It's unfortunately that time of year again for the Disneyland Resort to announce their new ticket prices. Most ticket prices have gone up slightly which is leaving many fans upset, and rightly so, but Disney has their reasons. Although this is a measure to help curb overcrowding in the parks, is this actually doing the job or could there be other tactics that are more effective? Here's everything you need to know for this year.
Some annual passes will also see an increase. The SoCal passes and the Deluxe annual pass will see a $10 and $20 increase, respectively, while the Signature, Signature Plus and Premier passes will remain unchanged. In addition, daily parking will see a small increase from $18 to $20 per vehicle. We have a full price breakdown of all tickets and passes on our Park Info page.
As is expected most guests are less then thrilled at this announcement. This sort of thing has been almost an annual occurrence since 2000. Surprisingly it seems a large number of people are less concerned about the price itself as they are the continued crowd levels in comparison to the cost. Many feel they would still be willing to pay the new prices if the parks were not still so crowded all the time.
Price increases are Disneyland's primary form of crowd control. They have not made it a secret that they are trying to spread out guest attendance more evenly throughout the year to accommodate everyone through strategic pricing. The introduction of the Signature and Signature Plus passports last year alone showed how Disneyland values its holiday season as an ultra-premium time of year since those two weeks are the only times blocked on the former pass and the latter costs $200 more. This was an attempt to draw APs to different times of the year and leave the holidays open for regular ticket holders.
Crowd control is a big deal to Disneyland right now seeing how they reached a record attendance in both parks in 2015: 18.2 million in Disneyland (up 1.5 million from 2014) and 9.3 million at DCA. Guest attendance continues to climb, but both parks have nearly reached their limits in total size. Star Wars Land will increase Disneyland Park by 14 acres, but it's expected that it will draw larger crowds to more than offset the additional space. So if they can't really build the parks bigger what else can they do other than increase ticket prices to control crowds?
Many have argued that they could remove the monthly payments option of their annual passes. This is a system that makes passes more affordable to guests and is relatively popular, however the Disneyland Resort also has the highest number of APs of any Disney park and they account for much of the overcrowding. Disneyland has said that removing payment plans is not an option they are pursuing right now. Others have suggested that Disney spend more time creating new rides and shows that take people off the streets and reduce congestion. There is limited space, however, for any additional attractions in both parks so that would be difficult to manage though not impossible.
The simple fact of the matter is that demand is steadily rising but supply is dropping and Disneyland is scrambling to figure out what to do. It is extremely unfortunate that prices continue to rise but I can only image what the parks would look like if the prices dropped - scary amounts of people! What do you think may be better options for Disneyland to manage crowd levels?