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

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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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151 Comments

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  1. Price increases the last few years have been excessive. I believe the reason for this is a culture at Disney Corporate conceived by former CEO Eisner of profit(greed)above all else. Eisner’s long gone but his unfortunate legacy remains.(Recall current CEO Iger was hand-picked by Eisner.)

    • Price increases, along with everything else they can find to up-charge on, seem to be the focus for corporate profits. Disney is satisfied with doing as little as they can, as far as new attractions, as long as people keep pouring into their parks.

      Universal is doing whatever they can to challenge Disney, and are pretty successful at it. But, even though their improvements increase THEIR attendance and bottom line, until it actually cuts into Disney’s, Disney probably won’t counter with any significant response (given that they consider the Magic Kingdom’s Fantasyland update as a “Potter Swatter”, which it clearly ISN’T).

  2. Wow! Disneyland is definitely done for our family. We went there to see Carsland and it turned out to be the most overhyped disappointment we ever saw. The constant price hikes just ruined it for us for good. We have family there who have the Southern California passes because that’s all they can afford. I can’t believe how anyone can support this kind of lack of respect they have for the millions of people who visit and spend their hard earned money there. Disneyland claims to make dreams come true, but only a select privileged few. Pretty soon the Club 33er’s will be the only people in the parks, but maybe that’s what they want. Sorry everyone, just venting my frustration.

    • I agree with what you say to a point. As an occasional visitor, I’m frustrated by the crowds and the. at times, poor experience. But the prices aren’t so offensive I can’t save up for a trip once a year or so. I just don’t want to spend the money to be greeted with 90 minutes waits on every decent ride, the inability to experience any special events (WoC, Fantasmic, Fireworks, Etc.) and crowds that you can barely walk through.

      Honestly, Disney will raise prices as long as the market will bear it. Right now, it’s pretty obvious that the current prices (as of Saturday) haven’t reached that point and probably aren’t even close to it. Disney just needs to balance it’s guests so the occasional guests that spend money in the parks aren’t disappointed. I’ll pay the new prices if they improve the guest experience and limiting APs is one step towards doing that, I hope.

  3. Our passes are a must for the family.(As much as a luxury expense can be a must.) For our autistic twin daughters Disneyland is embedded into their weekly routine. Could they learn to live without the Parks, of course but as long as we can, we will allow them to continue going and having so much fun and joy. Just like the fact we could make them wait in standby, and we did Saturday 30-minutes for JC, but we also used DAS which helped keep them from getting over-stimulated and made the day better for all of us.
    If it were just my wife and myself I don’t know if we would continue to have an AP. We first got them in 2000 when I was liberated from being a Cast Member and we would go about once a month. Now for the twins it is once and sometimes twice a week.
    The payment plan is allowing us to continue with our Premium passes while I am closing in on three years of part-time work; Disneyland Resort is pretty much the entirety of our entertainment budget. We are hoping it continues until I can get back to full-time. We are fairly close to a time when they will price us out. It seems like a lot of other people, keeping the AP is more “painful” and we may complain but that hasn’t stopped us yet. I suspect from posts on this board and conversation with others they may be right at that tipping point where they will start to lose some passholders.

  4. Well, this could be our last year for renewing our passports. I think the worst part of all this is having to read the lies of Disney with their spin on media. Suzi Brown ought to be ashamed that she has to do this.

  5. This isn’t greed and Disney doesn’t hate locals. Disney is raising the prices because they can. DLR is so popular that it is at or near capacity much of the time and the guest experience is eroding. Supply and demand dictates they do something. The price is too low and demand is overwhelming supply. I agree, DLR should expand but that takes years of planning and construction. Should they allow the parks to be overwhelmed with guests, locals and otherwise, in the meantime? Should they allow the love for and popularity of the parks to turn into anger and frustration?

    And who said locals can’t buy APs? The SoCal APs are ridiculously cheap and have far too few restrictions but locals can buy regular APs. Locals crowd out non-locals too often. I don’t blame locals for taking advantage. Disney has failed to manage the situation. This is an attempt to do so. Whether or not it works, we’ll see. They need to do something before DLR is known not as the cream of the theme park crop but for their maddening, frustrating lines and wait times.

    • I agree with you, I don’t know where people came up with the idea this was about greed. You are right that the Disney experience is eroding due to the full capacity of the park. How is a family supposed to have a full day of un-interrupted fun if they are waiting 60 minutes for each ride. Therefore if they raise the prices, less people will go to Disneyland, and yet they don’t lose too much money because the prices are higher. Its just a way to water down the crowds and increase the experience from within.

