I moved to the East Coast (North Carolina) in 2002 and to Orlando in 2004. I was at WDW at least every couple of months starting in 2002, so I’ve been a local for a while. Recently, I came across an old AAA TourBook for Florida dated 2003. I’m thinking my mom brought this with her on one trip to meet us out there. And it’s a fascinating time capsule. Since it’s now 2013, why not look back at how things were ten years ago here in O-town?

A few things stick out pointedly right at the beginning. There are obviously some things missing in my 2003 guide book, such as Legoland Florida or Aquatica, for example. And there are some things in my little book that aren’t around anymore today, such as Splendid China ($27 – regret that I never saw this), Skull Kingdom ($12.50 – never saw this either), and Water Mania ($20 – this was pretty small).

But by and large, most everything is the same. Well, OK, not quite the same. One thing is different. The prices are pretty different. Ten years of inflation will drive up prices, even with the rather disruptive recession we saw in the middle of those years.

I thought it would be a lark to compare the prices between then and now. This will be representative rather than comprehensive. I’ll do this in chart form, including a column for “predicted” 2023 price based only on inflation (as calculated from the westegg inflation calculator). Other columns will show the rise in price as a percentage, and an extrapolation a further ten years in the future if the next ten years show the same percentage rise. All prices shown are before tax.

Item 2003 Price 2013 “Inflation Price” 2013 Actual Price Percentage change from 2003 2023 Extrapolated Price
WDW 1-day admission $50 $62 $95 (Magic Kingdom)$90 (Rest of WDW parks) 90% $180
WDW 5-day parkhopper $229 $284 $348 52% $528
Universal admission $50 $62 $92 84% $169
SeaWorld admission $50 $62 $92 84% $169
Discovery Cove admission $219 any day $272 $259-$399 18%-82% $306-$726
Wet & Wild admission $31 $38 $55 77% $97
Holy Land Experience $22 $27 $40 82% $73
Gatorland $18 $22 $22 22% $27
Ripley’s Odditorium $15 $19 $20 33% $27
Pirates Dinner Adventure $44 $55 $64 45% $93


The Disney section is full of stuff that isn’t there anymore… interesting.

It’s also worth a look at lodging. How did hotels hold up in the past ten years? Here we will list the price for a specific date this fall. I used October 8, a Tuesday. Once again, this is representative rather than comprehensive.

Item 2003 Price 2013 “Inflation Price” 2013 Actual Price Percentage change from 2003 2023 Extrapolated Price
All Star Music $77 $96 $124 61% $199
Coronado Springs $133 $166 $245 85% $453
Polynesian Resort $299 $371 $562 88% $1056
Hilton at Lake Buena Vista $99 $123 $129 31% $169
Portofino Bay (Uni) $259 $321 $309 19% $367

(by the way: the Polynesian is sold out at the rate listed here. The cheapest room you can book in mid-July for October is $749/night. And the “free dining” sure to come hasn’t been announced yet as of this writing).

I will rhapsodize less than usual, and simply let the data speak for itself. Instead, I encourage your comments. What patterns do you see in these two charts? Did anything surprise you (a few things surprised me)? Let me know what you think below!

Free Online Class: Fairy Tales

Some of you know that my “day job” is in Higher Education. Among the classes I teach is one on Fairy Tales, with focus on Disney, Grimms, and Perrault. This college class is now available to the general public, and it’s completely free! There’s not even a book to buy for the class!

The class is a massive open online course (MOOC) and is administered through canvas.net – it’s free to sign up and take the class! It’s a four-week course starting on August 5.


Here’s the schedule:

Week 1 – Cinderella
Week 2 – Snow White and Sleeping Beauty
Week 3 – Rapunzel and the Frog Princess
Week 4 – Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast

The class was built to expect about two hours of engagement/interaction (“work”) per week, so it’s not meant to overload the participants with chores and duties. In that sense, it’s less rigorous than my regular college classes. The class doesn’t have any required (synchronous) meetings; you do the work whenever you want within the week.

This course does not have a completion certificate – you’d be taking it just for the fun of it. There aren’t any papers or projects. While the class does offer quizzes and discussion boards, there isn’t really a rigorous process to “pass” the course since there isn’t a certificate offered anyway.

The class is, however, experimental in a different sense: it’s got game elements in it. We added badges and group competition, as well as Easter eggs, throughout the class. Each group is named after one of Walt’s seven dwarfs–it works a lot like the Harry Potter “house” competition, where individuals can earn badges for the whole group. This should be fun!


Please feel free to sign up and spread the word. I can’t wait to share with you what these fairy tales used to mean and how they’ve been changed for modern audiences!! Sign up here: https://www.canvas.net/courses/fairy-tales-origins-and-evolution-of-princess-stories#enroll_form 

More information and updates

Kevin Yee is the author of numerous independent Disney books, including the popular Walt Disney World Earbook series and Walt Disney World Hidden History. Readers are invited to connect with him online and face to face at the following locations: