Friday, October 9, 2015

Disney Prices Soar Due to High Demand

Back in 1955, when Disneyland first opened its gates, the one-day admission price for an adult was $3.50. After inflation adjustment, that price would be about $31 today. While that admission price included only 8 ride tickets, extra tickets could be purchased for 35 cents each. To put that in perspective, If a visitor to the park wanted to go on every single one of Disneyland's original 38 rides, it would have cost about $65 in today's money, a stark contrast to the current admission price of $99. In his article, Michael Hiltzik of the L.A. Times investigates some of the reasons why Disney's prices have so greatly outpaced inflation.

Most recently was an increase in the price of Disneyland's unrestricted annual pass, from $779 to $1049. This nearly 35% increase has even the most loyal customers accusing Disney executives of greed, especially since very few new attractions have been added to the park which might help make visitors consider the raised price worthwhile. According to Hiltzik, however, the decision to raise prices is probably not greed-based. Hiltzik believes that Disney's reasons are far more logistic than economical.

Even though Disney's average price of $99 for admission may seem high, especially when measured against the inflation rate, Disneyland still has thousands of visitors per day, from Southern California as well as the rest of the country and the world. Unfortunately, since Disneyland is a park on a limited plot of land, they have a maximum number of guests they can accept at any given time. Sometimes, especially during summer and the holiday season, when people have time off of work and school, Disney has had to close its gates and turn away potential customers simply because it was at maximum capacity.

Hiltzik thinks that this may be why Disney is continuously raising prices to seemingly outrageous levels. Since the $99 cost doesn't seem to be enough to reduce demand, Disney may be raising prices in the hope that people will have to save up money longer and therefore not come to the park as often. While it is not Disney's intention to force customers away, when the park can only house a certain number of people without causing a fire hazard, it needs to find some way to reduce the demand while still maintaining income.

This demand-controlling measure, while upsetting many customers, is not likely to reduce demand as much as some might think, says Hiltzik. While Southern Californians, one of Disneyland's target demographics, may reduce their visits, analysts expect that tourists and other visitors will still bring in enough for Disney to make the same amount of money, if not more, than before while also preventing overcrowding. It's a win-win situation for Disney and for those who can afford the higher prices. As the prices go up, the amusement park will have fewer people, thus enabling visitors to be able to go on more rides and see more attractions without waiting in long lines.

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