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  1. #1

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    Is the value at WDW there from 1980 vs today

    So this is not a mean spirited thread at all, but an honest look at WDW and it's value.

    I want to take a look at value vs. experience vs. quality ... there are a few missing holes so if anyone can fill in the blanks I would be very grateful.

    Ok so let's take a look at some historical number.

    1 Day Park price in 1981: $9.51 - 2010 dollars - $22.80
    Epcot Opens
    1 Day Park price in 1982: $13.25 - 2010 dollars - $29.96
    1 Day Park price in 1988: $28.00 - 2010 dollars - $51.64
    Disney Hollywood Studios Opens
    1 Day Park price in 1989: $29.00 - 2010 dollars - $51.03
    1 Day Park price in 1997: $39.75 - 2010 dollars - $54.03
    Disney's Animal Kingdom Opens
    1 Day Park price in 1998: $42.00 - 2010 dollars - $56.22
    1 Day Park price in 2000: $46.00 - 2010 dollars - $58.28
    1 Day Park price in 2005: $59.75 - 2010 dollars - $66.75
    1 Day Park price in 2010: $79.00

    So the big question. Is the experience worth it?

  2. #2

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    Re: Is the value at WDW there from 1980 vs today

    I'm not as fixated on the dollar costs as much as I am fixed on the idea the site used to be a true resort... with services and concepts that were quite unique compared to the competition.

    Now - it's just theme parks+average hotels for the most part. Disney needs to get back to being a unique experience and making WDW more then just theme parks.

    I miss the trips in the 80s where we probably spent 30-40% of our time outside of the theme parks... skiing, boating, nightime campfires, canoeing, golfing, dining, etc.
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  3. #3

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    Re: Is the value at WDW there from 1980 vs today

    Quote Originally Posted by flynnibus View Post

    I miss the trips in the 80s where we probably spent 30-40% of our time outside of the theme parks... skiing, boating, nightime campfires, canoeing, golfing, dining, etc.
    Unfortunately Nib, those things are becoming commonplace in American culture especially in my area. I mean I have access to all of them here in Pennsylvania within a second except for skiing unless it snows which it always does in the winter. We have some of the best boating (the 3 rivers in Pittsburgh), camping, canoening, golfing (oakmont country club), and dining imaginable. These are all must haves for WDW, but not the reason to go from North Eastern USA to South Eastern USA. To have adequate, not glorious of all these categories you listed is sufficient for WDW in their opinion. Why you may ask?

    The theme parks are the sole reason most North Easterners go to WDW. You get rid of MK and Epcot there is no WDW worth going to. DHS and AK are just icing on the cake.

    As far as comparing values, I think Disney has been getting greedy for certain, an increase in price over 3 times (using the adjusted 1980s inflation figure compared to the 2010 price) without a huge jump in quality of product. The parks have added more attractions but not 3 times the amount. I could understand the price doubling maybe to match their competition pricing. However, I believe their competition prices to match Disney. Further, I believe Disney as a whole is responsible for increase in amusement/ theme park tickets across the United States. (Examples: Busch Gardens, Cedar Point) They probably figure Disney is charging X if we charge Y we are below them and are a bargain.

    Inflation, Wow I didn't know it skyrocketed like that. (makes me sick!)
    Last edited by Yackerz; 07-13-2010 at 11:50 AM.

  4. #4

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    Re: Is the value at WDW there from 1980 vs today

    Quote Originally Posted by Yackerz View Post
    Unfortunately Nib, those things are becoming commonplace in American culture especially in my area.
    Becoming? These aren't new recreational activities. I live in the MidAtlantic.. I can do all these things within reasonable distance.. including going to the beach, snow skiing, etc. People don't travel just for things they don't have locally - vacation isn't just about exclusive things.

    Just because I can go camping here, doesn't mean I wouldn't want to go camping in Yellowstone. Or because I can go waterski'ing here on the Potomac doesn't mean I don't want to do it on lakes down south.

