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Disney World Ticket Prices to SOAR to MORE THAN $250 Per Person, Per Day

disney world theme parks
Credit: Disney Parks/Canva

If recent news about another ticket price hike at the Walt Disney World Resort already has you fuming, well, then, as the saying goes, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet!

cinderella castle

Cinderella Castle at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom/Credit: Becky Burkett

The Evolution of Disney World Ticket Prices

When the Walt Disney World Resort opened its gates for the first time in October 1971, ticket prices were relatively low, as the resort charged an entry fee per guest on three tiers: adult (ages 18 and up), junior (ages 12-17), and child (ages 3-11). Guests under the age of three paid no entry fee.

In 1971, Disney World ticket prices were $3.50, $2.50, and $1.00 for adults, juniors, and children, respectively.

disney world opening day

Credit: Disney Parks

Once guests were inside the park, there were separate costs associated with enjoying each of the 28 attractions that were in operation at that time. Five of those experiences were included in the ticket price for admission. Additional attractions required additional ride tickets, which were not included in the cost of admission at the gate.

Guests could purchase booklets that included seven tickets at a cost of $4.50 for adults, $4.00 for juniors, and $3.50 for children. Individual ride tickets could be purchased for between $0.10 and $0.90 per attraction, each of which was coded as an A, B, C, D, or E-ticket attraction, with E-ticket experiences costing the most.

One of the most elaborate E-ticket attractions was the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea experience, inspired by Jules Verne’s novel by the same name.

disney world e-ticket 20,000 leagues

Credit: Disney Parks/Canva

Disney World’s First-Ever Ticket Price Hike

One year later, in 1972, the price for each of the three tiers of admission tickets to Disney World increased by $0.25. After general admission prices increased, the cost of attraction ticket booklets followed suit, increasing by $0.45 for all age groups. Then, in 1973, admission ticket prices increased yet again.

Additional ticket price increases followed in 1974, 1975, 1978, 1979, 1982, and 1984, and after an additional increase in 1985, ticket prices had grown to $21.50 for adults and $16.25 for children. (The junior tier had been done away with years earlier.)

mgm studios opening day

Opening Day at Disney’s MGM Studios (1989)/Credit: D23

Five years later, in 1990, with three theme parks open–Magic Kingdom Park, EPCOT, and Hollywood Studios (then known as Disney’s MGM Studios)–Disney World’s theme park tickets had increased exponentially since the resort opened just 19 years earlier. Adult ticket prices had increased nearly ten-fold, and children’s ticket prices were nearly 26 times higher than on Opening Day.

Two Milestone Celebrations Prompt a Jump in Ticket Prices

In 1996, Disney World celebrated its 25th anniversary with the unveiling of the Disney Institute, the GM Preview Center, the Toontown Hall of Fame, and the Boardwalk. The parks further celebrated a quarter of a century in Central Florida with yet another price hike.

By the year 2000, adult guests were paying $46.00 to revel in the magic at Disney World, and they paid $40.75 for each child they brought with them. Disney likely justified the additional increases as necessary to cover expenses associated with the resort’s year-long Millennium Celebration.

spaceship earth epcot millennium celebration

Credit: Flickr/Steven Miller

No End in Sight

Between 2010 and 2016, the price of Disney World admission tickets increased by approximately $20 for adults and by over $25 for kids, and by November 2021, guests hoping to experience the Most Magical Place on Earth could expect to spend an average of more than $140 per ticket, per person. In December 2021, the average price for a one-day ticket at Disney World was a little over $143, and peak ticket prices that month got uncomfortably close to $160 each.

pirates of the caribbean ride

Credit: Disney

Yes, you read that correctly. In its first 50 years, Disney World ticket prices increased from just $3.50 per adult guest per day to nearly $160 per adult guest per peak day–22 times the original price. And to be honest, there seems to be no end to Disney World’s ticket price hikes. In fact, they seem to be happening with a greater frequency than ever before.

And if you thought that $160 per ticket was high, wait until you hear about a recent study that projects the price of one-day Disney World theme park tickets to hit the $250 mark and beyond in just seven years.

Disney World Ticket Prices & the “Wayback Machine” 

Recent projections have prices for one-day tickets to the Most Magical Place on Earth exceeding the $250 mark by 2031. Those projections come from a recent study, which was conducted by Koala, a Brooklyn, New York-based entity that matches people who are planning their vacations with online timeshare owners.

four parks at disney world and money floating in the air

Credit: Disney Parks/Canva

As part of the 2021 study, Koala used information about Disney World ticket prices on Opening Day–October 1, 1971–as well as information from the Walt Disney World website about current ticket prices and information compiled by a website tool referred to as The Wayback Machine to calculate the aforementioned projections.

That information was then analyzed and yielded the compounded annual growth rate for Walt Disney World over the last 50 years. The same rate of growth was then applied to the years ahead through 2031 with respect to ticket price hikes, and the study ultimately found that guests who love visiting Disney World could easily expect to pay more than $250 per one-day ticket to the parks by the year 2031.

Here’s What This Means in Plain(er) English

Walt Disney World opened on October 1, 1971, and the price for a one-day admission ticket was $3.50. When adjusted for inflation, the same ticket would cost over $23 today.

pirates of the caribbean ride

Credit: Disney

According to Disney World’s website, one-day tickets to Mickey’s stomping grounds in central Florida range from $109 to $164, depending on the date. Peak seasons in the parks see higher per-day ticket prices than seasons of average attendance.

For the purposes of their study, Koala used $124 as the current average ticket price for a one-day admission. By Koala’s calculations, Disney World has increased its ticket prices year over year (since its opening in 1971) by 7.4%.

“Following this trajectory, 2031 could see a Disney trip to Florida costing $253.20 [per one-day ticket], making it the most expensive Disney resort in the world,” Koala noted in its study.

When Will Disney World Fans Finally Say “Enough!”

The continued increase in Disney World ticket prices–coupled with the growing frequency of those increases–begs the question: At what point will Disney World fans finally say they’ve had enough and stop visiting the parks?

The answer to that question is likely dependent on a number of factors, including the value each individual fan places on a visit to the Central Florida Disney parks, as well as the amount of disposable income each fan has, among other factors. But if history and prior trends are any indication of the future, it’s likely that there will always be at least some Disney fans who won’t ever allow price to get in the way of their trips to the Most Magical Place on Earth.

enter magic kingdom

Credit: Becky Burkett

The year 2031 will soon be on the horizon, and if Koala’s projections are correct, it will mean that in just 60 years’ time, Disney World’s one-day admission ticket prices will have increased by approximately $250, or 7,134.29%.

How many of your investments have seen a 7,000%+ increase?

About Becky Burkett

Becky's from the Lone Star State and has been writing since she was 10 and encountered her first Disney Park when she was 11. It was love at first Main Street Electrical Parade. Joy is blank lined journals, 0.7 mm pens, and all things Walt, Woody and Buzz, PIXAR, Imagineering, Sleeping Beauty (make it blue!), Disney Parks history and EPCOT. At Disney World, you'll find her croonin' with the birdies at the Enchanted Tiki Room or hangin' with Woody and the gang at Toy Story Land. If you can dream, you really can do it!

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