Disney price hikes, longer wait times at theme parks rankle loyal customers

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Much like any other enterprise that is not funded by taxpayer money, tourism and entertainment were hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, and price hikes are expected as companies try to recoup some of their losses. The Walt Disney Company, in particular, continues to raise its already-high theme park prices, with angry customers now rebranding “The Most Magical Place on Earth” as “The Most Expensive Place on Earth.”

“If you’re the kind of person that budgets or saves for vacations, Disney Parks aren’t for you any longer,” wrote one angry customer on redditt, saying the company had forsaken everyday people for the big spenders. “That’s a Premium Physical Experience, and there’s plenty of national and international wealthy families to afford going indefinitely.”

Nearing the end of 2021, Disney said it would raise ticket prices beginning in 2022 at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure in Anaheim, CA. The popular single-day pass jumped 6.5 percent to $164 for admission to one park, while a two-day park hopper pass now costs $319, up nearly nine percent.

The price increases are not just for admission alone. According to Inside The Magic, the cost of food at the parks is rising commensurately. For example, Mickey’s Premium Ice Cream Bar and the mouse’s Premium Ice Cream Sandwich both rose from $5.69 to $5.99.

At Disney World restaurant Ale & Compass, their New England Seafood Pot Pie increased $3 to $28, while Brick Lemon-Herb Half Chicken jumped two dollars to $24. The park’s watering hole, Trader Sam’s Tiki Terrace, has hiked cocktail prices by $2 to $3 a drink with the restaurant’s signature Nautilus cocktail now priced at a whopping, Vegas-style $35 smackers.

But wait, there’s more!

According to Walt Disney World News Today, guests can purchase a Miss Piggy backpack, which was released a year ago for $80, now for $95. Mickey ear headbands have jumped $10 in price to $39.99, while a Monsters Inc. water bottle is up $5 to $29.99.

If that weren’t enough, Disney said in its fourth-quarter earnings report that it would begin to reduce food portion sizes in order to maximize profit and avoid hefty increases in admission prices.

But those increases appear to already be active, with some customers reporting that an average visit to one of Disney’s parks has become “unmanageable” and “miserable.” Unsatisfied patrons also note that once-free services like Disney’s fast pass to skip the line now costs an additional $15 per person and that at certain on-site Disney lodgings, the company is now allegedly charging extra for using the ice machine.

In addition to price hikes in admission, food, and merchandise, guests are also complaining of longer lines and filthy restroom facilities, likely owing to staffing shortages though the company did pause a vaccine mandate in November at their Florida properties after Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law a ban on such mandates in his state.

One Disney patron on reddit summed up the conditions at the beloved theme parks in a well-received and thorough post that elicited much agreement from other users.

“Up until now, I’ve not minded paying the prices as I’ve been able to justify it with what we were getting, or, at least in the memories we’ve made,” wrote the customer. “Somehow, it never quite felt like full on exploitation. But I’ve finally hit my breaking point.”

The customer continued, “Hopefully the masses will push back at some point and force Disney to stop gouging people for every cent possible. I’d compare them to a Vegas casino but at least there they give you a chance at not going broke. Part of me feels like Walt is spinning in his grave to see what people have to pay to get in considering one of his main tenets was building a place for the middle class to have a decent vacation.”


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Frank Webster


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