Thoughts on Seasonal Pricing at Disney World

NOTE: This post will cover just the new Seasonal Pricing aspect of today’s price increase. Reaction to the multi-day ticket increase will be covered in a separate post.

As we (and every other Disney site on the Interwebs) reported earlier today, Disney World introduced seasonal pricing as part of its ticket price increase. The basic explanation is that the year is now broken up into Value, Regular and Peak “seasons” and 1-day tickets differ in pricing from season to season (You can read all the details here).

No matter the Season, you can always relax at Crescent Lake
No matter the Season, you can always relax at Crescent Lake

After seeing the Season pricing proposals earlier this Summer, I was pleasantly surprised with how the actual implementation of Seasonal Pricing took place. (Notice I’m not saying I’m “pleased that they implemented Seasonal Pricing”, I’m just happy with how they decided to implement if they had already decided they were going to do it.) First, Disney only applied the Seasonal Pricing to 1-day tickets. This alleviates a lot of the issues where people who had multi-day trips across the “seasons” would have been forced to buy tickets for the most expensive of the seasons in their trip. Relatedly, as was discussed on the above linked TouringPlans article and on WDW Today, the original “Seasons” had almost all weekend days listed as “Silver” or above (Disney decided to use Value, Regular and Peak for its Seasons instead of the Bronze, Silver, Gold structure it used in the survey that started all this discussion, but the concepts remain the same.) In the actual implementation, Disney generally left weekends as part of the same season as the weekdays surrounding it. Again, this could alleviate some of the “cross season” concerns when Disney implements Seasonal Pricing on multi-day tickets. (I think it’s safe to assume multi-day Season Pricing is coming within the next few years, so hopefully Disney continues to divide its “seasons” up the same way in the future.)

The actual division of the seasons was also a little interesting. I know that “Spring Break” is considered a popular time at Disney World, but I’m surprised to find it part of the new Peak Season (and, therefore, have the same price as the Summer and Christmas.) Similarly, I’m surprised to find that the 1st and 2nd weeks of December are part of the Regular Season instead of the Value Season, since they’re usually considered some of the lowest crowd times at Disney World. (Even the some of the “higher” crowd levels last year seem to suggest those weeks could have been value. Sorry, Howie.) Maybe Len Testa isn’t that far off the mark when he says that Value Season is “hurricane season” and Peak Season is “when your kids are out of school.”

In summary, I think we got (at least?) a 1 year reprieve from a full-on implementation of Seasonal Pricing for the multi-day tickets that a majority of Disney World guests purchase. We also ended up with a much more customer-friendly version of the “seasons” calendar than was originally rumored (I hope that holds true in future years.) Though I wish we weren’t moving to surge pricing at all, I’m pleasantly surprised by this particular implementation.

Initial Breakdown of the February 2016 Disney World Ticket Price Increase

As was expected, Disney World rolled out a new price increase this morning. It featured the “seasonal / tiered / surge” pricing that people had been expecting (Disney calls it “Seasonal” pricing, so I guess that’s what I’ll go with), but (thankfully?) only applied that pricing structure to 1-day tickets. Multi-day tickets will continue to have the same prices throughout every day of the year.

Here is an explanation of the new “seasonal” and multi-day pricing changes: (There will be more analysis and reaction coming in a separate post, later.)

Seasonal Pricing

Seasonal pricing is for single day tickets only and is based on a calendar that’s available when you choose to buy a single day ticket on Disney World’s website (the calendar currently only lists “seasons” through the end of 2016). It divides the entire calendar into 3 different “seasons”: Value, Regular, and Peak (and like Disney’s hotel “seasons”, they don’t align with traditional summer, spring, etc… seasons at all.)

NOTE: As you might expect, you can use a higher tiered ticket for a lower tiered day (e.g., Peak Season ticket on a Value Season day), but you can’t go the other way around.

Here is the breakdown for the Disney World price “seasons” for the rest of the year:

  • February 28 through March 3 – Value
  • March 4 through 10 – Regular
  • March 11 through April 2 – Peak
  • April 3 through May 26 – Regular
  • May 27 through July 23 – Peak
  • July 24 through August 21 – Regular
  • August 22 through September 29 – Value
  • September 30 through November 19 – Regular
  • November 20 through November 27 – Peak
  • November 28 through December 21 – Regular
  • December 22 through December 31 – Peak

Though I plan on writing about this more later, two things jump out at me: (1) I’m really glad Disney didn’t just make every weekend day part of a Regular Season or above; and (2) it’s interesting that early December (normally thought of as one of the lower crowd times) has been marked as a “Regular” season.

