Walt Disney World raised admission prices starting Tuesday, making it much more costly to go to its theme parks during busy times of the year — up to as much as $159 for a single day in the world’s busiest tourist attraction. The price hike of 15 to 30 percent comes in advance of the opening of a new Star Wars land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios later this year.
In 2018, Disney introduced variable pricing, and now charges more or less depending on when you go and if you purchase multi-day tickets. The biggest price hike has been for admission during the height of summer vacation season or during Christmas break, as Disney continues to try to contain crowds at the park. The thinking is, lower ticket prices will make traditionally less crowded days more attractive, while higher ticket prices may keep some crowds away during the holidays.
Before the increase, the cost of visiting one park per day was $109 to $129. Now that range is $109 to $159.
We wondered what else you could buy for $159, now the highest price tag on a one-day visit to a Florida theme park.
A Party of Four yearlong membership to the Florida Aquarium ($155)
This package will get four people into Tampa’s aquarium for an entire year. That’s 365 days of kid-friendly entertainment, free of the massive lines at Walt Disney World and - the best part - entirely air-conditioned. flaquarium.org
A nonstop, roundtrip flight to Las Vegas from Tampa ($156)
As of press time, you can get from Tampa International Airport to Vegas for $156.60 during the first weekend in April on Frontier Airlines.
An Italian white sapphire engagement ring ($143)
Like this sparkly oval number. Because love means never having to say, “I emptied my bank account to buy you a ring.”
An annual pass to Busch Gardens ($132)
Tampa’s theme park offers many levels of its yearlong pass, but the best deal is the Bronze option, which is good for 12 months and offers discounts on parking. Plus, the park is opening two new rollercoasters in the next two years.
Tasting menu for two at Tampa Bay’s top restaurant ($150)
Treat you and your date to the “Let the Kitchen Decide” tasting menu at Seminole Heights restaurant Rooster and the Till, which we recently declared Tampa Bay’s top restaurant of 2019. The multi-course dinner is $75 per person.
A week’s worth of groceries.
$150 is a very reasonable weekly budget for a family, especially if you make these $10-or-less meals that feed four people.
Lots of craft beer.
We’re talking 26 full pours of Cream & Sugar, Please from downtown St. Petersburg brewery Cycle Brewing. Or two dozen drafts of 3 Daughters Brewing’s hard seltzers. For $150, you can get about a dozen six-packs (that’s 72 beers) of Tampa brewery Cigar City’s classic Maduro brown ale.
Tickets to five Florida Orchestra shows ($150)
Tampa Bay’s live symphony offers passes for its different musical series, from Masterworks to Pops, which run throughout the year. Buy the 2019-2020 Pops pass, and you get access to five shows, from the orchestra’s annual holiday show in December to Music of Bond ... James Bond in February and Superhero Soundtracks in May.
15 copies of Team Rodent: How Disney Devours the World ($149)
Longtime humor columnist and author Carl Hiaasen’s 1998 nonfiction book is a collection of essays about the Walt Disney Company. The Florida native has plenty to say about the Mouse House.
25 months of Hulu ($149.75)
The streaming service has actually just lowered the price of its classic streaming package, bringing it to $5.99 per month. They’re going all in on live TV, but if you can stand to watch episodes of TV a day after they air, Hulu’s library of currently running TV shows is a boon. And they’ve beefed up their collection of movies and documentaries recently.
Got a good one? Share your ideas in the comments.