Ticket prices, as well as 2008 room rates and dining plan specifics, have all been released. That means that you can start calling Disney (or using the WDW Web site) to set up your 2008 room-only and package reservations. Stories on the tickets, room rates and dining plans are all available below.
Reservations for special dining experiences and special events during the 2007 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival open this morning at 7 a.m. EDT. Our new Park Guide page for the event is now online with all of the details on the available events.
One year to the weekend after Walt Disney World last raised prices, the resort raised them again yesterday. One-day, one-park tickets are up $4, to $71 for adults and $60 for children (plus tax). 10-day base tickets for adults are up to $225, with unexpiring 10-day tickets with both Park Hopper and Water Park Fun & More options added hitting the $500 mark. What's more, all advance purchase discounts (with the exception of Florida resident 1-day, 1-park passes) have disappeared.
Disney has just completed a quarter with $1.1 billion in profits and great performance from its theme parks, with profit margins exceeding 20 percent. Why raise prices, and why now?
The answer to the first question is easy. The Walt Disney Company is a business, not a charity, and as such needs to do whatever it can to increase profits. With more people visiting its theme parks than ever, it can increase the admission price without too much fear of a horrible drop-off in attendance. It's better to raise prices when attendance is rising than when it's leveling off or dropping.
As to why now? Disney has shifted its annual price increases from January to August for a number of reasons. First, it gives the company a nice boost in income during its last fiscal quarter, boosting the profit numbers each year. Second, by doing it during the summer, it catches many of the people who will be going to the parks during the holiday season; any new reservation made from here until the end of the year will face the new, higher prices. Finally, and perhaps most important, the price increase can now be calculated into all travel packages for 2008, which were just announced and released for booking this past weekend. This avoids the price increase causing an advertising literature change (and listing change to travel agents) right after the holidays, right in the midst of one of the peak times of year for booking vacations.
|Adult/Child Total Cost||1-day||2-day||3-day||4-day||5-day||6-day||7-day||8-day||9-day||10-day|
|w/ Park Hopper option||$116/$105||$184/$162||$248/$216||$257/$223||$260/$224||$262/$226||$264/$227||$266/$230||$268/$231||$270/$232|
|w/ Water Park Fun & More option||$121/$110||$189/$167||$253/$221||$262/$228||$265/$229||$267/$231||$269/$232||$271/$235||$273/$236||$275/$237|
|(plus 2)||(plus 2)||(plus 3)||(plus 4)||(plus 5)||(plus 6)||(plus 7)||(plus 8)||(plus 9)||(plus 10)|
|w/ both options||$166/$155||$234/$212||$298/$266||$307/$273||$310/$274||$312/$276||$314/$277||$316/$280||$318/$281||$320/$282|
|w/ both options, no Expiration||N/A||$249/$227||$318/$286||$352/$318||$370/$334||$377/$341||$409/$372||$446/$410||$473/$436||$500/$462|
Theme park annual pass prices are increasing by approximately 3.5 percent each. Adult Annual Passes are up $14 to $448 and child APs are up $13 to $395. Adult Premium Annual Passes increase $20 to $559, while child PAPs rise $17 to $510. Florida resident Annual, Premium and Seasonal Passes are also rising.
Other ticket prices are mostly remaining steady. One-day, one-park water park passes remain at $39 for adults and $33 for children, where they've been since February's recreation price hike. DisneyQuest has had a $1 jump, to $37 for adults and $31 for children. Wide World of Sports admission is up 23 cents, to $10.51 for adults and $7.94 for children. Pleasure Island admission remains steady at $21.95 for all. Annual passes for water parks, DisneyQuest, and Pleasure Island remain unchanged, as well.
|Annual Pass type||Purchase type||Adult cost||Child cost|
|Florida Premium Pass||New||$459||$404|
|Florida Premium Pass||Renewal||$414||$365|
|Florida Seasonal Pass||New||$230||$203|
|Florida Seasonal Pass||Renewal||$202||$178|
There's no word yet as to whether Universal Orlando or SeaWorld Orlando plans to follow Disney's lead in raising prices.
