The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

Disney plans for a magical comeback

Sprinkling pixie dust over expectations
Marlena Reinshagen
A guest wants to find something new to explore and experience at Disneyland. Mickey Mouse presents the plan for the Disneyland expansion.

A scorching summer day in “The Happiest Place on Earth” could never be better. Various attractions are temporarily closed, wait times are at an all-time high, and you want the Mickey ice cream bar. But it costs $6.25.

Disney has the most visited theme parks in the world. Despite the frustration towards Disney’s pricing, especially in peak season, and the complexities of systems meant to benefit guests, crowds continue to grow and return to the parks. 

Disney is expanding its properties in Disneyland Anaheim and California Adventure to combat competition and excruciating wait times.

Happiness comes at a price

Disney has been unpredictable with their surge pricing. Tickets for a family of four (ages ten and up) costs $1,160 for two days in the middle of June. This does not even cover the travel expenses, food, merchandise, and accommodations, which skyrockets the vacation price. 

“When you do the math, it’s just too much,” said Tony Tatad, a former Disney Vacation Club (DVC) Guide. 

Families find themselves priced out of the magical experience altogether. 

“I love the parades, fireworks, and the characters at Disney. But the pricing is out of control,” said Nicole Roberts, an annual pass holder who lives in the Bay Area.

Pricing isn’t the only issue. It’s also crowd control.

Disney developed Genie+, a system designed for crowd control, requiring guests to pay to bypass lines. Roberts expresses frustration with how stressful the planning is. However, Genie+ isn’t the only complicated system that guests dislike. A virtual queue replaces the standby line if a ride is so popular. 

“I have to be on my phone all day instead of enjoying the parks. And when I don’t have Genie+, I am limited to what rides I can do. It takes away the fun,” Roberts said. 

According to Tatad, the Genie+ system was implemented so parks would not be overcrowded during peak seasons. 

“There used to be times when no one was allowed to buy any more tickets, and we had sold over capacity,” Tatad said.

In addition to the costly park prices, the hotels are also extremely expensive.

“Accommodations at Disney are so expensive. A premium resort can be around $600 to $800 a night for just a regular hotel room,” Tatad said.

Guests like AJ Wolfe, the owner of Disney Food Blog Guide (DFBGuide), notice how crowds continue growing despite dissatisfaction with recent changes.

“Disney is a business based on supply and demand. If the demand is still high, and so high that the parks sometimes cap out, then Disney has every incentive to keep increasing prices and removing perks until the demand evens out,” said Wolfe.

The mouse strikes back

Because of high demand and the hope of making people stay longer, Disney is creating expansions to enhance the guest experience called Disneyland Forward. New lands, shops, hotels, parking options, and restaurants are hinted to come to Disneyland and California Adventure in the coming years. 

The Anaheim City Council officially approved Disneyland Forward on May 7, 2024, and Disney will begin construction next month. 

The big expansion in Disneyland should bring more people in, but it remains to be seen just what exactly will be done.

— AJ Wolfe

According to the City of Anaheim, which oversees Disney’s development and planning, the expansion will redeploy land that Disney already owns.

“Disney needs to stay fresh to attract guests. For the people who go to Disney frequently, Disney must stay relevant. Disney has created a desirable brand that combats competition,” said Jennifer Avila, a DVC member since 2016.

Additionally, some themed lands Disney plans to construct include “Tangled,” “Peter Pan,” “Frozen,” “Zootopia,” “Avatar,” “TRON,” “Toy Story,” and a new area dedicated to shopping and dining, as well as more hotels. However, nothing has been confirmed about how the $1.9 billion will be spread out.

“Because the expansion will bring high demand, the parks will bring in a new demographic of kids whose favorite movies have not been involved in other parks,” said Carlmont sophomore Sadie Schneider. 

To the future and beyond

Even though Disney is raising prices over time, people can get more value out of their money with these new lands and attractions. 

“Disney is constantly in the works to keep families coming back and drawing new guests in,” Tatad said.

In past years, every time a new attraction, land, or hotel opens, Disney sees an increase in revenue. According to Disney’s financial earnings for the second quarter, domestic theme park revenue increased by 7% in 2024 compared to 2023. 

“Any time you add new things to a Disney park, you’ll see a surge in interest,” Wolfe said.

However, Disneyland experienced a decrease in revenues this past quarter. Although more people came to the parks, they stayed for shorter periods. 

It remains to be seen whether or not the expansion will be effective, but anticipation is high. 

“Disney is the ultimate storyteller. The parks will never be completed,” Tatad said.

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About the Contributors
Lara Ibasco
Lara Ibasco, Staff Writer
Lara Ibasco (Class of 2026) is a sophomore at Carlmont High School. This is her first year in journalism. She hopes to be more involved with her community this year. She enjoys cooking, baking, traveling, and spending time with friends and family.
Marlena Reinshagen
Marlena Reinshagen, Staff Writer
Marlena Reinshagen (Class of 2026) is in her sophomore year at Carlmont and is a Staff Writer for Scot Scoop. She loves writing about culture and art and spends a lot of her free time drawing. Outside of school, you can find her singing, drawing, reading, and attempting to bake overly complex food.

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