Disney World is a place where dreams come true, regardless of how much said dreams drain your wallet. Face it: Activities like meeting Mickey Mouse IRL, sipping tea with your favorite princesses, and watching fireworks boom outside Cinderella's majestic castle are worth every cent. As a reminder, a day pass at Disney World costs $115 per person today. It is by no means cheap to see the magic of Disney come to life. But guess what? It used to be way more affordable, GOBankingRates reports.
On Tuesday, Oct. 3, the site dedicated to finances and "money lifestyle" — per the website's "About Us" page — released a shocking report revealing just how much Orlando's Disney World admission prices have skyrocketed. Let's just say you could've gone to Disney five times during its inaugural year (1971) for the same price as one trip in 2017.
GOBankingRates used data from AllEars.net to compile a comprehensive list of Disney World ticket prices (with and without inflation adjustments thanks to the Bureau of Labor Statistics inflation calculator) over the past 46 years. Let's take a look at some of the key figures, which will definitely (probably) make you want to ugly cry and wish you were a '70s baby because IT WAS SO CHEAP.
How Things Have Changed
OK, so in 1971, a Disney World day pass cost park-goers $3.50, which, in today's money, equals $20.95. Again, it's a fraction of the current $115 rate. From '71 to '75, admission prices were raised just 75 cents per year, with '76 and '77 seeing no change. The decade ended with 50 cent bumps in '78 and '79. Considering the price upticks were in the cents, these changes were nothing too serious.
Throughout the '80s, though, Disney got much more expensive. By 1982, ticket prices had already reached $15 ($37.51 today). This was the same year annual passes were released at an affordable $100 rate. However, eight years later, in 1990, the cost of one single day pass had already doubled to $31 ($59.28 today), and steadily grew throughout the decade and into the new millennium.
Ticket prices hit the triple digits — by today's dollar value — in 2014 when one ticked costed $99 ($103.22). Over the past three years, you can definitely guess, they've continued to rise at a (very high when compared to the '70s) rate of $5 per year. That, my Disney lovers, is why it's time to start saving for your next trip to the Magic Kingdom.
Is the increasing cost affecting attendance?
The increasingly expensive day rate could potentially be responsible for the theme park's slight 1 percent dip in attendance last year, but 1 percent is nothing when you consider just how many bodies actually walked through the enchanting gates. According to Time, the park welcomed a whopping 20,395,000 guests in 2016, so people are obviously — maybe begrudgingly — paying whatever Disney wants in order to experience the thrill of a day inside the park.
All activities and rides aside, how can anyone resist Disney World's drool-worthy food menu? For foodies, $115 is worth it just to see festive treats like candy cone soft serve up close, let alone taste them. Though each Disney Park has its own food items (Shanghai Disneyland has Mickey Mouse-shaped donuts, for instance), enjoying them with friends and family is a huge part of the experience.
Nonetheless, my inner budgeter can't help but let out a whimper at what could've been. Imagine paying for a ticket to Disney with four single dollar bills and getting change back?! That dream, unfortunately, will not come true at Disney World 2017.