Income Inequality Obsession and Class Envy Come to the Happiest Place on Earth

No, Disney trips aren't cheap. That doesn't mean the middle class is losing access.


Has anybody noticed yet that the centerpiece of the Magic Kingdom is a memorial to income inequality?
Photo: Scott Shackford

In May, Disneyland in California launched the 60th Anniversary celebration of its park, full of new shows, refurbishments and improvements to some rides, and, of course, loads of special limited edition Disney merchandise.

As a big Disney fan, I blocked off a weekday late in May to visit the park to experience what's new (spoiler: Frozen. Everything. Everywhere. Frozen.). I selected a Thursday in the hopes the crowds would be less intense. I was only partly successful. The morning was lovely, but by mid-afternoon it seemed as busy as a Saturday, with wait times approaching an hour for some rides (two hours for Splash Mountain as the sun warmed things up).

The Disney empire's theme parks are seeing a record number of visitors, noted in this very recent story in The Washington Post. That data makes it all the stranger that the headline for the story is "How theme parks like Disney World left the middle class behind." The story, despite illustrating the growth in visitors to the park, contends that the Disney parks' increases in prices are driving out middle class customers, somehow because of income inequality:

For America's middle-income vacationers, the Mickey Mouse club, long promoted as "made for you and me," seems increasingly made for someone else. But far from easing back, the theme-park giant's prices are expected to climb even more through a surge-pricing system that could value a summer's day of rides and lines at $125.

"If Walt [Disney] were alive today, he would probably be uncomfortable with the prices they're charging right now," said Scott Smith, an assistant professor of hospitality at the University of South Carolina whose first job was as a cast member in Disney's Haunted Mansion. "They've priced middle-class families out."

The piece is a typical case of "some say" journalism. Note the use of "seems" when the story claims the parks are now made for somebody other than the middle class. The chart in the story showing the increased cost of visiting Walt Disney World in 2014 dollars has an important omission: It doesn't account for admission system for the early days of the park where visitors paid a small fee to enter, then had to buy additional tickets for various rides and attractions.

But even without that mistake Drew Harwell is certainly correct on a basic level that people are paying more now for Disney trips than they used to. But where is the data that people are getting left out who weren't getting left out before? The best data he is able to provide is that the average household income of tourists to Orlando has peaked at $93,000, which is $20,000 more than the national average. But has this difference changed over the years? Is there actually a bigger gap than in, say, 1985? The story doesn't say. This average variation seems perfectly normal if you consider the idea that a tourism economy would naturally exclude the poorest families, not the middle class. (This Bureau of Labor Statistics Report from 2003 shows that for entertainment, the poorest Americans do not spend much on fees and admissions, focusing instead on home-based entertainment choices.)

Instead of further analyzing this math, the story points to the new ways the Disney parks are trying to appeal to richer clientele. Fancier hotels! Expensive restaurants! Guided tours! Princess makeovers! These are perhaps things the middle class cannot afford. This isn't proof that the middle class are losing out on having a Disney vacation. The story points out the improvements, upgrades and new attractions (again: Frozen) that are open to all comers.

Instead this piece reeks of class envy. It talks about the fancy new restaurants and premium hotels but does not mention the satellite economy of value dining and lodging offerings that surround the park. It doesn't even note that Disney has its own chain of value-priced hotels in Orlando, and they opened a new one just three years ago.

For that matter, the piece doesn't even actually establish that middle class families aren't enjoying these offerings, either. I am well-ensconced in the "middle class" wage range and can attest that I've enjoyed some of the "fancier" options at the California park (but not the princess makeover—yet). The California park is slightly cheaper, more attuned to the local economy, and more physically accessible than the Orlando parks, but it's by no means an easy buy (the ticket price for one day in California's park is $10 less than Orlando's). I can assure The Washington Post that I, nevertheless, was not surrounded by the idle rich on that busy day in May.

Anyway, people should not be incensed at Disney's prices, but rather its subsidies.

(Hat tip to Charles C. W. Cooke for pointing out the piece)

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  1. We now have annual passes for the first time. They’re pretty effing expensive, but I think you have to put things in perspective. In the past, the guests were primarily domestic and visiting for a day or two. Now they have a boatload of foreign visitors, and a lot of people are doing longer visits and staying on property. For the latter class, there are major discounts for multi-day passes and for people staying on property that make the costs less unearthly.

