Disney, Universal, Busch Gardens hike prices this year
As our colleague Mark Albright reports, Universal is joining Disney in hiking up theme park prices this year. The business types spin it this way: It's a sign of optimism about Florida tourism that Universal Orlando matched Walt Disney World by raising its daily admission to $85 and escalating multiday pass prices by bigger margins. Yay! Optimism! Who's with me? *crickets*
Hoo boy, I always feel like I've been shaken down by the mob when I fork over big bucks for theme park tickets. They know you'll pay anything to make your kid happy, So whattaya gonna do about it my friend? Now take the mouse ears before I do somethin' I might regret. Capiche?
As Albright reports, Universal held firm on its one-day $73.99 price (excluding taxes and fees) for Florida residents, and $66.99 for their kids ages 3 through 9. But those discount prices are only sold online. Multiday pass prices rose 8.8 to 11.4 percent, while annual pass prices were left unchanged.
It looks like those deep discounts we were seeing at the height of the rececession are starting to taper off. Good sign the economy is bouncing back, right? *more crickets*
On June 1, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay upped single day admission $2 to $79.99. Along with its sister park SeaWorld Orlando, Busch stopped selling its Florida Fun Card that had been good for a year of return visits for the price of a single day. (UPDATE: Although Busch Gardens announced it wasn't selling Fun Cards anymore, you can still upgrade your single day ticket, but it costs $5 more. But you still have unlimited use of the park through the rest of the year)
Officials at Busch, Disney and Universal, which reported solid attendance gains this winter and spring, said research found their customers regard their park experience as a good value. Universal also is riding the wave of a Harry Potter attraction that celebrated its first anniversary over the weekend and helped propel attendance at Islands of Adventure by 30 percent in 2010.
Disney last week raised its single-day ticket 3.7 percent to $85 plus tax. And after six years of offering deeper and deeper discounts on multiday passes to people willing to buy more days, Disney started to whittle at the savings. The price of a four-day pass rose 4.7 percent to $243, a seven-day pass by 8.1 percent to $267 and a 10-day pass by 11.1 percent to $291. Annual pass prices were raised 2 to 4 percent.
But who am I kidding? I'll still end up paying it, though not as often. I'm like Michael Corleone in The Godfather, "Just when I thought I was out... they pull me back in."
--Sharon Kennedy Wynne
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