Magic Kingdom Misers

Disneyland is known to many as, “The Happiest Place on Earth,” but this summer, a trip will require some particularly deep pockets.
While tickets for the beloved theme park have always been costly, the annual price hike announced Friday, May 18, and effective May 20, is the most drastic price increase in the past decade.

A price hike from Disneyland is an expected summer occurrence, which covers inflation and remodeling, but this year, instead of Disneyland’s usual increase of two to seven dollars, tickets will increase anywhere from seven dollars for a one day child’s ticket to a one hundred and fifty dollars for a premium annual pass. This seven to 30 percent price hike, will discourage more people from visiting the park and even ostracize those who were frequent visitors, due to the shocking nature of this year’s price hike.

Rather than gradually raising the price to allow customers the chance to get used to smaller, more frequent price increases, Disney decided to increase the price all at once, thus making it a greater shock to potential visitors and cost seem even greater.
Since annual passports will cost drastically more than last year’s already high prices, the price hike will directly affect many UCI students, since many of us possess an annual passport. Students love their spontaneous midday trips to Main Street and the stress relieving effects of watching the fireworks after a long day, but they may have to reconsider whether or not to continue renewing their annual passports past this coming year, since each passport will increase by at least seventy dollars. The only silver lining for annual passport holders is that for this year, the renewal fee will be that of the past year. But after this year’s renewal, they will have to pay the twenty to 30 percent increase.

The price hike is hypothesized to be a result of the work Disney has done to its California Adventure theme park for the past few years. Disney has been sectioning off part of California Adventures in order to revamp various parts of the park.  In the past year, Disney has seen success at the unveiling of the revamped Star Tours ride in Disneyland and the construction of Ariel’s Undersea Adventure at California Adventures, with both rides attaining a wait time of over two hours. But the most prominent and highly anticipated addition to the theme parks is the construction of Carsland, a new twelve acre section of the park that will feature the animated characters of the animated film franchise “Cars” in three new rides, three new restaurants, and four new souvenir shops.

The 12-acre addition constitutes a large part of the $1.1 billion expansion, the  hypothesized reason behind the drastic price hikes. Disney refuses to cite the expansion as the reason for the ridiculous price increase, and instead states that “like all business, [they] periodically evaluate and adjust [their] pricing structure to ensure … great entertainment.” But since minimum wage has not increased drastically in the past year, the majority of the cost must stem from the revamping of the parks. Visitors will not be able to determine whether the billion dollar revamping is worth the price hike until the unveiling of the six year project on June 15.

But AAA members are able to avoid the price hike for a short while longer. As of May 24, four days after the implementation of the price increase, AAA members can still purchase Disneyland tickets and annual passports at a local AAA branch for a small discount on last year’s prices.

Stephanie Cheng is a first-year chemistry major. She can be reached at sccheng1@uci.edu.