Disney has released the details of next year's dining plans. You can now book your package trip for 2008 on the Walt Disney World Web site or via phone. For next year, Disney has added a fourth level of dining plan: the Disney Deluxe Dining Plan. The new Deluxe Plan includes the same dining allowances as the Premium and Platinum plans (three meals plus two snacks per day) without the extra recreation allowances.
The big change, though is the fact that gratuities are no longer included, except for Cinderella's Royal Table, private dining (room service) and pizza delivery, plus spa treatments. So if you run up a big-ticket dining plan meal, be sure to tip your wait staff because otherwise they get nothing.
Also, all plans above the standard dining plan include refillable mugs at your resort.
A new Wine and Dine add-on package is available for an additional $39.99 per night, which will entitle you to one bottle of wine per night, redeemable at any point during your stay at table service restaurants. Wine ordered at signature restaurants or with private dining (room service) will cost you two Wine and Dine credits.
The base Magic Your Way plan entitlements are the same as last year. Additional recreation entitlements for the Premium and Platinum plans also appear to be unchanged.
Room-only rates for 2008 are now available for booking on the Walt Disney World Web site or via phone. A new structure is now in place, and weekend nights are higher than those for weeknights in some seasons. Below is a rundown of the rates at the Value and Moderate resorts. (Deluxe resorts have so many different room levels and rates vary so much by resort that it's not practical to list them all here.) If two numbers are listed, they represent Sunday-Thursday/Friday-Saturday room rates.
|Jan. 17, Jan. 21 Feb. 13||$82||$94||$149||$165|
|Feb. 14 Mar. 13 (except Feb. 1517)||$119/$129||$131/$141||$189/$199||$215/$225|
|Mar. 30 May 21||$99/$109||$111/$121||$165/$175||$185/$195|
|May 22 Aug. 2 (except Jul. 45)||$109/$119||$121/$131||$179/$189||$199/$209|
|Aug. 3 Oct. 1||$82||$94||$149||$165|
|Oct. 2 Nov. 25||$99||$111||$165||$185|
|Nov. 26Nov. 29||$109||$121||$175||$195|
|Nov. 30 Dec. 17||$82||$94||$149||$165|
Reservations are not yet available for departure dates beyond December 17, 2008, so you can't make your Christmas vacation reservations just yet.
Get your MousePlanet gear!
The MousePlanet.com store is now open for business (link)! You can get shirts, mugs, hats and even a Teddy Bear! Check it out and show your MousePlanet pride!
As we first broke on last Thursday's MousePlanetWatch news podcast, there is a new policy regarding Annual Passholder room discounts. Individual passholders can no longer book up to three discounted rooms. For each AP-discounted room, there must be one adult passholder in the room. The passholder will need to present a valid annual pass at the time of check-in to be eligible for the discount.
This new policy is so new that, as of last week, some floor agents at the Disney Reservations Center were not aware of it yet. Previously booked AP-discounted reservations are not included in the new policy.
Since this is so new, there may be cast members that do not enforce it; however, you should not count on this. Please book rooms according to the policy to avoid surprises when you check in.
Thanks to Sue Pisaturo of Small World Vacations for the information.
Passengers who sail aboard the Disney Magic during one of the repositioning cruises through the Panama Canal next year were notified last month that their fare is going up by $100 per person. According to the notification letter, the fare increase is due to new per-passenger fees imposed on the cruise lines by the Panama Port Authority that operates the Panama Canal. The Terms and Conditions of the Disney Cruise Line contract allows for price hikes "where the increase results from increases in Government Taxes and Fees."
The Panama Port Authority has been increasing fees since 2002 as part of a multi-year plan to overhaul the fee structure for different types of ships. The latest fare schedule announced this past May changed the rate structure once again. Starting in October 2007, the rates for certain types of passenger ships will be based on the number of berths rather than the size of the ship. When the Disney ships make the transit in 2008, that fee will be $100 per berth, the same amount by which Disney has increased the cruise fare.
