Crowd control
Disneyland adopts demand pricing, raises rates
If you are like most of us, and think  1Disneyland is getting awfully crowded these days, there is some good news and some bad news.

The good news is that Disneyland has introduced "demand pricing"in an attempt to even out the crowd flow by encouraging guests to consider midweek or other off-peak visits to save a little money.

The bad news is that Disneyland visitors will be paying considerably more to visit the park if they choose to come at the busiest times.

Both Disneyland and California Adventure have been priced at $99 for a one-day pass. Now you can save $4 off the previous park rate if you come on a less-busy day, but pay between $6 and $20 more if you come on busier days. Disney is designating days as one of three categories: value days, regular days and peak days. The prices will be $95 for a value day, $105 for a regular day and $119 for a peak day.

Unfortunately only about 30 percent of the days each year will be value days, while 44 percent will be regular days and 26 percent peak days—meaning you have a 70 percent chance of paying more for your ticket that you do now unless you’re careful to select value days.

Disney follows Universal with its new demand pricing, except that Universal’s pricing didn’t actually increase ticket prices. The maximum price is still $95 and visitors can save up to $20 if they come on a low-demand day.

The move is in line with other segments of the travel industry who have long priced their offerings based on the season and anticipated demand. Airlines and hotels, for example, vary their pricing considerably.

It remains to see how effective the new pricing is in crowd control, which Disney says is the main reason they are adopting the new pricing formula. It is more than a 10 percent discount if you’re careful to choose value days, but just $4 lower than current prices. Some in the industry view the pricing as a way to disguise a significant rate increase by emphasizing the crowd control benefit.

Whatever way you look at it, there seems to be little dispute that Disneyland parks are more popular than ever and can be uncomfortably crowded during certain peak demand days such as weekends, holidays and vacation periods. The park last year had to close its doors on occasion to lessen the overcrowding.

Park officials point out that, even though they are increasing prices, they are also adding new attractions. There will be a 14-acre "Star Wars" land coming soon as well as a new stage show based on the movie "Frozen."
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