Disney slammed for price hikes at theme parks, longer wait times

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“The Most Magical Place on Earth” is being rebranded as “The Most Expensive Place on Earth” by angry customers who slammed Disney for price hikes at its Disney World and Disneyland theme parks.

Disney customers took to Reddit over the past week to rip the Mouse House’s theme parks over higher admission fees, as well as a subpar experience that includes more expensive, lackluster food and staffing shortages.

“If you’re the kind of person that budgets or saves for vacations, Disney Parks aren’t for you any longer,” wrote one angry customer, saying the company had ditched everyday people for the well-to-do. “That’s a Premium Physical Experience, and there’s plenty of national and international wealthy families to afford going indefinitely.”

Disney, which has been hit hard by the pandemic, has been increasing prices in order to make up for the loss of business.

Late last year, Disney said it would increase ticket prices at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure in Anaheim, Calif., this year, noting that its popular single-day ticket price would jump 6.5% to $164 for admission to one park, while a two-day park hopper pass would cost $319, up nearly 9 percent.

According to Inside the Magic, even prices for ice cream have been jacked up. The Mickey’s premium ice cream sandwich and chocolate-coated premium bar rose from $5.69 to $5.99

At Disney World restaurant Ale & Compass, New England Seafood Pot Pie increased $3 to $28, while Brick’ Lemon-Herb Half Chicken jumped 2 bucks to $24. The park’s watering hole, Trader Sam’s Tiki Terrace, has hiked cocktail prices by $2 to $3 a drink with the restaurant’s signature Nautilus cocktail now priced at a whopping $35.

On the merchandise front, Walt Disney World News Today said several items at the Florida-based park are seeing increases ranging from $5 to $15. For instance, a Miss Piggy backpack, which was released a year ago for $80, now costs $95. Mickey ear headbands jumped $10 in price to $39.99, while a Monsters Inc. water bottle is up $5 to $29.99.

Meanwhile, in its fourth-quarter earnings call, Disney said it would reduce food portion sizes at its parks in order to maximize profits and avoid hefty entrance fee hikes.

But those hikes are already hitting both parks, according to Disney fan blogs, WDW News Today and Inside the Magic, which report entrance and parking fee increases, as well as a rise in the price of food and merchandise.

Customers griped that the visit has become “unmanageable” and “miserable,” noting that once-free services like Disney’s fast pass to skip the line now costs an additional $15 per person and that at certain on-site Disney lodgings, the company charges extra for ice.

Other complaints included Disney World skimping on lobster meat in its $17 lobster roll, as well as dirtier bathrooms and longer lines, according to Inside the Magic.

“Up until now, I’ve not minded paying the prices as I’ve been able to justify it with what we were getting, or, at least in the memories we’ve made,” said a customer, who sounded off about his recent Disney World experience. “Somehow, it never quite felt like full on exploitation. But I’ve finally hit my breaking point.”

The customer continued: “Hopefully the masses will push back at some point and force Disney to stop gouging people for every cent possible. I’d compare them to a Vegas casino but at least there they give you a chance at not going broke. Part of me feels like Walt is spinning in his grave to see what people have to pay to get in considering one of his main tenets was building a place for the middle class to have a decent vacation.”

Disney did not return requests for comment.

Some customers on the Reddit board pointed to Disney’s newest pricey Star Wars-themed hotel as an example of the company’s outlandish new strategy. Disney World’s new cruise ship-like hotel, dubbed “Star Wars Galactic Starcruiser,” has recently been slammed by fans as subpar and too expensive.

For example, a two-night stay on the “Halcyon starcruiser” starts at $4,809 on weeknights for the most modest package, a two-guest cabin, according to the voyage’s website.

For a three-guest cabin, the price rises to $5,299, and for a four-guest cabin it’s a $5,999 “voyage total.” Suite pricing for four or more passengers was not listed on the website.

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