The Cost of Inflation at Walt Disney World

Written by George Taylor. Posted in Disney, Disney History, Disney Parks, Features, Imaginerding, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World

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Published on February 24, 2014 at 2:00 am with 33 Comments

So many people complain about the price of visiting Walt Disney World today. With the recent admission price increases, it won’t be long until a single day at the Magic Kingdom is going to be over $100.00 per person. The big question is whether or not the parks are worth more than $100.00 dollars per day. Is Disney using the increased pricing structure to force more people to take advantage of staying on property and taking advantage of Magic Your Way packages (you know, the more days you buy, the cheaper the tickets become)? Or is it simply that the Florida parks are a money-maker in which Disney can increase the prices (sometimes twice a year) and still bring in the hordes of people regardless of new attractions?

How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop?

Polynesian-1975-Trip-1

Let’s take a look at a 1975 Walt Disney World vacation and compare the prices. But before we get into the nitty-gritty, take a look at the check-in material from the Polynesian Village Resort from 1975.

Polynesian-1975-Trip-2

Aloha! You’ve reached your tropical destination . . . the Polynesian Village!

Here, amid lush South Seas splendor, you will be treated to accommodations and a host of services that could only be offered at the Vacation Kingdom of the World.

Each guest room in the various Longhouses has been coordinated to the hotel’s Polynesian theme and provides the ultimate in comfort while maintaining a relaxed resort atmosphere. Individual air conditioning, variable lighting, full carpeting and remote control color television including special music and Walt Disney World information channels make your stay even more enjoyable.

In keeping with our family vacation tradition, there is no extra charge for up to three children under 18 years old staying in the same room with an adult. Also, there is no charge for cribs. For more than two adults in one room, there is a $4 per person per night charge. Maximum, five persons per room, please.

When exploring the Polynesian Village, be sure to visit the Great Ceremonial House, the focal point of our Polynesian World. Various themed restaurants and shops are yours for the choosing, each with its own blend of South Seas authenticity and Disney hospitality. For your recreation pleasure, there’s a sea of activities from water sports to nightly Polynesian Luaus in our festive Luau Cove.

But the Polynesian Village is only the beginning of your Vacation Kingdom adventure. During your stay, we encourage you to visit our entire World, including the 21 st Century Contemporary Resort and the secluded woodland area of Fort Wilderness and the Tri-Circle-D Ranch. All are accessible to you and your family via the Walt Disney World transportation system.

Welcome . . . to YOUR world!

Polynesian-1975-Trip-3

Identification and Transportation Card

Each member of your party receives an identification card upon check-in. This card entitles you to unlimited use of the Walt Disney World transportation system (monorail, trams, launches, ferryboats, buses) connecting the resort-hotels, Fort Wilderness Campground Resort, and the Magic Kingdom. You may charge purchases in shops, restaurants, lounges, recreational areas and other facilities at the resort-hotels or Fort Wilderness. However, the card is not valid in the Magic Kingdom theme park.

General Information

For a complete list of restaurants, lounges, shops, recreational activity, travel information, rental cars, etc., please see the WALT DISNEY WORLD NEWS, THIS WEEK AT WALT DISNEY WORLD, Channel 5 on your guest room television, the GAF Information Guide, or touch “1″ on your guest room phone.

Your Guest Room Television

Channel 1, Recorded Music
Channel 2, WESH, Orlando (NBC)
Channel 3, WMFE, Orlando (Educational)
Channel 5 Walt Disney World Information
Channel 6 WDBO, Orlando (CBS)
Channel 7 WTOG, Tampa (Independent)
Channel 8 WFLA, Tampa (NBC)
Channel 9 WFTV, Orlando (ABC)
Channel 10 WTVE, Tamps (CBS)

Walt Disney World Information Card

Polynesian-1975-Trip-8

This card would be issued to all guests upon check-in. It included the resort, the guest name, room number and the expiration date (or check-out). Included in the package was an easy way to identify where your room was located.

Polynesian-1975-Trip-4-room-key

According the the key, our room would be room 03 on the first floor of the Tahiti Longhouse (now it’s the Aotearoa Longhouse). I do wonder if we had an interior view or a monorail view. Since we were on the ground floor, we would be able to step out of the room and enjoy a small patio on ground level.

1975 Map of the Polynesian Village with Building Numbers

Polynesian-1975-Trip-4-resort-map

In 1975, there were only eight longhouses (now there are eleven) and one pool area. There were various recreational activities that included watercraft, a putting green and the luau.

