There’s been a lot of commotion this week about Disney’s massive price hikes to their annual passes at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World. Some tiers of the new passes include PhotoPass downloads and free parking, which is actually an upgrade. Many have argued that it isn’t a big enough upgrade to justify the higher prices and that’s probably true. But, Disney maintains that their rationale is still rooted in crowd management and not greed. I suspect, in all honesty, it’s a little bit of both.
As someone who hates huge crowds, I’m actually in favor of most measures that will reduce crowds, though typically when they raise prices there are still plenty of people who pack the parks. So, will it really work? Perhaps the better solution is to find a way to add new attractions at lightening speed like their neighbors over at Universal. If they can build Harry Potter Land in a year, why can’t Disney do similar tasks at similar speeds? It’s certainly not for lack of money.
At the end of the day, love it or hate it, there truly are pros and cons to the raise in annual passes. On the pros, it may indeed lighten crowds, you get additional benefits (free parking, PhotoPass), and easy access to one of the happiest places on Earth for a fraction of the cost if you were buying many standard tickets. On the down side, yes, you spent more out of pocket, but my guess is that annual passholders are still seeing a strong return on investment, so I think we should keep some perspective before screaming #GREED at Disney.