Disney has been accused of pricing out loyal customers by targeting affluent families with $800 hotel rooms and $100 sandwiches at its theme parks, despite having scaled back its ‘magic’ since the pandemic began.
A family vacation to Disneyland or Walt Disney World – once the pinnacle of summertime for middle-class American families – will today set a family of four back more than $6,000.
The average annual income in America now stands at $68,703 – or $5,725 each month – and monthly spend tops $5,100 a month in terms of housing, transportation, food, utilities and other living expenses.
This means that the average American family is left struggling to afford a visit to the so-called ‘happiest place on earth.’
And the hefty price tag comes despite pandemic-related restrictions squeezing some of the magic out of the experience.
Firework displays, shows and the iconic character parades have gone, with the company citing social distancing rules – with the first fireworks to return for July 4.
And yet, instead of slashing the prices to make up for the disappointment, costs have continued to climb.
Disneyland, once a go-to vacation spot for middle-class American families, is becoming increasingly unaffordable, new studies show
Dominique King of San Diego, Abigail Power and Harrison Power of Modesto, California walk down the road as they take in the sights and sounds of Main Street U.S.A. at the Disneyland Resort on April 30, 2021
A five-day trip to Disney World for a family of four no costs $6,033, according to Business Insider.
This includes tickets at a cost of $2,316, a four-night stay in a family suite at one of the park’s budget hotels at a cost of $2,617, and the lowest cost dining plan at $1,100.
It does not include add-on experiences, merchandise or any other extras.
And Disney prices are only increasing as the company targets wealthier customers.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Disney World has increased its ticket prices at roughly double the rate of inflation over the 2010s in an effort to compete with Universal Studios, which opened its Wizarding World of Harry Potter in 2016.
‘Disney does not like to lose – not just lose, Disney doesn’t even like to compete,’ Robert Niles, founder of Theme Park Insider, told Business Insider. ‘Disney wants to dominate its competition.’
In February, Disney CEO Bob Chapek said the company was taking a ‘more aggressive’ financial strategy ‘particularly at Disneyland.’
Since it reopened in April, Disneyland is now focusing on premium add-ons, Business Insider reports, like a $60 charge to get a better score on the new Spider-Man ride, and a $100 supersized sandwich at the new Pym Test Kitchen at the new Avengers Campus, which has consistently seen a four-hour wait since it first opened on June 4.
Now, a recent survey by Business Insider found that more than half of the 1,086 respondents with and without children said they thought Disney vacations were too expensive ‘in general’ to warrant a trip.
And another 32 percent of participants with children said they would like to visit a Disney property, but cannot afford to.
Of the roughly 18 percent who said they would be willing to go, those earning $175,000 or less seemed the most eager to take the vacation, while those with incomes over $150,000 being the least likely to take the vacation, even though they would be better able to afford it.
A $60 add-on to the Web Slingers ride at Disneyland’s new Avengers Campus (pictured) allows ride-goers to earn higher scores
The supersized sandwich at the new Pym Test Kitchen costs $100
And a hotel room at the Grand Californian in Disneyland can cost up to $800
The survey did not distinguish between Disney World and Disneyland vacations, but the San Francisco Gate reports, a Disneyland vacation is more expensive.
The least-expensive room available for a night in July, one of the busiest months for the theme parks, is $163 at Disney’s All Star Movies, but on the same night, the least expensive room at a Disneyland resort hotel is $463 at Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel.
The hotel regularly costs about $500 for a standard resort, while Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel can charge about $800 for a standard room.
Ticket prices are technically cheaper at Disneyland than Disney World, at $104 compared to $109, but Disneyland tickets at that price have not been available since the park reopened, and will not be offered until August 30.
The most expensive ticket at Disneyland, a one-day Park Hopper, is $209 per person and at Disney World its $201 per person.
Some have now taken to Twitter to call out the company for its unaffordable prices, with one user, @SelevantSoul tweeting on June 17 that she thought Disneyland tickets were expensive before the pandemic ‘but now they’re insanely expensive.’
And Jasmine Poet responded to a Disneyland tweet on June 14 that: ‘Sadly your magic is too expensive for many people, including children.’
‘Magic and expensive their prices went sky rocket,’ another person tweeted.
‘Unfortunately Disneyland only for the rich and famous.’
Another person chimed in: ‘Why does Disneyland & Universal Studios have to be so expensive. I really really want to go.’
Some people have taken to Twitter to express their frustrations with the high prices
Jasmine Poet responded to a Disneyland tweet saying it ‘is too expensive for many people’