Disneyland is raising food prices. blame inflation

Even within the walls of the happiest place on earth, there is no way to escape inflation.

Disneyland patrons entering the park are used to tolerating daily tickets, annual passes, and regular price increases for parking. They have accepted a new fee for skipping lines at the most popular attractions.

And it’s costing them more once they move in, with food and drink prices rising 12% over the past two years.

The Mint Julep, which sold for $4.99 in 2020, now costs $5.49. The Angus Beef Burger, which sold for $14.49 two years ago, now costs $15.49. A drink called Tatooine Sunset climbed from $5.49 to $5.99 in the same period.

Some customers have also complained of shrinkage — a Disney executive suggested during an earnings report last year that could be enacted to help save money, but the company denies doing so.

With the hit of inflation, the prices rise four decade highThis prompted the Federal Reserve to aggressively raise interest rates to suppress it.

For Disneyland fans, the extra meals come on top of a surge in costs ticket prices, up 8% as much as last year, and parking, which grew 20%. The new skip-the-line fee, introduced in December 2021, adds $7 to $20 per ride for those who pay it.

Some say they are fed up.

“I’ve certainly seen prices go up, and ‘price floors’, depending on the dish, getting higher and higher,” said Hastin Zilstra, a longtime theme park fan in Santa Ana.

He was particularly upset when he recently paid $12 for a sandwich with no side dishes at Disney California Adventure’s Sonoma Terrace restaurant. “No chips or anything,” Zilstra raged.

Disneyland representatives noted that the resort is dealing with the same economic stress facing grocery stores and restaurants. Food prices across the country increased by 10.5% in the 12 months ended June, according to US Bureau of Labor Statistics,

They also state that park visitors can, with a few exceptions, bring their own food and non-alcoholic beverages into the park.

The Times’ review of six Disneyland and California Adventure Park menus over the past two years showed some decline in food prices. Apple juice dropped from $2.69 to $1.99 at the Galactic Grill at Disneyland. The funnel cake at Disneyland’s Hungry Bear restaurant fell from $8.99 to $7.49.

Of the other foods on the menu in both 2020 and 2022, prices increased by almost as much as remained flat.

Disneyland executives say food portions at the park have not changed, following a comment made during a November 2021 earnings report by senior executive vice president and chief financial officer Christine McCarthy about ways the company is fighting the effects of inflation. Despite.

,[T]There are a lot of things here that are worth talking about,” she said in response to a question from an analyst. “We can accommodate suppliers. We can substitute products. We can cut down on portion sizes, which is probably good for some people’s waistlines. We can look at pricing where necessary.”

Some park visitors say they have seen portion cuts.

In the second quarter of 2022, the Walt Disney Company segment that includes theme parks generated revenue of $6.7 billion, compared to $3.2 billion in the same period in the prior year, shortly after the parks reopened from the pandemic. .

According to Disney’s earnings report, “the increase in guest spending was due to an increase in average per capita ticket revenue, higher average daily hotel room rates, and an increase in food, beverage and merchandise spending.”

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

“In our industry, yes, food prices have increased to accommodate the cost of food and labor, but honestly it is no different than any restaurant on the street,” said Ken, a food consultant and president for the theme park industry. Whiting said. International Assn. Amusement parks and attractions.

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

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

On a handful of foods like churros and popcorn, Disneyland prices are higher than prices at rival parks such as Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park and Universal Studios Hollywood.

In theme parks, such as grocery stores, managers do not pass along consistent price increases across all foods, but instead raise prices on foods that would not prompt a strong pushback from consumers, a theme park consultant said. Said John Gerner and Managing Director at Leisure Business Advisors.

Industry experts say rising prices of certain foods, such as Christmas cookies or seasonal offerings such as Halloween drinks, will not fuel consumer anger as much as increases on more niche items such as hamburgers and soft drinks.

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

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