Room Rates Then and Now

In 1975, the standard room charge per night was $42.00 a night. Adjusted for inflation, the rate in 2014 dollars is $182.60. The current rate per evening in September 2014 is going to be $422 (that’s a 131% increase). All of the rooms at the Polynesian Village Resort (except for a few of the suites were $42.00 or $50.00 a night regardless of the season). The Tower rooms at the Contemporary Resort were $56.00 a night, which is $243.48 in 2014 dollars. Today, a Tower Room would be $495 to $545 an evening (which is 103%  and 123% increase respectively). Okay, my brain hurts already.

Polynesian-1975-Trip-14

So, the hotel rooms are significantly more expensive than they were in 1975. Does this have more to do with the different levels of resorts at Walt Disney World (Deluxe, Moderate, Value, etc.)? If we reverse the process, then a current $120.00 a night stay at All Star Music would have cost $27.60 in 1975.

Since I’m completely obsessed with Disney maps, I had to include the map from the check-in package of Walt Disney World

Polynesian-1975-Trip-4-wdw-map

Magic Kingdom Entrance and Ticket Books

With a single day ticket for the Magic Kingdom now clocking in at $99.00, I wanted to see if it was a better deal for a pay-one-price, inclusive entrance fee or pay for individual attractions. I put together a few tables to show the inflation increase from 1975 to 2014 dollars.

Admission 1975 Cost 2014 Cost
Adult $6.00 $26.09
Junior (12-17) $5.00 $21.74
Child (3-11) $3.00 $13.04
Ticket 1975 Cost 2014 Cost
A .10 .43
B .25 1.09
C .50 2.17
D .75 3.26
E .90 3.91

Let’s look at what it might have cost to take a family of four on a Walt Disney World visit in 1975. Since I’m mathematically challenged, I’ll just look at the cost of visiting the Magic Kingdom and attempting to see most of the attractions. The following table lists 16 attractions that were in operation in 1975 and today. I multiplied the price time four, with the assumption that the group is two parents and two children.

Attraction 1975 Cost 2014 Cost
Main Street Jitney .40 1.74
Swiss Family Treehouse 1.00 4.35
Tropical Serenade 3.60 15.65
Jungle Cruise 3.60 15.65
Pirates of the Caribbean 3.60 15.65
Haunted Mansion 3.60 15.65
Cinderella’s Golden Carrousel .40 1.74
Dumbo, the flying elephant 2.00 8.70
Peter Pan’s Flight 2.00 8.70
Hall of President’s 3.60 15.65
Adm. Joe Fowler Riverboat 3.00 13.04
Country Bear Jamboree 3.60 15.65
Haunted Mansion 3.60 15.65
It’s a Small World 3.60 15.65
Space Mountain 3.60 15.65
WEDWay Peoplemover 3.60 15.65

If we look at the total cost for one day visit to the Magic Kingdom for a family of four:

1975

  • Admission total: $18.00
  • One ride on each attraction listed above: $44.80
  • Grand Total: $62.80

 2014 Inflation Adjustment

  • Admission total: $78.26
  • One ride on each attraction listed above: $194.77 (Of course, adding Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain would add $31.30)
  • Grand total: $273.03

With actual prices, a one day trip to the Magic Kingdom for the same family would be $384.00. (Basically, just 4 one-day tickets to the Magic Kingdom.) Of course, this doesn’t take into account the price of food, merchandise or other incidentals.

Before I sat down and put all of the numbers together, I assumed it was cheaper for a family to visit the Magic Kingdom and pay one price, as it is today. It seems crazy to me to pay $3.60 per person to ride Space Mountain. Granted, if I was still buying tickets, I would spread out the attractions that I visited throughout the day. I would probably hit the E-Ticket attractions once and I would visit the A-D attractions as well, probably seeing more attractions overall. It would make it more expensive if you only wanted to experience the E-Tickets, though.

So, what do you think about the costs differences between 1975 and 2014? Would you like to see Disney bring back ticket books?

Looking for a great book about the first decade of Walt Disney World? Check out Walt Disney Word, the First Decade!


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ImagiNERDing is written and edited by George Taylor

About George Taylor

George has been obsessed with Disney theme parks since the first time he saw a photo of the Haunted Mansion in the early 70s. He started writing about Disney in 2007 and has amassed one of the world's largest Disney-related libraries.

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33 Comments

Comments for The Cost of Inflation at Walt Disney World are now closed.

