Disney spent a lot of money to build Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. And now, to replenish its coffers — what we can only assume are a Scrooge McDuck-style mountain of gold coins — Disney World is raising prices on annual passes to the storied Orlando park — by a lot — two and a half months before the new park opens. And yet, is Star Wars really the cause if this increase?
On Wednesday, Disney World increased the cost of its Platinum Plus passes by 23 percent; It’ll cost now you $1,219 for one pass versus the $994 you would have paid yesterday. As per usual, Florida residents are eligible for a discount. Sunshine Staters can buy the same pass for $999, an 18 percent increase from the previous going rate of $849. And speaking of Florida residents, they have exclusive access to the cheapest (and most weirdly specific) option — admission to Epcot after 4:00 p.m. — increased from $289 to $309.
Epcot is all about what 1970s Walt Disney imagined the future would be like, not what 1970s George Lucas imagined what a galaxy far, far away a long time ago was like. Similarly, a pass to Epcot has nothing to do with Galaxy’s Edge, which suggests that these raises are better understood as part of a long-term trend, not a one-time occasion.
According to a Disney fan site, the premium annual pass in May 2009 cost $599, meaning it has more than doubled over the past decade. Similarly, the price of a one day ticket went from $75 then to $159 as of its last increase in March.
So while it’s tempting to blame Harrison Ford for the added pressure on your family vacation budget, what’s really happening is likely that Disney is fulfilling its capitalist imperative: Charging as much as it can without hurting attendance which, given the sky-high demand to visit the Skywalkers, doesn’t appear to be in any danger.