagued City of San Bernardino’s chamber of commerce should hire you two to do the same in their town.”

      Amen to that! I worked in San Bernardino for a year…it’s a horrible city.

    • addiction41999

      “Then the bankrupt, graffiti-plagued City of San Bernardino’s chamber of commerce should hire you two to do the same in their town.”

      Please don’t do this or you’d never return for our updates. That would take you years!!

      I lived in San Bernardino for 5 years and still visit once a month for family there. I have to say they have a lot to do to get the city turned around…and it would take a lot more than a “Cars Land” makeover on route 66 to get them moving again! Love the freeway improvements though, the 215 is looking spectacular.

      Enough of my rant….Love the Update and Love Micechat period! :-)

  • jcruise86

    bringING I swear I proof my messages, but still miss errors, now recorded for eternity.

  • Tiny Mermaid

    Irritated about the price hikes. There is a lot to love at Disneyland, and of course I understand it is a business that needs to make money, but between the admission spikes and now the merchandise and food hikes, it’s hard not to be a little let down. I want to enjoy the park as long as I can afford it … which is getting harder each time I go.

  • Algernon

    Between the rising prices and all the bogus changes over the years, they can definitely count me out. One day there will be a new kid in town, whether it’s Las Vegas becoming family friendly again, or somebody else doing it right, and everybody will go there instead.

  • clara

    I did notice in my last visit, last weekend that water was up to $3. I have just started returning to the parks on a regular basis after a bit of a beark from renewing my AP. I make it a habit to bring my own bottles of water in my bag and curse the skies when I’m about to pull into the Mickey and Friends parking structure and randomly remember that I FORGOT water bottles because I know I will have to spend at least and extra $15-20 on water, especially on hot days, for my kid and I. And I’m a water drinking fiend..I MUST drink water even in the winter.

    • jcruise86

      Why don’t you bring water with you? Freeze some whole bottles and freeze 50% of other bottles overnight and then fill them with water in the morning. Carry them in a backpack. Twist off the caps before drinking.

      Everyone was very nice about it when (after we were encouraged to do so by another CM) my daughter and I went in to Pizza Port and walked out with two big cups of free ice water. (I have no idea how nice they are to guests who are not polite, well-dressed, and ridiculously good looking.)

      • jcruise86

        Clara, I just read your message more carefully and habitually do bring water but then forget it and curse. I’m afraid I can’t help you.

      • jcruise86

        Please insert “read that you do” before “habitually.”

      • clara

        You make me laugh…
        Yeah, I normally do bring water with me…but you gave me the idea of freezing it. I never really thought of that but it is a good idea.

      • jcruise86

        Clara, thanks for knowing that I was just kidding! I love people with senses of humor.

        Really do feel free to politely march into Pizza Port (and other locations) and ask if you can have a big glass of ice water. And I know I write this every chance I get, but the cheapest sodas in Disneyland’s are at DCA’s Ghirardelli’s and come with a nice, free chocolate sample.

        I also use our Disney Rewards Visa dollars to occasionally splurge on something we’d never eat at those prices in the real world. And, Clara, you know what I forget? (About 20% of the time.) To ask for my AP discount. D’oh! Blessed be CMs who remind me!

        I was a CM and many CMs identify more with Disneyland’s guests than with George the Christmas party killer, or Bob I. & THOMAS S., who are each worth more than 100 Xs a new full-time Disneyland employee in terms of yearly compensation. (Is it 300 times in Iger’s case? If Adam Smith were alive today he wouldn’t stop throwing up.)

      • clara

        “Clara, thanks for knowing that I was just kidding! I love people with senses of humor.”
        I don’t take things to seriously any more, used to but I’m to old for that now :)

        “And I know I write this every chance I get, but the cheapest sodas in Disneyland’s are at DCA’s Ghirardelli’s and come with a nice, free chocolate sample.”
        I have not gone into the Ghirardelli’s yet but hey if they give out free chocolate..I’m so there!

        “And, Clara, you know what I forget? (About 20% of the time.) To ask for my AP discount. D’oh! Blessed be CMs who remind me!”
        I did notice that they sometimes ask if I’m a AP holder and I go ‘Yes! thanks for reminding me” and there is my 20% off :)

        “I was a CM and many CMs identify more with Disneyland’s guests than with George the Christmas party killer, or Bob I. & THOMAS S., who are each worth more than 100 Xs a new full-time Disneyland employee in terms of yearly compensation. (Is it 300 times in Iger’s case? If Adam Smith were alive today he wouldn’t stop throwing up.)”
        And all this above gave me my afternoon laugh…thank you…thank you…