Annual Passholder logo

Though Walt Disney World raises prices on things like souvenirs, events, and food all throughout the year, the resort is rather methodical with its ticket price increases. Every spring, prices for single and multi-day tickets go up, and then in the fall, annual pass price hikes for the upcoming year are announced.

While longtime Disney fans have come to expect this unfortunate annual tradition, this year has been far from typical, and it may be in Disney’s best interest to hold off on price increases for annual passholders this year for some very practical reasons, the first of which is probably still too fresh in the minds of annual passholders...

Annual passholders are still recovering from the dramatic price hikes of 2015

Last year’s annual price hike was more than just your standard 2-5% cost increase, and brought with it a brand new “tiered” structure that implemented blackout dates for all but the most expensive annual passes, in addition to the higher prices. Fans were definitely shocked by this turn of events last fall, with many expressing outrage that Disney was not only charging much more for annual passes, but giving guests less in return by implementing block-out dates for almost every level of pass.

However, though some damage has already been done thanks to the implementation of this new system, by giving annual passholders a break in 2016, Disney might win back some goodwill from passholders who were considering either downgrading or not renewing their annual pass in response to these changes. And while this may be the most obvious reason for Disney to not raise prices this year, there's an even more practical consideration at play here as well that has nothing to do with keeping annual passholders happy and everything to do with Disney's bottom line... 

Attendance is already down in 2016, and is projected to go lower in the near future

Disney has already confirmed that attendance at Walt Disney World during the first half of summer has been much lower than originally anticipated, and when the fourth quarter (and year ending) results are released in November, many are expecting to see yet another downturn for the resort, as the end of summer has not exactly been busy. However, the slow summer of 2016 might just be the tip of an attendance crash iceberg, if recent reports are to be believed. 

Earlier this week Bloomberg reported that a recent survey performed by a third party found that “about half” of a sample size of 800 potential Disney guests said they have recently decided not to visit Walt Disney World specifically due to the threat of the Zika virus in central Florida. 

Now while Disney was quick to refute this story (and Bloomberg later amended their piece to reflect Disney’s comments saying they had not seen any ill effects from fears about the virus), the fact is that the forecast for attendance later this year and into early 2017 isn’t looking good. While Zika isn't totally to blame here (rising costs play a part too), the fact is that attendance will likely get worse before it gets better. Which brings us to our next point... 



Nope they're still going to go up. You know why? Frozen After Ever, Soarin around the world, Etc. Disney will think they will be able to raise prices because they just opened a whole slew of "new" attractions. And also this price hike likely includes the opening of Pandora at AK. So I think that they will either increase prices or take away benefits like more black out dates or, heaven forbid, that idiotic waiting period they are thinking of implementing for new attractions on pass holders.

In my opinion Disney is coming dangerously close to the critical pricepoint.

Add new comment

About Theme Park Tourist

Theme Park Tourist is one of the web’s leading sources of essential information and entertaining articles about theme parks in Orlando and beyond.

We are one of the world’s largest theme park guide sites, hosting detailed guides to more than 80 theme parks around the globe.

Find Out More About Us...

Plan Your Trip

Our theme park guides contain reviews and ratings of rides, restaurants and hotels at more than 80 theme parks worldwide.

You can even print them.

Start Planning Now...