Disney out-prices average American family

Published 9:59 am Monday, December 13, 2021

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For those who have followed along with my columns the past few years, you may remember that I love Disney World.

The last time I wrote about Disney World was a little over four years ago, when we went after my sister graduated from high school and I from Alabama.

Well last weekend, I returned to Disney with my freshman year of college roommate and her mom.

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I am, by no means, a Disney aficionado. I like to think I know the average amount about Disney, maybe more/maybe less, depending on the character. My roommate is not the average.

Her family is a member of the exclusive Club 33 at Disney. Up until our vacation, I didn’t even know such a thing existed.

We arrived at our hotel on Thursday night, where I was informed our VIP tour guide would pick us up at 8:30 a.m. on the dot.

I was under the impression that tour guides were for large groups and people who may not be as familiar with Florida or really the United States at all.

I guess I was wrong.

At 8:30 a.m., I was greeted by a lady named Helen, who carpooled us to Hollywood Studios in her black Escalade.

Helen didn’t take us to the normal front gates. We went to the “Cast Members Only” gate, where our bags were checked and then through another back gate that led right into the park.

We started off our morning at approximately 8:45 a.m. with an upside down roller coaster known as the Rock N’ Roll Roller Coaster, and I fully believe if I started every day on a roller coaster, I would be more alert and ready to go than ever before.


I was amped for the day.

Helen had us on a schedule that allowed us to ride every ride without waiting in the standby line.

She explained that Disney had upgraded to a Genie System, which made guests pay for “Lightning Lane” passes when there was a ride they didn’t want to wait in line for. The “Lightning Lane” passes varied, depending on the popularity of the ride and the time of day. In addition, each pass cost money. They had done away with the fast pass system.

Upon hearing this, I was really disappointed.

Disney was always a costly endeavor. I only went twice as a child, and each time I knew my parents had done a lot of saving to take us.

Disney is not for the average family anymore.

To ride their newest ride, you could wait approximately 200 minutes or spend nearly $60 on a Lightening Pass for a family of four.

That’s just one ride.

Imagine trying to fit in two. You’ve now spent $120, plus the cost of tickets to the park, and you still have to eat lunch and your kid will probably want a souvenir or to buy their photo from the ride.

I was really thankful my roommate took me.

I guess in the years since I last went to Disney a lot had changed, and I hadn’t been keeping up.

I am sure Disney could care less for my opinion, like I said, I am not a Disney aficionado. But, I think Disney World is a dream of every child and I think it needs to be more accessible to the average family.

Not every family wants a VIP tour, nor do they need one. Some families just want to see their child’s eyes light up at the sight of their favorite character. I don’t want that dream taken away from a child because Disney has maxed out any average family’s possibility of coming.

I think it’s time Disney take a look at offering different family packages for those who are not interested in the $$$ meals and showmanship, but those who just want to have a good time and ride some rides, while eating a Mickey Bar.