    Part of a resort is the relaxation and services you get. When I go skiing here, we are on our own. When we would do it in WDW, we'd have an instructor with us. When we'd go camping, there were stories, adventures through new places, the light parade on the lagoon, etc. They were EXPERIENCES you cherish and form life long memories around.

    Staying in the All Stars is not something you cherish.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yackerz View Post
    These are all must haves for WDW, but not the reason to go from North Eastern USA to South Eastern USA. To have adequate, not glorious of all these categories you listed is sufficient for WDW in their opinion. Why you may ask?

    The theme parks are the sole reason most North Easterners go to WDW. You get rid of MK and Epcot there is no WDW worth going to. DHS and AK are just icing on the cake.
    That type of thinking and settling for it is exactly what is different about WDW of the 70s and 80s compared to now. It used to be a resort. Now it's theme parks and hotels.
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  5. #5

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    Re: Is the value at WDW there from 1980 vs today

    I guess the main question is....

    At the Magic Kingdom, what is there and what is happening in 2010 that represents 22.78 more value than in 2000?

  6. #6

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    Re: Is the value at WDW there from 1980 vs today

    To answer KingEric first, nothing.. absolutely nothing. They did add expedition everest, rock n roller coaster, toy story midway mania, buzz, California Soarin' (clone of DL's) and a few other popular rides (none of which I can think of right now). Are those worth $22.78 more. No.. they just make WDW keep up with the status quo of other parks. They are nice though.

    Nib, instructors are nice and memorable experiences are nice and can be gotten from resorts as well as theme parks. To counter your point, I can hire a golf instructor here, someone to teach me how to water ski here, camping is fine enough here or at least 2 hour drive from here; even though going to places like Yellowstone are great. WDW doesn't have Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, or Yosemite like experiences and can not make them. I've been to Yosemite when I was in California last year; to make a Yosemite resort would cost enough to bankrupt Disney World. From my "resort" like experiences here, I have had great memories. What I don't have here is a theme park that Walt helped inspire. You can put resort like experiences into the theme park. Also, a 5th theme park has been mentioned to include such experiences "the Night Kingdom". By all means, they should create it. $ and effort should be drawn to making it the best theme park imaginable with high quality hotels. Resorts are nice but the world is covered in them today. If Disney created one that would knock the socks off the rest, then it would be worthwhile. Yes, you are right a change in society from the 70s, 80s. People may be too poor to afford the resort experiences these days. Many are I am sure, but there are those who are not. Unfortunately, I am a not haha.

    If you read my posts before concerning the prices, what you pay for All-Stars is a rip compared to what you actually get. The quality level of All-Stars needs to be made to that of the moderates, the moderates of that of the deluxes, and the deluxes should be some of the best hotels in the world for the price you pay and for it being Disney. (I posted this before back when I was asking about where to stay).
    Last edited by Yackerz; 07-13-2010 at 12:53 PM.

  7. #7

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    Re: Is the value at WDW there from 1980 vs today

    Yackerz... do you stay on property?

    What Disney used to do is put that Disney touch into anything you did - that is why being immersed in it 24x7 weather you were playing tennis, eating, or visiting an amusement park were all worth it. The 'immersion' into the Disney 'World' made vacationing at the resort unlike any other. That is what justified the price difference vs other vacation options. Disney was a combination of product AND service.

    Now that model has been copied, duplicated, and superceded by others. A walk into most of the major hotels in Vegas or other destinations puts most of Disney's properties to shame. This wasn't the case 30 years ago.

