Like clockwork, Disney has raised the price of admission to its WDW parks: it’s now $94 per park, except the Magic Kingdom, which now costs $99/adult. The $100 mark will be breached the next time Disney raises ticket prices (most likely right after summer season 2014), so we’re looking at the LAST set of sub-$100 prices.

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The announcement of the price hikes came on Saturday night, a mere handful of hours before the hikes went into effect on Sunday morning. I found it particularly clever that they released the news when they did, because there was a press event happening at Universal Orlando the same night. Disney must have figured (rightly) that they couldn’t lose. Either the price hike would be buried by the news cycle (in which case they “win” because no one accuses them of greed) or Disney *would* be the talk of the town due to the price hike if there was enough outrage (in which case Disney would “win” anyway, because now the Universal event is being ignored in favor of Disney, which makes Disney look relevant and Universal irrelevant).

Disney has every right to raise the prices. Indeed, it makes good business sense (and Disney is, primarily, a business with quarterly earnings to consider above all else). We know this to be true because, simply, the parks have never been busier, despite the annual (or biannual) price hikes. People keep coming and they keep paying, so it would make little sense as a business if Disney did not try to see what the market will bear.

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Of course, not every business decision ought to be spreadsheet-driven. What I find particularly glaring is that the official statements about price hikes always invoke the “premium brand” and reflect the value of a Disney vacation.

To illustrate how such a statement is almost FUNNY, I thought I’d do a little experiment with you, the readers. Scan through this list below and see if you can figure out what I’m doing:

Magic Kingdom

  • Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor – Glamorous (Fergie)
  • Stitch’s Great Escape – My Boo (Usher)
  • PeopleMover – I Gotta Feelin’ (Black Eyed Peas)
  • Carousel of Progress – Can’t Help Falling in Love (UB40)
  • Astro-Orbiter – Bump ‘n Grind (R. Kelly)
  • Space Mountain – Love the Way You Lie (Eminem)
  • Buzz Lightyear – First Night (Monica)
  • Tomorrowland Speedway – Smooth (Santana)
  • Dumbo – Stronger (Kelly Clarkson)
  • Barnstormer – Stronger (Kelly Clarkson)
  • Mad Tea Party – End of the Road (Boyz II Men)
  • Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh – If You Had My Love (Jennifer Lopez)
  • Under the Sea – Diamonds (Rihanna)
  • Princess Fairytale Hall – Roar (Katy Perry)
  • Prince Charming Royal Carrousel – Maggie May (Rod Stewart)
  • Mickey’s Philharmagic – Baby Boy (Beyonce)
  • Peter Pan’s Flight – Maggie May (Rod Stewart)
  • It’s a Small World – Maggie May (Rod Stewart)
  • Haunted Mansion – Born This Way (Lady Gaga)
  • Hall of Presidents – Boom Boom Pow (Black Eyed Peas)
  • Country Bear Jamboree – Maggie May (Rod Stewart)
  • Enchanted Tiki Room – Maggie May (Rod Stewart)
  • Magic Carpets of Aladdin – All for You (Janet)
  • Jungle Cruise – Maggie May (Rod Stewart)
  • Swiss Family Treehouse – Maggie May (Rod Stewart)
  • Pirates of the Caribbean – One More Night (Maroon 5)
  • Big Thunder – Lady (Kenny Rogers)
  • Splash Mountain – End of the Road (Boyz II Men)
  • WDW Railroad – Maggie May (Rod Stewart)

Epcot

  • Spaceship Earth – Low (Flo Rida)
  • Ellen’s Energy Adventure – Macarena (Los Del Rio)
  • Mission Space – Crazy in Love (Beyonce)
  • Test Track – Diamonds (Rihanna)
  • Seas with Nemo – Say it Right (Nelly Furtado)
  • Living with the Land – Jack & Diane (John Cougar)
  • Circle of Life – Creep (TLC)
  • Soarin – Candy Shop (50 Cent)
  • Journey into Imagination – Foolish (Ashanti)
  • Captain EO – Take My Breath Away (Berlin)
  • Gran Fiesta Tour – Don’t Matter (Akon)
  • Maelstrom – Dirty Diana (Michael Jackson)
  • Reflections of China – Get Busy (Sean Paul)
  • American Adventure – Umbrella (Rihanna)
  • Impressions de France – Jack & Diane (John Cougar)
  • O Canada – Beautiful Girls (Sean Kingston)

I would do the other two parks, but I think the point is made. Did you figure out the pattern and what’s going on? The song listed was the #1 song in the week when that attraction was last updated significantly (or simply when it first opened, if it hasn’t updated in a significant fashion. Also note: I didn’t include queue updates).

To me, anyway, this makes the staleness of WDW more visible (or more accurately, the staleness of PARTS of the resort). If you tried to use the songs above to DJ a wedding reception, you’d look hopelessly nostalgic. And yet, this is what passes for the best and newest the theme park world has to offer (or so they imply with the prices). Something to think about!

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Ultimate Orlando Clicks

The moat as you know it will reportedly be changing soon at Magic Kingdom (new bridges and access), so we take a look around. Plus, we tour the revised Casey’s Corner dining room and examine the new King Triton statue outside the DVC in Fantasyland. We also notice the new thatched roof on Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.

Direct link: http://youtu.be/Ae8AdHT5C7Q

Re-Launching Ultimate Orlando

I’ve maintained a “side blog” since 2006 and have finally decided to unify all my social networking around this one site and brand. That means I will soon stop posting about my Disney updates to my regular Facebook account, and will only use the “Ultimate Orlando” venues/accounts going forward. Also of note: I had to change the YouTube channel, so if you subscribe to the current one be sure you switch your subscription to the new one. If you follow me on any of these services, please update your bookmarks: