Disneyland has been raising food prices. Blame inflation

Even within the walls of the Happiest Place on Earth, no inflation can escape.

Disneyland patrons who enter the park are used to being subject to frequent price increases on daily tickets, annual tickets, and parking spaces. They have accepted a new fee to skip the line on the most popular attractions.

And they also have to spend more when inside, with food and drink prices up 12% in the past two years.

A mint julep that sold for $4.99 in 2020 now costs $5.49. An Angus beef sandwich that sold for $14.49 two years ago is now $15.49. The drink called Tatooine Sunset has increased from $5.49 to $5.99 over the same period.

Some customers have also complained of shrinking portions – something a Disney executive suggested in last year’s earnings report could be enacted to help save money, but the company denies. this.

The price hike comes as inflation has hit a four-decade high, prompting the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates aggressively in an attempt to quell it.

For Disneyland fans, the cost of dining is added to by soaring ticket prices, which went up 8% last year, and parking fees, up 20%. The new transit fee, introduced in December 2021, adds $7 to $20 per trip for those paying the fee.

Some said they were fed up.

Hastin Zylstra, a longtime Santa Ana amusement park fan, said: “I definitely notice that prices are going up and the ‘price floor’ depending on the dish, getting higher and higher.

He was particularly upset when he recently had to pay $12 for a sandwich at the Sonoma Terrace restaurant at Disney California Adventure, with no toppings. “No fries or anything,” smoked Zylstra.

Disneyland representatives noted that the resort is dealing with the same economic stresses faced by grocery stores and restaurants. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, food prices nationwide rose 10.5% in the 12 months ended June.

They also point out that park visitors may bring food and non-alcoholic beverages into the park, with some exceptions.

A Times review of six Disneyland and California Adventure Park menus over the past two years shows that food prices have dropped by a few. Apple juice at Galactic Grill at Disneyland is down from $2.69 to $1.99. The funnel cake at Hungry Bear Restaurant at Disneyland is down from $8.99 to $7.49.

Among other food items on the menu for both 2020 and 2022, there were roughly a range of price increases but unchanged.

Disneyland officials said food rations were unchanged, despite remarks made in the November 2021 earnings report by Christine McCarthy, senior executive vice president and chief financial officer, about how the company is doing business. can withstand the effects of inflation.

“[T]this is a lot to talk about,” she said in response to an analyst’s question. “We can adjust suppliers. We can replace the product. We can cut portions, which can be good for some people’s waistlines. We can review pricing as needed.”

Some visitors to the park say they have noticed a partial reduction.

During the second quarter of 2022, the Walt Disney Company’s segment including theme parks brought in $6.7 billion in revenue, compared with $3.2 billion in the same period a year earlier, shortly after the parks opened. reopening after the pandemic.

“Guest spending growth was driven by increased ticket sales per capita, higher average daily hotel room rates, and increased spending on food, beverages, and merchandise,” according to Disney’s earnings report. .

The theme park price hike isn’t just limited to Disneyland. Higher labor costs, rising fuel prices and inflation along with supply chain problems have pushed up food prices at theme parks across the country, according to industry experts.

“In our industry, food prices have increased to accommodate food and labor costs,” said Ken Whiting, a food consultant for the amusement parks industry and president. but honestly, it’s no different from any restaurant on the street. by International Assn. of Amusement Parks and Landmarks.

At the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood, Butterbeer, a soft drink flavored with soda ice cream and butterscones, sold for $5.50 when the park opened in 2016 ($6.50). for frozen version). All versions of Butterbeer are on sale today for $8.00, a 45% increase in price.

A spokesperson for Universal Studios Hollywood said: “In line with the food service industry, we adjust prices based on market conditions.

For some food items like churros and popcorn, Disneyland’s prices are outperformed by those at rival parks like Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park and Universal Studios Hollywood.

John Gerner, a theme park consultant and managing director at Leisure Business Advisors.

Industry experts say raising prices on certain foods, such as seasonal products like Christmas cookies or Halloween drinks, will not fuel consumer anger as much as an increase prices on more typical items like burgers and soft drinks.

Theme park managers “are in a dilemma right now,” he said. “They’re feeling their way to all these questions.”

https://www.latimes.com/business/story/2022-07-30/disneyland-has-been-raising-food-prices-blame-inflation Disneyland has been raising food prices. Blame inflation

Edmund DeMarche

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