A Disney World Story That's Realistic About The Costs!?

Saturday, October 29, 2016 12:20 PM

So there are people out there that get it.


And she accepts the idea that everything doesn't have to be for everyone rather than calling for class warfare and bringing those Disney fatcats off their high horses.

It might be the most reasonable opinion I've ever read on the internet.

Saturday, October 29, 2016 12:38 PM

Meh, it's better, but it's still lined with subtle hyperbole and the suggestion that there is evil intent on the part of the worst kind of capitalists. And comparing it to a cross-Europe trek or African safari is cosmically ridiculous. I want to do those things too, and I don't feel like I'm in any position to spend that (at least, not without planning for it over two or three years).

But she stops just short of getting to the real problem in our culture: unrealistic expectations. It's everywhere now, a sense of entitlement that suggests we should all have new iPhones, $30k+ cars and 3,000 sq. ft. of McMansion (and no student loans). I grew up somewhat poor, but I'm not bitter about it, nor do I think my family was entitled to more. Am I that much an outlier? It's like that ridiculous piece someone posted here in the last year about the woman who had to make "sacrifices" and could barely make ends meet, while living in an enormous house with two German cars and kids in private schools.

Saturday, October 29, 2016 12:49 PM

If you're donating blood to buy a Rolex, you've got priority issues...

Saturday, October 29, 2016 2:25 PM

#wronglyentitledballs at their worst.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016 9:36 AM

Here's some skepticism and distaste. Not quite the "hates poor people," but at least in the category of "it's all fake anyway."


Tuesday, November 1, 2016 9:59 AM

Jeff said:

But she stops just short of getting to the real problem in our culture: unrealistic expectations. It's everywhere now, a sense of entitlement that suggests we should all have new iPhones, $30k+ cars and 3,000 sq. ft. of McMansion (and no student loans). I grew up somewhat poor, but I'm not bitter about it, nor do I think my family was entitled to more. Am I that much an outlier? It's like that ridiculous piece someone posted here in the last year about the woman who had to make "sacrifices" and could barely make ends meet, while living in an enormous house with two German cars and kids in private schools.

Ding, ding, ding. We have a winner! Unrealistic expectations is very much at the root of a lot of this.

I have been going to Walt Disney World on and off for almost 30 years. I've been a single day guest, a Cast Member with free entry privileges, and now, for the first time, an Annual Pass holder. While I live in a community that has a tremendous number of Annual Pass Holders, and many of those renew those passes every year, I don't have the means to do that. This was probably our one shot at it until the kids are out of school and I really only pulled the trigger this year because we came into some unbudgeted discretionary money.

This past weekend we did our first, and likely only, character meal. We dropped over $200 on a freaking buffet dinner but we had the "exclusive" minutes with the Big 5 characters. Had I paid admission into the park I would not have booked that dinner. While it was a nice experience for the kids it isn't something I will be doing again. There are plenty of people I know, many who have less means than I do, that believe that they MUST book a character dining meal on every trip.

If my expectation was that I could have a Premium Disney Experience on every trip I would be vastly disappointed because I acknowledge that I simply cannot afford it. That doesn't mean that we don't have a good time when we visit. I've had plenty of nice days in the park when we would just grab a quick counter service dinner at Cosmic Ray's and move on to the next attraction.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016 11:19 AM

In the first linked article, author says the right things generally. But it seems to me she isn't really fine with the situation. A lot of bitterness comes through what she says.

Second article, family took the wrong approach. Danger with anything that you build up in your mind as being the ultimate/perfect experience. Next to impossible standard to meet. Results are often times disappointment.

From what I have seen, one of the biggest mistakes parents make (especially those with very young kids) at Disney is not using their own kids as a guide in terms of when to call it a day/take a break. I get that you planned the trip for months/years and want everything to be perfect. And there are still many things left on today's calendar. But at some point, your kids may/will need a break (even kids who normally can go-go-go all day and late into the late). Pushing them at that point is likely to produce a horrible experience. Not an easy call to make though in many cases. All the planning/money spent on one side and the apparent waste on the other.

Whoever said life is what happens when you are making plans must have had kids.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016 12:23 PM

I seem to remember Megan Fox looking WAY better than that.

I must be getting old.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016 3:31 PM

GoBucks89 said:

From what I have seen, one of the biggest mistakes parents make (especially those with very young kids) at Disney is not using their own kids as a guide in terms of when to call it a day/take a break.

