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Disneyland takes Tomorrowland into Fantasyland with new prices

June 03, 2013|By Paul Whitefield
  • A statue of Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse at Disneyland in Anaheim.
A statue of Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse at Disneyland in Anaheim. (Patrick T. Fallon / Bloomberg )

Psst, hey buddy, spare $100 so I can go to Disneyland?

That’s right, the price to visit the Magic (Moneymaking) Kingdom has gone up again. For those over 10, it’s now $92 for a day pass to either Disneyland or Disney California Adventure. And don’t worry, Disney didn’t forget the little tykes: It’s now $86 for children 3 to 9. (Honestly, I think that's about what the doctor charged my parents to deliver me back in the day!) Oh, and parking is up a buck, to $16. And yes, the annual passes went up too.

But look on the bright side: You don’t have to give a DNA sample, unlike the folks the Supreme Court threw under the bus Monday in a ruling that has paranoid types and conspiracy theorists abuzz. (And explain to me how justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan lined up with Antonin Scalia in dissent? Did the Earth shift on its axis? Are we trapped in "The Twilight Zone"?) 

Anyway, Disney was blasé about its latest trip into Fantasyland. What’s the big deal with another increase, when the price of a one-day ticket already has gone from $72 in 2010 to $92 now, a 28% hike? “Like any business, we evaluate and adjust our pricing based on a variety of factors,” the Burbank-based company said in a statement.

Factor No. 1 being, of course, that people will pay -- a lot -- to visit Disneyland. Don’t think so? Check out this from The Times’ story Saturday: "Recent price boosts have helped Disney’s bottom line. Its parks and resorts posted operating income of $383 million for its fiscal second quarter — a gain of 73% from a year earlier."

Of course, people went a little crazy on the comment boards protesting the unfairness of it all. As if America isn't a capitalistic country or something. (Although surprisingly, no one I saw called it a Goofy move. Must be a Monday.) Many people did mention the long lines and the crowds and vowed never to go again -- missing the irony, apparently, that if there are long lines and crowds, then there are obviously gobs of people who are willing to go, whatever the cost. (Then again, logic and thoughtfulness are usually in short supply on the comment boards.)

Factor No. 2, I suppose, is that Disney CEO Bob Iger was having a tough time making ends meet on the $31.4 million or so he gets to be the Big Mouse. With Obama back in the Oval Office and all (like George W. Bush, everything is Barry’s fault now), $31.4 million just doesn’t go as far as it used to. Do you have any idea how much the price of jet fuel for the old Gulfstream has gone up in the last year or so? Not to mention caviar and champagne prices, which are just through the roof.

Personally, I think Disneyland lost much of its luster when the old ticket books finally went away in the early 1980s. Sorry, you just can’t have an “E-ticket ride” if you don’t have E tickets. (And if you’re too young to know what I’m talking about, you deserve to pay $92 for a day pass.)

But I don’t see the point in complaining about the Happiest Place (that money can buy) on Earth. No one is pointing a Made in China toy musket at your Mouse Ears-clad head and making you go. Tomorrowland will still be there tomorrow, with or without the price protesters. It may be a small world after all, but it’s also one filled with people willing to spend what Disney asks.  

Or, to quote a famous mouse named Mickey: "Oh, boy! A customer!"

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