It's not just Disney+ raising prices on Dec. 8. It will also get more expensive to visit Walt Disney's (DIS 1.09%) flagship Florida resort that day. Disney World announced higher price points for single-day tickets and annual passes on Wednesday. The stiffer cover charges will go into effect on the same day that the ad-free version of Disney+ is getting a 38% boost for its monthly subscriptions. 

A one-day admission for any of the resort's four theme parks currently sets visitors back between $109 to $159, depending on seasonality. The busier the period, the costlier the turnstile click. In a couple of weeks the ticket prices will vary by the actual gated attraction. Disney's Animal Kingdom -- the least visited of the four Florida parks last year according to industry tracker Themed Entertainment Association -- will stay in that range, but the other three destinations will move higher. Those single-day passes will start at $114 to $124, moving as high as $179 to $189 during peak holiday periods.   

Annual passes are getting a similar makeover. The cheapest pass -- the Pixie Pass that only includes select weekday visits during seasonally sleepy periods -- will stay at $399 a year. It's only available for Florida residents, and it's currently the only annual ticket that Disney is selling to new buyers. The other three year-round passes that are only available for renewals will cost between $749 and $1,399 on Dec. 8, a $50 to $100 price hike. 

Mickey Mouse in front of the Magic Kingdom castle.

Image source: Disney.

The mouse out front should've told you

Rising admission prices are old hat for the Mickey Mouse company. Annual pass prices for most of the year-round admissions are going up roughly 7%, in line with the U.S. inflation rate. Single-day tickets climbing between 0% and 19% is more extreme, but it's just another way for the world's largest theme park operator to nudge visitors away from its busiest holiday periods. 

The timing is bittersweet. Announcing hikes ahead of the resort's busiest season makes sense, but it also comes at a time when the media giant is telegraphing job cuts and hiring freezes to shave costs after a poorly received quarterly report last week. It's hard to justify higher prices when you're attempting to rein in expenditures. 

If you're looking for a silver lining -- as a visitor -- it's that one-day tickets will now automatically include park reservations, a sticking point with the system that Disney World and Disneyland put into place during the reopening after pandemic-related shutdowns. Charging more for each of the four different parks isn't new. Disney World had just shifted away from that pricing approach when the resort reopened in the summer of 2020. 

Guests will keep coming. Domestic theme park revenue has risen 44% over the past year, with the entire segment's operating profits growing even faster. Visitors know that they're paying more. Revenue per capita has risen just 6% over the past year but is up a whopping 40% over pre-pandemic levels. 

There will naturally be a point when Disney prices out too many of its diehard customers, but for now demand hasn't been an issue. The international market is finally back to pre-pandemic levels in terms of guest mix at the parks, and consumers are facing higher prices just about everywhere once they leave the Disney bubble.

Like all travel and tourism companies, Disney's theme parks aren't immune to the economic and geopolitical hiccups that could derail the recovery. Pricing elasticity can only stretch so far before it creates a void in demand. Shareholders may cheer higher prices, but that only works as long as mouse-eared guests keep paying them.