Are These Disney Prices Fair? Let’s Talk Park Visit Items
Over the past several months, MickeyBlog has done a deep dive into many aspects of a theme park visit.
We’re deciding whether the parks are gouging guests or charging them a reasonable price for goods and services.
So, are these Disney prices fair? Let’s talk it through…
Fair is relative here. Until March of 2020, Walt Disney World guests could use the shorter FastPass line queue at least three times per day.
At Disneyland, MaxPass performed the same service at a price of $20 per person per day.
So, Disney offered something for free at one park that came at a price elsewhere.
For this reason, I see both sides of the debate. The moment Disneyland introduced MaxPass, I expected Walt Disney World to follow suit.
Instead, the park waited until more than a year after it reopened during the pandemic to add a paid virtual queue option.
Also, this service, Disney Genie+, costs $5 less at Walt Disney World than Disneyland.
From one perspective, that’s more than fair. From another, it’s outrageous that Disney now charges for something that was free 18 months ago.
As such, I declare this one a draw. Nobody’s totally right or wrong here. Walt Disney World gets good prices compared to Disneyland.
However, free is exponentially better than paying for the same thing.
Here’s where Disney’s value shines through as much as anywhere. When you visit EPCOT’s World Showcase, you’ll find a pleasant surprise on most dates.
This park hosts four festivals each year, starting in January and ending in late December.
While EPCOT doesn’t operate a festival every day of the year, it’s averaging about 60 percent of them lately.
So, you’ll have ample opportunity to shop at the various food kiosks available during these events.
Most of the foods for sale at these kiosks cost $10 or less. Many of them are filling enough to count as lunch or dinner.
Friends, you won’t find many theme parks where you can eat for less than $10. That’s not even the most remarkable part, though.
This festival cuisine rivals anything else you’ll find in Orlando. The dishes and desserts are delectable.
You’re eating WELL for the same price as a Quarter Pounder combo. Disney’s festival food prices are more than fair. They’re downright frugal.
You’ll find several places to grab a hot dog at Walt Disney World.
Still, most people have a favorite spot where they’ve been eating for years. So, I’ll just be lazy and use that one for comparison.
At Casey’s Corner, hot dogs cost between $11.99 and $19.71 at the time of publication. Also, that latter price is tongue-in-cheek.
Disney is selling a special celebratory hot dog to commemorate the park’s 50th anniversary.
The rest of the hot dogs are $13.49 or less, with most at $11.99. I just glanced at a local theme park’s pricing for comparison.
Dollywood’s Dogs N Taters (I swear that’s the place’s name) also charges $11.99 for hot dogs.
That order comes with a monstrosity called Chili Cheese Tater Twirls. So, Dollywood throws in some fries for the same price.
Meanwhile, my local movie theater, admittedly an upscale one, sells hot dogs for $7.99. They’re much smaller than the theme park ones, though.
Overall, Disney’s hot dog pricing falls on the higher end, but I’d expect that. This pricing is totally fair.
Last month, I wrote a Lightning Lane/Genie+ cheat sheet. In it, I discussed which attractions justified a single purchase of $7-$15.
The one conversation I studiously avoided was whether Disney had priced these Lightning Lane bookings reasonably.
That answer depends on the attraction. For Space Mountain and Expedition Everest, I will never see the point, even at a lower price.
With Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, and Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, I get it.
Disney believes that guests will pay $10+ to ride these attractions once.
Is $10-$15 fair for the best rides at Disney? I think that answer depends entirely on your perspective.
My answer here is yes and no. The Lightning Lane pricing makes sense on certain days and for specific rides. Overall, I’m okay with the cost, though.
So, I’d say that Lightning Lane pricing is fair, albeit somewhat annoying.
Can you really put a price tag on family memories? Well, Disney takes a shot at it.
The price of the company’s PhotoPass system varies depending on how long you’re visiting.
A single-day Memory Maker purchase costs $69.
When you vacation at Disney, you can and should buy Memory Maker early.
Disney prices a vacation package purchase at $169, independent of how long you’re visiting. So, you’ll get more out of it during a lengthier trip.
If you purchase while at the park, the price increases to $199. So, even deciding on which price tag comes with some challenges.
Personally, my family has bought Memory Maker for as long as I can remember, but there’s a caveat to that.
Disney threw in the service as part of the annual pass package until recently. So, I wasn’t really paying for it separately.
Still, my family would pay $169 to use Memory Maker for extended trips. We might grumble about the cost, though. I’m salty about Disney pulling it from annual passes.
Personally, I think $69 for a day or $169 for five or more days is fair. However, we live in a world where smartphone cameras deliver high-quality pictures.
As such, the value of the PhotoPass service fades a bit more each year.
Did you know that multiple websites track the price of movie foods?
Whenever I look at them, I get a bit annoyed. We live in the backyard of Regal Cinemas and have a showcase theater here.
That place prices its foods much higher than what these websites would suggest.
To wit, I paid $10 for a large popcorn bucket last week. (I saw Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City. Resident Evil videogame fans will love it.)
For that price, I got free refills, but let’s be honest. Who refills a large bucket of popcorn more than once?
Unless you’re passing that bucket around the whole theater, it’s impossible.
So, I compare that to Disney and appreciate what I can get at theme parks.
At EPCOT, the popcorn capital of Walt Disney World, you can and should head to the Canada pavilion.
There, you’ll find Popcorn in Canada, which sells popcorn for $6.25. Maple popcorn costs the same, which is insane value.
For $12, guests can order a refillable souvenir popcorn bucket. That’s soooo much better than what I can get at Regal. It almost hurts me to think about the discrepancy.
Walt Disney World hosts several different popcorn vendors, and you’ll find numerous popcorn buckets available.
The price varies depending on the decadence of the bucket.
For example, a friend sent us a tiki popcorn bucket that doubles as a coffee table decoration due to its size.
Still, all the popcorn pricing at Disney seems more than fair. In fact, it beats the movie theater I visit the most.
Overall, most of what I’ve discussed this week skews toward fair pricing from Disney. Who knew?