The pricing for the various seasons is as follows (NOTE: All prices are without tax):

Value Season

  • Magic Kingdom – $105
  • Epcot, Animal Kingdom, The Studios – $97
  • Park Hopper- $155

Regular Season

  • Magic Kingdom – $110
  • Epcot, Animal Kingdom, The Studios – $102
  • Park Hopper – $160

Peak Season

  • Magic Kingdom – $124
  • Epcot, Animal Kingdom, The Studios – $114
  • Park Hopper – $164

The Value Season 1 Park tickets are actually the same prices that those same tickets were in 2015. The Regular Season tickets get a $5 bump across the board, while Peak Season gets a whopping $19 per ticket increase over Value Season when talking about the Magic Kingdom, $17 for the other parks and $9 for a Park Hopper.

All 1-Day tickets purchased this year must be used by December 31, 2017 or they “expire.” (Thankfully, you can get the amount you paid for your “expired” tickets as a credit to use  for purchasing new tickets at the then existing prices.)

Multi-day Tickets

Multi-day tickets also got a (more standard) price increase of $5 per day. In other words:

  • 2-Day Ticket – $202 ($10 increase)
  • 3-Day Ticket – $290 ($15 increase)
  • 4-Day Ticket – $325 ($20 increase)
  • 5-Day Ticket – $340 ($25 increase)
  • 6-Day Ticket – $355 ($30 increase)
  • 7-Day Ticket – $370 ($35 increase)

The Park Hopper option went up $5 dollars as well (it’s now $55 for tickets of 1 to 3 days and $69 for tickets of 4+ days).


As I mentioned earlier, I’ll have more to say about this in a bit, but my initial reaction is that things are not as bad as I was expecting (I was convinced that the “seasons” would be more like Disney Hotels and that all weekend days and holidays were would be part of a higher priced “season.”) The $5 per day multi-day ticket increase is pretty much in line with my expectations.

I might have to work a little more to afford Peak Season pricing
I might have to work a little more to afford Peak Season pricing

More and More Rumors of Tiered / Surge Pricing Coming to Disney World this Weekend

The rumors started in the summer of last year and there have been rumblings ever since. The recent delays in ticket price updates have caused people like Len Testa to speculate that the “tiered” or “surge” pricing will be coming to Disney World soon. Now, WDW News Today is reporting that Disney World is going to implement this tiered pricing over the weekend.

If you already have a trip planned (or are seriously considering a trip) it really might be a good time to buy your Disney World tickets. You can find the best deals on tickets at the TouringPlans tickets price calculator. (Also, as a reminder, some of these 3rd party sellers will have the “old pricing” tickets in inventory for a few weeks after the increase. If you don’t buy your tickets today, you might want to at least check the 3rd party sellers listed at TouringPlans before buying them direct at the new pricing.)

Initial Thoughts from our February 2016 Trip to Disney World


Elyssa and I just got back from a recent trip to Disney World. Though we anticipate doing more in-depth posts about various parts of the trip, here are some initial thoughts:

