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Tokyo Disneyland often refers to itself as “The Kingdom of Dreams.” But while all those costumed performers, parades, and fireworks might seem like something out of a dreamlike fantasy, Disney fans in Japan are having to deal with a stark economic reality, as this spring admission at both Tokyo Disneyland and its sister park Disney Sea are set to jump for the second year in a row.

Oriental Land, the Japanese corporation that owns and operates the Tokyo Disney Resort, announced the change last Thursday. Prices will increase for every type of admission package, including single and multi-day tickets, as well as annual passes, and will affect guests of all ages.

Single-day, single-park tickets will rise from 6,400 yen (US$54) to 6,900 yen for adults, from 5,500 to 6,000 yen for visitors 12 to 17-years-old, and from 4,200 to 4,500 yen for kids aged four to 11. Even Grandma and Grandpa will have to pay more, as senior admission will increase from 5,700 to 6,200 yen. The new prices go into effect on April 1, meaning that travelers coming to the Tokyo Disney Resort during the spring Golden Week vacation period will take the extra hit in the wallet.

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This is Oriental Land’s second year in a row to raise admission prices. Last year, in response to a nationwide consumption tax hike in which the rate jumped from five percent to eight, adult admission rose 200 yen. In fact, the Tokyo Disney Resort has been steadily raising its prices for more than a decade, with the latest announcement being the fourth bump since 2000 and representing more than a 25-percent spike in adult admission since tickets cost just 5,500 yen in the summer of that year.

At times, Disney seems so widely loved and respected that the company and its business partners can do no wrong in the eyes of the Japanese public. This time, though, online commenters seem a bit steamed at the country’s most popular theme parks.

“Seriously?!”
“I knew this was coming.”
“Didn’t they just raise prices?”
“For two adults, by the time you factor in highway tolls, parking and meals, you’re looking at 20,000 yen. You can’t just go there on a whim anymore.”
“It totally feels like they’re squeezing us.”
“Eh, I’d still be OK if it cost 10,000 yen to get in. It’s not like you’re going to go there more than once a year anyway.”

We can sympathize with would-be park-goers who’re feeling the pinch, especially those who’d be paying for their kids or date. Still, the harsh truth is that completely discretionary services like theme park admission sell for exactly however much people are willing to pay for them. Remember how Oriental Land raised its prices last year? It hasn’t hurt their bottom line, either in attendance revenues or the amount of merchandise people are buying once they get into the parks.

Tokyo Disneyland and Disney Sea aren’t the only theme parks looking to bolster their ticket take, either. Central Japan’s biggest amusement park, Osaka’s Universal Studios Japan, is also raising its adult ticket prices from 6,980 yen to 7,200.

▼ We guess the food bill for the park’s two Titans isn’t cheap.

If it’s any consolation, Tokyo Disneyland and Disney Sea are still far cheaper than their western counterparts. Adult tickets to the original Disneyland and California Adventure go for US$96, and Florida’s Magic Kingdom charges a staggering US$99. Even admission to France’s Euro Disney costs 65 Euros, currently the equivalent of US$74, making all four parks much costlier than the two Japanese options.

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Still, an extra 500 yen per adult is nothing to sneeze at. We understand Oriental Land is running a business, but if we’re shelling out more for tickets, we’d appreciate it if they could add a wash and wax to those Tokyo Disneyland parking lot vehicle safety inspections.

Sources: Sankei News, J-Cast via Jin (1, 2)
Images: Tokyo Disney Resort