    What makes Disney less of a value now vs back then is the lack of innovation in much of the property. Disney has fallen way behind in the vacation experience.. and relies mainly on it's history to be the draw.
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  8. #8

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    Re: Is the value at WDW there from 1980 vs today

    I unfortunately wasn't alive during WDW glory days as you put them Nib. All I know is based off of current looks. I haven't stayed at any of the Moderates and Deluxe properties but looked at them extensively in planning. I stayed at the All-Stars once in 2003. Nib you are correct, comparatively to what I've seen first hand at Vegas in 2002 mind you, the Deluxes compare to some of the middle-end Vegas properties for double the price. (I was in the Venetian, Mirage, a few others I can't remember).

    The better properties of Vegas definitely put WDW to the shame. Fortunately, no one quite has the theme parks to rival Disney's, even though the atmosphere in some casinos theme wise does. Busch gardens is the only "Theme" park in North America in my opinion that rivals Disneyworld/land. Thrill park wise, Disney can't compete against Cedar Fair and Six Flags.

    Fortunately for Disney, most families wouldn't take their kids to Vegas for a nice vacationing experience for their superior hotels alone while the allure and history of Vegas is "Sin City". They much rather take their kid to Disney for a more family experience based on the parks and Disney's family history. I suppose the money is evidently getting slowly alloted into the parks and almost completely neglected from improving the resorts. Their parks are thus keeping up with the competition not destroying like at one time while the resorts are falling far behind.

    Improving their hotels / service would make Disney more of a resort feel, but their corresponding prices should not increase as their prices are currently non-family friendly for any more than the "value resorts". So Nib your are saying in the past 20 years while WDW continued to steadily improve the parks, they neglected to improve the quality of the area surrounding the parks and the Disney hotel properties.

    With that idea alone Nib, it is ludicrous that Disney is charging triple the rate (accounting for inflation) that it did in 1980 when you are getting a vastly inferior product than is currently available in say Vegas. The parks on a whole have kept up equal value (but not triple) but not the world as a whole.
    Last edited by Yackerz; 07-13-2010 at 01:58 PM.

  9. #9

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    Re: Is the value at WDW there from 1980 vs today

    I don't think focusing on the inflation of prices is particularly useful (but if you're going to, don't ignore the increases on meal prices). I'm sure lots of things have seen price increases that exceed inflation, from housing to other entertainment offerings.

    Also, you've only listed one day prices. Since most people use park hoppers, the average one day admission at WDW is not $79.00

    The degradation of the WDW experience (Pleasure Island closure, insufficient new attractions, the changing face of Epcot, etc.) is all fodder for discussion, but what I ultimately focus on, is whether or not WDW as it is today, priced as it is today, is worth it to me. 1981 is a distant memory, at least in terms of the value I get from a current WDW vacation.

    I'm going for 11 nights in September, staying at Port Orleans French Quarter with the free dining plan. For two adults, it works out to $120 per day, per person, which covers our hotel, theme park admission, and food.

    To me, that's a good price for a vacation. I feel I'm getting good value for my money, and it's worth it. Is it as good a deal as it once was? Maybe, maybe not, but for me, today, it's reasonable, and that's what ultimately matters.

    I'd pay more for a better experience (I won't hesitate to pay full price to see Harry Potter), but for now, Disney still gets my money. How long can they continue to coast is a good question, at some point they may lose my business.
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  10. #10

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    Re: Is the value at WDW there from 1980 vs today

    What I'm getting at is the point to be a destination resort... and be a premier one.. you can't just be a one trick pony.

    To suceed, Disney needs to fire on all cylinders... including outside of the parks. Disney hasn't neglected them, they've changed course and instead of using them as draws.. has chosen to use their properties as lockouts.. and trying to ensure they get every dollar the guest has budgeted... rather then trying to make people want to stay there for the experience or ammenities.

    And I think Disney has done a ton to justify higher prices. The details often get lost in the grand scale of WDW... but don't forget the obvious ones like the Water Parks, etc. The price of admission today is not directly comparable to the price in 1980. The single price ticket of today is artificially inflated to influence buying patterns and upsell people to multiday and park hopping. The pricing model of WDW is multilayered and that model didn't exist back then. You paid for the MK.

