It’s hard to ignore that Disney parks have gotten more and more expensive over the years, especially after they reopened during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
A new report from The bustle found that the average cost of family vacations has increased by two to three times the rate of inflation. Steven Martinez, a customer service specialist in Los Angeles, had to break a promise to his children after reviewing the cost of a Disneyland Resort vacation.
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“Just for a day in the park and a night at the hotel, we were looking for over $1,000 and that didn’t even include food,” he said. The bustle. “I had to explain to the kids that Mickey wasn’t in dad’s budget.”
The report analyzes the cost of various family outings from 1960 to 2022 – and how much an average American family has to work to afford them. For Disneyland, the report excludes the cost of airfare and food, focusing instead on:
- Two child tickets (one day)
- Two adult tickets (one day)
- Car park
- A one-night stay at the Disneyland Hotel
Adjusted for inflation since 1960, a one-day ticket to Disneyland Park should cost $54.81 for an adult and $35.06 for a child. Instead, they cost $149 and $141 respectively.
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For one night at the Disneyland Hotel, guests can expect to pay around $445. In 1960, a night cost $18, or $178, after adjusting for inflation.
The cost of parking at Disneyland Resort has increased by 13.5 times the rate of inflation. In 1960, parking cost 25 cents or $2.47 adjusted for inflation. Today it costs $30.
Scott Smith, assistant professor of hospitality at the University of South Carolina, spoke with The Washington Post on Disneyland Resort’s cost increase in 2015. Prices have risen exponentially since then, but even then Smith felt that Walt Disney would “probably be uncomfortable with the prices they charge at this time”.
Of course, Disneyland Resort has added dozens of attractions, entertainment offerings, restaurants and experiences – even a brand new theme park, Disney California Adventure – since 1960. This naturally increases operating costs, which makes it logical that the price of Disney vacations should grow at a rate higher than inflation.
However, The bustle argues that since Disneyland has received around $500 million in government grants over the years, “one would expect a little more generosity in price sensitivity for visitors”.
In 1960, a family of four would have had to work 26.1 hours to earn a Disneyland vacation. Now two minimum-wage parents would have to work 72.8 hours each, a 299% increase over 62 years.
Do you feel like you were kicked out of Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resort?