Disney Adding Surge Prices to Theme Parks (Similar to Uber)

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Did you know that Disneyland and Walt Disney World are charging more money on busier days in their new “surge pricing scheme” where you can expect to pay up to 20% more on higher demand periods.

Disney Adding Surge Prices to Theme Parks

Disney Adding Surge Prices to Theme Parks

Per this New York Times article,

For the first time, tickets to Walt Disney World in Florida and Disneyland in California will cost more during holidays and some weekends — up to 20 percent more — than during slower periods, as the bursting-at-the-seams parks seek to spread out demand.

The Walt Disney Company unveiled its long-expected move to demand-based pricing in a blog post on Saturday. The seasonal changes, which take effect on Sunday, affect the two theme park resorts differently and apply only to single-day tickets and not the multiday packages that the majority of vacationing families buy, particularly at Disney World.

At Disneyland, located in Anaheim, Calif., which attracts roughly 17 million visitors annually, single-day tickets now cost $99. Starting on Sunday, the park will charge three different prices based on the calendar. “Value” tickets, for Mondays through Thursdays during weeks when most schools are in session, will drop to $95. “Regular” tickets (most weekends and many summertime weeks) will climb to $105. “Peak” tickets (most of December, spring break weeks, July weekends) will cost $119.

At Disney World in Orlando, Fla., which includes four major theme parks, the price changes are more complex, because they vary by park. At the most popular Disney World park, the Magic Kingdom, which handles nearly 20 million visitors annually, single-day prices will remain at the current level, $105, for value periods. Prices will rise to $110 for regular periods, and to $124 for peak.

Bottom Line

Surge pricing seems to be working for Uber, so I’m sure Disney will profit from this new pricing model as well.

What are your thoughts on this latest pricing scheme from Disney?

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  1. Went in the early 70s as a kid. A single-earner family of six could go once or twice a summer to Orlando, and we did.
    Very glad I grew up when I did!

  2. Misleading to suggest Disney is following Uber’s model or to call this surge pricing. Pricing for many things differ based on demand – e.g., since long before Uber, theaters have been charging less for a matinee than for a showing on Sat evening. That’s what this is. The difference with Uber’s surge pricing is the instantaneous changes based on demand, in ways that are not really predictable to the customer. By contrast, Disney makes very clear way in advance what you’ll pay and when. If they implemented surge pricing it would look very different: you’d show up at the entrance, only to be told that because of high demand at that very moment, you would be charged three times the normal price. And then 15 minutes later, demand had fallen so some other customer only pays the normal price. That’s very clearly not what Disney is doing.

  3. To elaborate the point a little further: the surge pricing model is significant not just for its rapid changes in price from one moment to another, but for the way it works on not just the demand but also supply side of the equation. Disney’s supply is basically fixed. They can’t significantly increase capacity on summer weekends (they can try to add more staff to cope w visitor numbers but at the end of the day capacity is basically constant). But by upping the price in moments of higher demand, Uber directly increases capacity. That’s why I wouldn’t call airline pricing a true “surge” model – the airlines do also adjust price based on demand, but they only adjust capacity long-term in response to shifts in demand. An airline won’t (and can’t) usually add another flight next Thurs evening from JFK to LAX just because that route is sold out at that particular moment, they can only make longer-term adjustments to capacity, which cannot possibly match supply and demand as exactly as Uber tried to do with surge pricing.

  4. Can’t wait to visit TDW again, stand in line for an hour for a 3-minute ride! What a deal!

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