Disneyland gets ready to Rock Your Disney Side with another 24 Hour Party as ticket prices go up again

Written by Andy Castro. Posted in Dateline Disneyland, Disney, Disney Parks, Disneyland Resort


Published on May 19, 2014 at 5:44 am with 151 Comments

About Andy Castro

Andy is a Southern California native, raised with Disneyland and a life-long fan of Disney theme parks and animation. Andy writes the weekly Dateline Disneyland column, which can be found every Monday on MiceChat.

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  • LoveStallion

    In 1994, the cost of Disneyland admission was $31.00, which is $49.59 in today’s money.

    In 2004, a two-park, one day pass was $69.00, which is $86.60 today.

    Disneyland to Southern California: we hate locals.

    Welcome to Florida, everyone. Pretty soon they’ll revert the Fantasyland design to a bunch of tents.

    • FerretAfros

      Very little permanent additions have come to DL since 1995, yet the admission costs don’t reflect that at all. Obviously there are still plenty of people willing to pay it, but it really does make you question the value of a DLR vacation (even compared to WDW, where 5+ day tickets are a more realistic option for most visitors)

      • LoveStallion

        Precisely. And bear in mind I’m by no means some Disney-hater. I grew up at Disneyland and I absolutely love the place and wish I could go there every day (more so now that I live back east).

        But there’s been this strange, bullish shift over the past few years. Even five years ago it wasn’t a big deal for me to pick up a SoCal Select passport. $150 was worth it to me to be able to duck into the property every so often. It worked and was fine.

        There’s no way I’ll shell out $500 for a premium pass.

        The interesting thing is that for $634, one gets an annual pass at Disney World to all parks (water parks excluded) with free parking and no blockout dates.

        Obviously, Disney knows that there are far fewer locals around Orlando, so they can get away with having an annual pass program that’s actually cheaper per park than Anaheim’s equivalent.

        Strange waters, these be.

    • Larry Parker

      No question, price increases have been excessive, and at a time of record park revenues. I believe a culture of profit seeking to the point of greed began with former CEO Eisner, and now continues with his hand-picked successor, current CEO Iger. Very demoralizing/even sickening to the long-time Disney fan..

  • LoveStallion

    Building on that, attractions added over the past ten years (excluding DCA, parades and retooled fireworks shows):

    2004: None
    2005: Buzz Lightyear, Space Mountain reopening
    2006 None
    2007: Nemo Subs, Pirates Lair
    2008: None
    2009: None (Disneyland begins monthly payment option on annual passes)
    2010: None
    2011: Upgraded Star Tours
    2012: None
    2013: None

    • ravencroft

      The profits go to the C-Level execs, not to improvements in the parks! This posting is good evidence to support this!

      • LoveStallion

        Unfortunately, one of the downsides to publicly-held companies is the need to appease shareholders and increase share price, both of which nearly always comes at a cost to the consumer.

      • swrdfghtr

        I don’t know that it’s about “appeasing” shareholders. Remember, it’s the shareholders that loaned the company the capital money in the first place. The shareholders literally own the company. The company is obligated to think of its shareholders. Obviously, keeping customers happy will benefit the shareholders – but there’s a broad area of “happy.” There’s no physical evidence that Disneyland has hit its price limit. Apart from a very tiny minority of engaged fans on sites like this one, most folks continue to renew their passes. In business, you charge what people will pay. Convince everyone to stop buying annual passes and day tickets. The prices will come down.

    • jcruise86

      I think it’s a bit unfair to not list both parks when discussing Disneyland Resort additions & improvements. To the unsedentary, the walk from Main Street to Carsland is a fast, scenic & energizing walk that burns off too few calories to rationalize half a churro.

      The parks in WDW are inconveniently distant for quick park hopping, and even at Universal Orlando, the two park entrances are a little hike. But at Disneyland the parks face each other and the small, attractive area in-between gives us the most wonderful dilemma of “Which beautiful, attraction filled park to visit?” One of the nicest choices on earth with both entrances tempting those willing to turn their heads.

