I am just another middle aged guy with a wife who is absolutely mesmerized by the Walt Disney franchise. She has begun to spread her fascination of Disney onto our little girls and it’s all they talk about. Even right now, as I type this blog, I hear “Love Is An Open Door” playing on the television. I will admit Frozen was a good movie, but my gosh, must I endure this movie for another 4 years since the older girls have moved on but the youngest has just fallen in love with Elsa.
My lovely and loyal wife’s passion with Disney does not just stop with the movies but also includes Disney World theme park. This theme park is not just the most magical place on earth, but also one of the most expensive places to visit. But what is a good husband and father to do other than fulfill his wife and children’s dream of visiting Disney. Not once, not twice, but over and over again. I wish they would take some inspiration from Frozen and just Let It Go, but that will never happen.
Let me explain why I have become so anti-Disney over years, because this was not always the case. I had the great fortune of growing up in a middle class family that was able to visit Disney World twice during my youth. I remember begging my father in the late eighties to purchase a Goofy hat that was fairly expensive and him succumbing to my poor puppy dog eyes. Those family trips we took to Disney World are priceless to me and nothing will ever take them away.
I returned to Disney World as an adult in 2004 with two children from an unsuccessful marriage and my girlfriend who is now my wife. The cost of the trip was somewhere between the cost of $1800 and $2400 including a few bells and whistles. We decided to surprise the children by waking them up in the middle of night and telling them we were headed to Disney World via the airport. Quite an exciting event since they had never flown before.
The trip was absolutely awesome other than the fact that it rained everyday around 3:00pm with a significant temperature drop until the next day. That didn’t stop us from having the time of our lives. Disney World was still fairly priced and you received a bang for your buck. The dining plan was still fairly priced and it included everything from snacks, sodas, and restaurants if you took the time to make reservations in advance. When I say restaurants, I mean all the restaurants except Chef Mickeys which was worth the additional cost.
I remember standing there at the age of 28 caught up in the hoopla watching the fireworks go off at Magic Kingdom one night deciding that I was daring enough to dream a dream. I was amazed with Disney World and wanted to buy some stock when I returned home. I didn’t unfortunately because it only cost $30.00 a share back then. It now goes for $140 a share. My loss is someone else’s gain I guess.
We are going to jump forward now to year 2020 with me disenfranchised with Disney World and this is why. The theme park has lost its way and is being led by greedy corporate America and not Walt Disney’s dream. The cost to visit Disney has more than doubled and this does not include any bells and whistles. It doesn’t even include a meal plan. It’s gotten so bad that Disney heiress Abigail Disney came forward and voiced her dissatisfaction with the direction that the Walt Disney executives have chosen.
While planning our next trip, we agreed to forego the meal plan because it is just too expensive and we will pack sandwiches instead. I then mentioned drinks and she told me what the budget was for refreshments. I looked at her like she was crazy as she informed me that the sodas were over $4 a bottle. At this point I said WTF and that I was done with Disney World. Somehow in less than 20 years I went from eating steak dinners with grilled tuna appetizers to tuna fish sandwiches and bottle water for double the price. Something is very wrong here.
Walt Disney World at some point will be brought back to reality when they lose their most loyal fans. Disney was built upon the American dream and it feels like they have turned their backs on hard working middle class American families. They are more intent in bringing in travelers from abroad who are willing to pay a higher price to visit Disney World. Their share price currently is phenomenal, but I suggest this will change over time because I am a true believer in supply in demand. But this demand won’t stop until people like me put their feet down, refuse to give Disney World another dime and spend their hard earned money elsewhere.