The Disney Model: Increasing Prices, Losing Loyalty

A main attraction that a lot of UC Irvine students have on their mind during summer (well, any time of the year, really) is, without a doubt, Disneyland. We’ve become all too accustomed to seeing those Mickey ear hats, World of Color fountains, and bowls of clam chowder on a regular basis. However, how regularly will this vision be a commodity for us?

Recently, Disney raised ticket prices once again by ten percent. Park hopper passes are now $150, while the one park ticket now costs $96, a 4 percent increase. In addition, the Southern California Annual Pass, which allows pass holders access to the park 215 days of the year, is being suspended.

It’s rather hard to defend Disney at this point. I hope they realize that, with the last monetary change, they will lose a good portion of their most loyal customers. It almost seems like an insult to take away the pass, trying to push out residents who are trying to support park. I’m not a big fan of Disneyland, I will admit. People have defended the park to me plenty of times with the following arguments: “It’s so conveniently close!” “You can do a payment plan for the pass,” and “It’s just really great to get away from campus.” However, Disney seems to want to banish those pros from their park. A majority of these moves seem to directly act against the regulars of Disneyland.

Perhaps I have a poor tendency of incorrectly comparing pricing between different items and activities, but I always avoid the tug to purchase a Disney pass because I immediately think of the exponentially longer list of things I can eat, play, and do for about the same price, if not less. Currently, for $289, you can get the Southern California Select pass, which allows you access to the park 170 days a year. This doesn’t include parking, gas, or the money you will most likely spend on food there too.

Can we please be logical and think about all the eating that our fellow foodies could do with that money? Movies, other theme parks, daycations, etc. There’s more variety of recreation that can be experienced if you were to concentrate your money elsewhere. You’re essentially paying almost $300+ to do the same things. If you want to spend all your money in one place, be my guest. But I’d like to think of all the other things you could spend that money on. And as for that payment plan? $16 a month gets me half a tank to do a variety of things in Los Angeles. How’s that for more quantification?

With a constant rise in ticket pricing and a static salary for UCI students, at what cost are we willing to pay to relive the nostalgia that comes with the tangible grandeur of our childhood memories? Mind you, there are some ridiculous cons that accompany this warming nostalgia: heinous lines, overpriced food, screaming children (and parents too). Yet, all of this madness seems to subside at the end of the night, when bright splashes of fireworks above the skies of Sleeping Beauty’s castle seem to reaffirm the worth of the pros at Disneyland.

Will this ticket price increase become a concern for UCI students upon purchase to the happiest place on Earth? Or will we continue to push this park as a prime reason for attending UCI? Perhaps we’ll have to come together to vote on a new location for the “happiest place.”


Katrina Yentch is a third year literary journalism major. She can be reached at