The price of happiness

I read today in the LA Times that the price of a one-day ticket to Disneyland has increased from $87 to $92.

Holy cow, and I thought 3D movies were expensive at nearly $15 a pop.

The summer after I turned 12, my parents moved us from one town to another so that my dad could take a two-year sabbatical from his college teaching job to complete his Ph.D. While my parents were busy moving house, my grandmother took my brother, my sister and me to Disneyland. I think we went for only one day, although it might have been two. Possibly my aunt and uncle were with us (this was more than 30 years ago; details fade). So let’s assume our party included three adults, two children over 10, and one child under 10. In 1978, that set my grandma back $40 (equal to about $140 in 2012) for each day’s tickets. That same party today would pay $546, which in 1978 would have been nearly $2,000.


I have been back to Disneyland only once since then, and I don’t remember exactly when I went or how much I paid as an adult, but the price didn’t sear itself in my mind so it couldn’t have been that much. Maybe it was $25 or $30. 

Even if I had a hankering to return to the Magic Kingdom again someday, which fortunately I don’t, the price of admission alone would sour me on the idea just on principle. It might be the happiest place on earth, but if it costs a grand to take the family for a couple of days, well, I can stand to be a little less happy somewhere else.


7 thoughts on “The price of happiness

  1. Disneyland has gone up and up. I used to own an annual pass years ago when it was reasonable. And I loved going, it was easy since I live maybe 10 mins away. But sadly I had to stop because the price got ridiculous.

    • You know it’s out of hand when even the neighbors can’t afford to visit. 😉 People coming from out of state who have to pay for airfare, a hotel room and a rental car *really* have to fork over the big bucks. I remember, too, how crazy expensive the food is inside the park, and they don’t let you bring in your own. I don’t know what it costs to run that place, but it seems to me that maybe the Mouse has gotten just a tad greedy.

    • A visit to Disneyland is one of those quintessential American experiences that everyone should have at least once, either as a kid or with your kids, but nowadays, it’s out of reach of most people. I’m pretty sure that’s not what Walt Disney intended.

  2. At certain times of the year, of which I’m not entirely clear about, Disneyland offers a substantial entry fee discount to Southern California residents with ID that notes a zip code. I’m unclear as to the details, but the little voice in my head is saying September-ish. That may not be terribly reliable; it’s also telling me these pajamas are sexy. :/

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