Not all Disney World vacations are created equally.
Sure, all of the attractions and dining options might generally remain the same (though things are always changing around Disney World!), and you might hug the same characters too – but at the end of the day, no two Disney World trips are the same. One of the biggest factors that can impact a trip is just how crowded the parks are on the day of your visit. This can affect everything from how long you have to wait to ride your favorite attraction, where you decide (or are forced) to eat a meal, and yes – even how much you pay for certain things. Disney World is not immune to surge pricing, but we’re giving you our best tips on how to avoid it!
When it comes to your Disney World vacation, surge pricing can be a problem even at the very beginning stages of planning. Depending on when you’re looking to visit the parks, ticket and hotel prices may go up or down. Expected crowd levels play a part in this, as Disney knows it can raise prices during busier times of the year.
Simply put, surge pricing occurs when a company raises the price of products or services due to an increase in demand.
But park ticket and Disney Resort hotel room prices aren’t the only parts of your vacation that could get hit with a price hike. Luckily, we’re sharing where and when you might experience surge pricing on your Disney World vacation and what you can do to avoid it.
Services like Uber and Lyft have been an increasingly popular way to get around Disney World property for those traveling without a car. Unfortunately, rideshare services are one of the most common areas you might run into surge pricing in Disney World.
During busy times of the year — and more specifically, busy times throughout the day — Uber and Lyft raise their prices. But luckily, there are a few ways you can avoid the price hike!
If you’re staying on Disney World property, consider using Disney transportation like the monorail, Skyliner, boats, or the ever-wonderful Disney busses. You can also plan to arrive and leave the parks at off-peak times to try and avoid the cost.
An alternative option is to just wait it out and see if prices for a ride go down, but at the end of a long Disney day that might be the last thing you want to do! You can also compare the prices on the two services. Oftentimes, one option will be cheaper than the other.
Over especially busy times of year, Disney World will raise ticket prices simply because they know people want to visit the parks and will pay the price. Disney World ticket prices also vary by day of the week, with weekends being more expensive than weekdays typically.
You can avoid this by planning your Disney World trip at less popular times of the year if you’re able. We typically see lower crowds during September and January, though that’s not always the case.
Disney will also occasionally offer various discounts on park tickets. We’ve seen Annual Passholder, Florida Resident, Military, and Disney Vacation Club discounts in the past — along with general park ticket discounts for all guests! The best thing to do is stay tuned to DFB as we’re always sharing the latest ways to save.
Resort Hotel Rooms
Similar to park tickets, Disney is also known for raising the prices of its hotel rooms during busy times of the year. When holiday parties and EPCOT festivals roll around, prices can often increase. You can often find discounts on Disney Resort hotel rooms for Annual Passholders, Florida Residents, DVC Members, and military members too!
But, if you don’t qualify for any of those discounts, you can still save by considering renting Disney Vacation Club points. Renting points can help save you money — you can often find rooms for 30-50% LESS than what it would cost you to book directly through Disney.
If you can’t avoid surge pricing on hotels by visiting during off-peak times, consider staying off-property or in an AirBNB instead! We’ve even got tips on how to tackle the Disney parks when you’re not staying at a Disney Resort.
We’ve mentioned it a few times already, but separately ticketed holiday parties like Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and the Very Merry Christmas Party (if it returns this year) are often subject to price hikes in Disney World. Typically, attending one of these parties on weekdays (when available) can save you a little bit of dough, but there are other ways to avoid holiday party surge pricing!
If it’s just the holiday decor and theming you’re after, you don’t even need a separate event ticket to enjoy — decorations stay up throughout the day in the parks during seasonal parties.
If what you really want is a little extra time in the parks after hours, consider staying at a Deluxe Disney World Resort Hotel to take advantage of the Extended Evening Hours perk that comes along with it! Deluxe Resorts are expensive, though, so depending on the length of your stay this may be an even costlier option than just attending the holiday party.
Disney Genie+ is the new paid way to skip the standby lines at several popular attractions via Lightning Lanes. But, some attractions are only available with the pay-per-ride Individual Attraction Selection (IAS) service. Essentially, the MOST popular rides will fall under this category (think Rise of the Resistance and Cosmic Rewind!).
Unfortunately, Disney will raise the cost of an IAS attraction if they’re expecting busy crowds and high wait times. You can avoid this by using the standby line for these attractions if available, or Disney’s virtual queue system if possible.
If you’re using the tried and true standby line method, consider getting to the park at Rope Drop — right when it opens — or staying late. We even sometimes recommend skipping fireworks shows and parades to ride your favorite attraction with little wait!
When it comes to dining in Disney World, we don’t find surge pricing all the time, but we do know that yearly price hikes often come at the beginning of the year — typically January, February, or March. While these price increases may be unavoidable, you can be prepared by knowing when they might happen.
Holiday character meals and character meals, in general, can sometimes be subject to surge pricing, especially on weekend days and the weekend right before or during a holiday.
If you want to avoid this, try dining at off-peak times or at less popular character dining locations if it’s really the character experience you’re after.
Although surge pricing can be found all over Disney World, you can avoid it by choosing alternative options. But, even if it’s not avoidable on your trip – as long as you’re prepared and are able to temper your expectations you can still have an excellent and magical vacation!
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Are you heading to Disney World in 2022? Let us know in the comments!
The post Even Disney World Has Surge Pricing. Here’s How to Avoid It. first appeared on the disney food blog.