LOS ANGELES (KTLA) – The “happiest place on Earth” just got more expensive, as Disneyland on Monday raised the cost of most daily tickets and expanded its tiered-pricing ticket system. The next day, Disney teased the return of a beloved attraction – the Main Street Electrical Parade, leaving some to wonder if the park was trying to soften the price hike news.
While the cheapest one-day, single-park ticket remains $104, Disney increased the cost of all others tiers by $5 to $10. It also expanded the demand-based system to include a sixth tier that will bring the top ticket cost to $164.
Offering another option gives “guests more ticket choices to meet a variety of budgets as it moves closer to dynamic pricing designed to spread visitation throughout the weeks, months and year,” a Disney news release stated, noting that, “The demand to visit Disneyland Resort remains strong through the continued phased reopening.”
Disney first introduced the tiered-system in 2016 as a way to deal with increased demand and manage crowd size. Generally, guests will pay more to visit the Anaheim parks on higher or peak demand days, such as on weekends, the winter holidays, Spring Break and during the summer. Admission is generally lower on days when fewer visitors are expected, such as non-summer, non-holiday weekdays.
Here is a breakdown of the ticket prices by tier:
- Tier 1: $104 (unchanged)
- Tier 2: $119 (increase of $5)
- Tier 3: $134 (increase of $10)
- Tier 4: $149 (increase of $10)
- Tier 5: $159 (increase of $5)
- Tier 6: $164 (new)
Tier 6 pricing is expected to be available for the first time next March, according to a Disneyland Resort spokesperson. The calendar for March has not yet been released.
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On top of most ticket prices going up, it will also cost $5 more to add the park hopper option — that is, the ability to go between both Disneyland and California Adventure Park in a single day.
The park hopper price now adds $60 extra for a single-day ticket, bringing the least expensive option to $164, with the most expensive one maxing out at $224.
Disney will also now charge $30 per vehicle or motorcycle to park, an increase of $5 over the old amount.
While Disneyland typically increases its admission prices once a year, this is the first such hike since the pandemic forced the yearlong closure of both theme parks and most of the Disneyland Resort. The last time Disney raised its prices was in February 2020, about a month before the shutdown began.
Since then, Disney scrapped its annual passports for repeat visitors, replacing it with the new Magic Key program. The Dream Key, the top-tier annual pass and the only one that gives visitors access on all weekends, is now sold out – and complaints are rolling in from some key holders.
As a current Dream Key holder, take my advice, DON’T buy the Dream Key! With the reservation system only blocking so many spots for key holders, it’s very difficult to get a reservation so that whole “no blockout dates” isn’t really a relevant selling point. Also, you’re limited to 6 reservations at a time, so you have very little wiggle room or dates to play around with. The current system is just not worth it guys. I love you Disneyland but this ain’t it.
Amy Honeyman on Facebook
Keyholders on social media have said reservations are unavailable for weeks in advance, with no weekend reservations available through Thanksgiving.
Disney officials say the vast majority of keyholders report they are getting as much, if not more access to the parks than they expected, the Orange County Register reported.
The theme parks also retired the FastPass and MaxPass systems, replacing it with Genie+ and Lightning Lane. The new system isn’t available yet at Disneyland and California Adventure, but debuted last week at Walt Disney World in Florida.
Genie+ and Lightning Lane are more like the MaxPass system, which allowed guests to pay a set fee for the ability to make a FastPass reservation through the Disneyland app, instead of having to go to the attraction to get one. FastPasses, on the other hand, were free.
Once it launches later this fall, Disneyland Resort guests can pay $20 per ticket per day to access the Genie+ system, which will allow them to reserve a time on most attractions. Lightning Lane allows guests to make a reservation for the highest demand attractions for a fee, with or without buying the Genie+ option.
Amid frustration over Disney’s Dream Key experience and the hike in prices for tickets and parking, the company hinted that its iconic Main Street Electrical Parade will be making a comeback.
In social media posts, Disney released video footage showing one of the illuminated floats accompanied by the parade’s signature soundtrack. Then text pops up reading, “To be continued.”
No further details were provided, including a date for when the popular nighttime attraction would be back.
However, the fan-favorite likely won’t return until next year, when the parade celebrates its 50th anniversary.
The Main Street Electrical Parade debuted at the Anaheim theme park in June 1972, dazzling generations of parkgoers with its sparkling array of lit-up floats and catchy “electro-syntho-magnetic” sound.
The fan-favorite went dark at Disneyland in 1996, but has popped up at various Disney theme parks, including a nine-year run at neighboring Disney California Adventure Park and a stint at Walt Disney World in Florida.
More recently, the nighttime spectacular has seen limited-time engagements at Disneyland in 2017 and again in 2019.