  • The location for the new Flamingo Crossing hotels is pretty awesome. It’s too early to really review the hotels themselves (they had opened only a week before our 1 night stay there), but the concept seem promising. I wonder how different it’ll feel when there is more than just 15 people staying in them, though.
  • Breakfast at Kona is the real deal. Tonga Toast, the Big Kahuna platter, etc…are great. If there’s a day where you don’t want to be waiting at the turnstiles at rope drop, then definitely stop by. (Same goes for Whispering Canyon, where we ate breakfast twice on the trip. Skillets AND giant Mickey Waffles, baby.)
  • Speaking of “real deal” food options, both Sanaa and The BOATHOUSE are great places to have lunch. Sanaa’s bread service is always good (TIP: You can order more bread for it if you want (and we almost always do)), and the filet sliders are The BOATHOUSE are delicious (and a complete steal at only $12.)
  • Skipper Canteen was pretty good. We both really liked the theming of the place (but I would have been fine with a few more puns from our “Skipper”.) Once you get past the slightly flowery “garnishes” to the dishes, they really are serving steak, chicken, pork, and mac ‘n’ cheese with beef. My pork was fine. Elyssa enjoyed her mac ‘n’ cheese (but not as much as the mac ‘n’ cheese from the BOATHOUSE which is probably now her favorite thing in Orlando). In an interesting twist, the $1.75 “Kid’s Volcano” dessert tasted better than the $8 Kungaloosh (so we’ll probably just 4 kid’s desserts next time instead of getting “grown up” desserts.)
  • The construction around the Wilderness Lodge right now is kind of bummer. I knew to expect it, but seeing so much of the resort closed and the trees near Bay Lake being removed is a bummer. I’m sure the new DVC rooms will be nice, but I’m going to miss that little buffer between the lodge and rest of the World that the “Woods View” rooms used to have.
  • There’s a few running jokes about Elyssa’s and my visits with Tinker Bell, but the cast members who portray her are consistently some of the best we interact with. We had one who must have dropped 15 “leaf” puns in the span of 2 minutes, all while carrying on conversations with Elyssa and I about running, pixie dust, and various other things that she was “tinking” about.
Tink Mode!
Tink Mode!

I’ll end by saying that the logistics that must go on behind the scenes at a runDisney race have to be insane. So many people getting moved around, running down World Dr., through theme parks, etc… while being provided with various character meets, and other entertainment. It has to be a tremendous effort. Our local races might get choked up if we get 2,000, but Disney handles close to 20,000 really, really well.

As I said, there will be more coming from this trip (hopefully, at least 2 or 3 of the 3,000 pictures Elyssa and I took turn out to be worthy of being included in a few posts), but these are some of the major takeaways from our 5 days down there.

Oh, and one last thing: BOATRIDE CLUB, BABY!!

Boatride Club
Boatride Club


Registration for the runDisney Star Wars “Dark Side” Half-Marathon Temporarily Re-Opened

If you’re looking to run the Star Wars “Dark Side” Half Marathon this year, the registration has been temporarily re-opened. There’s no word on how long it will last, so I’d jump on this quickly if you want to do it. (Also,  I have to admit, this would be super-tempting if Elyssa hadn’t already booked a Kivus & Camera wedding for that weekend.)

And We’re Back!

Elyssa and I are back from our latest Disney World adventure. We finished our 10K plus half-marathon “glass slipper challenge”, got to hang out with some of the members of the BOATRIDE club, and had a pretty “magical time” overall. We’ll have some trip thoughts and other posts coming up soon! Thanks to everyone  who followed along with on social media.

Mid-Race Selfie
Mid-Race Selfie
Geez. Get a room.
Geez. Get a room.

Born to run(Disney)

Okay, that description may apply to some people, but it surely doesn’t apply to Elyssa and I (unless a “runner’s high” means lots of wheezing and wanting to collapse). People who knows us, however, know that this time of year and this upcoming race are very important to us. (See also our Mickey Miles Podcast appearance, Part 1 and Part 2.)

So, if you want to follow us as we head down to Disney World to attempt the Glass Slipper Challenge (a 10K on Saturday morning, followed by a half marathon on Sunday), you can follow us on:

And, if you’re looking for some good Disney-related posts to read over the next couple of days, here are a few that you might want to check out:

Lastly, don’t forget to check out Harrison Ford announcing some of the plans for Star Wars Land on The Wonderful World of Disney special on February 21st!

Thank you to everyone who’s supported the site over the past few months. We’ll be back to talk more Disney with you soon!

Finish line photo
Finish line photo

News Nuggets from Around Disney World

Elyssa and I have a big week ahead of us, so we figured we would try to start it off on the right foot…with another edition edition of the Rope Drop [dot] Net News Nuggets!.

There isn’t a ton of major news to start the week, but the time changes at Epcot might indicate that things are going to be a little over there until for a few months.

Let’s take a look at that and some of the other news:

That’s it for now. Stay tuned tomorrow for a little Rope Drop [dot] Net special feature!

Haven't you always wanted a monkey?

It might be a good time to buy your Disney World Tickets

Friend of the site, Josh Gonzalez, pointed out that Universal Orlando has raised ticket prices. Since a ticket price increase was expected, and since Disney normally raises its tickets around the same time as Universal, it might be worth considering buying your tickets now for any upcoming trips. The TouringPlans Ticket Calculator is a good place to find out where to get the best prices on your Disney tickets.

