I was born in 1966 and grew up in Southern California, and as such I was introduced to Disneyland at a very young age. I really don’t remember my first encounters with it, but I’m certain the impressions I carry today started well before memory. My story starts here because today is the day I first realized I could no longer afford to visit the House of the Mouse anymore. Not because of some silly boycott, not because of differences of opinion or ideology, but basically because I as a parent simply cannot justify the expense. Some background is in order here...
I bought my first Disneyland pass in the mid 80's for not much more than it takes to fill a tank of gas these days. And for my 80 bucks I had a full year of free parking, free admission, and all the perks of being able to visit this magic place at a whim. From then on I was hooked. I was there the night Star Tours first opened. Not the big party, but the night the walls first came down and they had their first “soft” opening. Me and my buddy were among the first 100 people of the public to enjoy the ride, simply because we had passes and could hang out at the park and not be in a rush to get to everything in a single day. We were also there for the grand opening mega parties of Star Tours and Captain EO.
As years went by I’d renewed my pass on and off again. I particularly enjoyed the early years of getting passes with my young children and our family friends. We had such a great time heading over to the park on random evenings to enjoy a few rides and catch the fireworks. I’ve got volumes of pictures of my kids through the years at Disneyland, from when they were barely out of diapers to the years where the wanted us parents to let them venture off on their own until an appointed time and place. Christmas however, has/was always been a special time at the park. The last few years of our annual passes I was always in awe of the Christmas decorations in the park, most particularly the castle. I’ll never forget the after fireworks performance of Kellie Coffey’s White Christmas with the fake snow falling on Main Street, still can bring tears to my eyes.
But here we are today, and the reality of economy weighs heavy. Though I could afford passes for my family in the past, I can no longer justify the expense. This is not to blame Disney for this, in fact I fully understand and even support their position. For years (very noticeable in the last few years of our passes) I could tell that the park was being overrun by pass holders and I even predicted that prices would spike to “thin out the herd” (so to speak). Disneyland has a wonderful product and they deserve every right to support that by making profit off their works. Unfortunately, the downside of economy is I can no longer afford to participate, thus I find myself part of the “thinned” herd. So even though my “Disney” kids that have enjoyed years of visiting the park, they now need college tuition. I wanted to spend one last season at the park with them, but when I saw the current pricing I had to gasp. More than double from the last passes I had less than 3 years ago. I know its not their plan nor desire to weed out those of us that grew up on the land of Disney, but things are as they are.
Therefore it’s with heavy heart that I must bid a fond farewell to the House of the Mouse, my kids have grown and for the near term I cannot predict if/when we will ever return (win the lotto perhaps...). I can only hope that the magic remains strong and I can possibly see a day to visit with my grandchildren... I do not part ways in anger, frustration, or malice, just the ache one feels from losing a wonderful friend. Thanks for everything.