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Walt Disney World ticket prices take their annual leap

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Crowds are starting to return to Disney Parks & Resorts, prompting them to start decreasing room and dining discounts, and that would certainly mean that there would be no reason to back off of the annual ticket price increase. This year, Walt Disney World shifted from its traditional practice of first-Sunday-in-August price increases. Instead of waiting until late Friday afternoon after the close of the weekly news cycle to announce price hikes for Walt Disney World theme park ticket prices effective on Sunday, this year's increases were announced this afternoon, on a Tuesday, with a Thursday effective date.

One-day, one-park tickets are up $3 for adults, to $82, and up $6 for children, to $74. The Park Hopper and Water Park Fun & More options have both risen $2 to $54. Adult 10-day base tickets are up $19 to $262, with unexpiring 10-day tickets with both Park Hopper and Water Park Fun & More options jumping $27 to $583. 10-day base tickets for children are up $29 to $239, with their tricked-out price with all options leaping $37 to $560. Please note that all ticket prices in this story do not reflect the additional 6.5 percent sales tax.

By announcing ticket price increases at the beginning of August since 2006, Disney gains two benefits: It provides a nice last-minute boost to the fiscal fourth-quarter earnings (Disney's fiscal year ends at the end of September), and it puts the new prices out there in time for the publication cycle for guide books and for the start of booking for the following year's packages. With the new prices in effect, look for Disney Dining Plan prices to be locked in and resort prices to be set this this weekend so that booking can be opened for all 2011 travel packages.

If you'd like to compare the prices below to last year's prices, you can do that here.

Theme park annual pass prices are also increasing. The Adult Annual Pass is up $10 to $499 and a child AP is up $18 to $450. Adult Premium Annual Pass increased $10 to $629, while the child PAP rose $21 to $567. Florida resident Annual, Premium and Seasonal Passes are also rising. Renewal prices and DVC discount prices are not yet available, but they should be posted by Thursday. [Update: The table below has been updated to reflect renewal prices.]

[Update: Other ticket prices updated 8/5]
After raising prices by $1 earlier this year, one-day, one-park water park passes are unchanged at $46 for adults and $40 for children. DisneyQuest has had a $1 jump, to $42 for adults and $36 for children. Wide World of Sports admission is up 70 cents for adults, to $12.61, while the children's price is unchanged at $9.34. Tickets to Cirque du Soleil's La Nouba and annual passes for water parks and DisneyQuest are unchanged.

[Monthly-payment Florida AP info added 8/5]
Florida residents can also continue to buy monthly-payment Annual Passes of all types. For each pass, a down payment of $87.33 (including tax) must be made for adult tickets, $78.81 (including tax) for child tickets.

The price increase helps Disney to cover contractually-obligated raises to employees and other rising costs of operating the theme parks and resorts. To help combat the affordability issue, Disney may continue to discount room rates and offer special pricing or Free Dining promotions, though with recent decreases in promotions that may not happen. If they do, it would be so that Disney would continue to keep attendance up and rooms filled while the relative value of the park passes continues to increase. As the economy rebounds, instead of having to put a huge price increase in place to bring prices back to market value, Disney will just continue the decrease in promotions and the net profits shoot back up. It's a great way of preserving the relative market value of the park passes against the price increases in other entertainment venues (major league sports, movies, Broadway shows, ski passes, etc.).

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Updated 08-05-2010 at 10:33 PM by Mark Goldhaber (Added annual pass renewal prices)

Walt Disney World , Parks , Disney Parks & Resorts , Featured