Disney World is EXPENSIVE and apparently, guests are spending more than they ever have before.
According to the 2022 Second Quarter Earnings Report from the Walt Disney Company, Disney World and Disneyland visitors are spending 40% more today than they did ahead of the pandemic in 2019. But WHY are Disney guests spending so much more?
In some ways, the current environment means more spending in general — and that does apply to Disney World.
The first external cause that has had an effect on YOUR Disney costs is inflation! Earlier this year, we took a look at the current situation with inflation and what it would mean for Disney World guests, and recently, Disney executives weighed in on what it means for the company.
As of now, inflation hasn’t had a specific effect on Disney World ticket prices and historically, Disney World tickets have been demand-driven — outpacing inflation. Disney may be able to escape raising ticket prices in response to inflation because tickets are already priced higher due to high demand.
Still, inflation may be part of the reason that we see higher prices on food in the theme parks this year (not to mention the amount you’re paying for airfare, YIKES!). While the food increases were small individually, they can add up across the length of a trip. Disney has even posed other solutions like adjusting suppliers, substituting products, cutting portion sizes, and more.
Disney’s CFO Christine McCarthy has noted publicly that the company is doing what it needs to adjust for inflation, though she hasn’t shared too many other specifics. It’s possible that Disney could be more expensive due to this factor — just like your latest tank of gas.
Supply Chain Shortages
Inflation plays together with supply chain shortages to make things more expensive for Disney, and potentially Disney guests by extension. In the wake of the pandemic, the country has seen a LOT of supply shortages in recent months.
There have been shortages of noodles, cream cheese, lightsabers, and now even bubble wands. Most recently, a shortage of palm oil could have an effect on hundreds of Disney World products.
These shortages might also have contributed to the higher prices of food in the theme parks this year and certainly add to the problem that could lead to portion-size changes.
But it’s not all external causes, many of the reasons behind you spending MORE in the parks have to do with Disney’s management of costs and demand.
Supply and Demand
In an interview with CNBC, Disney CEO Bob Chapek shared the reason behind the rising prices, “This is a supply and demand business. Unfortunately, unlike say Disney+, we have a fixed supply.”
To reflect this, the recent earnings report noted that Disney saw higher average per-capita ticket revenue due to the attendance mix and increased attendance. This isn’t all that different from typical increases at Disney. Demand has remained at a relatively reliable increase for years (that’s why we see ticket prices increase every year).
Still, as demand rises in relation to external factors, we are certainly seeing new costs (like the ones we’ll talk about momentarily!) and rising ones (like higher hotel rates).
Another reason Disney cited for the increase in per capita ticket revenue — and therefore the increase in guest spending — is the addition of Disney Genie+ and Lightning Lanes. Disney Genie+ and the use of Lightning Lanes (including through Individual Attraction Selection) are Disney’s paid replacements for the formerly free FastPass+ service.
Disney Genie+ costs $15 per day in Disney World and $20 per day in Disneyland, per person. With Disney Genie+, guests make Lightning Lane selections for certain Disney Parks rides. Guests book a return window for a ride’s Lightning Lane, then when the time arrives, they can then skip the standby line at that ride and instead enter through the Lightning Lane (a.k.a. the old FastPass+ lane). Guests can then continue making one Genie+ selection at a time throughout the day.
Some rides are not available with Genie+ and instead are individually purchased. If a guest wants to skip the line at those popular rides (like Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance) they’ll pay a la carte for those rides as an Individual Attraction Selection. A maximum of two of these selections can be purchased per day. Prices range on these rides depending on the date, ride, and park — but they generally fall between about $7 and $15 per ride.
With more than one-third of domestic guests opting to purchase Genie+, a completely NEW COST, we can see how that might contribute to a significant increase in guest spending.
According to the Walt Disney Company, revenue also grew due to an increase in guest spending on food, drinks, and merchandise, as well as higher average daily hotel room rates.
We’ve seen all kinds of price increases (like those mentioned above) that factored into this situation. Tickets and parking rates increased in Disneyland in 2021. At Disney World, prices went up on annual passes. For 2022, ticket price ranges have remained the same, but some days now fall into higher price brackets, making them more expensive (that’s an impact we could see play out in future quarters).
Plus, as we mentioned, Disney World also recently enacted hundreds of price increases on food and beverages, and we’ve noted the increase in hotel rates as well. Couple these rising costs with new ones and the pressing external factors and we have a recipe for increased guest spending.
As you can see, there is a whole slew of reasons why guest spending is up in Disney World and those higher spending levels could CERTAINLY be reflected during your vacation. If you’re nervous about spending, we’ve got a bunch of tips for saving BIG at Disney World. And follow along with DFB so you don’t end up surprised by any sudden price increases.
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What do you think about the increase in spending? Tell us in the comments!