      ANDY CASTRO, this was an outstanding update! THANK YOU! You called out flaws and displayed merchandise with gusto. You rule! Micechat should reward you by letting you review a Disney Cruise, the new Ratatouille area in Paris, and/or Tokyo & Hong Kong Disneylands with all expenses paid. C’mon Dusty, keep this guy happy!

      • sixalex

        I’m hitting the “like” button for this post. Especially the last paragraph. Of course, if Dusty sends Andy on a Disney “World” tour, he’ll be forced to raise the price of admission to Mice Chat!

    • Jmullen23

      DCA was a huge investment though. I think they spent $1B+ on the entire redesign project. I don’t think all of it went to the C-Level execs.

      • FerretAfros

        But DCA has its own turnstiles and people buy tickets to go there. If we want to consider DL and DCA as one big mega-park for comparison to the “old days”, then we need to use the $150(!) one-day park hopper price, which makes it look even crazier

    • CaptainAction

      And still this is better than WDW track record of late, with 43 square miles of land left by Walt for the imagineers in Florida.

      The execs tear out old attractions for new attractions like they are landlocked. Whenever they decide to grace us with a new attraction every 10 years or so. It’s cheaper. Less to maintain.

      I’ll show Disney My Disney Side.

      It’s my backside walking away. That’s my Disney Side.

  • tooncity

    I have money and I CAN afford to pay this. But I won’t, my first rule, is I won’t get ripped off.
    A fool would pay these prices.

    • jcruise86

      (Doing my moderately praised Elvis impersonation) “Treat me like a fooooool. Treat me mean and cruel. . . .”

      Actually if I do get my 7th AP (I’ve had 6 in the last 8-9 years, not including APs for our other family members), I might wait a 3 or 4 years and get them mostly with Disney Visa Rewards dollars AFTER I’ve had a year visiting the incoming Universal Hollywood’s incoming WW of Harry Potter and another year at our beloved Knott’s with their ridiculously underpriced & misnamed “Season Passes.”

      So much to do in California! I’m glad the Disneyland Resort is so close, whatever they’re charging to get in. Only them park fans in Tokyo and arguably Orlando have it as good as we Southern Californians. (And as wonderful as Florida is, I’ll take S. Cal.)

      • jcruise86

        “Them” should be “theme” in the last paragraph,
        and the first “incoming” should be delated from the second paragraph.

        (Ahhhh. I remember the good ol’ days when we could edit our posts after articles
        after we posted them.)

  • ravencroft

    Thank you for your thorough update and pics. Very much appreciated.

    On the news of the price increase, that is to be expected. The poigant point is that the prices rise while so much of the park is unavailable. I mean, even if you plan your visits during the slower days of the week, you still don’t have the entire park available.

    I am thankful for the experiences our family had before Disneyland arrived at this state. Our family is getting into Camping, Fishing and hiking now that the children are older and Disneyland is a more money and hassle that it used to be.

    My wife pointed out that we can stay in Hawaii for a week for what we pay in our AP renewal for one year. True that is one week vs. one year at Disneyland but we are not making it down from North LA County as much (have you seen I-R lately?) and the kids have seen it all for the last four years.

  • DisneyLover66

    Spectacular update! I loved the photos!! We’re tourist and vacation in Disneyland once a year. I don’t want a price increase, but…we’ll most likely continue to vacation in Disneyland. We always have a great time while we’re there.

  • Susan Hughes

    The Disneyland Resort’s BIGGEST mistake was to create the monthly payment plan for the annual passes. When I first got mine in 2007, crowd size was pleasant, and there were (from what I read) only about 100,000 APs. Then the monthly plans were started and it didn’t take long for the madness to begin and the numbers to swell to over one million.
    To try and solve this problem, Disney did some major price hikes in 2012. The result…record attendance and AP sales. So I applaud Disney for turning down potential revenue and suspending/cancelling some of the passes.
    If they would just get rid of the monthly payments, that would be the BEST solution of them all. That would separate the “Annual Passholders” from the “Annual Passholes”.