News Nuggets from Around Disney World

  It’s time for another edition of the Rope Drop [drop] Net News Nuggets! (Don’t worry, we haven’t given up the site as a result of our new found fame as models on Orlando Weekly) .Before we get to the “new” news nuggets, we have a couple of updates from WDW News Today on items we posted about last week:

and this announcement from Disney that:

With that out of the way, let’s move on to our traditional nuggets!

That does it for this edition of the actual “news” section of the News Nuggets, but I’ll leave you with this “Escape to the Magic Kingdom” video from The DIS to help you through your day:

Podcast to Keep an Eye On: Backside of Magic

One of the things I enjoy about working on Rope Drop [dot] Net is finding out about new and upcoming resources for Disney information. Though I’m woefully behind on updating the Disney Podcast directory with all of the most recent submissions, one recent recommendation by friend of the site Dutch Lombrowski piqued my interest: Backside of Magic. With the recent departure of the original cast from WDW Today, I have been looking for a replacement Disney podcast that fills that same informative, analytical slot in my playlist, and Dutch’s recommendation was all I needed to give Backside of Magic a shot.

Summary of the Show So Far

To date, there have been 3 actual episodes of the show (and 2 mini / placeholder-type ones.) So far the format of the show seems to be:

  1. A summary of important Disney World news;
  2. “Preposterous Ponderance”, in which one host gives the other host a “preposterous” scenario and asks for his opinion on it (James Rosemergy would be proud); and
  3. The weekly topic.

The first episode’s weekly topic covered resources the hosts, Ryan and Jeremy, use to gather their information. Though probably not earth-shattering information to seasoned Disney travelers, knowing where they get their information helps validate their authority. (Yes, they did mention reading this site. I thank them for that, but it was really Dutch’s recommendation that got me to listen, not any kind of quid pro quo as a result of a site mention.) The second episode was a discussion about certain challenges that might arise when planning a Disney vacation (e.g., how to get Fastpass+ selection for a large group with different check-in days). Again, not particularly Earth-shattering information, but it does hint at the level of detail that hosts Ryan and Jeremy may be able to reach as their show continues to develop.

It was Episode 3, however, when the guys really hit their stride. First, in the news discussion, the hosts extrapolated how Disney’s new dining reservation policy may allow guests to avoid the current “$10 per person” fee one receives when cancelling an ADR within 24 hours of a reservation by applying the same technique that people use to avoid hotel cancellation fees (i.e., extending the reservation into the future, and then cancelling that new reservation). I followed up with the guys on Twitter to get their reasoning on that strategy. Not only did they provide me with a fuller explanation, but also informed me that they tested out the strategy during a previous trip (yes, they offered the disclaimer that maybe Bongos is less strict about its cancellation policy, but seeing that they actually tested out their theory before sharing it left me a very positive impression of the care they put into the show).

The weekly topic, saving money on Disney gift card purchases, was equally enlightening. The hosts provided 4 levels of “difficulty” in getting increasing amounts of discounts on Disney gift cards, and then explained how to apply those gift cards to your upcoming vacation. Even as someone who has previously written about managing Disney gift cards, I still learned a lot from this segment. (That said, I’m still firmly in the “you can’t pay your rent with a gift card” camp, and I encourage everyone to be smart about your gift card purchases when you have other expenses, limited funds, etc…) The segment also made me excited about the tips for saving on airfare that were teased for next week’s show. If that discussion is half as a good as the gift card one, I think it will be a real winner.

Looking to the Future

After listening to 3 episodes, I’m optimistic that Backside of Magic can be a strong entry in the Disney podcast space. Ryan and Jeremy seem to have a knack for making analytical connections related to certain news items, and I’m interested to see how they continue to apply that skill as the show continues to grow. With such a young show, there is  plenty of fresh ground they have not previously covered that is ripe for their analysis.

Of course, as Tony Kornheiser tells aspiring radio hosts: “Anyone can do a Monday show. What’s your Thursday show going to be?” In other words, what are you going to do when all the major topics have been talked about. It’s too early in the life of Backside of Magic to know what they’ll do on their “Thursday” show, but if these first 3 episodes are any indication, I think they’re going to be fine.