Disney Theme Park Prices Are Going Up, But Here's a Way Around the Spike

Some people consider "surge pricing" an evil spell, synonymous with exploitation. So what happens when surge pricing meets the Magic Kingdom? Disneyland is considering a new "demand" pricing structure that could make your summer vacation more expensive ... or maybe less.


It's an option the Walt Disney World Co. is considering to minimize its legendary crowds and long lines. Raising overall ticket prices hasn't helped. So they're thinking of raising prices during peak season and lowering prices during the off season and on weekdays. And for that reason I'm all for it.

That's easy for me to say, though. New York City schools start a month or more after most other schools around the country. We went to Disneyland a couple weeks after the Los Angeles-area kids started school and it was glorious. There were no lines at all. So it wouldn't be too hard for us to take advantage of demand pricing at the park if they considered the first week of September "off peak."

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But what about everyone else? Would it be worth it for your kids to miss a week of school just to get lower-priced tickets at Disneyland? 

I think it might, mostly because it's the younger kids who most want to do Disney. And missing school when you're in kindergarten is not a big deal. I think so long as your kids are doing well in school it's probably fine.

As kids get older and the curriculum gets more complex, missing school becomes more difficult. But then, the older you get the less interested you are in going to Disneyland -- for the most part. I know there are some exceptions.

The real catch is that the families who stand to benefit the most from surge pricing -- low-income families -- are the same ones who have the most to lose from missing a week of school. Statistically it's those kids who struggle the most in their classes, and getting out of the routine of study can be more detrimental. So that's the biggest drawback that I see.

At any rate, it's not a change we'll see too soon. Disney says it's surveying customers to see what they think of demand pricing. So if you have an opinion on the matter, Mickey's all ears at the moment.


Image via © Topic Photo Agency/Corbis

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