Disney ride stoppages are up 59% since 2018 and wait times are rocketing
Unplanned ride stoppages have soared at Disneyland and Walt Disney World – as ticket prices are planned to rise at nearly every Disney theme park, according to recently published numbers.
On Tuesday, the company announced that there would be a 12 percent increase on tickets for Disney’s flagship park in Orlando, the Magic Kingdom.
Prices will go from $166 to $189 for the most expensive tickets at peak times beginning on December 8.
Customers will have to pay more as new numbers show that unplanned stoppages on attractions are up 59 percent between 2018 and 2022 at Disneyland in California and 42 percent at Walt Disney World in Orlando.
Popular ride, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, has been down for an average of nearly two hours every single day in 2022, according to the Wall Street Journal who crunched data from WDWstats.com, a website which monitors the parks pricing, wait times and ride statuses.
On top of that, the wait time for the ride has increased from 61 minutes to 71 minutes during that time period.
The ride lasts for around 20 minutes and has intricate displays and storylines. It cost Disney nearly $1 billion to build the two versions of the ride in California and Florida.
Over the last five years, single-day ticket prices have increased by 44 percent
Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, a Disney spokesperson denied, without providing data, that there has been an increase in wait times
In 2022, the Indiana Jones themed attraction was the most disrupted ride in Disney’s California park while in Florida that honor went to Prince Charming Regal Carrousel
The graphic showing the amount of ride stoppages per year
On top of stoppages and price increases, wait times are also up across the parks
The entertainment giant has said that over the last 10 years, they have invested $31 billion in their parks.
Across the park generally, average wait times are up from 39 minutes to 49 minutes in 2022.
Two other popular attractions, Web Slingers: A Spiderman Adventure and the Indiana Jones ride, have also suffered above average unplanned stoppages.
The most common reasons for stoppages are maintenance, health issues involving visitors and weather.
The new ticket prices means that a family of four would spend more than $750 on tickets, up from $665, not including meals, hotels, travel or souvenirs.
On Tuesday, the company announced the new increase in their Orlando-parks. Back in October, the Disney revealed similar price increases in their California-parks.
Disney introduced a new ‘Tier 0’ ticket, which is valid during the park’s least-visited days, in October at the company’s California parks
Walt Disney World’s Star Wars attraction is closed for an average of two hours per day due to various issues
In a statement the company said: ‘Magic Kingdom Park will be priced at or above our other theme parks due to the incredible demand as it remains the most-visited theme park in the world.’
Fares are unchanged at Animal Kingdom, but will increase at the Magic Kingdom, as well as at Hollywood Studios where prices will range from $109-$159, and Epcot, where tickets will cost between $124 and $179. The increase only impacts the Disney parks in Florida.
The cheapest single-day options, which include one-day tickets, a single meal and drink and the cheapest parking availability, are ranked: 1. Six Flags, $103.98; 2.Disney World, $148; 3. SeaWorld, $174.98 and; 4. Universal Studios, $208.99
A former Disney theme park designer, Jim Shull, told the Journal that a ‘hundred things’ could go wrong in the Star Wars ride. He said: ‘Is it a power shortage? A software update? They didn’t put enough lube on the actuator? Some problems are easy, you flip a switch and it’s fixed, but others are major fixes.’
Across town, Disney’s main competitor, Universal Studios also saw above average stoppage time on one of their most popular attractions, Jurassic World VelociCoaster. That ride is also down for nearly two hours per day.
Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, a Disney spokesperson denied, without providing data, that there has been an increase in wait times.
The spokesperson said: ‘Our source data shows that Disney’s ride reliability remains strong and is consistent with prior years.’
The founder of consulting firm International Theme Park Services Dennis Speigel told the Journal that most visitors want to experience 1.5 attractions per hour, which is difficult if people have to stand on line for over an hour.
Three of Disney’s four Florida parks will increase their ticket prices beginning on December 8 for the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic.
A company spokesperson told CNN: ‘We continue to focus on providing guests with the best, most memorable Disney experience, and we’re doing that by growing our theme parks with incredible new attractions and offerings.’
‘We are also making planning easier with new one-day tickets that automatically include a guest’s theme park reservation and continue to provide a wide range of options to visit throughout the year, including our lowest priced ticket of $109, which has not changed in more than four years.’
A company spokesperson told CNN about the increase: ‘We continue to focus on providing guests with the best, most memorable Disney experience, and we’re doing that by growing our theme parks with incredible new attractions and offerings
Disney’s $15-a-day Genie+ app has been credited with helping drive a surge in profits. It helps guests skip lines
In 2017, when the park’s ‘Tier 5’ ticket was priced at $124, the most expensive single-day ticket – representing a new ‘Tier 6’ – has since increased by 44 percent to $179.
Despite the price hike, a new ‘Tier 0’ ticket was introduced at $104 which is valid during the park’s least crowded days of the year.
‘Disneyland Resort is always planning the next new idea, attraction, and story,’ a Disneyland official said in a statement.
‘Our tiered ticketing structure offers guests different options to experience that magic throughout the year, including our lowest price point – which hasn’t changed since 2019.’
Since reopening in April of last year, Disney has made a host of changes to its preeminent parks, nixing free perks and ramping up prices, causing the cost of a visit to a Disney resort to rise dramatically.
Visitor numbers at the park have plunged by 17 per cent – but the profit Disney makes on each guest has increased by 17 per cent in a year, helping turbocharge the firm’s profits.
The firm’s share price has plunged by more than a third in the last 12 months, due in large part to controversies over Disney opposing Florida’s so-called Don’t Say Gay bill, and woke movies such as Lightyear that have turned-off viewers.
But taking at its theme parks – traditionally the most profitable part of Disney’s business – remain in very rude health.
Disney made a whopping $7.4 billion from its parks for the most recent quarter of the 2022 financial year
Disney made a whopping $7.4 billion from its parks for the most recent quarter of the 2022 financial year – up 70 per cent from a year earlier, when it was recovering from COVID shutdowns.
Profits also surged to an impressive $2.2 billion for that quarter – a huge leap from the $356 million recorded for the same quarter 12 months previously.
One of the most profitable changes is the implementation of a $15-a-day Genie+ pass, which was previously free. It serves as an app on guests’ phones, and lets them skip some lines on rides.
Genie+ also flags up promotions on merchandise, helping shift the parks’ famously pricey souvenirs. It is used by half of all guests – with 70 per cent who downloaded it saying they’d do the same on a future visit.
But the Genie+ pass does not grant all guest’s wishes, with visitors required to fork over an extra $10 to $17 to get access to some of the parks’ most popular attractions – despite having already paid around $100 per admission ticket.