Related, I similarly don't understand the people who must be the super-planner and read all of the books and whatever. Yeah, I get that Disney can be a relatively expensive endeavor, but I think you have to be zen about the fact that you just have to wing it when it comes to kids and how they are on any given day. Granted, the occasional ASD-related challenges give me certain perspective, but I have to go into any travel or recreational situation expecting that it may not go well for reasons I can't predict or control. Clearly, this is completely at odds with what many perceive as the ultimate fantasy vacation.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016 3:45 PM

I think the biggest issue is with the parents who "have to do it all." (This is more a confession than a condemnation). Fear Of Missing Out really drives a lot of the obsession to dash from one attraction to the next.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016 8:34 PM

What these guys said. I think a lot of people feel like they have to do it all instead of doing what they want to do.

I read all the books and visit many Disney park websites, but that's more of an autism-fueled fascination than a desire to plan a visit to WDW. Put me in Magic Kingdom, I'll ride Haunted Mansion, Pirates and Small World, have a Dole Whip, and I'm good.

Last edited by slithernoggin, Tuesday, November 1, 2016 8:34 PM
Wednesday, November 9, 2016 5:56 PM

Its nothing more complicated than basic economics.

Disney should be charging the highest price possible without sacrificing attendance. Simply put, Disney needs to continue to raise their (gate, food, merch, etc) prices to the point at which if they raise it one more cent, they begin to lose money due to lost sales. I would also imagine that Disney has yet to reach this level of pricing.

People seem to forget that they are a business, they are not required to provide an experience to everyone, they are not a constitutional right, they are just one of a plethora of entertainment and vacation options. They are in business to turn a profit, pay the shareholders, and continue to develop the business.

Now, I'm sure that you all knew that already, but i figured I would say it anyway.

If I felt that I was not getting a fair return on my investment in a Disney vacation, than I would not go, however that is not the case. I just came back from Disneyland last month, it was worth every penny, and that is why Disney could raise the price and still attract plenty of visitors.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016 7:14 PM

Yeah I can relate with both stories and the points each make. I do in a way feel that the lower middle-class is being phased out of a Disney vacation staying on site, but not when staying at an off site hotel.

I have friends that make 10-20k over the poverty level(around 40-50k per year,) but able to take their daughter for a 7 night Disney Universal trip last month. By staying at a Motel 6 or Econolodge for $35 a night they were able to experience the Disney magic 5 days and Universal Horror Nights and parks for 3 day. That's where I feel it's heading for that demographic. It's more about planning and saving to make it possible. On site trip is possible with saving over several years.

The other story I could relate with because that's how I felt the first time I took my family to Disney. Yes I had a decent income, but you never know what can happen. Will I make it back there?

Our last trip to Disney(this same week last year,) we did make our dining reservations and fastpasses ahead of time, but we changed them on the fly every morning if needed depending on how we felt or if a dining reservation was available that wasn't before(Be Our Guest.) I also think that has to do with age and working smarter not harder. My first trip(on my own,) I was 22, and last year was 43. Taking all the advice I've read over the years to use to our advantage. It was a great family trip.

There are so many perspectives on family Disney trips and I love to read them.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016 7:33 PM

You touch on one of the greatest myths about WDW: That it's more expensive to stay on property. If you choose to use the free transportation from the airport, thus avoiding a car rental or cabs, you can score some pretty good deals on the value resorts if you pay attention. If you drive there, your cost for gas will also be a factor unless you live in GA. It will cost less than staying off-property, unless you're the kind of person willing to spend $60 or less on a room (in which case something about it being clean is going to be left out at that cost... and I would not do it).

My record room rate at Pop Century was $80 per night, and on that trip I had the dining plan (snack/counter/table) at $30 per day per person. That was during the recession.

Thursday, November 10, 2016 5:44 AM

I agree with you Jeff i'd rather pay the extra and stay on site. With our trip last year we decided that we are no longer doing other parks along with our Disney trip. We are going to stay at a Universal Resort and go to Universal, Sea World, and Busch Gardens.

I just did a search and the All Stars Music's rate today is $111.50. That's $76.50 a day savings staying off site. That covered their rental car and a little food each day. Since it was a Disney/Universal trip I can see why staying off site would benefit them. I don't get your argument about it being the biggest myth. $76.50 a day is significant when on a budget. Sure if you save a little longer you can stay on site, but when doing other parks with Disney it's an easy way to save money.