  1. Could you imagine how crowded the parks would be if they only charged say, $25 to get in? What if the Polynesian had rooms for $99 a night? How far out do you think they’d be booked? I won’t stay there because to me, the hotel is just someplace where you go to sleep a few hours between parks, so I won’t pay $422 a night for a bed. At $99 I’d make a reservation. As long as the hotels stay booked, and the lines aren’t too bad Disney has no incentive to lower prices. In fact, if they knew they could double the prices and not have a single empty room, they would do it in a heartbeat.

    Seriously,just think of the mayhem if Disney announced that all next month they would only charge $10 to get in? It would be total gridlock and you’d have to pick what ride you wanted to ride for that day. And then stand in line for it all day.

    I think most of us would pay $200 a day to get into the park if it was a special day and they only sold a very limited number of tickets. Heck, I’d pay $20 each if I could do RSS as a walk on. No waiting, no fastpass required. (Yes, I know it’s a different park)

    • “Seriously,just think of the mayhem if Disney announced that all next month they would only charge $10 to get in? It would be total gridlock and you’d have to pick what ride you wanted to ride for that day. And then stand in line for it all day.”

      Not really. The CAPACITY of the parks would still remain the same, and they’d still have to stop admissions once they reached the capacity. That of course, already happens during times like that week between Christmas and New Years. It’s gridlock for sure, and the lines are crazy, but It’s certainly possible to get on more than one ride.

      • Thanks, 9oldmen!

        The mayhem would be insane.

    • Thanks, billyjobobb!

      I’ve always thought that Disney gave an incredible value. Where else are you going to get a full day’s entertainment for only $90.00? Granted, I’ve seen the prices go from 35 to 99 and it doesn’t always seem like Disney is giving us anything new in return.

  2. This is fascinating material and shows the changes of the theme park industry in general, not just Disney. It’s become such big business, where it was more of a niche (or at least seems that way from the prices) at the time. I agree with the comment above that crowds would be nuts if the prices were that low. Still, the rise to $99 and $500 a night hotel rooms is just outlandish. Still, I’m planning to go next year (staying off site), so it’s hard to complain too much.

    • Not only the changes in the industry, but how Disney changed its own marketing over the years.

      $500 a night seems steep for a room we paid 225 for in $2006.

      Thanks for the comment Dan!

  3. If you add one ride on each of the rides that have opened since 1975 ( I counted 6-E tickets, 2-D tickets, 3-C tickets, and 3-B tickets ) with inflation would add $153.07, which would bring the grand total to $426.10. So we are actually getting a “deal” (if you ride every ride ) becuase four one day admissions are $384

    • YidChef, I found some discrepancies in the material I used as far as E-tickets and D-tickets. Once Space Mountain was brought online, it changed the scope of a few of the other attractions.

      Still, you’ve made a good point.

  4. Great article which seemed like it was going to show how much we are getting ripped off. But when you get to the end there is a little surprise. Sure admission prices have risen tremendously, but we don’t have to pay her ride. In essence they are a little behind inflation. Helps to give a bit of perspective on their rates. Still a huge expense for a vacation, but if you can afford it then we arent any worse off than those from the 70′s and what they had to pay.

    • TheBig2na, it does amaze me that it only costs 90 bucks when they just opened a 150 million dollar attractions. Granted, Disney hasn’t done that in a while.

      Thanks!

  5. Well, Disney is losing my money each year they continue to raise their prices. If they were anywhere near what they used to be, I’d still be going as often as I could, regardless of the crowds. Now with the ever higher prices, I’m priced out of the market and with my family of 6 have no way to go anymore. As my boys grow (4 of them) we can’t even get accommodations unless we get TWO rooms. Even if we were to just rent a local condo to fit us all (I WOULD have used the treehouses, but they aren’t available any way I can find anymore. Next time, who knows when, we’re hoping to get a cabin at Wilderness) the base cost of entering the parks has gotten too steep. Now instead of going to a Disney park, we have ended up keeping our money local for several smaller, shorter visits to places close to home, because the WDW vacations we USED to take every two years with our whole family are no longer doable anymore. :(

    • Have you looked at renting DVC points? You can get a great deal doing that. Still not cheap, but a studio at Kidani Village is cheaper than a stay at a Value. from my experience anyway. I havent seen what the prices are for the new packages now. I’m sure I can find them on the internet somewhere but a 1 day rise of $5 usually ends up costing very little over 10 days. But there definitely comes a tipping point for us all. First it will be people like yourself having to move off property, and then it will be people looking at an all inclusive beach vacation and saying, I can save thousands and still make memories with my kids. Many people never go to WDW and have great childhood memories from other vacations.