  6. How many people who are paying on monthly payment plans don’t have a credit card; I imagine that is a very low number so the whole idea of monthly payments as the root of all evil seems a little weak to me; they could make monthly payments via their credit card. Disney is saving you a few bucks by keeping it off your credit card for a short period of time. Some people might say that is a small but nice thank you to a pass holder.

    I appreciate that everyone views the value of DL differently. I guarantee you for some it still feels like an exceptional value at increased prices (and how many of the people commenting here are really buying a one day ticket!) and some don’t. Calling someone a fool for paying for some sort of entrance media is really unkind. I don’t criticize people who buy designer clothes or shoes or spend too much on Starbucks or Peet’s coffee. Everyone gets to evaluate if the price for entrance and the experience you get (rides, shows, entertainment etc.) is worth it to them. The large crowds indicate that there is a robust population that fees that they get a fantastic value. It is not the Disney company’s responsibility to make it affordable to all but they do a pretty good job of keeping it available to as wide an audience as possible.

    Related to the closures for updates, repairs etc….this group would be yelling even louder if they weren’t maintaining the park. The park has very little down time during the 12 months; there is no real good time to close attractions.

    Thanks for the always lovely photos of the park. For those of us out of the area it is a small but nice connection to DL and DCA.

    • “Related to the closures for updates, repairs etc….this group would be yelling even louder if they weren’t maintaining the park. The park has very little down time during the 12 months; there is no real good time to close attractions.”

      Maintaining the park has become an immense challenge since they went to whole park ticketing and annual passes. EVERYTHING is being overworked and abused throughout the park. Maintenance crews (those that still remain) are overworked.

      When Disneyland first opened, the park was closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. The park was VERY well maintained for several decades. Unfortunately, in the 90′s, thing started to falter and the maintenance (and thus the park) began to deteriorate.

      The reason people are complaining now is that the park has now become crowded all year and maintenance that used to be handled during “off season” now seems to be ongoing all year.

      I think the only way Disneyland can maintain their attractions at peak level all year with as little downtime as possible would be to greatly increase their maintenance staff so that serious maintenance can be ongoing during after hours.

      • Yes, close attractions for maintenance, but don’t charge full price for it.

        I remember Disneyland use to discount the off season when many attractions where closed. It was a $22 special when ticket prices where in the mid $30′s ( you can still see the commercials on youtube). Very reasonable and fair. Not like today.

      • Aren’t they discounting prices when a SoCal local can go to the grocery store and pick up a 3 day park hopper for $159?

  7. I think the Disney super-fans sometimes put the company between a rock and a hard place. One the one hand, “no new E-tickets in 20 years” vies with the anger everyone vents if the company tries to retire an existing attraction.

    First, the massive refurbs of Space Mountain and Big Thunder were probably 90% the cost of a new attraction. So should the company have let those continue to slide, and built net-new? If the mantra is, “we only get value when you add new,” then there’s little reason to maintain existing attractions right?

    And Disneyland is “full.” Where would a new attraction go? Could we rip out Jungle Cruise to make room? You could probably fit a couple of big-name rides in that huge space. Wipe out Big Thunder Ranch? Probably wouldn’t raise too many jeers, although if there was still a beloved musical act back there, people would be upset.

    How about ditching the Nemo subs in favor of an all-new attraction – something that seems likely to happen anyway?

    Point being, y’all do tend to play both sides of the argument. “We want new, but don’t take away anything” is a bit tough with a park that’s clearly developed out to the very limits of its property lines. And even without net-new attractions, prices will rise. Gas prices go up, and you don’t get any additional “value” from the same old gallon of gas. Same thing.

    • Innoventions leaps to mind.

    • Big Thunder Ranch was long slated to be Discovery Bay. That whole area could be redeveloped.

      Indiana Jones represents a brilliant use of space that didn’t exist, and woven seamlessly into the rest of the park. I doubt it would have ever been built if the DCA/Downtown Disney project would have been done before then.

      Or take out some backstage areas right on the Fantasyland/Frontierland border and put a Frozen attraction in. Have the entrance be where the Skyway station currently is.

      There are options. None are perfect. Disneyland is boxed in and doesn’t have the space luxuries of Florida, so a removal of backstage areas comes at a cost. But there’s stuff that can be done and done well.

