How expensive is too expensive for a ticket to Disneyland?

‏To spend one day at only one park in Disneyland (and assuming you’re an adult), your ticket will cost you $99. If you want to visit Disneyland as well as California Adventure, your ticket jumps up to $155. Disneyland is certainly a fun atmosphere for kids and adults, but is it too pricy?

‏I rallied up 45 people of all age groups* to partake in an anonymous questionnaire, and 93.3% of my voters decided that Disneyland tickets are too expensive.

‏Now let’s consider children. A one-day park hopper ticket for ages 10+ is $155, so how much is it to bring your six-year-old sister? Many of my interviewees assumed that a child’s ticket would be significantly lower, with at least a $50 difference. I thought the same. Unless you think that $6 is a dramatic price drop, then you thought wrong. While children under three years of age can be admitted into Disneyland for free, a one-day park hopper ticket for children from ages 3-9 costs $149. If you’re 60, your price is $155. If you’re 5, your price is $149. A very big difference in age, but not a very big difference in price. One person justified the adult price, but stated, “I think prices for kids though should be WAY CHEAPER.”

‏Additionally, an interviewee pointed out, “The ticket prices take away from some families being able to buy souvenirs or food. Disney makes a lot of money on those items, you would think they could make the tickets a little cheaper.”

‏So let’s factor in lodging, parking, food, and merchandise. If you stay at a Disney Resort, such as Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, which is sandwiched between California Adventure and Downtown Disney, you’re looking at paying a minimum of $379 (excluding taxes and fees) per night. When checking the prices for a date two weeks in advance, the lowest price I came across was $700 per night. Even attempting to book a YEAR in advance, the price was well over $450 per night.

‏However, driving two miles away from Disneyland to stay at a place such as the Embassy Suites on College Blvd., is still pricy at over $150 per night when booking six months in advance. You might get a better deal at a hotel farther from Disneyland, but then you’ll have to pay for gas to drive to the park, followed by another $18 just to park your car a block away. Or you could opt to take a Disney shuttle (or a taxi) that often stops in front of nearby hotels, but that will still cost you.

‏Food, let’s talk about food. Disneyland does not allow you to bring food or drinks into the park, so when you get thirsty (which WILL happen), you’re looking at spending about $3 for a bottle of water. And how can you pass up Disney churros, cotton candy, or an ice cream sandwich? The food carts that sell your favorite snacks generally charge a minimum of $4. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but if you buy two churros, an ice cream sandwich, and cotton candy throughout the day, that’s roughly $16 for just yourself alone. And if you want to go into a sit-down restaurant, you’re looking at another hefty price, especially at a restaurant like the famous Blue Bayou.
‏At the end of the day when you walk through the shops on Main Street, it can be pretty hard to pass up all the Disney-themed T-shirts, stuffed animals, accessories, and fun gadgets and trinkets. But after calculating the price of that shirt you NEED to have, along with those Mickey ears you’ll only wear once, and that Minnie Mouse cooking spatula, your wallet is probably going to end up dry.

‏With the exception of Anaheim residents, if you want to visit Disneyland, you’re more than likely going to have to travel quite a few miles. Airfare is not cheap, nor is the amount of gas you need to drive. To get to Disneyland from my city, I’d have to travel roughly 500 miles. That’s already a lot of gas money, but even more if you live in a city father than mine. Depending on where you live, your road trip (or flight) might be the priciest part of your entire trip.

‏So, 93.3% of people voted that Disneyland tickets are too expensive, especially after factoring in the other miscellaneous expenses required for an ideal trip. However, when asked if they would still visit the theme park, regardless of the price and given that they had the money to go, 90.9% of my interviewees said that Disneyland was still worth it. But why?

‏A voter of mine described the Disneyland experience as “magical,” but also added that food and drinks cost quite a bit. “The prices are only getting more expensive because Disney knows people will pretty much pay whatever to visit the parks,” they said. Others added that the experience is well worth it if it’s your first time, you’re able to go on all the rides (with several pointing out that exploring Disneyland requires more than one day), or if you have children with you. Someone else said, “Christmas time is definitely worth it!” But I think the reasoning is as simple as my first voter put it — the experience is magical.

‏So what price for a one-day park hopper ticket would people be happy with? Forty-one people provided me with their ideal price points, and when calculating the average, people seem to be happy with $83. After rounding up the desired price points, four people felt above $125 was a decent price, but fifteen people settled on $100, and seven people settled on $50. Other prices ranged from $60-$80.

‏I love Disneyland, but it seems that most of us can agree that tickets are far too pricy. People want to enjoy a beautiful day at the Happiest Place on Earth without having to worry about digging for pennies just to purchase a bottle of water. Lowering the ticket prices at Disneyland parks just might be the simplest solution to ease the minds of loyal visitors.

‏As one interviewee pointed out, “Disneyland is supposed to be the happiest place on Earth, so I’d be happy if it were free.” Of course, this is highly unlikely, but definitely something we can all dream about.

‏*Teenagers, adults, people with small children, people without small children, people from various cities and states, people who go to Disneyland once a year, people who have only been to Disneyland once, people who have never been to Disneyland, etc.

1 Comment

  • avatar Greg says:

    Thanks for this article! I think a fair price for Disneyland would be $50. Every time Disney increases the price they defend themselves by saying: “If you calculate all the rides & shows available at Disneyland, $99 is actually a pretty good deal.” I say: “The only way to be able to see all those rides & shows in one day is if Disneyland has no people in it.”

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