I am sure you have heard about all the price increases Disney has announced in the last 6-9 months. Annual pass prices have gone up, food prices have gone up, tiered ticket pricing, and more. People are saying Disney is pricing out the middle class. Is Disney Pricing Out the Middle Class? The Orlando Sentinel did report that Disney attendance has slipped a bit. You can read that article here. I consider myself middle class, actually lower middle class, and Disney hasn’t priced me out yet because I do Disney on a budget. The price increases are changing the way I view the magic I do experience though. I appreciate it even more because I know many who cannot afford a trip to the place I consider my playground.
Is Disney Pricing Out the Middle Class?
What the price increases are changing is how much value I put on an experience. I have attended Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. I thought it was fun. I watched the parade and the castle show. I got my picture with Maleficent and the Evil Queen. It was worth the price I paid back in 2013. With the current prices and the dates I am looking to attend I have decided the value is not in it for me. I do not care for the castle show with the Sanderson Sisters. Lines are super long for special characters, so seeing 1-2 special characters, a parade, and a castle show are not worth it to me. For others it might be worth it.
Most of the price increases do not even affect me, nor do they have to affect you. Disney has added preferred parking to the regular parking fee. It costs $20 to park at Disney. This is comparable to other theme parks. Now Disney has added a $15 fee (paid on top of the $20) for preferred parking. This preferred parking is right next to the handicapped parking area. First, passholders and resort guests do not pay for parking. Second, since Disney offers tram service to the whole parking lot it doesn’t matter much where you park. Oh, and Disney is not the first theme park to offer preferred parking at a cost. For some reason people like to villianfy Disney.
Disney raises food prices. Now Disney hasn’t done this in awhile and it is expected. Minimum wage is rising, food costs are rising, fuel prices are rising. Disney is a business first. The Disney Dining Plan is still a great value! Now unlike some theme parks, Disney still allows you to bring in outside food and drinks. I love this! Even if Disney said no outside food and drinks in the park (which has been rumored) I could still leave a packed meal in a cooler in my car or enjoy a meal in my resort room.
The tiered ticket pricing is something that I understand and I don’t completely agree with this one. The tiered pricing only effects one day tickets though. If you are going to the parks for more than a couple days you get a discount rate. Passholder prices went up as well. I had renewed my pass one month before the price increases. Though Disney has increased the annual passholder price, it added value. I plan to take advantage of this new value once my pass renews. It added Memory Maker. Having Memory Maker is so convenient. Many times (not all the time though) the photo pass photographers do an awesome job getting great pictures!
Disney has added and is trying to add special ticketed events. Some are ok, some are not worth the extra money for the experience that is offered. One thing Disney tried is nighttime Extra Magic Hours Experience for non-resort guests. That park stays open for 3 hours pass the normal closing time. Only 3,000 guests are allowed. You also get free unlimited Mickey Ice Cream bars and bottled beverages. The price was $150. For someone staying off property who is NOT a passholder, this could have replaced a regular park ticket. You got admission into the park at 7pm and the event lasted until 1-2 am depending on the park closing time. People who went said they rode so many rides without any waits and were even able to repeat rides without getting off. Now for passholders, this deal didn’t work. I already get park access all day, so the price was just for 3 hours. Disney even tried offering half price for passholders. I don’t even think my ice cream loving husband could eat $75 worth of Mickey Ice Cream bars to make the night worth it.
Is Disney Pricing Out the Middle Class? I don’t think so. They haven’t priced me out yet. I want to know your opinion though. What money savings ways have kept you going to Walt Disney World?