We’ll often see Disney raise prices in the theme parks. Sometimes, the increases are a few cents added to a Mickey pretzel, and other times, it’s a large increase in ticket prices. We can usually predict that Disney will increase prices at some point during the year. However, it’s no secret that this year has been anything BUT predictable!
Walt Disney World had big plans in the making like the huge EPCOT overhaul including attractions, expansions, and an entirely new look. Many of these projects are pushing forward while others were suspended indefinitely. With all the changes, can we safely assume what items will increase in price and when? We’ve gathered a list of items that could see price increases in 2021, based on previous years.
The Walt Disney Company reported a net loss of 2.8 billion dollars during the 2020 Quarter 4 Earnings Call. The loss stems from COVID-19 and its effect on the company overall. We’ve seen the theme parks close for an extended period and an estimated 32,000 Cast Members laid off in response to the losses. Given the great loss of capital, Disney could potentially raise prices to compensate.
Ticket price increases used to be relatively predictable for Disney World. Come February or March each year, you could safely rely on Disney hiking prices at least a little bit. Back in 2018, Disney surprised us and dropped a second increase in October, so really we can expect an increase to happen whenever Disney sees fit.
Ticket prices were raised for Annual Passholders at Disneyland and Disney World in February 2020. While Annual Passes aren’t on sale at the moment, many have been waiting for the return of sales. Plus, many Annual Passholders canceled their passes once capacity had decreased and the Park Pass system was implemented.
During the Q3 Earnings Call, Bob Chapek noted that a single day guest spends more than an Annual Passholder. This means that Passholder spending appears to be a loss when the park is at limited capacity. We could see a price increase to compensate for this loss if the passes are brought back. Also, Park Hoppers will return for guest use on January 1st, 2021. Park Hopper prices increased in February and we could potentially see another hike in prices when this option becomes available again.
Disney will soon open the new Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser hotel, new restaurants, and did we mention all of EPCOT?? It wouldn’t be a huge surprise if Disney decides to raise prices with all the new projects and losses 2020 has brought Disney. The best advice we can give is to give yourself some wiggle room in your Disney budget. In the past, prices usually increase by about $5-20 for single and multi-day passes. Try to plan for increases close to this range for your future vacations.
Food is an easy thing to increase prices on. After all, we all have to eat, right?
In October 2019, Disney tried to fly under the radar and increase prices on everything from churros to cocktails. Some increases were subtle like a 25 cent addition to Mickey pretzels. Others were a little heftier like adding a dollar to a margarita from Anaheim Produce. We also saw an increase in price on Refillable Resort Mugs. This one hurt a little — the price went up a buck to $19.99. You have to make sure that you’re drinking enough beverages on your trip to make your refillable mug worth the cost you paid!
We may not see a huge influx of prices all at once like we did last year. We might instead see small increases over the course of the year. At the end of October 2020, we noticed that some kids’ menu items were increased by a dollar. This increase could have potentially been a response to the shortages due to the global health crisis. Either way, it’s best to familiarize yourself with the Disney World menus closer to your trip date to estimate food costs.
Disney Dining Plan
Remember the Disney Dining Plan? Ah yes, those were simpler times. The Disney Dining Plan is currently unavailable right now, but we may see an increase here as well whenever it DOES return. In the past, we’ve typically seen an increase for most plans by a couple of bucks once a year. It could potentially increase if Disney decides to raise the price of food. More expensive food could mean a more expensive Dining Plan. They could potentially brace for lower or higher demand when it returns — either way, this could result in an increase.
We saw prices jump up between 2019 and 2020. Who’s to say it won’t happen again? Many Disney World visitors loved the Disney Dining Plan and made it an integral part of their Disney experience. We’ve seen the Dining Plan increase in the past and the structure even changed a bit back in February, adding a mew plan between the Standard and Deluxe plan.
Several restaurants are still closed and open restaurants are running at a lower capacity right now to account for new health and safety measures. It’s possible that the Dining Plan will remain on hiatus until the number of restaurants as well as restaurant capacity are both high enough to accommodate the number of guests that would take advantage of the Dining Plan. Once it returns, prices may change due to the higher demand and excitement of its return. Or, we could potentially see prices remain the same initially if demand is lower than anticipated. We’ll have to wait and see! In the meantime, Disney hasn’t announced any potential changes or increases on the plans. Plan your future trip around the current posted prices and, much like the ticket prices, allow for some budget wiggle room.
Disney has been offering discounted room rates and packages in the past few months. They’ve been especially generous to Annual Passholders and Florida Residents with discounts up to 40% off. What could this mean for the future? Well, right now, they’re trying to entice locals to stay in their resorts. We could see the discounts decrease and room rates normalize once more out-of-towners make their way to the parks.
We’re already seeing crowds increase due to the holidays and recently increased park capacities. Perhaps, once out-of-state visitors start rolling in, we’ll see room rates even go up in price. Also, some Disney World resorts are still temporarily closed. Disney plans to open more in 2021 and this could affect room rates as well. More reopened resorts will mean more operating costs for Disney World, but it will also mean more money coming in from guests occupying those hotels. As always, you can book your room in advance and secure the current room rate. Then, you can apply discounts that may pop up throughout the year. This will help you avoid any potential room rate increases.
Tours, Private Events, and Dessert Parties
All of the private tours, events, and dessert parties are currently unavailable at Disney World. The prices of VIP Tours and the Dessert Parties were raised this past February. Increases for these are a bit more unpredictable, but in the past two years, we have seen a jump in some dessert parties like those found in Magic Kingdom. Given the current trend, we could see another jump in prices once Disney World is fully operational. Many guests are eagerly awaiting the return of the full fireworks shows too. This may be a prime time for Disney to hike up those dessert party prices when guests want their fill of fireworks.
Again, this is dependent on the guest demand as more people become comfortable with traveling. The operating costs of private tours, events, and dessert parties will cost Disney if not enough guests are interested.
Disney has not confirmed that any price increases are on the way. But then again, they typically don’t until they suddenly just change. This is all based on current trends and the history of Disney World prices. One thing’s for sure, Disney will hardly ever lower prices. Unless you count that one time they decreased the price of milk by a few pennies. (Hey, we’ll take all the discounts we can get!) The room, ticket, food, and private event prices could stay the same for a while, but they may increase in the future once levels in the parks return to “normal.” At the end of the day, Disney World is part of a large business — a business that’s had a tough year financially, like much of the world. They’ll likely want to recoup lost income and be in the green again and price increases might be what they need to do that.
We’ll continue to keep you updated on all Disney price increases in the future!
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What are your predictions? Do you think anything will increase next year? Let us know in the comments below!