We’ve kept track of ALL the price increases that have happened recently, and we also have analyzed the reasons behind those changes. There were several indications that these price increases were coming, so we know what to look for in the future as well. All that is helpful to know, but what’s MOST helpful is that we know how to help you avoid breaking the bank on your next trip. Let’s dive in!
We’ll first go over the recent price increases and what they’ve specifically affected in Disney World. Then we’ll analyze some of the reasons WHY those price increases happened and how you can tell when they’re going to happen again. Finally, we’ll take a close look at how you can still save money on your upcoming vacation.
Disney Raised Prices Everywhere
A little while ago, Disney had its most recent wave of price increases, which impacted a LOT of food, merchandise, and experiences in the parks. Food and drinks were some of the most heavily impacted things — we saw iconic snacks get more expensive, fountain drinks went up in price, and many sit-down restaurants saw changes to the menu prices.
It would take far too long to go through every single food price increase here, so you can check those out in our post about the price increases and menu changes.
But the food prices weren’t the only ones impacted by these price increases. We noticed that Minnie ears got more expensive as well: the base price for these accessories is usually $29.99 (with special styles and designer ears being more expensive), but now the lowest price seems to be $34.99.
Some experiences are pricier now, including the Capture Your Moment photo sessions, which are private photoshoots with a Disney PhotoPass photographer. Those used to be $79 for a 20-minute shoot, but now they’re $99 per 20 minutes.
Building a lightsaber or a droid also got more expensive recently. The lightsaber experience in Galaxy’s Edge was previously $219.99, and now it’s $249.99. The droid-building experience went from $99.99 to $119.99.
Genie+ — the new system for skipping the standby line in Disney World and Disneyland — also got more expensive. In Disneyland, the base price for Genie+ was previously $20 per person, per day, and now it’s $25. Although the Disney World version stayed at a base price of $15 per person, per day, surge pricing was introduced at both parks, meaning that the cost for Genie+ could increase depending on how busy the parks are.
To recap, we’ve seen price increases on a lot of food and drinks, some extra experiences, and Genie+. Those were the main things that were affected recently, but those changes didn’t necessarily come as a surprise.
The Changes Didn’t Come Out of the Blue
Disney World’s price increases came as prices around the country have been increasing. A good measure of price increases in the U.S. is the consumer price index, which measures the cost of food, housing, gasoline, utilities, and other goods. In September 2022, the consumer price index “rose by 8.2% over the past 12 months in August,” which is “nearly a 40-year-high” (NextAdvisor, in partnership with TIME Magazine). Grocery staples have been hit hard by price increases, as well as the cost of gasoline and housing.
The COVID-19 pandemic is at least partially to blame for the problem with inflation right now. The pandemic caused a major disruption in the economy, impacting labor availability and supply chains across the world. These changes are reportedly not going to last long-term, as many experts are predicting that inflation will slow. Dean Baker (a senior economist at the Center for Economic and Policy Research) said that “these prices will actually drop” once the supply chain returns to normal.
But for now, prices remain high. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that “energy prices are up 19.8% and gasoline alone is up nearly 18.2% over the last year. Used vehicle prices are up nearly 7.2% for the year, and new vehicle prices have increased 9.4%. Food prices have also increased by 11.2% year over year.”
Looking at trends in price increases across the country can foreshadow price increases at Disney World, but we’ve also seen even more obvious hints that these changes were on the way. In fact, Disney CEO Bob Chapek stated a few months ago that they would be coming.
In an interview with CNBC in August 2022, Chapek was asked about potential price increases. He said, “It’s all up to the consumer. If consumer demand keeps up then we act accordingly.” He went on to clarify that demand was indeed increasing: “For all visibility we have into the future, we’re not seeing any softening of our demand.”
The final reason that the recent price increases were not surprising is that Disney has always raised prices. Park tickets have continually gotten more expensive, and we see routine price increases at least every year. This isn’t the first time that a big wave of price increases has hit the parks, and it certainly won’t be the last.
However, you don’t need to lose all hope for your upcoming Disney World trip. Yes, things have gotten more expensive. But there are still ways to combat the price increases and save some cash!
Here’s What You Should Do Now
There are a few different strategies you can try out to beat those price increases.
Adjust Your Dining Plan
You can make some adjustments to your dining plan for Disney World in order to save some cash. For example, you might opt for counter service restaurants over table service restaurants, as those fast food-style spots tend to be quite a bit cheaper than sit-down meals.
As character dining prices were some of the hardest hit this time around, you could choose a restaurant that doesn’t have characters and then go find your Disney friends in the parks instead! There are a lot of options for seeing Disney characters in the parks without a character dining reservation, so that could be an easy way to save some cash.
One of the price increases we saw consistently at several restaurants was on fountain drinks. Although it was a pretty small increase, you can still save a bit by choosing free water over the more expensive soda at various restaurants.
Another option that might work for you is to order groceries to your hotel room and bring some of your own snacks into the park or eat breakfast before leaving for the day. Food purchased from Kroger or Instacart will almost always be cheaper than its equivalent in Disney World.
In addition, if you don’t want to give up soda during the day, you can order it through one of the grocery delivery sodas and avoid that soda price increase that we mentioned earlier.
Adjust Your Budget
To help save some space in your budget for the price increases, you can save on other parts of your vacation. You might choose a Value Resort instead of a Moderate or Deluxe one, or leave out those extra experiences this time around.
You can avoid the Genie+ price increase by finding other ways to get on your favorite rides without a long wait time. One of the best ways to do this is to rope drop the parks each morning. Rope Drop is just the Disney word for being at the park before opening time (we usually recommend about 30 minutes before the park opens) and then heading straight for whichever ride you want to go on.
Don’t forget that guests at Disney World hotels can enter the parks 30 minutes before the official park opening time, so you’ll want to be at the entrance a full hour before park opening time if that applies to you. And guests at Deluxe hotels can take advantage of Extended Evening Hours on some nights as well. During both of these times, ride wait times tend to be very low.
Remember that not all rides are open for Early Theme Park Entry and Extended Evening Hours. Click here to see which rides are open during those times.
Let Us Help!
One of our BEST tips for sticking with your budget at Disney World will forever be to plan ahead – especially for dining. Know where you’re going to eat before you get there so that you know what to expect when the bill comes. You can see all the restaurant menus and prices ahead of time using the My Disney Experience app and the Disney World website.
However, Disney’s menus will only get you so far. They won’t tell you what the BEST eats and drinks are or where to find awesome deals so you can get the best bang for your buck — that’s where we come in. We’re in the parks every day, and we’ve had just about everything there is to eat and drink at Disney World. We put all of our knowledge into the DFB Guide to Dining at Walt Disney World, which you can use to plan your own meals and snacks!
When you buy the guide, you’ll get immediate access to our downloadable worksheets for planning your trip, as well as sample one-day dining itineraries. And as a DFB reader, you’re entitled to a discount! Use code WDW2022 for 25% off your purchase.
We hope this has helped you better understand the recent price increases and start making a plan for how to work around them during your next visit. We’ll keep bringing you all the latest news from Disney World as well as tips and tricks so that you can have the BEST stay possible. Stay tuned to DFB for all the updates!
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What are your best money-saving tips for Disney World vacations? Let us know in the comments.