You’ve probably heard by now that Disney recently raised the price of one-day adult admission to the Magic Kingdom to a whopping $99. Add the tax and that puts the ticket price inarguably over the $100 mark. My first reaction to this, and likely yours as well, was, “OUCH! That’s a hefty chunk of change.” And yes, $100+ dollars is a significant sum, but I’m here to perhaps put this all in a bit of perspective.
Were villains at work on the price increase?
When I was fresh out of college (back in the dark ages, aka 1987), I did a lot of mental calculation about whether various entertainment options made financial sense. The benchmark I used was the price of a movie ticket, which was at the time about $4.00. For $4.00 I could get two hours of entertainment. Thus, using my Movie Ticket Metric, I valued entertainment at $2.00 per hour. ($4.00 price divided by two hours.) Entertainment that cost less than $2.00 per hour was, to me at the time, a good value and usually a no-brainer purchase. Entertainment that cost more than $2.00 per hour merited serious thought and consideration before buying.
With this methodology, purchasing a book for $5.00 was a relative bargain, because I could get perhaps 10 hours of reading enjoyment from this, giving me an entertainment cost of $.50 per hour. (Forget for a moment that I could have borrowed the book for free from the library. Those were my English major book-hoarder days.)
Conversely, a ticket to a Genesis concert (I am sooo old) ran $18.00 for about a three hour show. This form of entertainment cost $6.00 per hour. Before buying the concert ticket, I’d have to think about whether it was worth three times my normal entertainment cost. Was it special? What else would I have to forgo? Will I remember the experience fondly? For how long?
So what does all this have to do with Disney ticket prices?
Well, the little voice in the back of my head still uses the Movie Ticket Metric to assess the relative value of entertainment. Prices have gone up. Here in my New York area hamlet, a trip to the movies now runs about $16.00, meaning that entertainment costs $8.00 per hour. So let’s use that to put Disney ticket prices in perspective.
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Every night we check the price of Disney World tickets sold by Disney and the most popular discount Disney ticket wholesalers: Undercover Tourist, The Official Ticket Center, Kissimmee Guest Services, Maple Leaf Tickets, and Orlando Fun Tickets.
We use these prices in our Least Expensive Ticket Calculator, a search engine for Disney World tickets, that we’ve programmed to find you the cheapest Disney admission for whatever you want to do. For example, the Calculator knows that if you only want to visit a Disney water park once, a 1-day admission to the water park is usually cheaper than the Water Park Fun and More add-on.
The Ticket Calculator’s job is to hide the complexity of reading hundreds of vendor prices and admission options. The Ticket Calculator also takes into account sales tax and shipping, which some vendors don’t show until the last step in the checkout process, so it’s a true apples-to-apples comparison between all the vendors.
Sometimes it’s useful to see in one chart which vendors are selling the cheapest Disney World tickets. The images below show who’s got the cheapest Disney World tickets for adults and children ages 3-9, for 1 to 10 days of admission, including all combinations of Disney’s Park Hopper, Water Park Fun and More, and No Expiration options. (Sorry about the table formatting – did the best I could.)