Are The Recent Disney Park Price Increases Justified?

The last year and a half has seen many changes in the Disney Parks. From pandemic health and safety measures to transportation closures, Guests are noticing more and more alterations to the previously “all-inclusive” Disney theme park experience.

Recently, Disneyland Resort announced increased ticket prices across its tiered system, while Walt Disney World raised vacation prices back in 2020.

With continued closures of entertainment and attractions, as well as Resort perks disappearing, Guests are now wondering if these increases are justified due to the reduced offerings in the Parks.

disneyland ticket prices

When Disney changes a small detail, not many Guests appear to notice. But when Disney starts to change multiple things – multiple larger things – many more Guests tend to notice.

This is what seems to be happening recently in both Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World. Ever since the pandemic closed the Parks for a lengthy period of time, the phased reopening of both Disney Resorts has seen numerous changes to the Disney Guest experience, while getting more expensive.

In Walt Disney World, free services such as Disney’s Magical Express, parking trams, and FastPass have all disappeared, while over in Disneyland, the tram service, entertainment such as parades and the fan-favorite Fantasmic, as well as character meet-and-greets have all not returned.

Fantasmic
Credit: Disney

The new Disney Genie has not helped the situation. On October 19, Disney Genie officially launched on the My Disney Experience app at Walt Disney World, along with Disney Genie+ and Lightning Lane access, the new paid iteration of what was previously the FastPass service.

Disney Genie+ charges Disney World Guests $15 per person per day to utilize the Lighting Lane — the old FastPass+ queue. This can be purchased separately from Disney Genie, but we’ve already learned that Guests have to pay tax on top of their Disney Genie+/Lightning Lane purchases.

The new service has also suffered some issues following its launch. From sold-out attractions like Star Wars Rise of the Resistance, to app failures on their phones, Guests have been quick to share their opinions on Disney Genie on social media.

disney genie not working

Disney fans are now debating whether price hikes at Disney Parks are justified with all these changes and removals of popular experiences.

Jenny Nicholson on Twitter started a thread detailing noticeable differences in the Park experience, writing:

With Genie+ you have to pay $15 extra per person per day to access any form of fastpass, which used to be totally free. Bookings begin at 7am so if you want to get your money’s worth you have to be up early and on the app in the morning, also the app is very buggy

She continued, commenting on the value of Disney Genie+:

Also through Genie+ you can only book each of the included rides one time per day, so if you haven’t upgraded to a parkhopper ticket you’ll get a worse value for the service in parks like Hollywood Studios or Animal Kingdom where you’ll only need it for the 2 or 3 popular rides

And furthered her argument with an observation of the Resort Guest experience, focusing on parking prices and the MagicBands not being free any longer:

Disney World hotels are eliminating the free bus service from the airport & if you choose to rent a car they’re raising the prices for hotel parking. Hotels no longer come with the benefit of booking fastpasses early & the magicbands you use to unlock your door are no longer free

Other Disney fans joined the debate, with Amy replying to the thread:

If you buy a ticket for a day in the park what to you actually get for it? It sounds like you have to pay for everything again once you’re inside the park!?

– Amy (@whisper447) – October 26, 2021

And Valerie H. on Facebook commented on the Disneyland price increases:

No trams till next year then why increase parking to $30

Another user, lizleepositivity, previously argued:

Disney’s new slogan should be “pay moreget less.”

– lizleepositivity (@Lizlee166) – August 18, 2021

disney world tram
Credit: D23

With the beloved tram service revealed to be returning early 2022 to Disneyland and character meet-and-greets coming back as “sightings” to Disney Parks, there does seem to be some progress in bringing back old favorites for Guests.

But with free airport transfers disappearing, entertainment still not back, and budget cuts happening in the Parks, Guests will continue to wonder if the price hikes are justified.

What do you think of the ticket price increases at Disney Parks? Let us know in the comments. 

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