Daily Mail Labels Walt Disney World As "Priciest Place On Earth"
It looks like the Mouse has annoyed the The Daily Mail. Why? The Daily Mail ran a front-page story labelling Walt Disney World dramatically as the "The priciest place on Earth". Clearly this writer has never been to Center Parcs. Quote: "a family of four hit with $8,480 tab for five-day Disney vacation as skyrocketing ticket prices and lack of cheaper options put this great American getaway out of reach for middle class folks".
I think we all here know that Walt Disney World is not a cheap holiday. It never was, and likely never will be. I have gone through a few quotes in this article and given my thoughts - keeping in mind I'm the owner of a Disney World fan site - to try and bring some realism to some of the complaints. I am speaking as someone who does visit Walt Disney World (from the UK of course) at least once per year generally 10-14 days a time, stays in a value resort (Pop is the best), but sometimes a moderate resort if there's a good Disney dining offer. Now, I know full well we have a few readers who don't like the direction Disney is going, who don't like the price increases because they're being priced out, and it's perfectly valid to be frustrated over that, but let's go through the some of the things this article says. I might ramble a bit, so be prepared!
Firstly, The Daily Mail are saying:
The four-day Park Hopper Ticket now costs a minimum of $540.89, and a four-day Park Hopper Plus ticket is now $559.53. At the same time, Disney is getting rid of cost-saving options like a free shuttle from the airport and free parking at its resorts.
Now, as a UK publication, I find it a bit bizarre they're focusing on the American ticket prices, seeing as we can buy 14-day Magic Tickets for around £500, which is cheaper in comparison. As for getting rid of perks like the Disney's Magical Express- there's no arguing there.
A Disney World vacation was once seen as the tradition getaway for the American middle class family, but it is increasingly slipping out of reach.
Upon further inspection, it looks like this piece was written for dailymail.COM (not dailymail.co.uk, even though it's on the front-page of the UK site) so it's USA focused, but posted on the front-page of the UK site, but i'll continue through the article describing this traditional American getaway.
Over the past few years, the prices of tickets for the amusement park have skyrocketed as executives continue to raise the price of food and begin catering to higher-paying clientele.
Maybe it's just my bias, but calling Walt Disney World an "amusement park" is rather disingenuous. Anyway, sadly, tickets prices will always go up. First, to reflect the "value" of them, second, supply and demand. While Disney do make a nice profit, you can't expect them to continue to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on new attractions (Rise of the Resistance, Guardians: Cosmic Rewind), and then assume that there's no extra value in the tickets. Is a $130 Hollywood Studios ticket worth the same without Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge and Toy Story Land? If Hovis put an extra 4 slices of bread in their loaves, you can't expect the cost would remain the same. (Yes, I just had a ham sandwich for lunch.) The food and beverage prices aren't always unreasonable, but they can be indeed. $5 for a Coke is absolutely nuts, though.
To make matters worse, Disney executives are eliminate cost-saving features at the theme parks, like a free shuttle from the airport and free parking for those staying on the premises.
Indeed that's true. Something I still don't personally understand. The strategy of keeping people in the Disney bubble no longer seems important for some reason.
All this is increasing squeezing budget-conscious families as the US Census shows the average family making $67,521 a year in 2020.
The article keeps pointing to "budget-conscious families". When has Disney World ever been a destination for "budget-conscious families"? Yes, you can for sure do Disney on a budget, but it's never been a "budget-friendly" holiday.
Big scary graph with emphasis on the massive 3000% increase number.
Did you know the price of a Freddo has increased 310% since the year 2000! Big numbers! (And in that time the chocolate is loads worse than it used to be, it's smaller, and 3x the price, yuk)!
$3700 on 5 days hotel? $3700!? That's $740/night! Are these budget-conscious families staying at the Grand Floridian? What is this?
Additionally parking fees that apply on the resort-owned land could add $15 to $25 per day.
The parking fees are awful, I agree. Coupled with the price of hiring a car being so expensive now, renting a car is super pricey and not the most budget-friendly way of travelling there anymore anyway. However, while the primary reason is to monetise every square inch of land, the parking charges are partially to help keep cars off the Disney roads to help stop some of the mad traffic.
Menu prices have also increased across the board - with a single cup of coffee costing $3.49 and a single churro $6.39.
Some of the food items - especially the novelty ones - can be pricey. I know it can be tough when your kids scream they want a Churro, but personally when they're priced that high, I just pass. As for the coffee, I don't remember a time when a Starbucks or a Costa costs less than £3.
And the cheapest resorts on the premises cost more than $200 a day.
Indeed, but again, budget-conscious families who can't or don't want to pay those rates, can stay off-site. There are lots of really good quality hotels and Villas in the area. You pay a premium to stay on-site no matter what it's for.
At nearby Universal Orlando, meanwhile, executives are lowering the costs of their four-day passes to Universal Studios and Universal's Islands of Adventure.
This is the beauty of competition. If Universal are more competitive, people will spend some of their vacation time over there. I know that's true, because that's exactly what I've been doing in recent years.
When Magic Kingdom first opened in 1971, the cost to enter was $3.50 for adults and $1 for children, according to Market Watch. When accounting for inflation, that would amount to just $24.98 for adults today, and $7.14 for children - about $100 less than an adult ticket costs today, or a more than 3,000 percent increase.
I don't think these people understand it's not the same park than it was in 1971.
'Disney has said publicly, but very apparently privately made the decision that it wants to court guests that spend more per day than guests used to spend,' Cochran previously told FOX Business.
This is true. The number #1 guest complaint is crowds. Their strategy has been reducing crowds by increasing prices, thus resulting in higher guest spend per day. Again, not saying I agree with the strategy - as it prices people out - but that's been policy for a little while now.
... and once inside the park, they spent another $300 on Genie Plus passes - which let them skip the line at some rides - and $950 on sit-down meals.
I said in my Genie+ speculation article that the attitude of needing Genie+ even day needs to change, it's not always required. You can ask many people who've been this year and they've said Genie+ was not needed on many of their days.
They also spent another $700 for souvenirs - fortunately not buying the limited-edition gold-plated Mickey ears which cost $1,000 each.
I can't imagine many budget-conscious families buying $1,000 ears, so why even go there?
I know these sorts of articles are published for the attention it gets from the ever-growing amount of people vocally unhappy with the price increases at Disney World. I find it quite strange to see it on the front page of the Daily Mail, though. Disney World is expensive. It always has been. I remember back in 2008 when I paid around £1800 for 2 weeks in Pop, flight, dining plan, tickets, and transport. But back then I thought that was expensive! You often can't even get just a flight for that these days in the summer holidays. You can't escape that the price of a magical Disney holiday will constantly go up unless something catastrophic happens (or Universal's third gate maybe). Many of us still love Disney World, even with it's currently staffing and shortage problems that's affecting the whole industry, but what we might see is a wave of people staying off-site instead. For those who do stay on-site though, at least you can (currently) get up to $1200 free Disney dining credit. The next couple years will be interesting to watch.
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