I mean, sure, I’d like to pay less and I was happier with it at a lower price point. In a lot of ways, I did things pretty well timed going into 2016. First, I renewed my annual pass just before the most recent price hike, I bought Tables in Wonderland also before the most recent price hike, and I did the Disney Vacation Club. Believe it or not, the most cost prohibitive part of my whole Disney experience hasn’t been the annual pass cost (because when I average that out over the days that I spend in Disney, I’m still paying a lot less than regular theme park admission) it’s been the hotels.
Here’s what has troubled me, personally, more than the price of tickets: the price of hotels. Occupancy is up an astronomical amount, there’s practically no vacancy for race weekends like Wine & Dine months in advance. It’s tough getting a hotel room now, and getting a discounted hotel room is even more difficult. The first year I really noticed a change was in 2013, when I booked for the marathon I recall it being the first time in awhile that I could only get the rack rate at certain hotels. That was why I had booked at Riverside instead of the French Quarter. By the time I was booking January 2015, Boardwalk was rack rate only with no discounts and I cannot afford that hotel price tag with the Beach and Yacht Clubs already completely booked.
Once upon a time, I’d book the room and then circle back later for the discount and I cannot do that anymore. In addition to that, Disney did away with its AAA discount, which used to be a staple for me of 10% off any room. Gone as of 2015.
Add to all of this the $10 per person fee for a missed dining reservation.
And make no mistake, despite the rise in cost and the disappearance of discounts, I’ve noticed the parks are busier than ever.
I’ve adapted to the changes. When I started running Disney and coming more frequently, I switched to an annual pass that comes with some decent discounts of its own (though not as good as the discounts in DL). Now, without the hotel discounts I’ve adapted and I’m a DVC member. I no longer make dinning reservations for most meals (with the one exception of dinner the night before the marathon) and eat wherever. I’ve found a lot of new places I like eating at this way. Honestly, I love traveling to Disney, and as a shareholder I can’t begrudge their capitalist inclinations. It’s a private company and right now they’re making bank and some of that is going to me. The great thing is, you can choose to not pay for some of this extra stuff (like the Wine & Dine Welcome Reception for $199) and save money.
I’ll adjust my everyday spending accordingly, and I’m definitely not running as many Disney races as I might have otherwise if the hotels were more affordable (the trade off with DVC points is that I won’t go as frequently to stay within my points allotment). But for now, I can live with it.