In fact, the old saying should be amended if you ask us: ‘In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes and Disney price hikes,’” the Orlando Sentinel wrote in a 1989 column.
Prices at Walt Disney World rose again effective Sunday.
Here’s a look at how prices have jumped over the years.
When the Magic Kingdom opened in 1971, adult admission was $3.50 and $1 for children — but that cost didn’t include rides.
“… the rides and attractions ranged from 10 cents to 90 cents on a pay-as-you-go basis. A package ticket that included admission and seven rides was $4.75 for adult,” the Sentinel said in a 1986 story.
An A-ticket was for a smaller ride while the coveted E-ticket was for an exciting attraction, such as the Haunted Mansion.
By 1982, the theme park stopped using the A-E tickets, and admission to ride all the attractions was set at $15 a ticket by the time Epcot Center opened in October 1982, reported several media outlets and All Ears, a website that has tracked the prices over time.
By 1986, WDW prices increased prices to $24.50 for adults and $19.50 for children — the fourth price increase in one year, the Sentinel reported.
“Folks might even start the rumor that EPCOT really stands for Experimental Pricing Concepts of Tomorrow,” an Orlando Sentinel staff writer wrote.
The Orlando Sentinel tracked ticket prices during most of the 1990s.
In February 1990, prices increased from $29 to $31, the Sentinel said in a story that published in 1999.
The cost for a one-day ticket crossed the $40 mark in 1996, the Sentinel reported at the time.
“That same $40 would have bought a three-day pass in 1983,” the story said.
On the day Animal Kingdom opened in April 22, 1998, WDW tickets increased to $44.52.
Throughout the years, Universal Orlando and SeaWorld Orlando typically followed Disney’s lead and raised their prices.
2001 was a notable exception.
“Maybe the new millennium brought about the end of the world, after all. How else do you explain SeaWorld Orlando’s brash decision to raise its ticket prices — up $1.95, breaking the $50 barrier — before being given the go-ahead by market leader Walt Disney World?” said an Orlando Sentinel article from January 2001. “The way it has always worked is that Disney announces an increase, and the other parks, after proclaiming the independence of their decision-making, quickly follow suit. But not this time. And at least for the time being, SeaWorld is the priciest show in town.”
One of WDW’s biggest prices increase in at least 15 years came in 2004 as one-day tickets grew by $2.75 to $54.75, the Sentinel reported.
By December of that year, Universal Orlando’s price grew $5 to $59.75, which was the third price hike of the year, the Sentinel said.
An August 2007 Sentinel headline read: “Bring More Money If You Visit Disney.” The story went on to say WDW’s prices increased 6 percent to $71 a day.
“There was no indication that anyone expects Disney’s price to scare away customers,” the story also said.
2010 brought a game-changer in Orlando’s theme park industry:Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Universal Orlando posted its first attendance gain in two-plus years, then raised ticket prices
“Buoyed by the results, Universal announced that it will hike the base price of a one-day, one-park pass to $82 — matching a $3 increase announced earlier this week at Walt Disney World,” the Sentinel reported in August 2010.
2010 was also the year WDW’s ticket topped the $80 mark.
By 2015, it crossed another threshold — the first time a ticket cost more than $100.
The $100 mark has “a psychological impact,” said Joe Couceiro, a former SeaWorld chief marketing officer, told the Sentinel.
But, “I do think that Disney’s perspective is they’re a premium-priced, premium product,” said Scott Sanders, a former vice president of pricing with the company, said at the time. “They believe that … there are some people who can’t afford it, but there are a lot of people who are willing to pay for the experience.”