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Friday, February 20, 2015

If there's one thing you can count on...

It's that Disney will raise the prices of tickets at their theme parks.

According to several published reports, this weekend, Disney will raise the prices of tickets at Walt Disney World.  This year, Disney is crossing a major milestone - the $100 mark.  A one-day, one-park ticket for the Magic Kingdom will now cost $105 per person.  This is the first time in history any single-day Disney park ticket has cost more than $100.  While this price increase is not surprising, it is in another way - crossing the $100 mark is a big deal in the minds of consumers. 

Take a look at this chart of one-day, one-park prices since this type of ticket became available:

Click for a larger view.
What's readily apparent is that ticket prices have been steadily increasing at a rate of anywhere from 0 to 20% each year, with the average price increase being about 6%.  This kind of annual rate increase is not common in the world of business.  The price for most items hasn't risen a steady 6% each year for the past 33 years.  For instance, gas in 1982 cost about $1.19 a gallon and milk cost about $1.49 a gallon.  If gas prices followed this same rate of increase, gas would cost about $9.43 a gallon and a gallon of milk would be more than $14! 

It is true that even at $105, a one-day, one-park ticket is a better overall value than, say, a round of golf at your local course.  With greens fees today running at least around $50 a person, the cost-per-hour for golf is far high higher than that of a day at the Magic Kingdom.  Even so, I continue to be concerned that Disney is slowly pricing itself out of range for lower income families.  That one-in-a-lifetime trip may become a not-in-my-lifetime trip because the prices are getting so high.

Attendance is just as high as it has ever been, so guests seem to be willing to pay the constantly higher price.  I'm just worried that there will, someday, be that point where too much becomes too much.

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