Friday, 12 June 2015

Is Tiered Admission Pricing Coming to Disney Parks?

In the midst of getting ready for our Disney trip, I've been reading about their latest idea to have tiered pricing for park admission.

I immediately had a vision of park guests arguing at the turnstiles because their Bronze ticket would not allow them admittance because it was a Gold day. The devil may be in the details as Disney considers how exactly this program would work. For instance, if a family plans a visit where there are four Bronze days and only one Gold day, will they have to purchase a Gold pass for their entire stay. Or perhaps they will be able to purchase a pass that is much like the old tickets books, ie Gold day admission = E-Ticket for example.

As far as the idea of tiered admission, there are many places that already use this model. Even Disney uses it for annual passes and special event tickets. In these cases, people are clear (or should be) on what they are purchasing and, in the case of annual passes, do have the option of upgrading if they choose. I think it is the purchasing and packaging of multi-day passes that is causing me concern.

It does appear from the chart that accompanied a survey sent to annual pass holders that Gold, Silver and Bronze days will be in blocks. This raises another issue. Currently, only Saturdays are blacked-out in June but if a tiered system were put in place most days would be Silver except for a few Bronze at the beginning of the month and a few Gold at the end. Does this mean that Disney is simply blocking the days for convenience and charging more for days that aren't normally high attendance?


Although I have concerns with this idea I can also see some advantages to it. I have been at both Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom at Christmas when capacity closures are the norm. By tiering the pricing system, Disney may be able to encourage guests with flexible travel schedules to visit during less busy and less expensive periods. 

We have also been to Disneyland for Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party when tickets were oversold and it was difficult to find a place to think! These events are already have tiered pricing but are during holiday periods so it may not be a good example of how the new system would make things better.

It's going to be interesting to see how Disney handles these proposed changes and whether there will be a reduction in visitors because of it. Time will tell.