    • The Family Suites at Art of Animation are really nice, but you come close to paying for a low-level Deluxe resort.

      I feel your pain.

      Thanks for commenting, Atombile!

  6. And I disagree about being only a little inflated. The assumption that a family would get on EVERY one of those rides is kind of tough. You really have to be running and getting lucky on every fastpass/standby combination to hit them all, unless it is a VERY slow day. This means that with tickets, each ride you DIDN’T get on due to timing and crowds, your WDW trip just got a little less expensive. Under the one price solution, we pay for everything up front and pray we can get on it all because we’ve already paid for it in advance! With each ride you miss your trip just got a little more EXPENSIVE!

    To me that’s the bottom line. In ’75 the less you experienced, the cheaper the vacation ended up. In ’14, the less you experience, the more EXPENSIVE the vacation is! Which is no holiday at all…

    • Agree,

      We took our family of 5 and went to Epcot one day. No ride there to get excited about since Soarin’ opened years ago. We walked passed SpaceShip Earth because there was a little line and we didn’t think it was worth it. Did Cap EO, skipped rest of Imagination, saw the same Manatees at Living Seas, skipped Soarin’ because line wasn’t worth the same old ride. Fastpass for Testrack, wife and I would have skipped, Ellen never was funny and the ride has been there since it opened in the 80′s. Wife and I waited for the kids to walk on and off Mission Space.

      We enjoyed nachos at Mexico. Enjoyed shopping in a few countries and left that evening.

      We all had the look of having done the same thing for years. My wife and I figured we spent $500 to wander around, eat nachos, and shop. That is the day we decided to pull WAY back on WDW. We haven’t been in 3 years now.

      It just isn’t worth $500 for the opportunity to buy nachos and shop and see the same TIRED rides.

      • And you’ll be greatly missed as is obvious by how empty the park is. That’s the big picture everybody is missing. Disney would be leaving money on the table. Even at their prices they are still building new resorts to meet the demand. Why should they lower prices? So that you go instead of someone who will gladly spend $1,000 to walk around and eat nachos?

      • Captain Action, your replies always make me laugh. “We took our family of 5 and went to Epcot one day” — that almost sounds optimistic.

        “saw the same Manatees at Living Seas” – So your sick of seeing George and Bob. Would Kim and Jimbo up the survey response?

        .”We walked passed SpaceShip Earth because there was a little line and we didn’t think it was worth it.” — A little line? But you rode EO? — Now I’m not one to back EPCOT and its dated everything……. your anti-Disney comments are usually rooted in one thing, lack of new attractions. You argue like my mother. You start with your roots firmly grounded (Disney sucks because of price gouging and lack of improvement) —- and you end the argument with “I blew my money at the front gate, and I didn’t even want to ride any of the attractions.” You take the argument and switch focus, due to what I believe is the power of holding a grudge, and a lack of forgiveness. — You know whats behind the curtain, you don’t have to pass go or collect 200 dollars. —

        You sound like a total bummer to be with at a theme park. “Look kids, those matinees are the same one that were here 10 years ago. Don’t you think it would be better if they had an animal sharing program with Seaworld so the animals get stressed out and move around more?”

        “Dad, I want to ride Maelstrom. I’ve heard it’s a scary boat ride!”,
        “No son, that ride is from 1987. Universal is a great company that invests in its product so we the consumer leave with a satisfied wallet”

        “Dad, I’d like to see American Adventure!”
        “Johnny, that’s dated technology – with zero Megatron.”

        “Daddy, lets go in the big ball!”
        “JJ, you see that small line? That 9 minute long attraction doesn’t warrant a wait in a consistently moving, five minute long line. Also, the omni-mover technology involved doesn’t move enough paying customers from the entrace, too over —-> there. That is called the exit. The technology is dated and I demand satisfaction. At Universal Studios, they’re constantly gauging rider feedback, in order for higher customer satisfaction. Did you know Universal has trumped Disney is nearly all areas of theme park satisfaction lately? JJ.”.

        “Mommy, da da! Fast track recently was redone with all sorts of new technology, it’s as if a whole new ride was installed. I’m really excited”
        “Jack, if you weren’t here. Mommy and I would act like the ride didn’t exist, as to add insult to injury. This park has nothing that appeals to me. Lets come back in five years so we can complain more.”

        “Jackie, you guys sit here. Mom and Dad are going to go shopping!”

