As you may have seen, over the weekend Disneyland raised ticket and AP prices, which caused the typical outcry from fans as we've seen every other time they've raised prices.
The typical arguments flew around, Disney is greedy being chief among them. As we always try to do, we're going to try and give these things a bit of reasoning.
In addition to the AP prices, there were also a few things announced at the D23 Expo in Japan last night. So we figured we'd include them here and not make you click through 500 different articles. =)
Written by Gregg Condon
Here we are, a year or more from Star Wars Land opening at Disneyland, there are over a million Annual Passholders, Disneyland is crowded every single day yet for some reason Disney keeps trying to trim the amount of Annual Passholders.
They know that Star Wars Land is going to be huge, it's going to bring in people who aren't AP's, but what's going to happen when those people pay $150-$200 a day to get in the park only to find the park is filled with 50,000+ Annual Passholders and they can't do anything?
This is pretty much what all tourists these days find.
So in an effort to fix this, Disney has once again raised ticket and Annual Pass prices. Yet they've still not eliminated the one thing that would actually cause the number of Annual Passholders to go down, the payment plan.
This has been a source of contention with many for the past decade. The payment plan makes it easy to justify the price of an Annual Pass, because you can spread it around. What it has done however is turned Disneyland into a "hangout".
You now have a full generation of Disneyland fans who view it was something that's just "there", They can go whenever they want. The "specialness" of it is going away. It's no longer a "treat", it's just what they do on weekends and weeknights.
What's the answer? We don't know. All we know is that as infrequent visitors, we'd be way more willing to shell out $600-$800 for a day at Disneyland if we could enjoy a park that wasn't bursting at the seams with APs. As it is now, we go to the park once every 2-3 years. We'd definitely make multiple trips per year if the parks weren't as busy. I don't think we're alone in this.
At the end of the day, we don't see the current AP model as sustainable over the long term, and I don't think Disney does either.
So expect even more changes coming to the AP program sooner rather than later.
With all of that said, let's let's look at the new AP prices:
Disney Signature Plus = $1149
Disney Signature = $999
Disney Deluxe = $729
Disney Southern California Select = $369
As we've done in the past, we're going to look at the Annual Pass prices for Disneyland and compare them to the other theme parks in Southern California.
(click any of the links to be taken to the AP pages for each park)
Knott's Berry Farm
Regular Season Pass = $94
Knott's Gold Pass = $113
Cedar Fair Platinum Pass = $216
So let's break this down a bit.
You can get a Universal Studios Hollywood Gold Pass, Magic Mountain Gold Pass Membership, Cedar Fair Platinum Pass, Legoland Standard Pass and SeaWorld San Diego Pass for a grand total of $918.99.
If you won't be visiting any other Cedar Fair Parks other than Knott's, that drops your price $103. If you don't have small kids and don't need Legoland that drops your price $199. If you don't like roller coasters and don't want Magic Mountain, that drops it $97.
Note: If you have a Costco Pass you can get the Universal Studios Hollywood Gold Pass for $199, which saves you another $100. (Thanks to Mike for pointing this out)
There are also a ton of other non Theme Park Options, a few of them are below:
The point is, there are other options out there. There are things to do other than Disneyland.
If you enjoy going to Disneyland, if the price makes sense to you, by all means, keep your AP. Do what makes you happy.
If you find yourself increasingly bitter about the rise in APs, then maybe it's time to look elsewhere to spend your entertainment dollars.
The AP prices weren't the only big news this weekend, DisneyParks showed off some new artwork of a few things at the D23 Expo in Japan.
Details of all new Attractions at Walt Disney World
Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith at Walt Disney Studios Park to Receive Marvel Transformation
Alright, those are our thoughts on the price increases. Be sure to let us know your thoughts below.
Do you think we've laid out some good alternatives for people who may be fed up with Disney prices? Are we totally off our rocker? Be sure to let us know that too. =)