    Today you notice the price for MK, EPCOT, DAK, etc are not different. This is because the parks do not fund themselves completely independently.. its all a overall pricing model. While one could complain 'DAK isn't worth $72 for a single day' Disney really doesn't care... they don't want anyone to buy that ticket anyways.
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  11. #11

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    Re: Is the value at WDW there from 1980 vs today

    good points all. Looking at the 1 day scheme of things to the 3 day scheme of things it seems like the prices are highly inflated.

    The resort like atmosphere as a whole as Nib has pointed out are not up to par with the competition. Staying on property does offer its bonuses like closer travel times between parks, extra magic hours, a little bit of Disney theming, also deals are available to lock you in with getting a free dining plan.

    However, I rethought my thoughts from a value aspect as BC pointed out. the For instance, if you wanted to have a true long vacation you can make it more value friendly. You can get a 10 day park pass at undercovertourist.com for $250. That equates to $25 a day which is close to the ticket price for 1980 accounting for inflation. The parks have vastly improved since then: adding DHS, Epcot, and AK. What to see has greatly improved since then, so its definitely more worthwile. Yes, this is not a hopper ticket but add $5 more per day and you got a hopper ticket, not a bad option for flexibility it offers. That can be a ton of Disney for a very reasonable cost. Sure you'd get tired of the parks but you could spend time at the resorts eat at a lot of the properties (overly inflated food prices).

    The longer you stay the more reasonable the price for ticket becomes. Staying on Disney properties can get pricey though, so they want to try to draw you to the property to make money on you for the longer stay and inflated food costs, of course if you get a free meal plan then thats a nice little bonus and may make it worthwhile to stay on property.

    In conclusion, a 1, 2, or 3 day stay is not the same value because of the new pricing system. For the first 3 days the price for a ticket is little different than a 1 day ticket. 4 days and up become better value with more days you spend at the park.

  12. #12

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    Re: Is the value at WDW there from 1980 vs today

    Quote Originally Posted by flynnibus View Post
    I miss the trips in the 80s where we probably spent 30-40% of our time outside of the theme parks... skiing, boating, nightime campfires, canoeing, golfing, dining, etc.
    Correct me if i'm wrong but aren't all of these activities still available at Walt Disney World?

  13. #13

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    Re: Is the value at WDW there from 1980 vs today

    Quote Originally Posted by KingEric View Post
    So the big question. Is the experience worth it?
    ABSOLUTELY NOT. As far as I am concerned, WDW visitors are being robbed, and WDW's management is not delivering the amount of entertainment and quality that the guests should for the price they pay.
    Can you honestly tell me you believe the DHS or DAK are worth the price of a 1-day admission, which is the same price charged at the MK park? And let's put the MK under scrutiny when you compare how much guests at DL or TDL are paying for a day and how much more entertainment they get in a single day versus what guests get in a single day at the MK. Example, TDL is opened on average 9am-10pm, with several special events throughout the year, which normall come with special entertainment, food and other stuff FOR REGULAR PARK ADMISSION PRICES. There are MORE attractions, MORE stage shows, more restaurants, MORE shops, MORE parades, MORE yearly events on any single day at TDL than what they MK offers their guests and currently, Tokyo DL guests pay about $62 per day to visit the park, versus $80 at the Mk for a day? Plus, as an added incentive, TDL guests get more staffing and better maintained and cleaner facilities than the experience that the MK offers guests on any day of the year.
    In short, NO, the MK, and possible all the other WDW parks are NOT a value, even if their visitors make it a value by purchasing 5+ day passports. Add park-hopping and no expiration add-ons and the ripp-off gets more expensive.

    Back in 1981, yes, EPCOT Center and MK were definitely a value, and people not only got great entertainment but clean park facilities and a more magical experience than what they get now.. It was those hallmarks of excellence that made the Disney name what it has become today. There is nothing that Disney is doing "today" to make the name "Disney" special for future generations. The fact that other entertainment giants have been able to catch up to Disney standards (and in some cases, exceed it) should be reason enough for Disney to take a hard long look at the current operation of their parks.

