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Out of control WDW ticket prices

ParentsOf4

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
The below chart compares the price of a 1-day WDW ticket with the opening day ticket price adjusted per the Consumer Price Index (CPI). Other WDW ticket types show similar price trends.

(Note that prior to 1982, theme park admission and attractions were sold separately. Ticket prices before 1982 include admission plus the 12 Adventure ticket add-on.)

tickets.jpg

What’s immediately obvious is that through the mid-1990s, ticket prices closely followed the CPI. In other words, for a quarter-century, ticket prices closely followed the cost of other consumer goods.

This was a period of tremendous growth at Walt Disney’s “Florida Project”, when entire theme parks were added. Ticket prices remained reasonable despite billions being invested in WDW by a much smaller corporate Disney.

Yet it has been during the period of greatest ticket price increases that the parks have stagnated and quality has declined.

There’s a reason those of us who had to buy our own tickets decades ago remember Walt Disney World so fondly. :)

Early Disney leadership was molded by Walt Disney himself, with Donn Tatum and Card Walker both having worked closely with Walt and his brother Roy Disney.

WDW and Disneyland were highly profitable during this period. Unfortunately, they were the only segment of the company performing well. The remainder of Disney languished under a series of uninspired films and almost non-existent marketing. After fending off a hostile takeover, Disney brought Michael Eisner on board in 1984 as CEO in an attempt to turnaround the company’s production studios. The results were phenomenal with Disney producing a series of animation films now generally referred to as The Modern Classics.

The mid-1990s represented a seminal period for WDW. WDW was in the process of building what might very well turn out to be its last theme park. The long-term business plan was shifting away from theme parks to hotels and timeshares. (Thank you, DVC.) Bill Sullivan and Bob Mathieson, the last remnants of WDW's Old Guard, were forced out. Frank Wells, generally viewed as a calming force to many of Eisner’s excesses, was killed in a helicopter crash. Bob Iger joined the company as an ABC executive, and later would become CEO without any theme park experience.

Essentially, Disney leadership transitioned from those who were shaped by Walt Disney’s vision to those who were shaped by Wall Street’s vision.

WDW hasn’t been the same ever since.
 
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psukardi

Well-Known Member
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I think this chart is a bit misleading.

$10 in 1971 would be equiv to about $58.56 in 2014 money. However, during that time things have been added to the park(s). Yes, I know this is a one day ticket with no park-hopper. But there are more E-Ticket rides to choose from. Is the current ticket price too high? Well, the free market is dictating that people are willing to pay the price for admittance and based upon crowd levels in December I'd say they are having no problem filling that need.

So ya - it sucks that things are expensive but 1971 != 2014. Now you have two income families and a lot of other factors at play. You have benefits, an increased size in staff, regulations, etc. It costs more to run a park today than it did then. And the end game is making money.
 

jakeman

Well-Known Member
To which I say '"So what?". Disney is a luxury item, not a necessity. It's only factor is what the market will bear and considering that attendance keeps going up, it does not look like they have reached the breaking point yet.
Exactly. Disney produces no product that is a basic necessity of life, therefore their pricing structure can be completely free of any social obligations and dictated only by what the market can bear.
 

ParentsOf4

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I think this chart is a bit misleading.

$10 in 1971 would be equiv to about $58.56 in 2014 money. However, during that time things have been added to the park(s). Yes, I know this is a one day ticket with no park-hopper. But there are more E-Ticket rides to choose from. Is the current ticket price too high? Well, the free market is dictating that people are willing to pay the price for admittance and based upon crowd levels in December I'd say they are having no problem filling that need.

So ya - it sucks that things are expensive but 1971 != 2014. Now you have two income families and a lot of other factors at play. You have benefits, an increased size in staff, regulations, etc. It costs more to run a park today than it did then. And the end game is making money.
Respectfully, I think you've missed the point.

Virtually everything at WDW today was built by the mid-1990s. Compared to previous decades, corporate Disney is not investing in WDW.

Unless you want to count more Disney Vacation Club resorts. :rolleyes:

A much smaller Disney company invested billions in Orlando and remained highly profitable throughout its first 25-30 years.

It's only been during the last 10-15 years, during which the theme parks have absolutely stagnated compared with previous decades, that prices have spun out of control.

And it does not cost Disney more to run the parks today. Quite the opposite. WDW's biggest single expense is payroll and, adjusted for inflation, CMs are paid less today than they were in WDW's Golden Era. Meanwhile, maintenance budgets have been slashed.

