Alright everyone, time to state some facts. Did you know that on opening day of Magic Kingdom in 1971, it cost a mere $3.50 to enter into the park? Sure, things were different 45 years ago, but that still does not alter the fact that ticket prices for Walt Disney World have increased tremendously in years past.
Today, Walt Disney World has changed the way that people can purchase single day theme park tickets. They have now changed to tiered pricing, meaning that different times of the year will be split up into three separate categories – value, regular, and peak. Value, of course, is the cheapest bang for your buck. However, there is a catch. There is only a handful of times that Walt Disney World considers to be value pricing. Surprise surprise.
Now, before we get into the logistics of pricing and all that fun stuff, let’s go back in time. More specifically, the 1950’s, when Walt Disney had a vision, a dream, and a mouse.
Missouri Native, Walt Disney moved to California in 1923 with nothing but a dream. Walt was exposed to a lot of heartbreak, a lot of struggle, and a lot of financial problems throughout his life and career. It was years before Walt found success in animation. Walt was rarely ever satisfied with his success, and was always reaching for more. He felt the need to branch out from his successful motion pictures and television programs, and that feeling led him to the creation of Disneyland.
It all started with Walt’s fascination with amusement parks. He would often look for things to do during his off time with his two young daughters, and it seemed like he soon exhausted his options. He visited zoos, carnivals, and everything else in between, but was never truly satisfied. Walt always ended up on the sideline, sitting on the bench, watching his young daughters enjoy themselves in the dirty and ragged parks. This made Walt think. What if there was a place to go that was designed to entertain people of all ages? He felt there should be a park where both parents and their children could go and have a good time… together. This, my friends, is what sparked the idea of Disneyland.
Walt once said, “What this country really needs is an amusement park that families can take their children to. They’ve gotten so honky tonk with a lot of questionable characters running around, and they’re not to safe. They’re not well kept. I want to have a place that’s as clean as anything could ever be, and all the people in it are first-class citizens, and treated like guests.” Key words, a park that families can take their children to.
The average family in the United States is made up of 3-4 kids. As of 2015, it would cost on average $4,052 for a family of four to vacation in Walt Disney World for four nights. That number even increased since then with the introduction of tiered pricing. I don’t know about you, but that seems a bit steep for the average family to take their children to a park. Just about every year since it’s opening (I’m serious, every. single. year.), these parks have seen price increases to the single day, and park hopper tickets. The price increases started out small, anywhere from $.50 – $2.00. However, in more recent years, these price hikes were closer to $4.00 and $6.00 per year. In my opinion, this seems to be steering far, far, far, far away from Walt’s vision for this magical and happy place.
Both Disneyland and Walt Disney World are supposed to be run on imagination, not be driven on money. Walt Disney himself said, “Disneyland is a work of love. We didn’t go into Disneyland just with the idea of making money.” I mean, come on people. The reason we HAVE these wonderful and special places is because of Walt Disney. Shouldn’t we remain true to his vision? I guarantee you that he would be turning in his grave if he saw the prices of admission to a Disney park today. These prices are simply not practical, and taking away the opportunity for so many people to experience what is in my opinion, the greatest place on earth. Shouldn’t something this wonderful, this magical, this truly special be shared with all?
It makes me sad thinking that my children will most likely not be able to grow up going to Walt Disney World the way that I once did. I went several times a year, for many years. When I was young, admission was close to $30.00-$40.00 for an adult. All of my fondest memories happened because of Walt Disney World, and it makes me sad to think that unless I am either working for the mouse, or living in the upper class, I will not be able to take my family to Walt Disney World as often as I would like.
Walt Disney is one of my biggest inspirations, and a reason for that is because of his perseverance, and his humble heart. Each and every day that I was lucky enough to be a Walt Disney World Cast Member, I thought about Walt Disney, and all that he did for my favorite company. Backstage at the Polynesian Resort, there was one large blown up black and white picture of Walt Disney that I passed every single day of work. Sometimes, I would stop, read the quote, and just remind myself of why I am here. Not every day was filled with magic, but seeing Walt backstage always gave me that boost that I needed. I was always reminded of the values of this amazing company, and that is unfortunately often overshadowed by the constant price hikes.
It seems that every time Walt Disney World is now in the news, it is the outcome of a recent price increase, or some other way that the parks are trying to make money. It’s really a shame that Walt’s greatness, hard work, and complete vision is slowly being forgotten, not only in the public eye, but within the company as well.