Sunday, August 9, 2020 Edition: U.S. & World | Regional

Disney’s 2018 Price Hike. It’s Actually a Better Deal.

What! Walt Disney World raised their prices again! This would be an affirmative for those who don’t already know. But Disney isn’t out to gouge their valued guests. As the cost of doing business continues to rise it only makes sense. They had little choice. But. Don’t cancel any future vacations plans just yet, there’s a whole lot more to this story.

Disney has announced two new rides, Alien Swirling Saucers, and Slinky Dog Roller Coaster, which will be operational in May 2018. The announcement of a new park, Days of Disney Past, has the kid in every adult foaming at the mouth for a taste of yesterday. But by far the biggest and most unexpected change this year has been… wait for it… the addition of every nationality’s favorite stress reliever being added to their dining plans. Alcohol.
Alien Swirling Saucers
When Disney first announced their monumental adult-beverage move, skeptics feared the cost of a meal with alcohol would be astronomical. Perhaps as much as $10 to $15 dollars per meal depending on the Disney meal plan. Consider this extra cost for two adults over a four or five-day stay and it would pay all of their monthly utility bills. But the skeptics were incorrect.

Sure meal prices went up but this was expected. But they didn’t increase nearly as high as the negative-Nellies had anticipated. The cost of the 2017 Quick Service Disney Dining Plan was $48.19 per adult. In 2018 it jumped to $52.49, an increase of only $4.13. One mixed drink in any bar in America will cost you more than that.

The 2018 Standard Disney Dining Plan jumped from $69.35 to $75.49, or $6.14. The Deluxe Disney Dining Plan increased by $9.56, from $106.68 to $116.24. All things considered, this isn’t bad at all. Have two or three drinks with your meal and you’ll be way ahead of the game.
Disney Dining Plan
Let’s see how all this plays out. On average, a mixed drink in a non-Disney bar or restaurant costs anywhere between $8-10 dollars. Even with the Deluxe Disney Dinner Plan, the increase in price is only $9.56. On the lower end of the scale, the Quick Service Dinner Plan only increased by $4.13. Assuming a drink costs $10 on the outside, two drinks on the Quick Service Plan will save $15.87. A four-night stay with two drinks per night is a savings of $63.48.

If wine is your drink of choice, Walt Disney World has quite a collection from which to choose. Considering a good glass of wine generally sells for around $20.00 in a restaurant, two glasses per night can save as much as $35.87. Once again looking at an average Disney stay of four nights the savings are much more significant, more than doubling the savings of consuming mixed drinks, at $143.48.

Disney has raised prices at all of their restaurants throughout the park but this was only done in defense of rising expenses. The little money made from the sale of alcohol will hardly buy a box of Milk Bones for Pluto. It’s kind of like having a drink or two on them. Salute!
Disney Alcohol
At the service counter restaurants throughout the Magic Kingdom where the majority of guests spend their time, alcohol will not be on the menu. Those who fear drunks are going to be stumbling around the grounds creating havoc in front of their kids need not worry. They are not going to find curled up or passed out people sprawled out on benches or tossing their cookies on Space Mountain. In fact, unless they happen to already know about Walt Disney World serving adult beverages they will more than likely remain none the wiser.

Despite what appears to be a better value when properly analyzed, some Disney fans are not buying into it. For those who don’t drink alcohol and would prefer a coke or lemonade with their meals instead of some fancy-schmancy specialty drink, all they see are the extra dollars they’ll have to spend. For them, there is no extra benefit. But, let’s face it, prices of everything only go up over time.

Families visiting the park with “Disney adults” who have not yet reached the legal drinking age of 21, must still pay the increased adult price even though they can’t partake in drinking alcohol. To better accommodate these guests Disney has added a slew of non-alcohol infused specialty drinks. Since the specialty drinks are alcohol-free, they don’t cost nearly as much as a mixed drink or glass of wine making it much more difficult to realize significant savings, though it still makes all of Disney’s available dinner plans a better deal.
Some people have speculated that Disney dining plans may have experienced lower sales which is the reason for them trying something new. Rising costs were surely a factor, but it could go much deeper than that. Orlando is a huge city with multitudes of fine dining establishments, bars, nightclubs, and a nightlife which rivals any city of its size. By adding alcohol, Disney executives may figure this move will keep more people on premises and away from the competition sitting right out front of their main gates.

Disney veterans are trying to get over the initial sticker shock. But a quick look shows that the new pricing is actually a good thing, if they regularly sign up for one of the dining plans. Especially if a highball or a martini is their drink of choice. There is no longer the need for smuggling a bottle of double-malt scotch into their room.
Orlando Big City
By all means, if you’re accustomed to taking advantage of the Disney dining plans and the amazing world class meals served on premise, do what you’ve always done. Reserve your Disney vacation now. All in all, the new plans offer increased value and not the other way around.

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