    • ravencroft

      I agree wholheartedly. There was an article in the OC Register about a guest who punched a towel dispenser off the wall in the mens restroom in DCA. I am sorry to say this but I think their pricing policies are responsible for this kind of occurence. There are attractions all over southern California: Knotts, Six Flags, Universal – Disneyland used to be considered more exclusive before the monthly payment plan was made available.

      • Susan Hughes

        I agree with you. There are those who will no doubt HATE ME for saying this, but the passes should only be available to those how can afford to pay for it in full. No monthly payments.

      • LoveStallion

        Or actually finance the monthly payments to make them less appealing. Disney seemed downright generous when they established monthly payments without any interest attached.

        Take the $289 passport. Knock off the $96 due up-front and you are left with $193. Finance that for twelve months at 15% APR and the total monthly payment goes up to $17.42 That only represents $16.04 more overall for the passport, but it’d be enough of a deterrent. Plus, $16.04 x 100,000 = $1,604,000. Let that pad out for a few years and you have enough scratch to handle OSHA upgrades.

        There’s your smart money, Disney. Reward those who will pay up front and make some extra cash off of those who opt to pay monthly. It’ll drive down the number of annual passholders while not being so inanely douchey to everyone else.

      • dizneedoll

        Oh so the pass is only for elitists like yourself and someone like me who can have the pass and enjoy the parks but only on the monthly plan is a “passhole?” Because surely all those who can afford to shell out $520+ at a time for each pass wouldn’t be a “passhole” right? Didn’t Walt say Disneyland was supposed to be for everyone?

      • bestwishes

        Exclusivity. Club 33 must be your wet dream.

      • innerspacenut

        Why stop here? Let’s check people’s credit ratings before they enter! Maybe try to determine what neighborhood they come from before granting them the right to purchase a pass.
        There are valid arguments both pro and con for price increases at the parks, but to try to frame it as a “certain people” problem is arrogant and elitist.

    • Disneymike

      “That would separate the “Annual Passholders” from the “Annual Passholes”.”
      Wow, I would hate to live in your little elitist world.

      • bestwishes

        It’s okay, Mike. Susan Hughes clearly can’t be bothered to mix with the riffraff.
        It’s interesting to see the class warfare come out of hiding when price becomes an issue. If prices are raised and payment plans are kept, then some may still have the option to afford that lower-tiered pricing making an Annual Pass more accessible and less of a luxury-item. There are clearly those here (I’m thinking they are old as balls/baby boomers/anti-millennials) that want Less People in the parks and the most efficient and expedient way to achieve that goal in their view (and possibly the Parks’ view as well) is to reestablish Disney Parks as a luxury brand instead of a People’s park.

        What’s essentially being suggested is turning the Disneyland AP system into a country club.

        If Disney eradicates the AP payment plan in the future to reduce guests, I’ll be disappointed and angry, but ultimately it’s a for-profit business and that’s their priority. If Disney eradicates the AP payment plan in the future to reduce guests, and the people (read: white & solvent) like Susan Hughes, Love Stallion, and Ravencroft celebrate they are disgusting.

        Keep on being elitist, jerk-offs.

    • bestwishes

      What does your privilege taste like, Susan? I bet it has the faint aroma of disposable income. Do you wash your hands after touching a Millennial, too?

      • blue32

        It’s not being elitist to say you should be able to PAY for something when you buy it! Why does everything in this country need to available on credit? Borrower is slave to the lender…..

    • airick75

      Just in the interest of facts, I don’t have the exact answer, but from all that I’ve read and remember, it seems very, very unlikely that there were only 100,000 APs in 2007. I can’t say for sure, and I don’t have time to research it right now, but anyone reading this should take that statement with a rather large grain of salt.

