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Expensive Magic

The Disney Co. is considering dynamic ticket pricing in order to control crowds on their park's busiest days. 

| BY Kent McDill

Anyone going to Disneyland or Walt Disney World for the first time are given numerous warnings from frequent visitors: Make sure to plan your day, don’t overplan your day, use the Fastpass, prepare to be patient, and if you are going to Florida, prepare for rain.

But the warning first given is this: It’s expensive.

Soon, it will be more expensive, but there is a new wrinkle to the price of entry at Disney Parks.

It costs $97 for an adult and $91 for children up to the age of 9 to enter any park at Walt Disney World except the Magic Kingdom, which now costs $105 for adults and $99 for children.

Disney made news early in October when they announced that the cost for an unlimited annual pass to Disneyland would jump to $1,049, while an annual pass that does not include two weeks of blackout dates would be $849. Disney World now has numerous annual pass plans that include different levels of blackout dates.

Disney made the changes because they can. No one is predicting a significant drop in annual attendance due to the increased ticket prices. But in making the announcement regarding the higher prices, Disney also announced it is considering so-called dynamic pricing for the future, in which it would cost more to get in during the busiest days of the year for the two most popular tourist attractions in the nation.

Is corporate greed the only player in this decision? As it turns out, the answer is no.

 “We have to look at ways to spread out our attendance throughout the year so we can accommodate demand and avoid bursting at the seams,” said Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Bob Chapek in an interview with the Wall Street Journal.

The Disney theme parks regularly close their gates to new visitors when they reach capacity (arguing against Yogi Berra’s famed exclamation about a New York restaurant that “It’s so crowded, no one goes there anymore”). The Magic Kingdom at WDW and Disneyland both send out updates daily on their busiest days, alerting visitors as to when they reach capacity and when the park is again open to new visitors.

Online chat rooms show that one of the biggest complaints about visits to Disney parks is the crowds and the long wait times to get on rides and into attractions. Dynamic pricing could alleviate those issues.

Dynamic pricing also works two ways. While the biggest days of attendance, which occur during the summer when kids are out of school, or during holidays for similar reasons, would be more expensive, while those days in February, for instance, could be reduced from current levels.


About the Author

Kent McDill

Kent McDill is a staff writer for Millionaire Corner. McDill spent 30 years as a sports writer, working for United Press International and the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, Ill. From 1988-1999, he covered the Chicago Bulls for the Daily Herald, traveling with them every day through the nine-month season. He also covered the Bulls for UPI from 1985-88, and currently covers the team for He has written two books on the Bulls, including the new title “100 Things Bulls Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die’, published by Triumph Books. In August 2013, his new book “100 Things Bears Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die” gets published.

In 2008, he resigned from the Herald and became a freelance writer. The Herald hired him to write business features and speeches for the Daily Herald Business Conferences and Awards presentations.

McDill also writes a monthly parenting column for the Herald’s Suburban Parent magazine.

McDill is the father of four children, and an active fan of soccer, Jimmy  Buffett and all things Disney.