In a recent interview with Barron’s, Disney CEO Bob Iger talked about their new streaming service, their slate of upcoming reboots and sequels, and (most importantly) when the company plans on opening Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at their California and Florida parks:
[Barron’s] Do you still feel like you can bring more people through the parks, or is it more about growing ticket prices?
[Iger:] In some, you get more repeat visitation and increased length of stay because there’s more to do. You get more capacity. When Star Wars opens in Anaheim in June and in Florida later in the year, that’s adding capacity. You’re adding 14 acres of land [each], more rides, and more things for people to do. It’s the biggest land we’ve ever built. We’re just getting higher demand on our product spread throughout the year. That gives you pricing leverage. But what we’re also trying to do is be much smarter about pricing strategy, to try to spread attendance and reduce attendance in the peak periods so we can improve guest satisfaction. Crowding is an issue.
Alright, so all he said was that the grand opening in California will be in June, but that’s still more specific than the company’s official line of “summer 2019.” In another story, Barron’s narrowed the anticipated start date to “early June.” Florida, land of “killer” herpes-infected monkeys, will have to wait a few months before their new Star War’s wing opens up.
Regardless of which park you plan on visiting, you should start saving up your money because ticket prices are already increasing. Like Iger said, Disney is going to leverage the popularity of their Star Wars franchise in higher prices. I can attest to the parks’ problems with overcrowding—New Year’s Eve 2013 at Disneyland was a horror show of people trapped in wheelchairs weeping and dads fighting for prime spots for the fireworks show—and Disney spent $1 billion on their expansion projects. It only makes sense that they’d explore ways to “be much smarter about pricing strategies” and blackout dates.
The new Disneyland price hikes went into effect on Sunday, raising some tickets up to 25%. Previous price increases have not deterred visitors from coming to the park and the latest increase isn’t expected to make too much of a dent either, but people will undoubtedly not be very happy about the second increase in less than a year. Parking has gone from $20 to $25 and the cheapest ticket to get into the single park with now be $104, up from $97.
The two-park Disneyland pass also sees an increase, going to $129 from $117. The price of a ticket on peak-demand days has gone to $149, up from $135. The annual passes are obviously effected by the new increases too. The cheapest pass is now $399, up from $369, and adds even more blackout days in addition to weekends and most summer days. It’s believed that this pass won’t allow visitors into Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge upon its opening, but that has not been confirmed at this time, but it makes sense since most of the summer is already blacked out.
The Deluxe Disneyland pass goes up to $799 from $729. For the most expensive pass, the Premier Pass, which includes parking, access to both parks and no block-out days, the price is now $1,949 from $1,579, which is significant 23.4% increase. It has been reported that Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will only be available for guests who opt to spend more money on The MaxPass. The pass is an extra cost that lets park goers reserve spots on a ride from their smartphones and will undoubtedly be the only way to jump on the Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run ride. The new price is $15, up from $10 per ticket.
It’s nice to see Disney’s going to make the Premiere and MaxPass elites bear the brunt of the price hikes, but charging $15 to reserve a spot on Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run? That’s about as regressive as a head tax. Is there room for an electroguillotine in Batuu Square?