    When we’ve gone recently, I can’t say that the guests seemed particularly upper-class. Definitely a lot of non-Americans, though.

    This message was brought to you by the Mouse.

    1. I got a pass for the kid in 2011. Never again. It’s triple the cost of the next most expensive theme park, and Disneyland parking is atrocious. Largest parking structure in North American.

      You have to wait in line for the tram to the entrance. That’s right, you have to wait in line to wait in line.

      1. HAHAHAHAHAHA! Disney World 1, Disneyland 0.

        1. Oh yeah?

          I was at Magic Kingdom and the monorail broke down. Nice single point of failure.

          1. Use the one for the resorts. Or walk.

            1. That’s kinda harsh man.

      2. Disney World is much better, and, of course, there are options there other than the Magic Kingdom. To make it worth your time, you have to do the fast passes, or you’ll go insane and likely catch some exotic disease while waiting in line.

        I know some Disney freaks who go there nonstop, but we’re not like that. Figured we’d do it for a year then quit. Until now, the only time we’ve really gone is for night-time events, like the EPCOT Wine & Food Festival and a couple of the holiday events at the Magic Kingdom.

        1. I make sure to do the fireworks.

        2. I look forward to food & wine fest all year. The only thing I get more excited for is the annual Python hunt.

          1. It’s pretty fun, though it’s not cheap. Mexico wins with all of the tequila.

            1. Belgium has the strongest food line up in my opinion.

              1. I remember trying to get a reservation at whichever one was the most popular, and they laughed at me. It books up like 6 months out, kind of like Blue Bayou.

                1. Victoria & Albert’s?

                  1. It was a country. This was 3 years ago, so I can’t remember which. According to the guide books, the place had the best food by far.

                    1. Probably Le Cellier, the steakhouse in Canada pavilion. Good steaks with small dining room equals impossible reservations. I had to make mine 5 months in advance to get an early dinner table.

                    2. Morocco and France probably have the best food. Dine upstairs in France. Used to be called Bistro de Paris, not sure what it is now. V&As; does rock though. Also recommend Narcoosee’s at GF, Boma & Jiko at AK Lodge, Ohana at Polynesian, and California Grill at Contemporary.

                    3. Seafood Buffet at Yacht Club.

                  2. For my first honeymoon we went to Disneyworld and got reservations at V&A. Probably the highlight of the trip, and the marriage, was that dinner.

              2. I need to try it. I liked Morocco, too, but that was many years ago. We ate at Germany last time, which was okay. Beer was decent.

                1. Germany is very beer centric. Poland has very good food as well.

        3. Disney Land is like, ‘what the fuck?’ compared to Disney World.

          Disney World can apply for UN status.

          1. I went to Disneyland about 12 years ago and was disappointed. It’s like a miniature Disney World.

      3. I’ve never payed for disneyland in my entire life, my aunt used to work there, actually retired there, and had a silver pass + free tickets so ive never payed for disneyland or world, so suck it.

        1. Thank you for your contribution to the discussion.

          1. Hey, cronies gotta be seen cronying.

        2. Cool story, bro.

      4. They are working on this. What happened was that as the price of annual passes doubled in the last 10 years or so, the ridership per car for passholders halved from four to two. So the cost of parking soared too. The people who really got screwed were Cast Members, who on busy days had to park at Angel Stadium or the Honda Center and arrive an hour before their shift to be shuttled in because Disney needed employee lots for guests.

        Disney recently bought the RV lot on the northeast corner of Ball and Harbor and they are currently building a parking garage there for employees. Then the next step is another parking garage for guests, either on the Pumbaa lot near I5 or the lot across the street from California Adventure and south of the Paradise Pier hotel.

        The latter lot may be planned for a possible California Adventure expansion, which makes the Pumbaa lot most likely at this point. The 100 acre Toy Story lot is likely the sight of a third gate expansion, which makes that lot the least likely for the new garage.

    2. Let me know when you’re at the park. I’ll buy you a beer.

      1. Wow, you must be rich to afford their alcohol.

        They do seem to have gotten a little less ridiculous on the food and drink prices, at least at the non-fancy places.

        1. I never count the cost (monetary or social) when it comes to alcohol.

          1. “I never count the cost….when it comes to alcohol.”

            You are truly Florida Man – Real American Hero?!! God bless you.

