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Wallet Watch: Price Hikes at Disney Parks

SmarterTravel

Don’t look now, but you’ve been bushwhacked by Mickey and Goofy.

Over the weekend, with no advance notice to customers, Disney raised prices at its theme parks in Florida and California.

Disney uses a three-tiered pricing scheme, with prices varying according to demand.

At the Magic Kingdom in Orlando, the price of a low-demand-day ticket rose $2, to $109 for adults and $103 for kids. On regular-demand days, prices were up $4, to $119 and $113 for adults and kids, respectively. And on peak-demand days, the increase was $5, to $129 for adults and $123 for children.

At Animal Kingdom, Epcot, and Hollywood Studios, prices increased by $3 for low- and peak-demand days, and by $7 for regular-demand days.

At the Disneyland and California Adventure parks, there’s no change to the price of a one-day adult ticket on low-demand days; it remains at $97. For regular-demand days, however, the price increased from $110 to $117. And for peak-demand days, the price rose $11, from $124 to $135, almost 9 percent.

Annual Disney price hikes have become predictably routine. And it’s a given that businesses have to increase prices to cover their increased costs. What’s noteworthy about Disney’s increases, however, is that they routinely exceed the inflation rate, which should be a good proxy for the increased costs of doing business. In other words, there’s a whiff of the gouge in Disney’s pricing, which is especially jarring coming from a company that makes so much of its family-friendliness.

Reader Reality Check

Smart business, or profiteering?

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After 20 years working in the travel industry, and 15 years writing about it, Tim Winship knows a thing or two about travel. Follow him on Twitter @twinship.

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