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Disneyland Ticket Prices Increase, Suspends Sales of Annual Pass

Following suit of it’s Florida parks, Disneyland today unveiled several changes to it’s pricing that has set the internet fandom ablaze with anger.

Single day, single park ticket prices were raised $4.00, to $96.00 per person over the age of 10. In addition, most park hopper tickets and annual passes were raised around 10% across the board.

Now, I’ve written before about the increases at Disney World – and how they’re actually a bargain when you consider the fact that Disney bundles their services, unlike other parks that charge separately for everything. (Think airline fares). But, Disney also dropped a bomb on SoCal residents, saying they won’t be selling any NEW Annual Passes to Southern California residents this year.

Why only Southern California? Because Disneyland has for years, offered discounted passes to residents of specific zip codes in the area. (Call it a “Sorry for interrupting your dinner with fireworks every night” discount). Effectively, the Resort needs to somehow mitigate the already large crowds in their parks. But, is this the best way to do it? Here’s my thoughts:

Firstly, there’s only have one person to blame for this problem of gluttony…Disney Marketing Executives.

Years ago, Disneyland was a destination resort – a place you went to once in a great while. My family always joked, “We’re due back for a trip to Disneyland, it’s been 10 years.

However, the culture has changed – and Disneyland tried to adapt with it. The park is now popular with two separate and very different clientele: the Annual Passholder and the Destination Tourist. Disney plays to these uber fans (and you have to be to pay $700 a year to go to the park) with merchandise, discounts and even conferences (D23). When you combine those two different types of people at a park, you get crowds. Lots and lots of crowds.

Gone are the days of “slower” operations – because the AP’s go on those days to avoid the tourists. When the kids are out of school, the AP’s stay away because the tourists are in the park en masse.

What a perfect “problem” to have!

Now, generally, Disneyland has some of the fastest, most efficient operations in the world when it comes to pumping people through rides. But there’s only so much you can do when the park is at capacity – during the middle of the week. At a certain point, you just can’t bring more people into the park.

So, what would be my solution? Eliminate the discount on Southern California passes. The difference in cost can be easily made up by those who will undoubtedly renew their pass, year after year, despite any price increases.

Or, go back to ticket books and limit the number of people allowed into the park on any given day. Basically, don’t guarantee admission until you’re in the park. The earlier people get there, the more they’re going to spend, anyway.

Folks, Disneyland is a fantastic place to have a few days of fun. The real secret to the magic – is that you have to pay up front, to not worry about anything else once you’re inside. So suck it up…the State of California isn’t making operating a park in the state any cheaper – so guess who gets to pay the difference…you guessed it – you and me.

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