              1. No, no, Florida Man – thank YOU.

            1. Florida Man is all that stands between us and Russian dash-cam dominance.

        2. The problem with Disney World is the high price of food and alcohol which is entirely mediocre at best. I’ve made reservations at some of the better Disney restaurants well in advance and found them meh at best.

          We’ve vacationed at the Polynesian a few times and had a reasonably good time, but the food is always a disappointment. The best park is the zoo and the big roller coaster there.

          1. If you like zoos, you should try the Jacksonville zoo. Much cheaper but, you’re in Jacksonville.

            1. The best zoos are in California.

              1. I’ve been to the San Diego zoo…pass.

                1. San Diego is much better than the Washington DC zoo which sucks farts.

              2. The San Diego Zoo is pretty awesome, much better than the Bronx Zoo. Although, when we go to the Bronx Zoo we stop at the Botanical Gardens which are wonderful in the spring.

                1. The Zoo Safari park is amazing. I saw the white rhino before he died.

      2. Disney H&R meet ups? This is like some masochistic fantasy come true!

  2. My wife and I have been twice since we got married in ’06. We are decidedly middle class.

    All it takes is some planning and, wait for it, SAVING. You can stay at one of the value resorts for a week, with park hopper passes for every day, PLUS travel and food for about 3k. That is hella cheap for a family vacation.

    Also, the trick is not to go in the summer when being in Florida is like being inside the devil’s jockstrap.

    1. Exactly this. We went the week before Thanskgiving week. Temperature was fine, and no lines.

      Plus you gotta be creative. Drive to save on airfare. Stay on the property to use the free transport system.

      My sister was a member of the Vacation Club time share and they weren’t using it that year, so we got a week’s lodging for less than $500. And we asked for an upgrade and got a room at the Beach Club, which is one of their high-end hotels.

      1. A lot of Orlando is that cheap in Nov-Jan.

        I got a 3 bedroom villa at the Sheraton for 8 days and it was cheaper than 1 night in Hawaii.

      2. Magic kingdom is always packed. You can find lighter days at the other three parks.

        1. Extended hours FTW!

          1. Here’s one tip: When they’re open late, skip the fireworks. If you’re there for multiple days, just watch them once.

            1. Also get the phone app and book your fast pass before you go. Plus you can track real time wait times and not waste time walking.

              1. Yes, absolutely get the app. And do the fast passes at least a day early. Used to be that wheeling in in your wheelchair was a good idea, too, but I guess that’s no longer in vogue.

            2. Thanks for the tip, I’ll have to remember to get the app before our next trip.

      3. The last time we went was over Thanksgiving. There were a couple days it was downright chilly.

        I should talk my brother-in-law into doing the time share, lol.

    2. Not that I would ever go to fucking Disneyxxxxx but we usually splurge on one nice vacation a year, staying at higher class hotels, eating at expensive restaurants, and shopping like drunken sailors. And then its back to the real world. That’s why it’s called a vacation.

      1. YES.

        I can’t wait til August.

        I’m staying at the Disney Resort in Hawaii. I hope it doesn’t suck as much as Disney World.

        1. Isn’t the point that even if it sucks, you’re still in Hawaii?

          1. That’s exactly the point. If Minnie Mouse shows up at my brunch, I can ignore it.

            It has something for me, and something for the kids.

      2. DisneyXXX I would visit though.

        1. I didn’t know you’re a furry Rufus.

          1. I’m a layered individual.

            1. I get Princess Jazmine. The ethnic version.

          2. He’s a Canadian, what did you expect?

  3. Any middle class family can save up for a Disney trip. If you live a thousand miles away, sure, may be once-in-a-lifetime for your kids, but so what. The country is full of other amusement parks you can go to on a yearly basis instead. Hell, the best traditional amusement park is Knoebel’s in PA, and entrance is free. You just pay to ride

    1. I rather liked Dollywood, which I was prepared to say “meh” to.

    2. Knoebel’s is nice. I like not having to pay to watch the kids ride. Hershey Park is also very nice. Great coasters and a nearly Disney level of cleanliness.
      In addition, Troegs brewery just opened a tasting room a block or two away.

      1. Hershey is a much better deal for those in the NE. Clean and fun and you can do it in a day.

        Great day trip.

        1. Hershey Park is very nice.

  4. If Walt [Disney] were alive today, he would probably be uncomfortable with the prices they’re charging right now,” jews.

