Prices Soar at the Happiest Place on Earth


Mark David Magat/The Skyline View

Walt Disney’s theme park, Disneyland, is commonly known as “the happiest place on earth”. But how much are you willing to spend in order to have a “magical” experience? After the recent ticket price increase in January, it is unreasonable to expect the average middle class family to be able to afford to visit.

Disneyland has become a staple vacation spot for many families over the years. The Disneyland Park located in Anaheim, California first opened July 17, 1955 with tickets costing $1 for adults, $0.50 for children, and an additional 10-30 cents per attraction. Along with the new attractions, a neighboring park, Disney’s California Adventure, opened in 2001.

The high popularity of Disneyland made it the second most visited theme park in 2017 at a little over 18 million visitors, following closely behind the Magic Kingdom of Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, according to CNN. Because of this popularity, crowd control for daily admission and the attempt to shorten lines for attractions and can come to play when the Disney decides to increase prices. Disneyland also seems to increase prices in anticipation for new attractions, such as the new themed land, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge coming later this year.

For the sixth year in a row, Disneyland has significantly raised ticket prices causing many people to be in an uproar, and rightfully so. One day and multi-day park tickets for one park per day and park hoppers have each risen around 6-10 percent depending on how many days, and peak season for one-day tickets. The new ticket price range from one day to five days including single park and park hopper is now anywhere between $104 and $395 per person.

Regular single and multi-day tickets were not alone in the price hike. The five different annual passes were also affected with an increase around 8-23 percent. This seems to be the most upsetting, especially for those who are already annual pass holders. These new prices range anywhere from $399 to $1,949. This has raised the question of who can even afford to go with these prices.

Exorbitant ticket prices are not the only financial concern to be taken into consideration when the average family budgets for a trip to the Disneyland Resort and the California Adventure Park. Although there is a large number of visitors from the southern California area who only have to worry about gas and parking when it comes to transportation, many families who visit these parks are traveling quite a distance. Flight tickets per person or car rentals along with gas, parking, and accommodations for however many days play large roles as well in a family’s budget.

Expenses don’t stop after travel, lodge, and tickets. Prices inside the parks can be equally unreasonable. Food, especially for a family, can easily start racking up each day. Not only paying for each meal, but paying for the variety of sweets and treats found in small carts scattered through the parks. The perfect way to improve the long wait for attractions under the beaming sun: lots of snacks and ice cold drinks.

Last but certainly not least is the ample amount of Disney merchandise and souvenirs geared toward children and adults that can be found in a multitude of stores in each park. These items can cost an excessive amount for something that would be considered an average-to-cheap product if it did not have a Disney label.

After adding all of the many expenses that come with a Disneyland trip, an average family would need to budget a few thousand dollars, which is quite expensive for a few days. These prices will only continue to rise year by year because Disney knows people will keep going. How much is your wallet willing to shell out at the “happiest place on Earth”? If enough people bring awareness to these unaffordable prices, perhaps Disney can create solutions for every budget, such as family discounts or sale days during off season.