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Trends Q: Skiing Lift Tickets vs Disneyland Day Passes: whose prices are growing faster?

photo of the author Gregg Blanchard

While skiers are quick to point out the pain that comes along with rising ticket prices, it’s easy to forget that prices in other, similar industries are growing even faster. Today, we’re going to find out if Disneyland – a business with a similar market of families – is pacing their ticket prices ahead of or behind mountain resorts. Here’s what we found.

The Goods
Taking a slight diversion from the Stash norm, we didn’t use our own data to find the answer. Instead, we used an archive of over 2,000 historic lift ticket prices published by NewEnglandSkiHistory.com. While only covering Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Vermont, with no available history of ticket prices from other areas, this will have to do.

On the Disneyland side, we used a combination of fan records, Wikipedia, and online photos of vintage Disneyland passes to compile a thorough list of past prices. Prices for most years were verified by a combination of at least two of those sources.

With prices on the vertical axis and years on the horizontal, here’s how prices have grown from 1962 – five years after Disneyland was first opened – until 2010.

disneyland

Starting at nearly identical rates (the average for the first 3 years of our analysis was $4.92 for lift tickets, $4.38 for Disneyland), the graphs follow nearly identical trajectories until just before 2000. At that point, Disneyland continues an exponential increase in prices while the ski industry’s price growth becomes a bit more linear.

By 2010, Disneyland passes cost $76 a day. Our sample of New England ski areas averaged $53 a day. In June 2013, Disneyland prices were raised to $92 a day.

Ski areas are raising their prices each year, but Disneyland (and likely other industries as well) are outpacing this growth. So, while prices may seem high, relative to alternatives they may actually appear increasingly lower. Bringing visitation numbers into the equation is even more interesting.

While the NSAA only started gathering this number in 1978, between then and 2010, skier visits have grown 21% while ticket prices have increased 306%. During that same time, Disneyland’s visitation has increased 45% while prices have jumped a whopping 850%. The moral of the story is simply this: despite skyrocketing prices, Disneyland’s visitation numbers are growing twice as fast as skiing’s.

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