Disney Ticket Price History goes something like this… A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away… (cue the music maestro)
Oh boy, Dad sure loves Star Wars, in fact in 1977 when A New Hope came out… well, I guess that’s not important right now, so I’ll try to get focused and regale you with a tale of tickets past, tickets present and maybe even tickets future. (Wonder if the’ll be any ghost apperances along the way.)
Disneyland’s First Ticket System
When Uncle Walt created Disneyland his model was state fairs and midways which sold individual tickets to rides. Walt didn’t want to sell individual ride tickets so he devised a system that rated the rides by popularity. The more popular a ride, the more it would “cost”.
Disney sold ticket books with 5 levels of Disney ticket prices. “A” tickets were for the “cheap” rides. The rides that no one really wanted to ride on. “B” tickets were a little better all the way up to the top of the line tickets the “E” tickets. You’ll still hear that term today. When a great new ride is introduced at one of the Disney parks some “old guys” will call it an “E” ticket ride. That means that its a a top of the line or headliner ride.
There were several different ticket book plans. Lower priced tickets could be grouped together and exchanged for higher priced tickets. You could even buy individual tickets.
Over the years, Disney discovered that the ticketbook program was very innefficient and the tickets were easy to counterfit. Several thousand dollars worth of counterfit tickets were found in Anahiem shortly after Disneyland opened. Uncle Walt also noticed that every afternoon cast members were picking up hundreds of tickets (usually A tickets) and leftover books. It was messy and costly.
It’s real hard to believe now, but the prices of tickets sold in the ticket books never changed. Disney did raise prices on the separate admission cost but the actual A, B, C, D and E tickets never changed in price.
When Walt Disney World opened Disney was still using a ticket book. Yes, that’s right,when Disney World opened, guests had to have tickets for each ride, and a separate entrance admission fee. You could purchase tickets books at the Transportation and Ticket Center and guests could purchase individual ride tickets at booths scattered throughout the park (there were 2 in Fantasyland).
For comparison, in 1971, the entry fee for the Magic Kingdom was $3.75. Ride tickets ranged from A tickets at 10 cents to E tickets at 90 cents. There was an “8 Adventure Ticket Book” (contained 1-A 1-B 1-C 2-D and 3-E) that sold for $5.75 for adults and a “12 Adventure Ticket Book” (contained 1-A 1-B 2-C 4-D and 4-E) that sold for $6.75 for an adult.
In 1980, Disney started experimenting with a 2 day “passport” to the Magic Kingdom. (Dad and Mrs. Mom had one of these on our honeymoon.) And in 1982, when Epcot opened, the ticket books went away and the current system came online.
- Ride tickets were interchangeable between Disney World and Disneyland.
- The price of a one day ticket, when Disney-MGM Studios opened in 1989, was $29.00.
- Disney has increased prices on admission to the parks every year since 1972 except from 1976 ot 1977.
- There were 8 E ticket rides in the Magic Kingdom when it opened.
Park Hopper Passes
In 1982 Epcot opened. Disney stopped selling ticket books and started charging one admission price. They also introduced a 3 day World Passport that was good for admission to either the Magic Kingdom or EPCOT. It was priced at $32.00 for adults, $30.00 for juniors (12-17) and $25.00 for children (3-11). There was also a 4 day passport and a 6 day Vacation Kingdom Passport which include entry into Discovery Island and River Country (both of which are now closed).
In 1984 Disney eliminated the junior price category and added an Annual Passport which sold for $125.00 for an adult. 1985 was the first year for special deals for Florida Residents.
In 1987 Disney lowered the age of children to 9. In 1989 Disney-MGM Studios (now called Disney Hollywood Studios), Typhoon Lagoon and Pleasure Island opened, but nothing really changed on the ticket front. Typhoon Lagoon and Pleasure Island had separate tickets.
Disney Ticket Prices crossed the $100.00 mark for a 4 day pass in 1990. Whew. The 4 Day World Passport cost $100.00 for adults.
In 1991 Disney introduced the 5 Day Super Duper Pass. It gave guests 5 days admission to the theme parks that never expired, and unlimited entry to Typhoon Lagoon, River Country, Discovery Island and Pleasure Island that expired 7 days after the pass was activated.
In 1992, Disney changed from the date stamped tickets (like the one to the left) to a notched ticket (like the one above). The 4 Day All Three Park Passport was replaced with a 4 Day Super Pass and a 4 Day Super Duper Pass.
In 1994 Disney started putting guests pictures on the passes. This lasted until 1996. They also discontinued selling World Passport tickets to outside guests and started selling 4 Day Park Hopper and a 5 Day World Hopper.
Since 1994 ticket prices have gone up every year. A pattern has developed. Over the last few years price increases happen the first Sunday in August. So you might want to grab a your tickets in July.
Except in 2011, Disney Ticket Prices went up in June. There was no warning. After 7 straight years of dependable Disney Ticket Prices going up in August, boom prices went up a whole bunch in June.
Since then, ticket prices have really gone up fast. A one-day ticket in 2011 was $85 and now you can expect to pay $107-124 or more for a one-day ticket, depending on the time of year and which park you are going to. In 2013, ticket prices were split with a higher cost for Magic Kingdom than the other parks, and in 2016, Peak-Regular-Value seasons for tickets were introduced.
Dad’s Bottom Line
It’s amazing to think that when Disneyland opened you could get in to the park for less than 50 cents. And Walt Disney World was $3.75 and the ticket book was $5.00. But even though the Disney Ticket prices keep skyrocketing, we still keep going.