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Disney's black magic

Want to see fireworks light up the Cinderella Castle at the Magic Kingdom in Lake Buena Vista? You still can, but it’ll cost you a bit more. Disney officials think their theme park is worth it, and many parents may grumble but still fork out the extra money to take their kids there. Kids ages 3 to 9 years get in for $93 a day now.

AP

Want to see fireworks light up the Cinderella Castle at the Magic Kingdom in Lake Buena Vista? You still can, but it’ll cost you a bit more. Disney officials think their theme park is worth it, and many parents may grumble but still fork out the extra money to take their kids there. Kids ages 3 to 9 years get in for $93 a day now.

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Just in time for spring break, Disney has increased the cost of a single-day ticket to the Magic Kingdom to $99. When taxes are added on, that ticket sets you back $105.44.

Tickets for children ages 3 to 9 have gone up to $93 a day (before tax).

The new prices reflect a $4 boost and make the theme park the most expensive in the Orlando area. Disney also increased one-day admission prices to its other Orlando parks — Epcot, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom. Those parks now cost $94 for ages 10 and up and $88 for ages 3 to 9.

The price hikes are the second in less than a year. In June, Disney increased the admission price to Magic Kingdom by $6. Other Disney parks rose by $1.

When one theme park hikes entry fees, the others typically follow suit. Last year, Universal Orlando Resort became the first Orlando theme park to break the $90 threshold for a single-day, single-park ticket when it raised its prices to $92. Two weeks later, Disney announced a price jump from $89 to $95.

Industry observer Robert Niles of ThemeParkInsider.com told USA Today he isn't surprised by the Disney increase, though he thought it was unusual that this time it came before an Universal price hike.

"It almost seems as if Disney is daring Universal to go over the $100 barrier," he said. "We thought there'd be (an increase) this year, but more likely after Universal's price hike."

When Disney World opened in 1971, admission cost $3.50 (see accompanying chart) and did not top $10 until the early 1980s. By 2004, a ticket was $52 and increases have been at a steady drumbeat since then.

Deb Wills, editor-in-chief of AllEars.net, an unofficial Disney planning and fan site, pointed out that Disney World attendance has been rising despite the succession of price hikes. "For WDW (Walt Disney Resort) it's all about supply and demand," she wrote. "So as long as people keep paying the prices, Disney will keep raising them."

A Disney spokesman noted that many visitors to the company's parks purchase multi-day passes, which decrease the daily cost of visiting the parks.

"Our pricing reflects the high quality and breadth of experiences we offer and our ongoing commitment to investing in our parks," spokesman Bryan Malenius told the Orlando Sentinel. "We offer a variety of ticket options that provide a great value, and find that most guests select multiday tickets that offer additional savings."

The Walt Disney Co. reported revenues of $12.3 billion for the quarter ending Dec. 28, 2013. Of that $12.3 billion, $3.6 billion came from its parks and resorts.

Disney's black magic 02/24/14 [Last modified: Monday, February 24, 2014 8:11pm]

    

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