    • dland72

      I totally agree with ditching the monthly payments! I did notice once that started that the place was ALWAYS crowded. I miss the days in the 80′s and 90′s when it never seemed very crowded, now its only on a mid week in February. Just have the premium pass and make it around $500 and pay upfront.

    • Susan Hughes

      It’s really quite simple; the monthly payment plan caused all this mess! There are no other factors to blame. Disney is now desperately trying to stop the damage caused by it. That’s why they need to get rid of it.
      For those who only bought a pass because they could now make a monthly payment that’s less than their phone bill…SAVE!!! By the end of the year you can have enough to pay in full. If you lack the discipline and organization to do that, then that’s your fault, not Disney’s. I shed no tears for you.

  • Bullarja

    After just visiting this past weekend, I will not be returning anytime soon. Ride after ride kept breaking down, lines starting to become extremely long do to the lack of rides that were operating, and the expect me to pay how much to endure this?

  • Retrolane

    From a business side they will of course keep increasing prices until there is a breaking point. That’s just standard business practice.
    The problem is really too many people visiting the parks. They say it themselves. That’s a problem I would like to have, too many customers.
    Instead of trying to lower the amount of local repeat customers they need to either expand the current parks or build a 3rd gate.
    Even though there hasn’t been alot added to Disneyland they did just complete a whole redo of DCA and I think the overall park maintenance and upkeep is far superior to what’s going on in WDW.
    They need to dump profits into expansion and current maintenance.


    In other news, the Cast Members still get a 3% “cost of living” annual increase.

    • Mousecat

      After paying more for health insurance and other salary givebacks.

  • eicarr

    Cars Land had justified all increases for me, but that is wearing out. If they announce Star Wars additions to Tomorrowland, they can double prices again, and I’ll still go twice as much as currently without Star Wars. I just need to see investments in major new attractions, not kiddie parades/shows, refurbishments and new walkways.

    Stunned that people can still get an annual pass for under $100 per month in 2014. Compared with modern cable bills…

    • Westsider

      Stop being so rational eicarr, you are ruining the outrage!

      Premium AP is 50 bucks per month, down to SoCal AP is only 16 bucks per month. An amazing bargain!

      16 bucks per month doesn’t even get you a Friday night movie ticket and a small popcorn, much less multiple days admission to one of the best theme park entertainment complexes on the planet.

      And then you compare that monthly price to one crummy roof seat at an NBA or NHL game that START at 40 bucks per seat for a 3 hour game. Or nosebleed-binocular seats at a Chargers game that START at 70 bucks per seat. Or the average AT&T iPhone monthly bill of 100 bucks. Etc., etc., etc.

  • thebear

    I really don’t think the price increases have anything to do with the amount of new rides or what is open. California is raising its minimum wage on July 1st, I believe. Even if Disneyland Resort cast members don’t make minimum wage their is still an expectation that employees’ pay would move up a corresponding amount. Hopefully this is the case. If I was a cast member making $1 over minimum wage I would expect to still be $1 over minimum after the increase. Along with this, certain food costs like beef and dairy are at all time highs. Health care, utilities, etc. all continue to go up. It just seems to be the cost of doing business in California. Of course, as consumers, we always decide if it’s worth it or not, regardless of the reasons. I love Disneyland but would rather get an annual pass to both USH and Magic Mountain for what it costs for a one day park hopper to Disneyland/DCA.

    • disneychrista

      Unfortunately, expecting a raise and getting one isn’t the same.

  • DanO

    This is standard yield management. Disney has a set capacity they would like to keep the attendance at. That’s somewhere below their legal capacity. They don’t like hitting that maximum capacity because turning away people is even worse PR for them. They also suspended the sales of new So Cal passes to reduce the number of pass holders.

    They could get rid of the payments and that would reduce some passes. Other options would be to add more blackout dates, but increasing the price is a fairly egalitarian way of maintaining attendance levels.

    • Susan Hughes

      Dump the monthly payment plans. That’s what caused all this trouble in the first place. It went from manageable to out of control very quickly once monthly payments were allowed.

