*It sounds like a classic Scrooge McDuck money grab to me!
I won’t front: I’ve gone into credit card debt in the past to finance vacations at Walt Disney World during my kids’ spring breaks. It sometimes took me months to pay those balances back down. I wouldn’t replace those memories with my girls for anything, but those post-Disney emails I used to get each spring about my “credit card statement being ready to view” drove my blood pressure up a few points.
I’d better jump on that aspirin regimen, as earlier this week Disney has eliminated many of its annual pass options at both Disneyland Resort in California and Walt Disney World in Florida, replacing them with new passes that are in most cases more expensive, according to the Huffington Post. In one case, a lot more expensive: an annual pass to Disney’s California parks has jumped over $300, to over $1,000!
The new $1,049 Disney Signature Plus replaces the former Premium Annual Passport. It allows for unlimited visits to both Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure and offers discounts on some food and merchandise. (Discounts?? At over a grand, they should be giving free mouse and elephant ears to any pass holder who wants them!) The Signature Plus also offers preferred parking and unlimited downloads of pictures taken on rides.
If you like those perks but $1,049 is a little steep, don’t fret: you can pick up a lower-priced annual pass that can be used anytime except during the two weeks around Christmas and New Year’s for a paltry $849.
This is Disney’s second major price increase in less than a year. Last February, Disney hiked the prices of their passes…just in time for the spring break rush, and they heard about it from many guests. Evidently, those complaints fell on deaf mouse ears. It sounds like the din of complaints will continue, as this time around Disney is hiking prices just as Disneyland prepares to shut down a number of very popular attractions, like the Disneyland Railroad and Tom Sawyer Island, for an undetermined period of time as they accommodate construction of the new “Star Wars” land.
Annual pass prices at Walt Disney World also jumped, with the new Platinum Pass (which allows park entry all year) now costing $749 (up from $654). Both California and Florida parks over a number of other passes, with the granddaddy of them all, the Disney Premier Passport which offers unlimited access to all parks in both states, now costing a staggering $1,439, up from $1,099.
In a (Disney) world where Tiana is the only African American Disney princess to be found (one of my girls was so happy to see her that she almost jumped her during the park’s daily parade), and even Pocahontas & Jasmine are fairly hard to find at either park, maybe we all need to think about gently guiding our kids to a less expensive vacation destination.
A company spokesperson was unavailable to TNT for comment, but the company said in a statement to the Wall Street Journal that more changes may be ahead, including pricing that could vary by the day, based on demand. “We have to look at ways to spread out our attendance throughout the year so we can accommodate demand and avoid bursting at the seams,” Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Bob Chapek told The Wall Street Journal.
I might be able to help Chapek with that. At those prices, my family may have to look for the SECOND happiest place on earth when we plan our next vacay.