        “Dad, doesn’t the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train look like fun!”
        “Junior, that ride took almost three years to build. My family will not support an attraction that requires a slew of infrastructure, time to plan, master, and build just so the damn coaster cars are each different and have their own story. The devil is in the details son I tell you! And the devil likes to take his sweet time. New attractions should be ready to go like a Super Silly Hilarious and Great fun land zone at Universal Hollywood: ride the movies!”.

        ————- Sorry if I come across a little mean. —– Caption Actions consistent, hilarious responses deserve a little razzing though I believe. I can only take so much of the Jester before his recycled jokes cause a brain hemorrhage.

      • Kenny B,
        Wrong. these were family decisions as we ask want to do that ride?
        Maybe later, was the family response.
        The kids aren’t tired of Cap EO because they hadn’t seen it a bunch.
        You and your family get excited about Spaceship Earth?
        Test Track?
        Imagination?
        Ellen?
        The Land?
        Your kids love walking around the countries?
        And we have very fun vacations but we’ve moved to Universal. We skip lines, stay in 4 star resorts, and ride a boat to the front of the parks, and we are excited about all the new things they are doing for the guests.

      • CaptainAction,

        I hate to hear about anyone having such a disappointing time. Epcot is in need of some updating. I’m happy that a friend of mine is working on some updates and he’s a real Disney nerd!

    • Atombile, I’d love to see the tickets for one simple reason: attraction maintenance.Back in the day, Operations based maintenance and upkeep on the number of tickets taken, It also helped to really spread the crowds out if you had to budget your tickets.

      You are correct about the inverse proportions of the value.

  7. There’s one big factor to take into account: Getting there was not easy at all. Airfare was, relatively speaking, significantly more expensive. Today, you can get a round-trip fare from the northeast to Orlando for a couple of hundred bucks; the price in actual dollars probably would have been the same forty years ago.

    I can’t imagine most people didn’t buy ticket books. And there wasn’t a need to see everything. The beauty of ticket books is that they forced you to make decisions and measured the day in a more thoughtful way. Ironically, FastPass+ does some of the same things — but ticket books didn’t cost more than a billion dollars to implement. But most people don’t do more than 8-10 rides a day anyway. I remember hearing once that there is a “sweet spot” for the number of rides people can experience; less than a few, they feel ripped off, but more than 8 or 10 and they feel overwhelmed and exhausted and it doesn’t impact their overall satisfaction. The obsession to “do everything” is kind of indicative of the times we live in.

    My first trips to WDW, when I was a kid in the ’70s, also included trips to Cypress Gardens, to other attractions in Kissimmee, to the Kennedy Space Center, and even up to Georgia. Disney abhors the idea of sharing the wealth these days — Florida isn’t a destination, WDW is. And if you’re going to shell out several hundred dollars for a hotel room, you’re going to get every bit of use of it that you can. The rates are, in a word, outrageous.

    Walt Disney World has become a vacation experience for the very wealthy or for those who are willing to dig themselves deeply into debt.

    • We drove (once with nine people in a station wagon) down every summer for the first 12 years it was open and combined it with the beach. Gas was inexpensive back then.

      Thanks George for thinking about this and crunching some numbers. I think the Magic Kingdom had more and better sweepers back then. Am I wrong? I missed how uncluttered the WDW property was in the 70s.

    • EC82,

      The package I have from 1975 shows a flight on Delta from Chicago as $160.00. This is almost $700.00 today. That is a big jump, but I’ve paid 350 to fly to Orlando from North Carolina.

      >beauty of ticket books is that they forced you to make decisions and measured the day in a >more thoughtful way.

      That’s an amazing sentiment and one I’d wish I’d put in the article.

      >Walt Disney World has become a vacation experience for the very wealthy or for those who >are willing to dig themselves deeply into debt.

      Hear! Hear!

  8. Really enjoy seeing the Polynesian Resort materials. I remember a brochure that my grandparents brought back for me with some crazy low room rates.

    Some people in the past have said that Disney prices aren’t bad compared to other entertainment. But at WDW you are going to be spending a lot more than just the entrance fee. You can’t just walk across the street for cheaper food/drinks.

    • ChrisNJ,

      A lot of people just don’t understand the intricacies of a WDW vacation. One trip in 2004, after treating my mom and dad to a week of food on the dining plan, my mom wanted nothing more than a theme park hot dog.

      Everything is expensive at WDW but also finite.

      I’m all about ephemera from the 1970s!