  8. Its all supply and demand. If somebody sold donuts, and they had long lines and their prices were astronomical, other donut shops would open to get some of that money, and the prices would go down. Las Vegas, are you listening? Back in the 1990′s you were on your way to becoming a city-sized Disneyland, with free parking, free shows, and WAY cheaper food. Then you decided you wanted to cater to the 20-somethings maxing out their credit cards, with trendy nightclubs where the doorman makes $400,000 a year in tips, just to let the non-rich, non-beautiful people past that velvet rope (can anybody say Club 33?). The fifty cent hot dog gave way to the $65 lunch. Gift shops gave way to boutiques. Treasure Island took down its Jolly Roger sign. They blew up the Stardust, Frontier, Westward Ho, and replaced them with nothing. Everybody else de-themed. All the new properties, like Cosmopolitan and City Center look just like downtown anywhere. Coins no longer clink out of the slot machines. In my opinion, if Las Vegas ever got back on track again, it would clean up.

  9. Wow Andy, that was a massive update. I know it took a lot of work! Thank you. I appreciate it.

  10. Perspective from someone who doesn’t live anywhere near SoCal (about 1500 miles away), for what it is worth:

    1 — I’ve been fortunate enough to bring my family to Disneyland about a half dozen times in the last 15 years. We are a close family and we have a lot of good memories, but the best memories we have by far are those vacations. I can’t put a price tag on that experience. Though we aren’t rich and couldn’t easily afford it, I would’ve found a way to go even if the costs were twice what they were.

    2 — For us, the entire AP program is a problem. The reason that a family like mine may not get good value for their dollar has little if anything to do with new attractions, upkeep, food offerings,etc., it is all about the crowds. Carsland is great, and a wonderful experience, and the kids loved Radiator Springs Racers — the one time we were able to ride it. With 2 hour wait times for a 5 minute ride (or whatever it is), even the kids couldn’t justify more than that. The best thing DLR can do to improve the customer experience is lessen the number of customers, and it’s pretty clear that they know that.

    3 — It’s a free market economy, folks. Demand is very, very high, and supply (arguably) can’t be raised to compensate. The most obvious solution to achieve balance and maximize profits and the customer experience at the same time is to lower demand, in this case through higher costs.

    4 — Re: the comments on monthly payments, though it does seem obvious that some of the folks there really can’t afford to be there, I’ve never had any trouble with anyone: rich/poor, majority/minority, whatever. The guy with a tattoo on his leg of a stark naked woman engaged in a private moment was a bit off-putting, but the kids didn’t even notice.

    • What guy with what tattoo?

    • “The reason that a family like mine may not get good value for their dollar has little if anything to do with new attractions, upkeep, food offerings,etc., it is all about the crowds.”

      Well-said!

  11. “Is it sustainable when the cost of admission has more than doubled since 2003 and there have been no new E-Tickets added at Disneyland park in nearly 20 years?”

    Evidently that is the wrong question to ask, since the problem is that Disneyland’s attendance has grown to capacity in spite of the lack of E-tickets.

    If the problem is overcrowding, then it totally makes sense to take away the programs that were instituted specifically to raise attendance. So-Cal passes, payment plans, lower-tier APs, and other such things were created to get people in the parks. Now they’re here, and there’s too many of them. Therefore, get rid of those things. That is entirely separate from the question of E-ticket rides, and I don’t think that building new things that people will flock into the parks to ride is really a good solution to the problem of too many people in the parks.

    This is a case where I feel a bit of a moral quandary, because this whole situation actually works to my benefit. I’m one of those non-local, infrequent visitors who tend to spend a lot of money when they come. Looking at the handy chart that Andy provided, the price hike is virtually negligible for me. $5 on a 5-day parkhopper? Yeah, not an issue. The #1 thing that diminishes my experience of the parks is crowding. My fiancee and I deliberately pick the off-season to travel anywhere, because we’re not big crowd people. I just don’t like ‘em, but she actually gets anxiety in large crowds. If there is no time of year that Disneyland has crowd levels lower than, say, a 5 out of 10, then we would definitely reassess whether we would go at all. Reducing the crowds works in our favour.

    However, I am aware that reducing the crowds is going to affect those people who want to experience Disney but will now be priced out of range. I’m not going to make any moral judgments on “undesirables” or “Passholes” or anything like that. To want to go to Disney and not be able to would suck, period. I totally sympathize with that, and it’s unfortunate that Disneyland isn’t a socialist non-profit post-scarcity good. Unfortunately it is a business and it only has so much capacity. Something has to give. But then it’s “giving” in a way that works out for me, so that’s easy for me to say, and that sucks too. Somebody has to not be there in order for me to be there, and vice versa.

