Disney World hikes prices on annual passes

Walt Disney World Resort raised the prices on most annual passes on Tuesday, anywhere from roughly three to nine percent, depending on which pass you purchase.  This marks the second rate hike this year, with a recent price increase announced in February.  

Disney’s Platinum Plus pass is now $849, up 2.4 percent from $829; the Platinum Pass is now $749, up 2.7 percent from $729; the Gold Pass is now $609, up 3.4 percent from $589; and the Silver Pass is now $479, a 9.1 percent increase up from $439. The Florida Resident Theme Park Select Pass stays at $439, with weekend restrictions for select parks that includes no Saturday admittance to the Magic Kingdom and no weekend admittance to Epcot during the Food and Wine Festival. The Weekday Select Pass is now $319, up 10.4 percent from $289, and it restricts visitors to a Monday-through-Friday access only.

The Epcot After 4 Pass jumped $10, from $279 to $289, a 3.5 percent increase, and Water Parks After 2 rose from $75 to $79, an increase of 5.3 percent.  Parking fees at all parks have also increased, up from $22 to $25 -- oversized vehicles will now pay $30, up from $27.

"Disney is aggressively engaged in enlarging the park, a lot of things around the park to improve the experience for the guests," said Dr. Mark Johnston, a professor of marketing at Crummer Graduate School of Business at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida. 

The price hikes were rolled out on the same day that Disney debuted a new online planning tool for purchasing tickets, which the entertainment giant first announced last month. Day-to-day ticket prices will vary, based on the date picked with the new planning tool.

Disney introduced flexible pricing at U.S. parks three years ago as an incentive for guests to visit during less busy times. Each month was divided into value, regular and peak days.  

Under the new plan, prices will vary based on the particular day. Single-day, single-park tickets will range from $109 to $129, depending on how popular the day is expected to be.  Unlike before, where single-park admission to the Magic Kingdom had been slightly higher than the other parks, now all parks are priced the same.

Visitors can find the lowest-priced days by clicking on a calendar at DisneyWorld.com