  9. WDW is able to jack prices up for Americans because overseas guests are keeping their profits up.
    Ever try visiting Disneyland Paris? We have been able to visit 3 times and each time have to be very careful how we spend $’s since they have been worth about half of the pound and euro for 20 years. The $ to euro and $ to pound exchange ratios are manipulated to keep the $ low in value.
    It’s much less for Europeans to vacation here than in Europe. They can afford our deluxe and moderate resorts while we need to stay in their value resorts if we need more than one room and want to stay for a few nights.
    This gives WDW the ability to screw Americans so that only the very rich, foolish, or debtors are able to spend a long vacation at WDW.

    Read Tripadvisors reviews of Disneyland Paris and how the Europeans can barely afford Disneyland Paris but get wonderful long vacations at WDW.

    • Yep, agree with this completely. Airfare is biggest cost, but overall Florida is much better value than Paris.

  10. I think the article would’ve been a lot more shocking if the author used, say, 1988 as the base year, when it was already unlimited rides at less than $30 a day. Then, it would show that 1975 actually cost more to do the same number of rides. Yet, the parks were less crowded than they are today, when it’s priced many times that price.

    Perhaps they succeeded in altering the public’s perception of what a day at a theme park should cost since then, and that is where they’ve excelled. Too bad for us guests, though.

    • Good point! At least 1988 would have been an apples to apples comparison since the ticket books were long gone.

      I’ve always wanted to visit WDW right before Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, since that was one of the first major changes to the overall landscape. It was more a journey of personal discovery about the cost of a 1975 trip and it morphed into a comparison.

      Thanks, Spectroman!

  11. Given the numbers of guests at the parks, I’m frankly surprised Disney hasn’t raised the prices even more. My wife and I have been going at least once a year since we got together 1999….the first few years, we went in September and you could enjoy 10 minute or less waits on even the best attractions. Now, even the “slow” times of the year feature 30 or 40 minute waits on the best rides. We’ve tried other times of the year (most recently January of this year) and “slow” times just don’t seem to exist anymore.

    The other thing that’s different now is, it seems like EVERYBODY is going to Disney World multiple times. When I was a kid, Disneyland was a far-off pipe dream for everybody in our town (I live in Montana) and if somebody DID manage to make it there, it was a very special trip for them. A trip to Disney World was nearly un-imaginable for anybody from around here. I got to go there in 1977, but only because my dad got sent there for a convention, so he took the family along. Today? At my business I have 8 teenage employees….all but one of them has been to Disney World at least once, and a couple of them have been twice. It’s become a rite of passage, the same way Vegas has become for people having their 21st birthday.

  12. Great article George.

    You got me thinking about my first trip to WDW in 1986 and how expensive it was (especially compared to Disneyland in California) – about 3x more expensive to do Florida. Even then the prices of hotels, food and activities were considered expensive in their time. Ironically, we did not find the parks themselves to be that expensive (really they were the cheapest part of the vacation). Things have changed a bit now with the parks taking a considerable chunk of the vacation budget along with food. Hotels (non-Disney property) are now the biggest bargain in Florida.
    I do find trips to Florida to be a massive planning and budget based affair now (not as much of that was required in 1986). Perhaps WDW was more of a secret then? I know it sounds ridiculous even saying it, but there were less people there then and you just didn’t have to micro plan like you do now. You had to book Hoop-Dee-Doo and the Hawaiian Luah dinner shows well in advance, but that was about it (and yes they were considered expensive then).

    For some reason all of these things seemed to have a better perceived value back then, even though they were still considered expensive. Not sure why that was.

    A very interesting study in WDW economics. Thanks for the mental adventure!

  13. I remember reading somewhere Disney wants to actually price about 20% of the population OUT of their market by being too expensive. Why? Capacity and $$$. The bottom 20% of the population (financially) aren’t able to come… and if they did, they would NOT spend money once they were there. Why clog up the parks with bodies who aren’t spending money? Higher prices attract a higher quality (financial-wise) guest… who will spend extra in the parks.

    The theory above is correct… imagine lowering the prices. The masses would come, but not necessarily spend money while visiting. Crowded parks and lower revenue.

    Disney wishes all their parks could be like Discovery cove- less operating expense, fewer guests, but the guests that can afford it spend a TON.

    • That’s why sometimes I just don’t get the idea of the AP.

      We were there last Presidents day and it was overrun with kids that had the day off from school. No parents, and it didn’t appear they were spending money. They were just clogging the parks. It was probably the least enjoyable day of the vacation with all the unsupervised kids everywhere.