    In my personal case.. if WDW did not offer a value 4-park AP, I would not go because it is that $365 or so per year is a fair price for what WDW has to offer (as it is) today. In regards to Tokyo Disney Resorts and their two parks, i pay the premium price of about $800 for an AP that does not even offer discounts in the parks nor garranty admission on crowded days, but you know why I pay that much? Simply because Tokyo Disney Resort delivers in every aspect of their operation. Excellent entertainment, food options, merchandise, cleanliness, staffing, unique atmospheres in Disney's best 2nd gate ever built (TDS) and cast members that put their peers in the USA, Paris and Hong Kong to bloody shame in their military-like approach of professionalism. Reason why even an $800 AP at TDR is still a much nicer value than buying the new $700 AP that allows entrance into all of the WDW and DLR parks. Even though I still consider DLR a class act and one that even WDW management should try to emulate at all cost.

  14. #14

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    Re: Is the value at WDW there from 1980 vs today

    Quote Originally Posted by TDLFAN View Post
    ABSOLUTELY NOT. As far as I am concerned, WDW visitors are being robbed, and WDW's management is not delivering the amount of entertainment and quality that the guests should for the price they pay.
    Can you honestly tell me you believe the DHS or DAK are worth the price of a 1-day admission, which is the same price charged at the MK park? And let's put the MK under scrutiny when you compare how much guests at DL or TDL are paying for a day and how much more entertainment they get in a single day versus what guests get in a single day at the MK. Example, TDL is opened on average 9am-10pm, with several special events throughout the year, which normall come with special entertainment, food and other stuff FOR REGULAR PARK ADMISSION PRICES. There are MORE attractions, MORE stage shows, more restaurants, MORE shops, MORE parades, MORE yearly events on any single day at TDL than what they MK offers their guests and currently, Tokyo DL guests pay about $62 per day to visit the park, versus $80 at the Mk for a day? Plus, as an added incentive, TDL guests get more staffing and better maintained and cleaner facilities than the experience that the MK offers guests on any day of the year.
    In short, NO, the MK, and possible all the other WDW parks are NOT a value, even if their visitors make it a value by purchasing 5+ day passports. Add park-hopping and no expiration add-ons and the ripp-off gets more expensive.

    Back in 1981, yes, EPCOT Center and MK were definitely a value, and people not only got great entertainment but clean park facilities and a more magical experience than what they get now.. It was those hallmarks of excellence that made the Disney name what it has become today. There is nothing that Disney is doing "today" to make the name "Disney" special for future generations. The fact that other entertainment giants have been able to catch up to Disney standards (and in some cases, exceed it) should be reason enough for Disney to take a hard long look at the current operation of their parks.

    In my personal case.. if WDW did not offer a value 4-park AP, I would not go because it is that $365 or so per year is a fair price for what WDW has to offer (as it is) today. In regards to Tokyo Disney Resorts and their two parks, i pay the premium price of about $800 for an AP that does not even offer discounts in the parks nor garranty admission on crowded days, but you know why I pay that much? Simply because Tokyo Disney Resort delivers in every aspect of their operation. Excellent entertainment, food options, merchandise, cleanliness, staffing, unique atmospheres in Disney's best 2nd gate ever built (TDS) and cast members that put their peers in the USA, Paris and Hong Kong to bloody shame in their military-like approach of professionalism. Reason why even an $800 AP at TDR is still a much nicer value than buying the new $700 AP that allows entrance into all of the WDW and DLR parks. Even though I still consider DLR a class act and one that even WDW management should try to emulate at all cost.
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  15. #15

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    Re: Is the value at WDW there from 1980 vs today

    Claws? Not really. Simply stating the obvious. But hey.. YOU asked!

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