    If the price hikes were about to affect me, I think I would have to start adjusting my behaviour more. I already stay at one of the $40 motels behind DCA, which enables me to stay longer and spend more in the parks. Next, I guess, would be going down to 1-park/day (we’re already doing that to shave a bit off of WDW in September) followed by reducing the number of days we stay. I suspect, though, that if they started affecting non-locals, the hotel owners would start getting on Disney’s case too. I’m not sure exactly what point Disney would have to hit to make me not want to come anymore. That is, beyond allowing +5 crowds every day of the year. Double-price for 5-day parkhopper? When it would cost us as much to go to DLR as it would to go to DLP/TDL/WDW? Demolishing Tomorrowland and building Star Wars Land? Hopefully I never have to find out.

    • I agree too. My biggest problem isn’t “the lack of new E-tickets” I’m still very engaged in the current rides. Very much. My problem is the crowds. Disneyland is too crowded. By raising the prices, that is the best way I can think of to water down the crowds and also not have to turn away so many guests at the gate.

      • Yup… That’s part of why I don’t get these “DISNEYLAND IS A MUSEUM!! THERE’S NOTHING TO DO AT WDW!! NEW E-TICKETS ARE THE ANSWER TO EVERYTHING!! DISNEY IS WORSE THAN HITLER!!” comments come from. Like, sorry, when did the Haunted Mansion, Enchanted Tiki Room, Jungle Cruise, Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, Peter Pan’s Flight, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, Splash Mountain, Mark Twain Riverboat, etc. suddenly start sucking so bad? Granted, a ride CAN be made to suck (see: Pirates of the Caribbean), but that’s still a thankfully rare case.

    • As someone who is only able to make a Disney trip once every 4 years or so due to the expense of the entire trip (living 3,000 miles away from DL, 4,500 miles away from WDW), I completely agree here. I really miss the relatively uncrowded, pre-AP Disneyland that existed for my first few trips. My last couple of trips were occasionally quite frustrating due to the increased crowds.

      While I have always envied those who live near Disneyland and are able to take advantage of APs to visit all the time, it’s obviously unsustainable to keep APs in their current form. It seems like they could keep the same structure that they have now, with the same pass levels and blackout days, but put limits on the number of entries per year. I don’t know what the statistics are on how frequently APs visit, but as an example, maybe something like 24 entries per year for the SoCal Select (for a current cost of approximately $12.04 per day), 36 entries per year for the SoCal ($10.53 per day) and 52 entries per year for the Deluxe ($9.98 per day) could help reduce crowding. Obviously some people would be upset, but these would still be amazing deals compared with regular ticket prices. Unfortunately there are just too many people in the parks these days for management not to raise prices. :(

      • Good points. Another thing that is lost in the people complaining that Disney hates So-Cal residents is that So-Cal residents still have the same right to buy a regular AP or park tickets like anybody else. A So-Cal pass for visiting almost whenever they want as often as they want cost $50 more than my 5-day parkhopper. THAT isn’t fair.

  12. I don’t mind the price increases. The cost to go to DL is high, so I will not be able to go as often as I would like but when I do go I know what I will be getting. If you want cheap, go to the fair.

  13. Disney is a business and must make money to keep the stockholders and investors happy. There is so much $$$ that goes into running a theme park that it would probably boggle your mind, people are still coming to the parks due to Carsland and the additions at DCA. The market is up and people are spending more money. The payment plan was probably one of the smarter things they have done. Disney can keep increasing the prices on the AP’s and people will still buy them because they can spread out the payment, thus Disney still getting that revenue.

    • Disney must invest money in order to keep their customers happy. That should be their ONLY focus.

      When your customers are happy, they will spend their money on your product – thus profits. the profits will then make the stockholders happy. END OF STORY.

      When the focus is on making stockholders happy, often, the customer gets the short end of the stick. Cutbacks, reductions, quality shortcuts, etc. result in shoddy products that the customers eventually get fed up with. They then go elsewhere. When you loose your customer base, you loose your profits. Unhappy stockholders.

      • Jack Welch famously called focusing on Shareholder Value “the dumbest idea in the world.”

        The cult of focusing on the Shareholder has been thoroughly debunked in academia; unfortunately, this is still the dominant paradigm in most businesses. Leaders have not yet caught up to study after study showing exactly what DLFan1995 just said: The Customer should be the focus; the Shareholder can be ignored. Delivering a great product to the Customer will translate to happy Shareholders.

