This week was a big one for Walt Disney World, as it saw the announcement of opening dates for almost all of 2016's new attractions, and the reveal of the new plan to bring nighttime attractions to Disney's Animal Kingdom in the wake of the delay of the Rivers of Light nighttime show.
However, while everyone was paying attention to all the big Disney announcements that made the rounds this week, several price hikes went into effect at Orlando theme parks, not only at Walt Disney World, but at Universal Orlando Resort as well. Here are all the price changes happening now that could have an impact on your next Orlando theme park visit:
1. Quick service beverage prices up all around Walt Disney World
Though we all take notice when Walt Disney World raises ticket and annual pass prices every year, several days ago the resort quietly increased the price of most fountain and bottled drink selections at quick service restaurants. Here is a list of the new prices guests can expect to pay the next time they grab something to quench their thirst at Walt Disney World:
- Regular Size Fountain Drink is now $3.29, up from $2.99 (a 10.0 percent increase)
- Large Size Fountain Drink is now $3.69, up from $3.29 (a 12.2 percent increase)
- Bottled Apple Juice is now $3.29, up from $2.79 (a 17.9 percent increase)
- Bottled Orange Juice is now $4.29, up from $3.99 (a 7.5 percent increase)
- Bottled Chocolate Milk is now $2.69, up from $1.99 (a HUGE 35.2 percent increase)
- Dasani Brand Bottled Water is now $3.00, up from $2.75 (a 9.1 percent increase)
As of this writing, prices on coffee, tea, and other beverages have not been affected by this most recent price increase. Prices for non-alcoholic drinks at table service restaurants are also currently holding steady, but that could change in the very near future as Disney continues to audit their prices around the resort.
2. FastPass+ viewing area becomes extension of Wishes Dessert Party
Last month we told you about how the Magic Kingdom was discontinuing FastPass+ viewing for the nightly Wishes fireworks spectacular. At the time we speculated that this was because this simply wasn’t a popular FastPass+ choice, and would be superfluous with all the changes now in effect with the larger FastPass+ system. However, it looks like there was actually another force at work behind this FastPass+ cancellation: Disney was actually looking to monetize this area.
Effective immediately, the Magic Kingdom's Wishes Dessert Party will be expanding into the former FastPass+ viewing area in The Main Street Plaza Garden. Guests who pay to experience this upcharge event (which is $59 for adults and $35 for children age 3-9) will still be able to nibble on dessert and sip their beverage of choice back in the Tomorrowland Terrace quick service dining location, but when its time for the fireworks show to start, guests will be able to move into this now-reserved viewing area.
This is actually a bit of an upgrade for the Wishes Dessert Party, as the former viewing location left quite a bit to be desired, as it was quite far back and guests often complained that they could get better viewing from the Magic Kingdom hub. Though this development does make the Wishes Dessert Party a bit of a better value, it also seems like a bit of a bummer that a reserved viewing area that used to be included in admission is now being closed off for regular guests, with those wanting to stand in this spot for the nightly Wishes fireworks show now needing to pay for the dessert party for the privilege.