Even when we go to Disney I still rent a car. I like the convenience of traveling on our schedule and parking is still free when staying at a resort. We'll use the shuttle buses sometimes, but prefer to drive ourselves around the resort.

Thursday, November 10, 2016 8:39 AM

Again, I think if you're going to stay in a room at $35/night, that's probably going to be gross. I doubt the $75 difference would make up much more than the rental and parking (both Disney and Universal are $20/day), and even if the gap narrows to $20 a day, why not just spend the extra $20 and have the better experience (not to mention better room)? If it really comes down to $20 per day, I would strongly question the fiscal responsibility of endeavoring in the vacation at all.

Thursday, November 10, 2016 11:10 AM

Everyone has different vacation expectations and a lot of that is based on income. I am not saying I don't disagree with your points, but in the case of my friends I understand.

Surprisingly I seen pictures of their room and it was decent considering the price. They also had a free shuttle that took them to the parks so they didn't have to pay for parking.

Thursday, November 10, 2016 11:41 AM

On our recent trip to Disneyland, we had comp park hoppers but during the planning stages we were going to get two one day tickets per park. While I'll admit that us getting comp tickets changed our budget (now we each had a $200 surplus to put towards other thing), eating and drinking at Disney was still included in our budget, including a slightly pricey lunch at Blue Bayou (just over $100 before tip), parking, and our near by airbnb house was the same price as the Disneyland Hotel was per nite.

Now, I've made small budget trips to both parks and non small budget trips to most parks and enjoyed both. I'm obviously not rich, but I have a good stable job, am single, both my cars and my house are paid for and my only debt are medical bills. So I can do that.

But even at that I've never felt that Disney trips were a right or should be cheap. We didn't go as a family when I was a kid because of cost. We went to the beach instead (my favorite place, so no complaint here).

But I always understood that there were levels of luxury from candy all the way up, and some levels I wouldn't be able to afford.

I've worked hard to get where I am now and have had a good couple years of travel and buying fun stuff and I'm starting a (debt free) renovation of my house. Are there things I want and don't have at this point? Sure. A condo on Huntington Beach. Jeffs car. Beyoncé.

Could I have that condo or car? Sure. But it would cut in to other things I want as well. I can't afford a Ferrari or Mar A Lago. And as I fight my way up, I'm able to afford more things. My next new car in a couple years will most likely be a Tesla (it will be an EV). I may one day sell my house and move to the beach. But again those are luxuries. And I'd have to kill Jay Z so no Beyoncé.

But I don't understand the trend that keeps going about deserving the American dream. No. the American dream was something you worked and faught hard for and then you still weren't promised it. But I still feel better about myself for making an effort to support myself and be content.

Last edited by Tekwardo, Thursday, November 10, 2016 11:43 AM
Monday, November 14, 2016 8:13 PM

I know someone that goes to Disney yearly and they are definitely not rolling in money. They go as a rather large multi-generation family group and have been doing so as long as I've known them. She says that people have made comments about how much money she must have to be able to do this but she says it's a matter of priorities and the people that make the comments don't see the things she gives up to be able to go to Disney so often.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016 9:17 AM

One area where Disney is still lagging, in my opinion, is in affordable options for large families. Unless you want to rent two rooms or spend a significant amount of money for something like Art of Animation you are relegated to going off property. We were up there this past weekend and stayed for the third time at a property at the corner of 192 and I-4.

The condo style room had two bedrooms (king and 2 twins), 2 bathrooms, a kitchen and a large living room with a pull out sofa and room for blow up mattresses. We got that room for less than $120 a night with our Florida resident discount. We took breakfast food with us (eggs, etc) that saved us some money (and time). It took us less than 15 minutes to get from our hotel to the Magic Kindgom...the furthest park we could have visited.

192 West is awash with vacation home properties and condo properties that are accommodating large families or groups of friends. Many of these places have resort style amenities that can compete with all but the nicest of the Disney properties. If the only real downside is traveling back and forth to the parks I would argue that isn't much of a downside until Disney improves their transportation options. Yes, one does need to pay for parking but there are ways around that if you are visiting the Magic Kingdom or Epcot...and with Uber now it might be more expensive (and more convenient for that matter) to Uber to the parks instead of driving in.

I'm a pretty unabashed Disney fan...but I think this is a current drawback at Disney and my understanding is it is something they will be focusing on in the future.


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