      • “The cult of focusing on the Shareholder has been thoroughly debunked in academia”

        Classic. I’m sure in “academia” it has been debunked, but for those of us who live outside the ivy covered walls in a place called “the real world” where such things as investors, analysts, and quarterly targets determine your ability to raise capital for your business, it is still important to focus on your owners – also known as your “shareholders”. When I need a good laugh, I’ll be sure to call on “academia” for advice.

  14. To all the Disney Religious Freaks that come to this Happy Place, Welcome. Give me your Wallets and relive the past of poverty and overpriced Disney World Items. Here you can travel on rides that are dirty and break down. The privilege of Paying full price for attractions that are only open for 6 months of the year. Stand in long lines so you can only get on 10 attractions per day. Spend your money on $10 hotdogs so Iger can make his bonus money. Witness the Magic of the Ghost of Michael Eisner morph into Bob Iger. King Iger can do what he wants now that Steve Jobs and Diane Disney are departed. Witness the Lemmings as they walk right off a cliff. It’s Magic I tell you. Do what I order you to do, spend money, spend money while we give you crap!

    • Dude… let me give you the number to a therapist… you really need help. Seriously, i’m not even joking, im not mocking you, i’m speaking as a concerned citizen. You need to seek help. You have been damaged by something in your life and its effecting you. Disneyland is just a historical park… its not a monster under your bed, its not the devil incarnate trying to eat you. Its a place. Look just, get ahold of a doctor. It may also help if you don’t visit micechat anymore since it may further upset your psychotic break. SEEK HELP.

      • Everything I’ve said is the truth and factual, you should learn from it. Being open to diverse opinions will enhance your life.

      • You’re manipulating facts to support your cause. That’s what youre doing. I may be a “superfreak” but I do have many objections to the company. I only meet them at 40%… but I don’t freak out over it like you do, because as they say: “it is what it is” they are a company, they are responsible to the shareholders. Its illegal for them to not make choices in the best interest of its shareholders. that just it. there’s no more to it.

      • On the contrary, I think tooncity would have a very bright future in talk radio.

      • I think we broke tooncity.

    • You will only get on 10 rides a day if you have that attitude. I went on a very crowded day last November and went on all the rides(except Big Thunder, it was the only ride down for refurb). Just get there early, have a plan, and you can ride everything. But, you have to go with a positive attitude.

  15. Everybody seems to forget that this is the company that Corporately Murdered that Father who was KILLED on Big Thunder. This company purposely and maliciously chose to NOT do maintenance on Heavy Industrial machinery that carried human cargo. T Erby’s directive to ‘’….run the attractions until they break’’ was approved at the corporate offices at the Burbank Studios. Yet, NOBODY went to jail, Disney paid off the family, the politicians, the police and everybody else. How does that square with your Holier Than Thou Disney religion. By NOT demanding more from this company and HOLDING them accountable you are, in some small way encouraging like behavior in the future. WAKE UP! You people are BLIND!

    • First of all. The COMPANY was NOT responsible for that accident. It was the fault of a lazy maintenance worker that skipped out on his responsibility, and he was fired. Next, accidents happen at Theme parks all the time, the only reason why we hear it from Disney more than others is that Disney is a corperation and a story like this makes for bigger headlines than “accident at six flags” -people would just be like “oh… ok?” but since the headlines read “death at Disneyland” -automatically people tune in. The other thing was, it was an ACCIDENT, what can disney do? Pay god to bring the person back to life??? no, Disney paid off the family so the persons medical bills would be covered, and the family wouldn’t have to deal with financial and judicial problems on top of the death of a loved one. Read up dude, and calm down. You’re just a troll. Leave the site.

      • Alalexaner you are a FOOL. You know nothing.

        T Irby, was a retired Army general recruited to turn Disneyland’s Facilities department upside down under Paul Pressler. His orders were to cut maintenance cost, no matter what. That includes putting lives in danger. that he did. Cutting budgets for nuts and bolts and the hours that were required to make the Engine on the train (which is cosmetic) wouldn’t fall apart and decapitate a man in front of his children. can you imagine the horror! Alalexaner put your head out!

        The Disney corporation murdered that father and left 4 children without their father for life, so Disney could have a good quarterly report.

        Alalexaner your assertions are simply asinine! Stop talking you look foolish!

      • Actually, tooncity, you’re the only one looking foolish. You can’t even spell the man’s screen name correctly even though it’s right above your post.

        And yes, you are a troll.

    • So it’s not enough that Animal Kingdom doesn’t have a Jungle Book ride. Now Disney ARE MURDERERS!!!1!

      We’ve hit Poe’s Law head-on.