Walt Disney Co. is adopting a new pricing policy at Disneyland and other U.S. theme parks that would reduce ticket costs on low-demand days and boost entrance fees for more popular times.
Starting Sunday, anyone willing to drop in on a typically slow day — maybe a Wednesday in September — will pay a few dollars less than previously. But for most days of the year, expect to spend more for a daily ticket.
Disney is portraying the move to peak pricing as a crowd-management technique rather than a push to maximize profits.
Airlines and hotels do it during spring break and other high-demand times; Uber and Lyft also charge more when the need for ride-hailing services surges, such as New Year’s Eve.
Disneyland and Disney California Adventure have been charging $99 for a one-day ticket. Under the new policy, each day on the calendar will be designated a “value” day, a “regular” day or a “peak” day. The new price will be $95 for a value day, $105 for a regular day and $119 for a peak day.
Over a 12-month period, 30% of the days will be “value” days, 44% will be “regular” days and 26% will be “peak” days, Disney calculates.
Disney has long been rumored to be considering a pricing change. Walt Disney Resorts put out feelers to annual pass holders last year, asking their opinion of a three-tiered pricing system aimed at charging more during Christmas, spring break and summer.
Universal Studios’ pricing policy, however, didn’t increase ticket prices. The cost of a Universal Studios ticket for a peak-demand day is $95, the same price previously charged at the gate. Visitors who buy tickets for low-demand days can save up to $20 a ticket over the regular gate price.
The pressure for Disney to address its overcrowding problem has been growing.
In the three-month period that ended in December, the company reported a 10% increase in visitors at its domestic parks, reaching a new attendance record. During the holiday season, Disneyland has been forced to shut its gates for a time when the park reaches maximum capacity.
Disneyland is now working to add a 14-acre “Star Wars” land and plans to add a new stage show based on the popular “Frozen” movie later this year. An opening date for “Star Wars” land hasn’t been announced.
“Soaring Over California,” a simulator attraction at Disney California Adventure Park, is being overhauled with a new film that features giant-screen images from around the world. The revamped version is opening this year.
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