Disneyland in Anaheim, California © AFP PHOTO/Hector MATA

Disneyland in Anaheim, California © AFP PHOTO/Hector MATA

There’s a lot of grumbling about the happiest place on earth following news that Disney is hiking admission prices in an effort to ease traffic during peak season.

Introduced this week, Disney’s new tiered system for one-day tickets will make visits to the parks more expensive during peak periods like spring break, the winter holidays and weekends, compared to a random weekday in October.

Prices are split across three categories – value, regular and peak – and schedules will be made available online eight to 11 months in advance.

In a blog post, Disney said the move is aimed at easing congestion at the parks during peak season.

The new pricing is also in anticipation of upcoming attractions that are expected to draw huge crowds such as Avatar, Toy Story and Star Wars-themed lands.

In April, Disney’s Hollywood Studios will debut a new stage show entitled “Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away,” that will play out iconic moments from the film saga, as part of the ongoing roll-out that will end with the opening of the dedicated Star Wars theme park.

But fans are expressing their displeasure at the new pricing scheme, pointing out that the parks are becoming increasingly unaffordable.

“Such a shame. It was already expensive. This just pushes it over the top. I can travel to Europe for less than a Disney vacation,” reads a comment in response to the Disney blog post.

Over on Twitter, another disgruntled fan pointed out that the price hike comes following the closure of many long-standing attractions.

“I’m a massive #Disney fan, but @Disneyland & @WaltDisneyWorld how do you justify the price increase w/ so many attraction closures?”

Indeed, a total of 10 attractions face the chopping block at Disneyland in Anaheim alone, to make way for the Star Wars theme park, including Big Thunder Ranch in Frontierland, Big Thunder Ranch Barbecue, Big Thunder Ranch petting zoo and Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree.

Other attractions on the Rivers of America such as Fantasmic, the Mark Twain Riverboat, the Sailing Ship Columbia, the Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island, the Disneyland Railroad and the Davy Crockett Explorer Canoes will also close temporarily.

Disneyland Paris has already been selling tiered ticket prices, while Shanghai Disneyland will also be selling tiered tickets when the box office opens March 28.

Here’s a breakdown of new ticket pricing for Walt Disney World in Orlando:
Value days for Magic Kingdom will cost $105 for adults, $99 for children between the ages of 3 to 9
Regular days will be $110 adults, $104 for children
Peak days $124 adults, $118 for children

Disneyland in California
Value days $95 for adults, $89 for children between 3 and 9
Regular days $105 for adults, $99 for children
Peak days $119 for adults, $113 children

At both parks, children under three are free