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The rising cost of childhood: Disney dreams dampened

Vicky Kramer
Staff Writer
vak1553@lhup.edu

February 27, 2014

This past weekend, we had a taste of warmer temperatures and it felt great. Naturally, many people took advantage of this weather by spending time outside. We had almost picture perfect days with sunshine and just a few clouds. That warmer weather had me thinking of one thing and one thing only: vacation!

Every summer, I get to relive my childhood when my family vacations to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. It is my favorite place in my world. Although it is my favorite place to visit, that does not make it perfect. Last week, the Disney corporation indicated that they will be increasing adult admission fees—for ages 10 and up—to their theme parks. That includes Disney’s Magic Kingdom,  Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The prices rose from an average of $90 per one-day admission to almost $100. Many ticket prices increased by $4 or more.

As a devoutly Disney-appreciative family, this news is a bunch of bologna! It costs an arm and a leg for admission to the parks as it is now. To put this price increase into perspective, I will use a real-life example.  When I attend the parks, I typically choose the three-day park hopper ticket. It allows me to go to any parks I want to within a 3 day period. The current price runs around $315 just for admission to the theme parks with the park hopper. Of course, this price doesn’t include food, refreshments, or souvenirs, so a more realistic total of theme parks costs is somewhere closer to $500.

Knowing that more than 47 million people visit Disney Theme Parks every year at these already high rates, you start to wonder why prices have again increased. Banking more than 12.3 billion dollars last year, revenue is obviously not a problem.

“Our pricing reflects the high quality and breadth of experiences we offer and our ongoing commitment to investing in our parks,” said Kim Prunty, Walt Disney World spokeswoman stated to CNN.

Well Kim, I guess spending $14.50 for a hot dog and a drink at Hollywood Studios is totally feasible for a family on a budget, on top of the increased admission fees.

A less biased, more believable opinion on the recent cost increase comes from Deb Willis, an unofficial Disney spokesperson who has said, “It’s all about supply and demand. Attendance is going up, not down; so as long as people keep paying the prices, Disney (any business) will keep raising them.”

I could not have said it better myself, Deb. Disney knows exactly what they are doing and they know they can keep increasing prices and not lose business. They are a monopolized, billion-dollar business which owns basically everything. For many companies, constant increase in prices would affect business, but not Disney.

Why? It’s simple—because it’s Disney and Disney is incomparable.

My love for Disney definitely still outshines the ridiculous prices, but you have to wonder about a company that believes in putting a price on the only place you can be a child forever.

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