It’s no secret that Walt Disney World prices have skyrocketed across the board. There have been lifts in food, merchandise, Annual Passes, the Magic Key Pass, accommodation, and parking, not to mention the almost 500% increase in Walt Disney World ticket costs… the list goes on.
And while the Disney Parks in Orlando, Central Florida are still frequently busy with Guests obviously spending more to continue having vacations at the Resort, a new report has found that others have written off the once-universally-beloved vacation spot for a more affordable option.
Back in his 2019 memoir, newly-reinstated CEO of The Walt Disney Company Bob Iger cemented his belief that Disney World should cater to families and price-conscious families at that. He wrote that this was why one of Disney Resort’s biggest hotels — Disney’s Art of Animation Resort — was priced at only $90 per night. Since that cost has risen to circa $290 under the former leadership of Bob Chapek, according to a report.
Chapek’s handling of The Walt Disney Company’s assets is, in part, what caused him to be ousted from his position in November last year. Bob Iger’s return, albeit only for the next two years, was met with instant approval from Disney fans worldwide. However, the real tell of whether Iger’s views are that much different from his predecessor and successor will lie in his future decisions to address the concerns of Guests. And the majority of those concerns come down to costs.
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While the Park Pass reservation system has caused contention since its installation in 2020 when the Disney Resort reopened post-pandemic, it has been the steeply rising costs of a Disney World vacation that has caused the biggest backlash among casual and diehard fans alike. In addition to things like ticket prices, parking, and food, the arrival of the Disney Genie+ and a la carte Individual Lightning Lane Selection system sparked a fury that still simmers to this day.
The removal of the free FastPass+ option at the Disney World theme parks left a sour taste in many Guests’ mouths. Now, what was once a complimentary option costs Guests a varying amount of dollars extra per day per Guest. With no real plateau in sight, some former Disney fans have rejected the Resort, stating it is simply too expensive to go.
A new report has found that former, and would-be Walt Disney World Resort Guests are bypassing Magic Kingdom and EPCOT for another amusement resort.
One mother-of-three, Nicole Thomas, told Newsweek that her family had written Disney off “for good”, rejecting a Disney ticket cost for another family amusement Resort. She said:
“My final straw was spending all day waiting in huge lines because I couldn’t afford hundreds of dollars for FastPasses that used to be free. Tickets and food prices are also outrageous. We used to enjoy a whole week at Disney World for a couple thousand dollars, but that same amount of money only covers expenses for a day or two now.”
Likewise, Karen Harris told the publication that she just “couldn’t afford Disney anymore.” Both of these, and seemingly many more, are opting to bypass the once premier Disney vacation destination in favor of other less costly experiences. What both Thomas and Harris have in common is their decision to take their families to a Great Wolf Lodge location instead.
Great Wolf Lodge has 19 locations across North America. Primarily featuring indoor water parks, the Resort chain also includes spas, arcades, and restaurants. The first location opened in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin, in 1997, and as of today, three more Resorts are under construction. According to Thomas, Great Wolf Lodge has the “best water park” she has ever been to, stating that it is even better than Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park — just one of Walt Disney World Resort’s water theme parks, the other being the currently closed Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park.
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So, with Walt Disney World prices rising, will Disney Parks continue to push away would-be and potentially even loyal Guests to other amusement park chains? All eyes and ears will be on the results and forecasts coming out of Bob Iger’s first quarterly Earnings Call since his return as chief of the Mouse House on February 8. This will also be a telling sign of what to expect as the stock market reacts to whatever Iger and his team decide to disclose.
Are you moving away from a Disney Park vacation? Let us know in the comments down below!
Walt Disney World Resort boasts four theme parks: Magic Kingdom Park, EPCOT Park, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios Theme Park. It also features two Disney water parks, Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park and Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park, and the retail and recreation area, Disney Springs. A valid ticket, as well as a Park Pass reservation, is needed to enter each Park and Park Hopper hours begin at 2 p.m. daily.