For the second time this year, Walt Disney Co. has raised Disneyland admission prices $2 apiece for adults and children as the corporation prepares to open its California Adventure park next door.
In a change made quietly Monday, Disney increased the cost of a daily pass to $43 for adults and $33 for children 9 and younger, widening the admissions gap between Disneyland and other California parks. Disney, which usually raises prices once a year, in January, also added $10 to the prices of two of its annual passes.
Price increases have become an almost annual rite at Disneyland, but this year's double dose is the most aggressive in dollar amount. The increase of $4 per ticket from a year ago is a jump of more than 10%, triple the inflation rate and far ahead of average wage gains.
Disneyland spokesman Ray Gomez said the increase reflects the park's new Christmas-themed entertainment, including holiday fireworks, and higher operating costs. He also cited the upcoming expansion of Disney's operations in Anaheim, which include a new entertainment mall.
He wouldn't comment on whether it is the last price hike before California Adventure opens.
Longtime Disneyland-watcher David Koenig, author of the "Mouse Tales" books on unofficial park history, said he expects the company to ratchet prices up once more before the new park opens Feb. 8, and possibly again soon after. "What I hear is that they want to shoot for $50 as soon as they can," said Koenig, who is frequently in contact with dozens of Disney employees in Anaheim.
That amount might seem exorbitant to local residents, but it would be less important to the out-of-towners Disney hopes to attract to Anaheim by opening California Adventure, Koenig said.
The smaller Golden State-themed park will charge a separate admission, and most observers expect ticket prices similar to Disneyland's admission.
Other Southern California amusement parks frequently follow Disneyland price increases with their own, as they did after Disneyland raised its price from $39 to $41 in January. Spokesmen for the rivals said Tuesday that no such changes are planned this time. The parks offer many discount programs for area residents.
Knott's Berry Farm said it will keep prices at $40 for adults and $30 for children ages 3 to 11, having raised them $1 in September.
At Universal Studios Hollywood, adults pay $41 and children ages 3 to 11, $31. Magic Mountain single-day adult tickets cost $41, with prices for children under 48 inches at $20.50. Sea World charges $40 for adults and $30 for children 3 to 11. Legoland in Carlsbad charges $34 for adults and $29 for children 3 to 16.
Staff writers Marc Ballon and Leslie Earnest contributed to this report.