Some passengers feel that Disney is taking advantage of the new fare structure, and question the amount of the increase attributed to the Panama toll. The original fare for the Disney cruises already included port fees as calculated under the previous formula. (Based on figures Disney provided to passengers during the 2005 Panama Canal cruises, the transit fee was approximately $200,000, which works out to about $83 per passenger on a full sailing) This new $100-per-person port fee is instead of the original (lower) port fee, not in addition to, but Disney is not issuing any sort of offset or credit for the port fee already charged to passengers.
We contacted Disney Cruise Line for comment, but we have not yet received a response.
Lifeguard Andrew Goodman was working at the Polynesian Resort in April, when a five-year-old boy stopped bobbing up and down and started floating underwater. Goodman jumped in and pulled the boy out. The boy was not breathing and Goodman was able to open his airway and enabled the boy to breathe again. The boy has since made a complete recovery.
Because of his actions, Goodman was presented with the first Lifeguard Valor Award on June 29. The new award recognizes cast members who work as lifeguards and lake patrol and who have been involved in an event that was either life threatening or an extreme medical emergency.
"Had he not been properly scanning his water and putting his In Service Training skills to use, things could have been different," said Mark Peters, recreation specialist at Disney's Wide World of Sports. "Studies have shown that contrary to popular belief most drownings occur silently and without a struggle. Our lifeguards are trained to be vigilant and use the 10/20 protection rule: 10 seconds to scan their zone and 20 seconds to begin rendering aid to Guests in distress."
MousePlanet staff writer Jeff Kober discussed the 10/20 rule and its application at Disney in his July 19 article.
Want to help MousePlanet upgrade our park guides? We're looking to add menu information for all restaurants to our Walt Disney World Park Guide (link). Send photos or scans of menus (no fair copying from other Web sites) to firstname.lastname@example.org (link). Please note that there is a 5MB limit on total attachments in a single email.
The Disney Vacation Club has opened its first off-property preview center at the Woodfield Mall in the greater Chicago area. "Disney's Doorway to Dreams" celebrated its grand opening on Saturday.
The 6,300-square-foot location provides an "interactive family vacation discovery zone," comfortable discussion areas and a supervised children's play area. It also includes a full-scale model of a two-bedroom vacation home, designed to represent accommodations at Disney's Animal Kingdom Villas, the newest property current being offered for sale.
"We are delighted to bring Disney's Doorway to Dreams to Chicago, which is one the top markets for our rapidly growing membership base, so that more people can discover all that Disney Vacation Club has to offer," said Jim Lewis, president of Disney Vacation Club.
The location will be among the first retail environments in the country to utilize a technologically advanced visual display system, where an eye-catching, flat panel screen will feature holographic-like 3-D video images appearing as a glasses-free 3-D display at the storefront.
This week's listing of interesting items from paperwork filed with Orange County last week:
We now have the official refurbishment dates for Rock 'n' Roller Coaster. The attraction will be closed September 4 October 4.
The Grosvenor Resort on Hotel Plaza Boulevard has renewed its lease with Disney (originally begun on October 13, 1978) through September 30, 2066. The agreement was signed on April 30, but was just filed with Orange County last week.
The former 45-foot Grand 1 yacht, which sails from the Grand Floridian's marina, has been replaced by a new 52-foot Sea Ray yacht. The boat is available for excursions at rates starting at $450 plus tax per hour for up to 18 passengers. The rental includes a captain and crew member. Dining and butler services are available for additional fees.
The final hole in the schedule for the Eat to the Beat Concert Series (that we first listed in June) has been filled, with Juice Newton scheduled for October 1921.
This week's question: This week's question was submitted by MousePlanet reader Anthony Uriaus. Where in Disney's Animal Kingdom can you see a real Baobab tree growing and full of leaves? Stay tuned to next week's park update for the answer.
