By now, you’ve heard about Disneyland’s new prices, right?
Here’s the new breakdown as seen on Disneyinsider.com with the percentages of increase:
|1-Day Park Hopper|
|2-Day 1-Park Per Day|
|2-Day Park Hopper|
|3-Day 1-Park Per Day with Magic Morning|
|3-Day Park Hopper with Magic Morning|
|4-Day 1-Park Per Day with Magic Morning|
|4-Day Park Hopper with Magic Morning|
|5-Day 1-Park Per Day with Magic Morning|
|5-Day Park Hopper with Magic Morning|
|Southern California Select Annual Passport (170 days)|
|Southern California Annual Passport (215 days)|
|Deluxe Annual Passport (315 days)|
|Premium Annual Passport (365 days)|
|Premier Passports (Disneyland and Walt Disney World)|
I know everyone is all freaking out over this, and I have already read several blogs and articles that explain in great detail why this isn’t something to get all angry about, so I don’t really need to add my two cents at this point, but I’m going to anyway. Because, well, you know… I just can’t stop myself.
The media is responding to this by interviewing children and parents at the parks and walking around Disneyland who all seem to be up in arms about it and feel like it isn’t fair.
I have heard so many people complaining about this in the last 48 hours and the only thing they have to say is something along the lines of, “what are we supposed to do now??” Or, “Where are we supposed to go if we can’t go there anymore?” Or, “they have enough money, they’re just being greedy!” And my personal favorite, “They’re making it a place only RICH people get to go! I should be able to enjoy the same things, it’s not fair!” (…and we wonder where kids get their entitlement issues?)
Here are a few reasons why this price increase didn’t phase me or make me angry and why I don’t feel robbed.
1- I am not entitled to go to Disneyland. It’s a business. A theme park. An “extra” bit of entertainment for our family. Do I get angry with a company like Prada for making shoes I can’t afford? Do I have a right to be bitter at a contractor for building a home that would cost more than our family could make in 10 lifetimes that I am forced to drive by and look at every day because it’s not FAIR that I don’t get to have one?
No. No I do not. Because that would be stupid. I do not have a RIGHT to go to Disneyland anymore than I have a RIGHT to be able to buy one of those luxury homes sitting on top of the cliff in Laguna Hills. To be angry with a company who has responded to the needs of their business in a way that actually makes good, business sense, is just as pointless and stupid, in my opinion.
2- The increase actually does make sense. It’s clear, (if you go as much as we do) that they have a problem. There are TOOOO MMMAAANNNYYYY PEEEEEOOOOPPPLLEEE there. Every day. Literally- every-single-day-of-the-week. It’s kind of ridiculous to go with our family on a Monday afternoon in the “off” season and get directed to overflow parking down the street 4 blocks and then wait for 35 minutes in line for a ride that isn’t one of the more popular ones. Why does this happen? Because everyone in Southern California has a SoCal pass and goes on the weekdays during the off seasons. This increase, as well as the removal of the SoCal pass altogether, will try to draw people toward going on different days like Saturday instead of Sunday and weekdays instead of only on weekends. It will also reduce the number of people attending with one day passes and increase the number of people more likely to attend with the multi-day passes. This will help to reduce stress levels in guests, by helping them spread their visit over multiple days instead of trying to cram every last bit of magic into a single 15 hour period causing child, AND parent meltdowns, insanity in attraction lines and will hopefully cut down on the influx we personally have seen in the ultra-rude moms who cut in line and demand to be first and freak out when someone’s 2 year old is taking an extra minute to walk down some stairs because they’ll be late for the next item on their carefully planned itinerary.
They don’t have enough space and this, I believe, is the only way to try and fix that problem. Since they can’t build more park, they have to cut down on the people who get to go. It’s the exact same thing ComicCon International did in San Diego. The issue is about limited space and an ever-increasing number of people trying to cram themselves into it. They have to create a supply/demand situation to reduce the number of people who go on what days. If this is the way to make that happen, I’m all for them at least giving it a shot.
