Save On Theme Park Admission Tickets

Theme Parks and Demand Pricing

Save On Theme Park Admission Tickets
September 1, 2016

Demand pricing is a staple of certain industries such as the airline and hotel business. Prices for flights and hotel rooms frequently change based on total demand. High demand naturally drives prices up, while discounts may be needed to increase demand at less popular destinations and times.

This pricing concept is now being introduced at major theme parks. Parks are attempting to spread out the flow of customers and direct traffic from the overly crowded weekends and holidays toward times with lower usage. Lower-demand times correlate closely to when most children are in school: weekdays during the school year (excluding Fridays). Weekends, summers, and holidays are typically either at regular or peak pricing.

For example, Disneyland in Anaheim, California now offers "value pricing" for off-peak hours with single tickets at $95, regular pricing at $105, and a peak rate of $119. Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, has a bit less of a spread with $97 value tickets, $102 for regular tickets, and $114 at peak rate for several of their parks. However, Disney's most popular park, the Magic Kingdom in Orlando, maintains the highest prices. Value tickets are $105, regular tickets cost $110, and peak tickets are worth $124. An online calendar is available showing the pricing designation per day eight to eleven months into the future.

In both Orlando and Anaheim, almost half of Disney's operating days are regular days. The Disneyland breakdown is 27% value, 46% regular, and 27% peak; Walt Disney World skews higher with only 22% value days, 49% regular, and 29% peak.

Demand pricing is also applied at Universal Studios Hollywood. "Anytime pricing" remains at $115 for adults and $109 for children, but online purchases for specific advance dates can save anywhere from $5 to $16, with $10 savings through September and $16 savings available on weekdays during October. Universal Orlando does not yet apply demand pricing, sticking with $105 for a single-day base ticket.

Other parks are inching toward demand pricing as well. Legoland in Florida offers flexible date pricing beginning at $84 but provides a $13 discount for purchasing tickets two to six days in advance. The SeaWorld parks do not have demand pricing across the board but they do offer discounts for low demand days at Discovery Cove. Expect any theme park with sufficient demand to explore the concept.

Taking advantage of demand pricing requires a delicate combination of advance planning and flexibility. Spur-of-the-moment deals exist, but most families cannot take advantage of them. Planning a visit in advance allows you to pick a low-demand period and plan a holiday around it, as long as you are flexible in how that holiday is arranged. With a package deal for multiple days or multiple parks, you can check weather conditions and the availability of special features closer to the time of arrival and rearrange your itinerary to maximize your enjoyment.

Package deals are almost always a great way to save, especially during high-demand times. Deals are usually available for multiple attractions, several days, or other combination options. When considering package deals at lower-demand times, look over them closely to make sure discounts for low-demand visit times are being passed through to you and not being absorbed as profit for the deal provider. Demand pricing typically does not apply to multi-day or multi-park tickets.

By using demand-pricing options wisely, you can save some money on your vacation and also have a better experience by cutting down on long waits and overcrowding (unless the price drops so low as to attract larger crowds). Lower prices and shorter lines? That is a win-win.

Photo ©

  Conversation   |   13 Comments

Add a Comment

By submitting you agree to our Terms of Service
Kailie | 09.01.16 @ 15:51
My family and I have been wanting to take a trip to Universal for years now but just simply could not afford it. this is great info.
Steffanie | 09.01.16 @ 15:52
We have been able to go on many trips by being flexible and willing to go during off peak times. I'm glad to see the theme parks are catching onto this concept.
Brittany | 09.01.16 @ 15:53
This is awesome news. Admission prices to theme parks have been on the rise in the last few years where it seems almost impossible for someone who is on a strict/low budget to be able to plan a family vacation without breaking the bank
Kamie | 09.01.16 @ 15:53
This is something I am definitely going to take in consideration for 2018, as I really want to take my son to DisneyLand, I know there will still be a lot of saving that will be needed, but every penny saved just means more time for fun.
Erin | 09.01.16 @ 15:54
This is great information for those that want to put the effort into taking advantage of it. It's one of those things where you have to evaluate if the extra savings is worth the extra headaches.
STOKES | 09.01.16 @ 15:54
With the rising costs of amusement parks, this is great information to have. I've been trying to plan a trip to Disney for years.
Daniel | 09.01.16 @ 15:54
As fun as they are these parks can be quite pricey So for sure take any breaks you can
Carla | 09.01.16 @ 15:54
I was shocked when I recently checked on Disneyland tickets. I'm hoping to take advantage of this off season pricing you are talking about.
Heather | 09.01.16 @ 15:55
The cost of some of these amusement parks is getting out of control. I do save up all year to go, but it's getting where the average family just can't afford to go like they used to.
Amanda | 09.01.16 @ 15:55
Still too much for my blood!
trish | 09.01.16 @ 15:55
We are constantly searching for deals and off-peak pricing. A family of 4 can get pricing going to parks, but you also don't want to miss out of the memories. So glad to see they are doing this more to make it more affordable for families to share the experience.
Chrisitna | 09.01.16 @ 15:57
While I'm sure this information is helpful to many who can be flexible with their travel plans, it really isn't enough. Something that used to be an American staple for family fun now seems totally unaffordable. The prices for admission anymore are ridiculous and have limited the ability of many families to visit theme parks.
Kate | 09.01.16 @ 16:05
As a travel agent this article is very interesting to me. I advise my clients to go off peak times so that they can save the maximum amount of money for their vacations. Hoping this article gets around and more people can see the benefits of traveling when its cheaper.
$commenter.renderDisplayableName() | 05.14.21 @ 19:04