The $100 Mental Barrier

Walt Disney World, over the weekend, raised the price of a one-day Magic Kingdom only ticket over $100.  The price of that ticket is now $105.  The price of a one-day EPCOT, Hollywood Studio, or Animal Kingdom only ticket is still below $100.  These tickets now cost $97.  Many people are upset about the ticket increase.  Some people are downright outraged.  Myself, I saw the writing on the wall this time last year when a one-day ticket to the Magic Kingdom cost $99.  I knew the next ticket increase was going to cross the $100 barrier.


An early park-hopper ticket
An early park-hopper ticket

The barrier is a big mental barrier for a lot of people to climb over.  It’s the same mental barrier that people who play the stock market have to climb over every time the Dow reaches a big milestone number (1k, 5k, 10k, 15k…..).  In the market’s case, it takes a peek climbing over the number and then going back below the number because people are scared that they will lose money if there is a big market pullback.  Eventually though, people get used to the market climbing over the big milestone number and it crosses over and stays there.

In Disney’s case, there is no peek over $100 for tickets and then pull back.  The only pull back would be fewer people buying one-day Magic Kingdom tickets.  Disney, I don’t believe, is in the business of reducing ticket prices unless they absolutely have to.  They MAY freeze them for a year but a ticket price reduction is a “weapon of last resort.”

Looking deeper into the ticket increase, the largest increases were to the one-day tickets.  The increases, on a percentage basis, were much lower on the multiple day tickets.  For example, the increase on a four-day ticket was only $11.  That’s only a 3.5 % increase compared to the near 6% increase for a one-day Magic Kingdom.  It’s an increase but an increase that is more in-line with inflation and other factors than the 6% increase.

That leads me to my last question?  How people actually buy just a one-day ticket for the Magic Kingdom?  I know a couple but they are visiting Florida in general but have made many trips to Walt Disney World when they were Florida residents visiting on Florida Resident Passes.  Outside of that, I know no one who buys just a one-day ticket.  Disney does not release a breakdown of who buys what tickets just general attendance figures.  I’m sure people buy them or Disney would not sell them.

Yes, crossing the $100 barrier does provide some shock value and they will take a PR for a day maybe a couple of days longer if the news outlet is a NBC/Universal-owned station.  Those stations like to run bad Disney stories a little longer than most while neglecting to air bad Universal stories like a brief bottled water ban.   This story will play out again next year when the tickets for EPCOT, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom go above $100 for the first time.

But in the end, it’s mainly just mental barrier.  The only way to combat increases in ticket prices.  However, people still go to Disney, or the ballgame, or the movies.  Enough people don’t vote with their feet and stop attending these events….as a result, ticket prices continue to climb.

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