Did Disney Just Trick Us Into Spending More on Park Tickets?

Visiting Disney Parks has become quite the process in 2022. From planning when to visit and booking your favorite Disney Resorts to weighing whether or not to use Disney Genie+ or Individual Lightning Lane purchases for certain attractions, on top of the restrictions on Park Hopping, there is a lot that goes into creating a magical Disney vacation.

Since the Walt Disney World Resort and the Disneyland Resort reopened during the pandemic, one important part of the planning process has been making theme park reservations in advance (as an extra step beyond simply purchasing your tickets.)

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On top of changes to Disney Genie+ that will have Guests paying more for the ticket add-on depending on the date of their visit, Disney just revealed increases on ticket prices for theme parks at the Disneyland Resort. At the same time as ticket prices increased, availability opened up on the Disney Park Pass Reservation System for visits beyond January 8, 2023.

While it may not have been the intention, and it could technically be a pure coincidence, we feel oddly suspicious of Disney opening up reservations on the same day that ticket prices increased…

Sleeping Beauty Castle Concept

Credit: Disney

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When planning any Disney vacation since the pandemic, one of the major tips given to Guests is to check the theme park reservation availability before buying your tickets. The last thing we’d want any of our readers to do is purchase tickets after securing airfare and accommodations, only to realize then that the Parks are already at capacity during their trips. We’ve even seen issues stem from those not knowing to make reservations in person, when Guests have arrived at the entrances to the theme parks only to be disappointed (and often angry at the Cast Member) when they are told that they needed a reservation.

In the case of early 2023 bookings, we have to wonder then if Guests were just misled into waiting to purchase tickets until the prices increased. For several weeks, new theme park reservations for Disneyland and Disney California Adventure were paused for January 8, 2023, and beyond, only to reopen today with the price increases. In theory, Guests visiting after January 8 could have purchased tickets before the prices went up, but why would they?

Disney California Adventure

Credit: Disney

RELATED: Theme Park Reservations Are Finally Available for Disney Trips in Early 2023

Even Disney’s official website recommends waiting to confirm availability:

Theme Park Reservation Availability
To enter one of the parks, each Guest is required to have a theme park reservation in addition to a valid ticket for the same park on the same date. Please check below to see if your desired date and theme park are currently available before purchasing your ticket.

Disney has always been known to update price changes and availability quietly of certain experiences and amenities, but this recent decision to debut new ticket pricing and reservations on the same day could seem like an obvious money grab for those Guests who did take this advice and wait to purchase tickets.

For what it’s worth, Disneyland’s website does now let Guests select the date of their visit when they purchase tickets, at least taking a step out of the planning process. For Guests visiting Walt Disney World, however, reservations are still made after theme park tickets are purchased, so we will continue to recommend checking for availability first.

About Brittany DiCologero

Brittany is a New England-based writer focused on the history of the Walt Disney World Resort. She is the author of "Red, White, and Disney: The Myths and Reality of American History at the Walt Disney World Resort," and "Brittany Earns Her Ears."