Yesterday, Walt Disney World research sent out a survey that suggested that the resort is looking into adopting a new ticket system that will feature variable pricing that changes depending on the date.
According to the survey, the proposed plan would separate tickets into three different categories. Gold, the most expensive option, would allow guests to enter the parks on any day during the calendar year. The next level, silver, would allow guests to visit most days of the year, but will block out more than 60 “peak” days, including the entire month of July and the busy Christmas-New Year’s holiday season. The final ticket category, bronze, would cost the least but would only be available on non-peak weekdays throughout the year.
You can check out a screenshot of the survey below from Twitter user @TurkeyLegJeff:
Major pricing structure change coming soon? Seems a little hard to sum up in 15 seconds. pic.twitter.com/SW3k5jAYBi— Turkey Leg Jeff (@TurkeyLegJeff) May 26, 2015
Though this is just a proposed change to ticket purchases being trotted out in a survey, its presence indicates that Walt Disney World is at least considering a system like this. Though a move to a tiered ticket system at Walt Disney World would be primarily profit-driven, it would have some interesting implications for guests, should such a ticket scheme like this actually come to be:
1. The upcharge problem
One of the biggest things you’ll notice when looking at the above chart is that most months look like a checkerboard, with gold, silver and bronze days in small groups clustered around the calendar. Though it might not seem like a huge issue, consider this: how many days was your last Walt Disney World vacation? If you visited the resort for more than three days, then chances are good than under this new scheme you’ll be paying for at least two different ticket types if you’d like to spend consecutive days at Walt Disney World during your vacation. And if you like to take longer trips to Walt Disney World, the chances of hitting ticket type bingo with all three price points becomes a near certainty.
It seems a little crazy that a Wednesday-Saturday visit to Walt Disney World in the middle of January could involve buying three different types of tickets at three different prices when guests visiting are getting the exact same experience on each of those days. And when you consider that the gold ticket costs $20 more than the bronze option, A family of four on a weeklong vacation could end up paying $80 on gold days on top of the base ticket price just to extend their visit to Saturday, just because that's when their annual vacation time is. Would a family consider shortening their visit because of this change? We'll get to that in just a bit, but it certainly seems likely that if a system like this becomes reality, it could spur some real shifts in guest behavior.