The price increases of up to 5 percent imposed over the weekend were the earliest in nearly a decade at the resort, which in recent years had waited to hike prices until just before or near the end of the busy summer travel rush. It is also the first time in three years that Disney has acted before Universal Orlando, the smaller resort that has enjoyed strengthened pricing power since the 2010 opening of its popular
Disney declined to say why it chose to raise prices early this year. A spokesman for the resort instead reiterated a statement Disney issued over the weekend.
"Our pricing reflects the high quality and breadth of experiences we offer and our ongoing commitment to investing in our parks," Disney spokesman
Some experts say Disney's quick strike may have been driven as much by
That's because Universal is preparing to open a second Potter-themed land by this summer: the
By raising prices now, Disney may be hoping to maximize any spillover business it gets from Universal, as travelers planning trips to see
"It could be, 'Let's get this done before Gringotts opens so we're primed and ready,'" said
Moreover, imposing a price increase early in the year could give Disney time to lift them even more depending on what Universal does with its prices before
"The first thing that comes to mind, when they're raising prices this early, is: Are they going to have a second increase at some point later in the year?" Niles said. "Everyone is expecting Universal to do not just a price increase but probably a restructuring of their prices before
A spokesman for Universal declined to discuss its pricing strategy. Universal and SeaWorld Orlando charge
Beyond preparing for Potter, the early price increase should help offset the financial impact of delays with
Disney expects that guests using the systems, which it once hoped to have fully launched by last year, will ultimately spend more money during their visits.
If the revenue growth "is not coming in the parks with MagicBands, you can get it at the front gate instead with price increases," Niles said.
Disney has been leaning heavily on higher prices to spur growth in recent quarters.
During the most company's last fiscal quarter, which ended
The latest round of increases boosted base prices by 2 percent to 5 percent, depending on the type of ticket. The sharpest increases came on four- and five-day passes, which are among the most popular ticket options
The move frustrates customer such as
The resort has added a handful of major attractions over the same period, including the opening of Expedition Everest and
Still, Belsterling said, "For the first time in my life, I feel that the cost of a
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