      • Imagineer2B

        I completely agree. The monthly payment option should be eliminated. Average locals will still visit the parks, but they will purchase a multi-day park hopper option and visit the resort a handful of days in the year vs. showing up a handful of days in a month.

  • tooncity

    The ride break down price is about $12-$15 a ride. Based on the average ridership per visit. it costs that much based on 10 rides a visit. is the Matterhorn, Peter Pan, Star tours, jungle Cruise, Pirates, haunted and others worth that kind of money. NO Way.

    Stop going to this broken down, dated museum of the Past. They have NO interest in providing you VALUE. Junkie, Dated, mimimul updates. Entire lands Neutered. What a joke. Only a gullibly moron would swallow this tripe. Wake up folks, it’s just not worth it. I Gave up my Ap in 2007 based on this trend. I am a big stockholder. from that point of view I LOVE IT. I just feel really bad for the folks who love Disney and just can’t afford this.

    It’s really sad. In the long run, this is really bad for Disney. They are NOT creating a childhood passion within children 9future paying customers). If children don’t go and fall in love with the place, then they wouldn’t come back with passion as adults. they’ll go to Knotts, MM, Uni, Sea World, LEGOLAND and develop a childhood passion for those places. They’ll return as adults to those place and NOT Disneyland. The Disney Arrogance WILL catch-up with them.

    I hate to say, “What would Walt do….” Well, I think we can all say he wouldn’t be doing this.

    • ayalexander

      You can’t just tell people to “wake up”. The people that still go to Disneyland are people that still feel like the price is worth it. If that’s how they feel. Leave them alone. I still feel the price is worth it because there is no way in hell I’m going to any other theme park other than a Disney park. I still enjoy the experience I get at Disneyland. You can’t call all of Disneyland a broken down, dated museum of the past. The rides are there until no one wants them anymore, so the rides that you refer to as a museum, are still there because people want to see them. You can’t say ALL of Disneyland is that way, only a few things in tomorrowland are that way. But that’s a Tomorrowland issue, not a Disneyland issue.

      • tooncity

        Yes, Wake UP! They keep taking more and have no reason to build anything that’s actually NEW. They have 1000s of ideas, characters that they can be leveraging but they do NOTHING because they can. Because they have a built in money train that will take anything they’re given because it has a stupid Disney name slapped on it.

        All the defenders dance around on this site, I love Disneyland, I love it and I’ll go no matter what. Get a life! You’re living in a fantasy world. This park will NEVER build anything until the attendance goes DOWN. I would like them to expand. Build New amazing stuff. Increase the available capacity to 100,000 a day. But they’ll never do it if the Disney Religious Freak don’t stop pouring into the place.

        What a bunch of Saps!

      • Cory Gross

        Tooncity, MUST YOU?!

        Seriously, MUST YOU?! How insulting do you have to get? Really now.

      • ayalexander

        Tooncity, just leave micechat, you’re obviously not here to go get your “disney high” so leave. No one needs you here, insulting people and calling them saps. Leave Micechat, why even read the posts if you are just here to bitch about them. There are people that actually enjoy reading up on what Disney is up to and learning new things about Disney. If you’re not a fan, don’t be on a fan site.

      • Marko50

        No, tooncity is right. I am a sap. I read his posts knowing that he would say the same-o same-o again. And again.

    • Cory Gross

      I don’t need to “wake up.” As I keep telling you guys, I am a conscious, conscientious consumer who is interested in purchasing the product that Disney is selling. Even with all the things they do that I disagree with, they haven’t yet come close to the point where I would write them off (and ironically, that point would probably be when they start doing a lot of the things you guys would want).

      I’ll also give you another FYI: I work in a museum and I can tell you definitively that museums are not places where you go to see things that are OLD. They are places you go to see things that are GREAT. All those “dated” attractions have lasted as long as they have because they are GREAT and Disney fans know it.

