How Disney World ticket prices surged 392% since 1971

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It starts with the blare of an early-morning alarm and a pair of sneakers that can withstand a day of walking. The agenda then might proceed as follows: a quick whip around Space Mountain to get your sea legs, a hair-raising tour of the Haunted Mansion, an aerial view of London from Peter Pan's perspective and a Mickey Mouse-shaped ice cream pop before the parade.

A staggering 148 million visitors frequented Disney theme parks worldwide in 2014, according to the Orlando Sentinel. Orlando's Disney World, aka the Magic Kingdom, was the most-visited theme park that year — attracting 19 million guests alone.

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How Disney World ticket prices surged 392% since 1971
The Cinderella Castle. (Photo by Alexandros Voutsas, Alamy)
Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Florida, USA. (Photo via Getty Images)
Monorail and Geosphere at Epcot Center in Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, USA. (Photo by Bill Brooks, Alamy)
Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Ilene MacDonald, Alamy)
Guests wait along Main Street USA for Mickey's 'Boo-To-You' Halloween Parade at Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom on Friday, Sept. 18, 2015. (Ricardo Ramirez Buxeda/Orlando Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images)
LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL - SEPTEMBER 18: In this handout photo provided by Disney Parks, actress Melissa Joan Hart poses with Buzz Lightyear at Magic Kingdom park on September 18, 2015 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Hart vacationed with her family at Walt Disney World Resort. (Photo by Chloe Rice/Disney Parks via Getty Images)
LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL - JULY 25: In this handout image provided by Disney Parks, Brian Willett (L) and Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic rock and roll down Big Thunder Mountain at Magic Kingdom on July 25, 2015 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. The 'I Lived' artists took a break from their tour to visit Walt Disney World Resort. (Photo by Mariah Wild/Disney Parks via Getty Images)
ORLANDO, FL - JUNE 12: General views of the Star Wars Weekend at Walt Disney World on June 12, 2015 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images)
LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL - APRIL 13: In this handout photo provided by Disney Parks, Tony Award-winning actor Alan Cumming poses with Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse at Magic Kingdom Park April 13, 2015 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Cumming, who turned 50 years old earlier this year, is celebrating his birthday with friends and family at Walt Disney World Resort. (Photo by Chloe Rice/Disney Parks via Getty Images)
LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL - FEBRUARY 20: In this handout photo provided by Disney Parks, country music artist Luke Bryan poses with cowboy Goofy in front of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Magic Kingdom on February 20, 2015 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Bryan visited the theme park with his family and friends during a break between the Orlando concerts on his 'That's My Kind of Night Tour 2015.' Magic Kingdom is one of four theme parks at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. (Photo by Chloe Rice/Disney Parks via Getty Images)
LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL - DECEMBER 09: In this handout photo provided by Disney Parks, a view of the parade during the taping of the Disney Parks 'Frozen Christmas Celebration' TV Special in the Magic Kingdom Park at the Walt Disney World Resort on December 9, 2014 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. The special will air on December 25, 2014. (Photo by Mark Ashman/Disney Parks via Getty Images)

It isn't called the happiest place on earth for nothing, and due to its unreal demand the price of an adult-admission Disneyland ticket has skyrocketed 9,400 percent over the last 60 years — from $1 in 1955 to $95 today — according to CNBC. And tickets to Disney World are even more expensive.

The team at MooseRoots, a genealogy and historical data visualization site that's part of the Graphiq network, wanted to take a closer look at Disney World's price progression. To do this, they used data aggregated from the leading Disney forum AllEars to obtain face-value ticket prices since Disney World's opening in 1971. Next, they used data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to calculate the inflation-adjusted price of a ticket each year in today's dollars.

Since the Magic Kingdom opened its gates for the first time in 1971, absolute ticket prices have climbed from $3.50 to $105, according to AllEars — representing a 2,900 percent increase. Comparing inflation-adjusted prices, the uptick represents a 392 percent change.

The introduction of Michael Eisner as CEO in 1984 was a major catalyst for Anaheim Disneyland price increases. According to Sacramento State University's timeline of Walt Disney Company events, Eisner believed Disneyland tickets should be on par with those of Broadway. Prices were subsequently increased to $56 to surpass the average Broadway ticket price at the time.

In February 2016, Disney World and Disneyland introduced surge pricing to the mix, increasing rates on high-demand days. The price difference between "value" days, or slower days for the park, and peak days shakes out to $17 per ticket at Disney World, with a regular-day ticket coming out to $102 as of publication for the month of May. For a family of four, the difference in attending the park on a value versus a peak day could be $68, not including food and merchandise purchases within the park's gates.

Over the 44 years since the Magic Kingdom opened, numerous noteworthy events happened for the Walt Disney Company. Tokyo Disneyland, Disneyland Paris, Hong Kong Disneyland, Disney's California Adventure, and Shanghai Disneyland joined the company's suite of parks. In terms of animation, Walt Disney Pictures entered the Disney Renaissance in 1989 with the release of "The Little Mermaid," which would quickly be followed by "Beauty and the Beast" in 1991, "The Lion King" in 1994, "Pocahontas" in 1995, "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" in 1996, "Hercules" in 1997 and "Mulan" in 1998.

The Walt Disney Company acquired Pixar Animation Studios for $7.4 billion in 2006 and LucasFilms for $4 billion in 2012. It celebrated a revival of its princess story arc with 2009's "The Princess and the Frog," 2010's "Tangled" and 2013's "Frozen," which took childhood delight in Disney animation to new heights.

Most recently, the 2015 release of the much-anticipated "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" continued the Star Wars story arc, with Walt Disney Studios planning to release two more sequels to the storyline that began in 1977 along with a handful of standalone origin stories, including "Star Wars: Rogue One," which has an anticipated release date of Dec. 16, 2016.

Although fluctuating prices can make it harder for families to plan their Disney vacations on a budget — or might make a trip unfeasible all together — thousands of park-goers still manage to flood Disney theme parks for a day spent among favorite characters, rides and company.

Compare More Prices Over Time on MooseRoots

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