Star Wars; Galaxy’s Edge is now open at Disneyland and the new land is a bona fide hit. With the identical location set to open at Walt Disney World in just a couple of months, we can expect a near identical repeat of the same success. However, for a certain group of Walt Disney World fans, the trip to Batuu is about to get a bit more expensive, as the cost of Annual Passports for the park just went up.
The Platinum Pass and Platinum Plus pass both increased by a total of $225 per year and now both exceed $1,000. Both passes give you admission to all four Walt Disney World theme parks with no blackout dates. The Plus version of the pass includes access to the two water parks, golf course, and the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex.
Other passes, which include various blackout dates, went up anywhere from $20 to $99 per year. The Premier Passport, which gives guests access to both Walt Disney World and Disneyland increased by $125 and now exceeds $2,000.
The price increase comes in conjunction with reports that Walt Disney World annual pass holders are going to be receiving opportunities to check out special preview days of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge before the new land opens to the general public on August 29. It’s certainly not a stretch to make a connection between these two ideas. With Galaxy’s Edge opening, the value of annual passports has now increased, you get more so now it costs more. Disneyland also saw a general ticket price increase in the months ahead of Galaxy’s Edge opening there.
Of course, Galaxy’s Edge isn’t the only reason for the price increases. Many of Disneyland‘s annual passes included significant blackout dates around the launch of Galaxy’s Edge and many of the Walt Disney World annual passports will be dealing with the same issue, so simply buying annual passes won’t mean you’ll be able to visit Batuu whenever you like.
There’s a larger issue at play with the price increase, the fact that Disney theme parks are just too popular. While the parks certainly want to sell tickets and annual passports in large numbers, the company also doesn’t want the parks so crowded that lines are too long and nobody is having any fun. If people have bad experiences, that’s a money losing situation in the long run. These regular increases in both regular ticket prices and annual passes on both coasts is part of an effort to figure out just where the equilibrium point is.
Last year, Walt Disney World changed their pricing structure so that tickets purchased by guests would only be valid on certain days. This helps give the park a better idea of what the crowds will look like at any given time. Prices for tickets are also cheaper during the parks’ slower periods. I bought tickets during one of the parks’ slower periods and the tickets were actually slightly cheaper than they would have been before the change, so it’s not entirely about making more money. It’s about balancing the crowds.
Price increases are never fun but, at the end of the day, the cheaper the access, the more crowded the parks are going to be and it’s no fun for anybody to spend any amount of money and then spend a day in long lines that never end.
For most people it’s not the end of the world. Anybody planning a Walt Disney World vacation is certainly planning to spend some money. Those who usually buy annual passports will just have to do the math and figure out if the pass is still the cheaper option depending on how often they visit the park. For many, the increased price will likely still be a better deal.