      So yeah, seriously, what is with you guys that you have to get so personally insulting because Disney fans don’t share your personal tastes? Like, really, MUST YOU?

      • ayalexander

        I couldn’t have said it better, myself.

      • tooncity

        Why don’t you two get a room at the Disney Religious Freak Hotel. Just shinning the light on ignorance.

      • Cory Gross

        What is your problem tooncity? Seriously! Ease up and back off. You don’t have to get insulting just because we don’t have the same burr up our butts that you do. Chill out and stop being so insulting.

    • CCS

      Move along, ToonCity. Take your Disney stock and just move along.

      • Marko50

        And “shin” your light elsewhere. Seriously, you should proofread your posts before you start talking about ignorance.

  • Wendygirl

    As an older adult there is not as much that I can do in the way of rides anymore (though Big Thunder is very good now). I mainly go for the entertainment but now my favorite group is gone (Billy Hill) and I know for a fact something else I love to watch is leaving this Summer. I can no longer justify the price of an Premium Pass. Fortunately I still have until November to use it. I will renew for one more year at the lowest level (but have to add parking which is a bummer) and that is only because I want to go during the 60th anniversary year. After that come November of 2015 I probably won’t renew. Knotts Berry Farm is a much better value for me as a Senior (and they treat us well there).

    It is my opinion that the over crowding started with the monthly payment plan. If they wish to cut back on the crowds, then they need to do away with that plan instead of dropping options. I know not everyone can afford to pay the price in one lump sum, but that is why you save your money. I have a plan that works for me so that when I need that lump sum of money when the time comes, I have it.

    By the way if you want that So. Calif. Pass that is not available, go to your grocery store as soon as possible and get the gift card for that Pass as it doesn’t expire until Dec. 31 and they will honor it. The Vons near me had tons of them but when word gets out, they will disappear fast. Also if you want to save a few sheckles, they have other passes and park hoppers gift cards too.

    • Susan Hughes

      Totally agree. The monthly payment plan is the root to all the evil. Eliminate it and watch the conditions (and the undesirables in the parks) improve drastically.

      • Disneymike

        Hmm… maybe you are one of those “undesirables” yourself since you seem to
        think you are above everybody.

      • ayalexander

        HAHAHA Disneymike that was hilarious.

      • jcruise86

        Susan, what do you mean by “undesirables”?

        Sounds creepy, to use about the nicest accurate word I can think of. At best (which is not to say it’s good), by “undesirables” you mean people who behave badly behavior, right? Or DID you mean any particular racial/ethnic groups?

        Even if you were only stating that lack of money =s bad behavior, do you see the offensiveness of believing that we ought to try to prevent every Bob Cratchit from taking his Tiny Tim to Disneyland (whatever their color/nationality, etc.), while you breathe a sigh of relief next to the ever-so-classy Donald Sterling and Justin Bieber? Yes, Tiny Tim is fictional (not a lot of famous poor kids I can use as examples) and Disneyland is one of the things that makes me want to earn money so I can attain more than the basics, but you’ve got to feel sad for a parent who always responds “No” to her child who asks to go to Disneyland, which is so close to their home. Imagine of every kid but Charlie got to tour Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. Of course, no one has a right to go to Disneyland, but it’s still sad to me when kids can’t go and parents can’t take them.

      • jcruise86

        ^ ^ Should be “imagine if” not “of” in the last paragraph.
        (My many typos are “undesirable.”)

      • jcruise86

        Regarding ^ ^ “behave badly behavior” in my second paragraph. Sorry readers!

  • Internitty

    Admission rises:
    Court of Angels closed.
    Nemo probably closed may open for a short period next year for the 0th then most likely gone for good around the time of the next price rise.
    Little Mermaid touched up but no proper ending for Ursula.
    Small World and Space Mountain in desperate need of cosmetic maintenance
    Additional Disneyworld merchandise
    If it wasn’t 3am I’d go on but you get the point. At least there will be more money to pump into My Magic +