Disney fans feel a bit betrayed by their favorite company. During the pandemic, Disney has prioritized revenue over everything else.
I cannot blame Disney executives, as the company suffered a shocking shortfall in revenue in 2020 and half of 2021.
Still, fans understandably worry more about their own wallets than a corporation’s bottom line.
That philosophy caused me to wonder. How much has Disney raised the prices at the parks over the past year?
Let’s talk through the price changes to determine the correct total.
“She’s dead, Jim.”
That’s how Bones McCoy would describe Magical Express, the marvelous transportation system that carried guests from Orlando International Airport to Disney hotels.
Disney felt that Mears Transportation had grown unreliable with its service, a criticism based in fact.
Sadly, tourists bore the brunt of the decision, though. As a result, we must pay for our own transportation to and from the airport now.
Ride-sharing estimates suggest that the average traveling party would pay $50-$65 one-way for this access.
However, Mears Transportation remains a viable option as well. Mears Connect, a Magical Express replacement, costs $16 per adult.
Let’s presume that two people are traveling to Disney. They’d pay $64 for round-trip transportation for Mears Connect. We’ll use that number for the sake of this discussion.
Renting a car or driving yourself would change this answer, but those solutions come with hidden costs of their own.
So, we’re going with $64 for hotel transportation.
Paid Fast Pass
Okay, you don’t need to purchase Disney Genie+ or Magical Express for your trip. However, more than half of the guests did so during the holiday season.
As such, I should factor these costs into our calculations. Disney Genie+ is easy, as it’s $15 plus tax or $15.98 per person per day.
Let’s presume those two people are spending four days at the parks. That’s $127.84 just for Disney Genie+.
However, I’d also suggest that people purchase the four Lightning Lane bookings available across Walt Disney World.
These attractions vary in price from $9-$15 at the moment, although the pricing depends on the date of your visit.
That’s an average price of $12 per person, $24 per day, and $96 overall for four days at the parks.
I will add that both the expenses I’ve listed thus far aren’t set in stone. For example, if you drive to Walt Disney World, you avoid Magical Express.
Similarly, nothing requires you to buy Disney Genie+ or Lightning Lane once you’re at the parks. I’d suggest that you do, but it’s up to you.
Presuming that you pay for Magical Express plus Disney Genie+ and a daily Lightning Lane option, your price has increased to $287.84.
If you skip the FastPass-ish add-ons, the price remains at $64.
The Cost of Food
Here’s an aspect of the conversation that’s challenging to evaluate. After all, the cost of food has expanded everywhere in the country, not just Disney.
One of the lingering costs of the pandemic stems from supply chain shortages.
When a business possesses less supply and the same demand, prices go up. It’s basic economics.
Still, Disney had habitually increased the cost of snacks for several years before the pandemic. So, I cannot give it a pass here.
I’d estimate that a guest will pay $4 more per day for snacks and drinks during a standard park visit. Of course, I’m comparing that to pre-pandemic pricing.
So, for two people for four days, that’s $32 more money for water, Coke, Dole Whips, and the like.
Similarly, meals have increased. Of course, I don’t know your family’s dining habits. Do you prefer Quick Service or Table Service restaurants?
Alternatively, do you order groceries and eat in your room or drive somewhere in Orlando for meals?
I’m presuming the former, not the latter. Similarly, I expect most people to use Mobile Ordering to purchase Quick Service meals these days.
As such, your price really hasn’t increased much in this capacity. Despite what you’ve heard, not everything at Disney has soared in cost.
A savvy Disney guest could eat well at the same prices as in January of 2020.
Still, I’ll add another $10 per person or $20 per day just to be safe. So that’s $80 for the entirety of a trip for two.
So, please keep in mind that pricing for children is lower. Still, you should add 30 percent more to these estimates for each child in your party.
Here’s more good news, and I mean that sincerely.
Look, I don’t like writing things that I know will upset people. I want everyone to be happy.
So, I’m sensitive to your criticisms when Disney overreaches. And I know that many of you expected massive admission ticket increases in 2022.
I’m happy to tell you that this didn’t happen. So yes, Disney changed some prices, but it primarily tweaked the low end.
I’m referencing the less popular days on its surge pricing chart. The more expensive days effectively remained static.
Disney sells multiple versions of tickets, which is why you should always speak with a MickeyTravels agent to find the best and smartest deal for your family.
The three main tiers are base tickets, Park Hopper, and Park Hopper Plus.
The price difference across all tiers amounts to $14 per person as the WORST-CASE scenario. Disney was smart enough not to add insult to injury here.
So, you’ll only pay $28 more for a four-day visit for two guests.
In collating this data, I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect. I’ll summarize it so that you can read it concisely:
- Magical Express — $64 for round-trip service
- Disney Genie+/Lightning Lane — $0 to $287.84 or up to $71.96 daily
- Meals and Snacks — $112 or $28 per day
- Admission Tickets — $28 or $7 per day
That’s a maximum price increase of $491.84 or less than $500 for a two-person Walt Disney World four-day vacation.
I have no idea if that’s more or less than what any of you would have guessed, but it’s definitely on the low end for my expectations.
Also, as a reminder, you can always find ways to save money at Disney. Here’s a recent Mickey Blog article with some terrific suggestions.