The answer to last week's question: "What area is the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad modeled after?", which was submitted by MousePlanet reader Jonathan Heigl, is:
Walt Disney World's Big Thunder is themed to Utah's Monument Valley. (Disneyland's version of the ride is inspired by Utah's Bryce Canyon.)
Do you have a trivia question that you'd like to share? If we choose to use your question, we'll give you credit in the Update. Email us here.
MousePlanet sponsor Hotel Royal Plaza, in the Downtown Disney resort area, has enhanced its deal for MousePlanet readers. From now through the end of the year, anyone booking their stay through the MousePlanet Web site has been able to receive discounted rates up to 20 percent off on all room types. Now, for a limited time, you can get even more! The discounted rates now include free breakfast for two in the Giraffe Caf!. Plus children 10 and under always eat breakfast for free! (Two children 10 and under eat free from the kids menu when accompanied by an adult dining from the regular menu.)
The completely-remodeled 394-room resort is located on Hotel Plaza Boulevard, just a few minutes' walk from Downtown Disney. Bus service to all Walt Disney World theme parks is included with your stay. Their Giraffe Caf restaurant, Giraffe Tavern sports bar, Marketessen deli-style caf and Sips Pool Bar are ready to serve you.
We'd like to invite you to try their hospitality!
Disney has released discounted room rates for passholders and Florida residents for August and September. Discounts are available for select Disney Vacation Club and deluxe resorts for most nights from August 5 to September 29, and at moderate and value resorts for most nights August 59, August 1229 and September 229.
For passholders and Florida residents, the DVC rates start at $164 per night plus tax in a studio at the Old Key West or Saratoga Springs Resorts. Prices go up from there depending on the resort and accommodations.
In addition to those two DVC resorts, discounts are also available at all deluxe resorts, with passholder rates $5 per night less than Florida resident rates. Some sample rates are garden view rooms at the Polynesian ($249 passholder/$254 resident), Contemporary ($225/$230) and Grand Floridian ($295/$300).
Rates at the moderates start at $94 per night for passholders and $99 per night for Florida residents. Value resorts start at $64 for both passholders and Florida residents.
Minimum stay requirements apply for Friday and Saturday arrivals. All rates can be booked up until the date of arrival. Passholders and Florida residents can book via your respective Web sites, by calling your travel agent (Small World Vacations is MousePlanet's preferred Disney travel provider) or by calling 407-560-7277 for passholders or 407-560-7722 for Florida residents.
Discount codes are FDR (passholder) and FDT (Florida residents).
Disney's popular summer golf discount program, Disney's Price Slice, will return from May 14 through September 27. During that time, a round of golf at any of the Walt Disney World courses will be less expensive after 10 a.m. daily, due to the heat of the summer season. The Magnolia, Palm, Eagle Pines and Osprey Ridge courses will carry a fee of $55, while the Lake Buena Vista course will cost $45. Rates include the use of an electric cart, and are $34-$44 cheaper than regular rates.
The rates include the use of an electric cart and are discounted from the before-10 a.m. prices of $99 for resort guests/$109 for day visitors (Magnolia and Osprey Ridge), $89 for resort guests/$99 for day visitors (Palm and Eagle Pines) and $79 for resort guests/$89 for day visitors (Lake Buena Vista). To reserve a tee time, call 407-WDW-GOLF (407-939-4653) or go to the Disney Golf Web site (link). Note that the site's front page still appears to have difficulty with browsers other than Internet Explorer. Once you get past the front page, you should be all right.
(Send an email to Mark Goldhaber)
Mark (@MPMark) is a veteran of dozens of trips to Walt Disney World starting in 1972, with a few Disneyland trips thrown in for good measure. As a Disney stockholder and a Disney Vacation Club member, Mark is always in touch with what's going on with The Mouse. Mark serves as MousePlanet's Walt Disney World content coordinator. Mark is a senior information technology manager working for the State of New York. He lives in the suburbs outside Albany, New York, with his wife and son.