Looks like it’s time for my annual analysis for Walt Disney World ticket prices. If you’re curious, here’s last year’s post. As has become the custom, The Disney Parks Blog announced the new rates on Friday afternoon, and the rates went into effect today (so as to be in place before the start of the new workweek). This year’s Park’s Blog post was a bit more confusing that usual, as it refers to these rates at the “2012” rates, even though 2012 is halfway over, and most people think of these as the 2013 rates. But the rates themselves appear to be a bit easier to analyze than last year’s. The good news is that the pace of increases on adult tickets slowed a bit this year. The bad news is that increases in child ticket rates picked up. Here’s the chart I created for analysis. These prices do not include the 6.5% sales tax. (More analysis after the jump)
So let’s start with the good news. A year ago, we saw increases of 10% or more on adult tickets longer than seven days. This year, the only adult ticket that went up more than 10% was the Annual Pass. Essentially what we got was a multi-day ticket that increases at $10/day for each day starting with day five, instead of a multi-day ticket that increases at $8/day for each day starting with day five. For ticket add-ons, both Park Hoppers and Water Parks Fun & More received modest increases of less than 4%. And those who purchase both Hoppers AND WPF&M actually got a large price decrease, as Disney introduced bundle pricing for those who purchase both add-ons.
On the children’s tickets side, it appears that the strategy of bringing child tickets more in line with adult tickets is continuing. With multi-day tickets, the percentage increases are a bit higher on the children’s side, but really the pattern is the same as with adult tickets, with the daily price going up $10/day starting with day five, instead of $8/day, just like on the adult side. The big shocker was reserved for season pass holders, as Disney essentially did away with the child discount on annual passes. For both the Annual Pass and Premium Annual Pass, adults and children now pay the exact same price. That had the effect of more than doubling the percentage increase in pass costs for children, as compared to adults.
One hidden bright spot may come with 2013 Resort Rates. Again, with the confusing Parks Blog post title, it’s hard to be sure. But it appears that the resort rates that were posted along with the new ticket prices essentially hold the line at current resort pricing levels. It’s difficult to tell for sure, since the Parks Blog only posted price ranges. But the low-end of the range, which normally represents Value Season standard room pricing, looks to be identical to the 2012 rates. It does appear that there are some small increases, on the order of 1% – 2%, at the high end. It remains possible that the posted resort rates actually are the 2012 rates and do not reflect pricing for 2013, and there could still be changes in the dates that define the various pricing seasons, pricing changes for rooms other than standard rooms, and/or pricing changes for other than Value season. But I’ll take what was posted as a good sign for resort rates (at least for now).
I’m not sure that this year’s round of increases teaches us anything that we didn’t learn last year. As Walt Disney World opens more resort capacity and park attractions targeted at children and larger families (Art of Animation and Fantasyland Expansion), it is looking to capitalize on those investments. So ticket price increases are steepest for children’s tickets. I think the bigger question for 2013 will be what kinds of promotions WDW will be running, to keep these ticket price increases from scaring too many families away, while still realizing the revenue growth that the higher ticket prices seek to generate.