And families do not make more today than in the past. Even with the rise of 2-income families, adjusted for inflation, median household income is up only about 10% since 1971. Families are working more hours than ever and yet are barely keeping up with inflation.

Unlike the 1970s and 1980s, today's WDW makes a ton of cash from hotels and timeshares.

WDW has never been more profitable.

Corporate Disney is drawing a boatload of cash from WDW and not investing it back into the parks.
 
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Tom

Tom
To which I say '"So what?". Disney is a luxury item, not a necessity. It's only factor is what the market will bear and considering that attendance keeps going up, it does not look like they have reached the breaking point yet.
Exactly.

Anyone been to a Disney park during moderate or peak seasons? Do you want any more people in the parks during those times? I sure don't. But if they lowered the price of their products, more people would - in theory - visit the parks, at all times of the year.

When people stop paying to stay in their hotels and visit their parks, that's when we'll all know they've priced themselves out of the market. Until then, as long as people pay the prices and meet or exceed their attendance goals, they have no reason to do anything different.
 

discos

Well-Known Member
Ticket increases are a given especially with a company like Disney and I agree
To which I say '"So what?". Disney is a luxury item, not a necessity.
They are having trouble filling the park, people are still flocking to the world. I have to say though, I can't see then going over the 100 mark before tax for a few years. I'd say once Pandora is built then for sure we can see $100 days .
 

Tom

Tom
Corporate Disney is drawing a boatload of cash from WDW and not investing it back into the parks.
As a guest, this sentence irritates me.

As a stockholder (and a business owner myself), there's little incentive to reinvest in something that is maintaining and/or growing on its own. Yes, your product always needs to be refreshed, but the rate at which it's refreshed does not need to be very high if the product is selling.
 

Master Yoda

Pro Star Wars geek.
Premium Member
Oh and just to get the straw man out of the way before the cavalry comes in with sabers rattling, no one is saying that the value is there, just that ticket prices are only beholden to what the market will pay.

Value is subjective and not what @Master Yoda or myself are talking about (if I may be so bold to speak for the Jedi Master).
You may be so bold.

Vale is a personal decision. I see zero value in a $500 purse or a $500k car yet Coach and Lamborghini are still in business.

You could not pay my brother to set foot in any theme park, while I still see value in WDW at the current ticket prices.
 

psukardi

Well-Known Member
Wow......just wow.

And that attitude is why TDO has the rep it does while new and great things are being built up the road.
They are a for-profit company. The goal isn't to take every penny they earn and dump it back into more rides and attractions. Would I like more rides? You bet. But they have a job to do and for the most part it seems to be OK. The first time visitor isn't going to notice. The BTG isn't going to care. They'll still pack the place and make the $
 

gwhb75

Well-Known Member
I don't get people saying they "aren't investing in the parks". What you mean is "they aren't investing in what I want them to invest in". You can't in one sentence quote the estimated billions spent on My Disney Experience/Magic Bands/Fast Pass+, and then say that they aren't investing in the parks in the next. While people may not like what they've chosen to invest in, it doesn't mean they aren't investing (not to mention the amount spent on New Fantasy Land expansion).

I'm not saying I like or dislike what they have spent the money on, but the fact is they have spent a lot (if you believe the numbers being talked about)
 

CP_alum08

Well-Known Member
I would not worry much about WDW right now...UNI has announced park ticket increases are coming. The only figure they have publicly noted is going to be 16% on the one day/2 park ticket.

AKK
That's because when Harry potter world phase 2 opens you will need a park hopper to see all of it. Marketing genius!
 

Disvillain63

Well-Known Member
If ticket prices were more inline with the Six Flags prices, then we'd also have some of the problems in those parks. For the most part, a family can still safely visit a Disney park that is clean, friendly, etc... I can't say that about Six Flags ... we stopped taking the kids years ago when we didn't like the 'guests' and the appearance at the parks. Yes, it costs a bit more to go to Disney but it's where I CHOOSE to spend MY money.
 

psukardi

Well-Known Member
If ticket prices were more inline with the Six Flags prices, then we'd also have some of the problems in those parks. For the most part, a family can still safely visit a Disney park that is clean, friendly, etc... I can't say that about Six Flags ... we stopped taking the kids years ago when we didn't like the 'guests' and the appearance at the parks. Yes, it costs a bit more to go to Disney but it's where I CHOOSE to spend MY money.
Truth! Never had to worry about my car getting broken into while at Disney or worried about being mugged in the parking lot. Or being overwhelmed by all the youths acting a fool
 
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