The High Cost of Entering the Magic Kingdom

I have distinct, fond memories of being a kid and being taken to Disney’s Magic Kingdom by my parents, who didn’t earn a lot of money and must have saved their pennies for quite some time to take my family to Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif. There are photos of me wearing Mickey Mouse ears wearing a big grin on my face somewhere that I will share one day if I can find it.

People still love Disney, attendance numbers are high, and tickets are now $99 for a one-day pass at its Magic Kingdom Park near Orlando, according to Bloomberg Businessweek. In 1989, adult tickets for Disneyworld were $30.65—$57.82 adjusted for inflation in today’s dollars. Disney doesn’t care about the price increases because they know people will still pay to go:

“If you think Disney World’s gotten too expensive, don’t bother complaining,” Robert Niles, editor of Theme Park Insider and a former Magic Kingdom employee, wrote on his website. “Disney’s looking at attendance numbers when setting prices, not people moaning online. Look for an alternative where to spend your money instead.”

My family likely would not have been able to go to any of Disney’s theme parks at today’s prices, and that’s a shame.

Photo: Bill Lehane

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6 Comments / Post A Comment

WayDownSouth (#3,431)

Disneyland is expensive, but quite fun. Our daughter had a brilliant time.

Tatiana (#194)

Yeah, having grown up in a lower-middle class family with 4 kids, I don’t think my parents would have been able to afford today’s prices either. Admission + gas + two meals each + snacks? That’s at least $800, easy. Ouch. Having said that, now I really want to go to Disneyland and eat Dole Whip…

garli (#4,150)

@Tatiana Right? The food is crazy expensive for what you’re getting.

squishycat (#3,000)

@Tatiana The food has improved *massively* since I was a kid, though – I can’t speak to the Florida parks, but my maternal grandparents lived near Anaheim and we would go to Disneyland every time we visited them (multiple times a year until I was nine and we moved to the East coast). I’ve been back a couple of times over the past 10 years and you can actually get good food now, as well as standard amusement park fare, and the restaurant food is overpriced but not as overpriced as the snacks. (We had yearly “passports” that I think cost *maybe* $90 a pop for unlimited admission, and we also generally went off-peak, which I guess isn’t even a thing anymore? The first time I rode Space Mountain I rode it twice more in the space of about 20 minutes – this January my boyfriend and I went to Disneyland and managed to ride it ONCE.)

andnowlights (#2,902)

Disney is on my list of most loathed companies. They like to act like their fans are part of their family and “yay! We love you! MICKEY!,” but really it’s a brilliant marketing ploy to get people who fangirl over Disney to spend more money. $99 for a one day pass is INSANE.

Lily Rowan (#70)

Yeah, I find that shocking.

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