Disneyland and Walt Disney World started charging 20 percent more on Feb. 28 for tickets during peak visiting days as part of a new attempt to spread out park visits more evenly.
This system is called demand-based pricing, and it is commonly used by lodging and the airline industry. Another theme park, Universal Studios in Orlando, also uses demand-based pricing. Sports teams and movie theaters are also experimenting with similar pricing efforts, according to The New York Times.
“In addition to expanding our parks, we are adopting seasonal pricing on our one-day tickets to help better spread visitation throughout the year,” Disney said in a statement. “Multiday tickets, annual passes and visiting during nonpeak periods also provide our guests with options and savings.”
The demand-based pricing is going into effect right before the additions of new attractions themed after Frozen, Avatar and Star Wars.
Disney has divided the calendar into value, regular and peak periods. Peak season times include weekends, spring break, a good portion of the summer and the last week in December. It also includes popular traveling holidays, such as July Fourth, Thanksgiving and Christmas. The peak season accounts for a little more than a fourth of the days at Disneyland and Disney World.
Madison Perkins, a John Brown University student who has taken the semester off from school to work at Disney’s Pinocchio’s Village Haus in the Magic Kingdom, recalled that Valentine’s Day and the surrounding days were especially hectic. She described these days as requiring “staying later, working harder, sweating more, going crazy.”
The regular period, on the other hand, is most weekends and many summertime weeks. This accounts for a little under half of the days at Disneyland and Disney World, which makes regular days more common than peak or value days. The value period includes Monday through Thursday, the last week and a half in August and almost all of September.
Hannah Nester, a 2015 graduate of the University, has worked in the Magic Kingdom as a server in Pecos Bill’s Tall Inn and Cafe since September 2015.
“Pecos Bill’s is the second busiest quick service restaurant in the Magic Kingdom. We serve a million guests a year,” Nester said. “Being in the kitchen during our busiest times is a wild experience. You have less than 100 cast members serving hundreds of people as fast as possible.”
Blake Patterson is a current university student who worked at the restaurant Pizzafari in Animal Kingdom at Disney World from January to August 2014. Patterson said part of the reason for cheaper prices is to encourage increased attendance of local Florida residents.
“Last I knew, and hopefully it has grown a bit, 80 percent of all the guests that come to Disney on a daily basis are out of state guests, the other 20 percent are Florida residents. Lower prices means higher attendance from the locals, which is always good for business,” Patterson said.
Perkins agreed that since many of the value days are weekdays, they are most helpful for locals.
The three other parks; Epcot, Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios, will cost $114 during peak times, $102 during the regular period and $97 during the value period.