Why is Disneyland so Expensive?

Why is Disneyland so Expensive?

Money” by Sean Welton is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 (Edits by Disney Adulting)

Why is Disneyland so Expensive?

Today’s cost for a one-day ticket can run from $97.00 (Value Season) to $124.00 (Peak Season) and if you plot it out hourly (if you spend all 15 hours in the park) that is a running cost of $6.47/hour (Value Season) to $10.33/hour.

If you compare that cost to a few other forms of entertainment, it really doesn’t’ seem that unreasonable hour/hour of entertainment. (And let’s be honest, if I had to choose between

  • Movie Average Ticket Price with Popcorn & Soda: $20
  • State Fair Average Ticket Price with Unlimited Ride Wristband: $40
  • Broadway Musical Average Ticket Price: $100
  • Ski Rental and Lift Ticket Average Price: $111
  • Skydiving Average Tandem Jump Price: $250

So is Disneyland really that expensive?

Let’s explore some of the reasons why the price might be as high as it is today.


6 Possible Reasons Behind Disneyland Pricing


1. Premium Park Experience

Disney is all about providing the premium park experience with the promise of best-in-class customer service, highest-in-safety, friendlier staffing, clean property and a operations methodology that exceeds any of its competition. Granted, they are not always perfect, but they certainly are the industry leader when it comes to the theme park experience.


2. Apple Business Model

There is suspect that Disney has adopted the Apple Business Model. This is a business strategy that means if you charge higher prices, you’ll have a smaller consumer base that in turn will be willing to pay more and more. These price increases make it where people who would normally visit a park two or three times a year will only attend once. Theme Park Tourist put together a detailed post on Walt Disney World’s Middle-Class Problem and is relatable to how the Apple Business Model is changing pricing for Disneyland as well.

Are you an iPhone user? Be sure to check out the Top 6 Must-Have Disneyland iPhone Apps.


3. Public Trading

Disney is a publically traded company and is traded on the New York Stock Exchange as Walt Disney Co (NYSE: DIS). Disney stock is full of some extremely valuable assets, one of which includes Disney Parks. Maintaining value for investors is an important part of the Disney business model.


4. Supply and Demand

When you apply the most basic economic principle of supply and demand, it straightforward that when attendance increases, prices will rise; when attendance decreases, prices decrease as well. Disneyland, with 16.7 million visitors annually, ranks number 3 in the most-attended parks in the world. (Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, with 19.3 million visitors, remains the world leader.)


5. Operating Expense

There isn’t a fine line of “Disneyland costs X,” but at a high-level, you can review the financial reports filed by Disney Corp and pull some basic figures to help provide an estimation of the operating costs for a park “like” Disneyland.

  • Cash from Park Operations (Domestic US): $1,169 Billion
  • Percentage of Operating Income (Estimation): 8.5%
  • Number of Parks (Domestic US): 6

If we assume that all 6 parks generated an identical income (which we all know isn’t the case) the estimated operational cost of Disneyland per day is $5.7 Million.

(($13,611B \ 6 Parks) X (1-.085)) \ 365 Days


6. Major Expansion

Any Disney, Marvel or Star Wars fan knows that Disneyland is in a state of expansion. Most recently we’ve seen Cars Land, Guardians of the Galaxy Mission: BREAKOUT, and announcements for the upcoming Star Wars Land and more Marvel attractions being added to the park. It only makes sense that the more value and entertainment they provide, the higher the cost will be to access the park.

Is Disneyland too Expensive?

It really boils down to if you are a fan or not. No one likes paying higher prices or hearing about ticket increases, but let’s be real, I’d rather spend my money for a day at Disneyland than anywhere else because I feel like I get the top value in entertainment and experience from my investment.



Have a Disney question you’d like us to answer?

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