3- I trust them. I really do. Maybe because I was cast member, I believe in this company – even if I don’t always understand or agree with everything they do. (See my blog called, “Raising Prince Charming” for more details on that!) I know that most of their departments are union. I know that costs a TON of money to keep up with and that money has to come from somewhere. I don’t think, “oh well, they’re a multi-million dollar corporation, so they can handle it” because I know that every single thing they do is top of the line and costs millions to maintain, run and refurbish. I admit, I’m not a business major, I’m a psych major. I deal more in emotion than money, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist or even a CFO to realize that the amount of output they generate as a company costs them billions worldwide but those billions are spread across dozens of brands, parks and interests, from film, to video games, theme parks, clothing, hospitality, food and a ton of other things I’m not thinking of right this minute. Every day, the need grows, their customers have more children and they all demand a magical experience. Somehow, Disney pulls a new shade of rabbit out of their hat and can mystify and wow even the toughest critics, world-wide, every day. That kind of magic ain’t cheap, folks. It’s hard work done by people who deserve to be paid well and it’s equipment that is top of the line in every possible aspect; lighting, programming, costuming, prop and structure building, everything- all of it, costs money. This year, Disneyland is working on renovating the Finding Nemo ride and creating a more up to date experience. They rebuilt and reopened a brand new Big Thunder Mountain. They closed and reopened Pirates of the Caribbean, as well as the Indiana Jones ride and they just shut down Space Mountain to refurbish it, too. There are pages upon pages of renovations, recreations and rebuilding old structures to make them shiny and perfect, safe and new again for each new guest every year. All of this costs money, so much of it that if the average person saw it all broken down in an excel document, they’d freak out. So if they need to raise prices to ensure they can continue this work every year, I’m completely comfortable with that.
4- A 4% increase that will break down to an extra $60 a year for my family to keep going every day, any day we want… is not a deal breaker. I have no problem saving my dollars and putting money away to have, in exchange, a year of irreplaceable moments with my family that do more for us than any family counselor could ever hope to- it brings my husband and I back to one another. It brings the focus back to love, family, giving, brings us back into the present moment and lets us share in the magic and hope that Disney’s stories teach. We return home a stronger family with beautiful memories and that, to me, is worth it. It also teaches my children much needed lessons in patience, humility, taking turns and socialization. It helps them learn to interact with strangers and be polite in challenging situations. As they get older, it will teach them responsibility and how to keep a cool head in stressful situations. It will teach them the value of creativity and the power of imagination. The lessons are endless and the classroom couldn’t be more amazing.
At the end of the day, every family will need to decide what it’s worth to them. For us, it’s our happy place. I will not put a price tag on that experience and I will not be angry with them for running their business efficiently, for taking care of their cast members and I highly doubt anyone will change my mind on that.
So, do we deserve to go to Disneyland? Of course not.
I understand people are upset because it’s now maybe outside the budget- I get that, I really do! I get upset, too, when I go to the grocery store and I find that I can’t afford the organic, non GMO items that I know are better for my family or clothes that don’t come from the $5 table at Target or even basic cable or a car that doesn’t have 200,000 miles on it. I also know I can’t afford those things because of choices we made and now we live according to our decisions. It’s not anyone else’s fault or responsibility to see that I can feel good about my choices every day by handing us whatever we want just because we really want it.
I’m not entitled to a day at Disneyland any more than I’m entitled to walk into that million dollar home by the beach and claim it for myself without doing the years of hard work to build a lifestyle that can afford that house. If I wanted it that badly, I’d take steps to make it happen. It’s no one’s fault but mine at the end of the day and I don’t have any intention of blaming someone else, not even a company who continue to raise their prices to meet demand, for missing out on something I want to do. It’s their job to create the magic. Its mine to figure out how to get us through the gates.