[This is a post discussing the impact of pricing increases on crowds at Disney parks. For a post discussing the impact of tiered pricing on crowds click here]
On Sunday Disney announced price increases to theme park admission and introduced a tiered pricing system for single day tickets. It is unlikely that the price increase will have any impact on crowds throughout the rest of 2016, so we currently have no plans to make adjustments to the Disney World Crowd Calendar. Of course we will continue to track daily crowds at Disney parks to see if trends change but here’s why we think the price increases will not affect crowds.
History Repeats Itself
This is the largest single jump in prices in the last 20 years (8.6%) but it is not the first. Prices increase an average of 3.5% annually over the past 10 years. Ever-increasing prices are frustrating but the fact remains that Disney parks are busier than ever. People are still going, lots of people. In 2012, prices jumped 5.7% and crowds were unaffected.
Times Are Good
Employment is up slightly, the housing market has stabilized, disposable income and consumer spending are up in recent months. The cost of gas is half of what it was in 2014 which means the 70% of guests that drive to Disney World are doing so for a lot less. A family driving from Raleigh, NC to Disney World getting 25 miles per gallon will pay about $80 for the 1190-mile round trip, assuming $1.70 per gallon. At $3.50 per gallon in 2014 the same trip would have cost $164.50.
A trip to Disney World is a big purchase item, one that is usually planned well in advance. Even if we are wrong about the impact of these price increases we may not see any impact for many months until future trip planners make decisions about their trip in late 2016 or 2017.
If something can’t go on forever, it won’t.
Normally a dictum reserved for financial analysis, Stein’s Law might be a good reminder here. The trends for attendance and ticket prices we have seen in the past year are not sustainable long term. Something always comes along to bring balance. The Disney World Crowd Calendar gives the best estimate of what crowds will be like during your visit, relative to what we have seen in the past. Until we see evidence that this price increase is affecting attendance we see no reason to adjust the crowd numbers.
To see the cost of all Disney ticket options use our Ticket Calculator.
[For a post discussing the impact of tiered pricing on crowds click here]