It’s not exactly news to say that theme parks are expensive. And that only becomes more true as time goes on. The price of tickets at Disney theme parks have gone up far faster than the rise in inflation, making a vacation at the most popular theme parks quite expensive. However when it comes to the percentage of increase that parks have seen in recent years, Disney actually isn’t even in the top five.
The absolute cost of tickets at Disneyland or Disney World are higher than pretty much everywhere else, and the only year in recent memory that we haven’t seen prices increase was the year after the global pandemic shut most parks down. However, the percentage of increase that the major theme parks have had in recent years is actually minimal, while tickets at Delaware’s Funland have actually doubled since 2017,
According to CNBC, the amusement/theme park that has seen the largest price increase since 2017 is actually Funland. Having said that, while the price has actually doubled since 2017, that means the price for a day in the parks has gone up from $15 to $30, so even the new price isn’t that bad. The rest of the top five in price increases since 2017 are Santa’s Village in New Hampshire, (50% increase) Florida’s Fun Spot (34% increase), Oakland, CA’s Children’s Fairyland (30% increase), and Philadelphia, Sesame Place (29% increase).
In an absolute sense these ticket prices are downright reasonable, The Sesame Place ticket now comes in at $90, the most expensive of the top five, but it’s also the biggest park of the five. Children’s Fairyland has only raised its price in the last four years from $10 to $13, A significantly large percentage increase, but the fact that the ticket was so cheap to begin with is part of what allows the price to go up that much.
Every park seems to go through a period like this where they see large price increases in a small period of time. The Disney Parks did the same thing in the mid-80s, when new CEO Michael Eisner decided the parks were undervalued. That began the cycle of price increases that we still see happening today.
Ticket pricing is always a difficult balancing act. With fewer people likely visiting most theme parks right now, these large price increases are likely designed to make up lost revenue. At the same time, if you increase prices too much, you’ll drive customers away, and make less.
Regional amusement parks are still a much cheaper alternative than the big ones, and some of them have absolutely iconic attractions that should be experienced. While Disney Parks have some solid roller coasters, if you love roller coasters, you need to check out other parks in the country. Few if any would argue Disney has the best.