    1. +1

    2. Libertarians should know better–the “Disney was antisemitic” myth was pushed by union commies upset that Disney was an anti-communist right-winger.

  5. As a former local who grew up not five miles from Disneyland, I knew lots of people who would go monthly or every two months with their year long passes.

    It was in no way unaffordable to anyone capable of working a job and saving for the occasion.

    That being said, I’ve always found Disneyland to be a bit of disappointment. Last time I went I was in 7th grade and haven’t missed it at all.

    I regard Knott’s as superior as an amusement park.

    1. Knott’s- $80 for an 18 month pass, 21 bucks to include parking.

      I have one in my wallet right now.

      1. What the hell is Knotts? I am from Michigan and Kansas — we have Worlds of Fun is KS and Cedar Point in MI (actually Ohio, but fuck Ohio).

        1. Knott’s Berry Farm is 8 miles from Disneyland in Buena Park. It features some pretty awesome roller coasters with a general Old West theme.

          There’s also a Soak City waterpark across the street that they built after they were bought by Cedar Point in the 90s.

          1. They sold the Soak City in Palm Springs. I was pissed about that.

            1. Isn’t it still going under a different name? Before Soak City opened I had to go to Raging Waters in San Dimas.

              1. It was Knott’s Soak City Palm Springs for about 5 years. My pass worked there. Great for a summer day trip. 115 degrees. No shoes, no shirt, no towels. Just waterslides all day.

        2. I haven’t thought of Worlds of Fun in like 20 years.

          Damn I loved that place.

      2. Ilike to go to Knott’s just to walk around Independence Hall, and chase the chickens around the garden. Also, fried chicken.

        1. Very appropriate use of “fried chicken”

          1. I always get the chicken and dumplings at Mrs. Knott’s.

            1. I always get the Korean BBQ down the street.

  6. Disney Land/World is too much of an important public good to be left to the free market. We need single payer Disney, so that everyone can have equal access to the high quality entertainment that Disney provides. On the same token, we should ban the opening of more Disney parks, so as to eliminate waste. This will all somehow increase access to Disney without it being overly crowded or experiencing a drop in quality.

    1. Wait, that isn’t already a thing? Shame on you, America.

  7. I feel like we haven’t had a horribly divisive argument about the superiority of Disney World to Disneyland, like we have with proper pizza and deep dish open faced calzones. Now, as someone who has been to Disney World several times and Disneyland not even once, I can therefore confidently state that Disney World is utterly superior.

    I mean…Disney? In California?!? That’s not Disney. The mouse lives in a swamp in Florida and owns an entire county. It’s his fiefdom.

    Also, Epcot Center rules. And the Florida Space Mountain is the real Space Mountain. That is all.

    1. Even the crustiest old New Yorker fact checker would agree with the accuracy of that post. Let the Californians have their hippie kingdom on the left coast.

    2. There is only one disney and it is in florida.

    3. The real Disney is the one with the measles.

    4. Disneyworld is clearly better.

      They took what worked in Disneyland and expanded on and improved it.

      If only they had gotten rid of “It’s a small world”

      1. I like “It’s a small world”.

        1. Every 3rd person on that ride is shrooming

          1. Yeah, well you’re a towel!

            1. But Nikki is still the worst character EVER

        2. If I ever want to work myself into a homicidal rage for no reason, I will go on that ride. And stay on it for an hour.

      2. o/~ You will stand in lines that are five miles long / Just to go on rides with annoying songs… o/~

      3. It is something that must be experienced once. More only if you want to share the madness of it.

    5. There’s only one way to settle this argument. Cytotoxic, which is better?

      1. I’ve only been to DisneyWorld, so it must be better. Although frankly I have no desire to go back. That was like 20 years ago.

        1. Goddamn it.

          1. No I’m agreeing with you. That means you’re likely right.

        2. Hmmm, need a ruling. Does he actually like Disney World?

    6. I’m pretty sure that sphere in EPCOT is a starship.

      1. It is. And EPCOT is a city built on rock and roll.

        1. True story: I heard whatever the remnants of Jefferson Starship are called today play “We Built this City” live at the EPCOT Food & Wine Festival. I survived thanks to rigorous training in German meditation techniques. Did you know they also were the musical act in The Star Wars Holiday Special?

      2. I’ve been in it…AND IT IS. It’s piloted by a little dragon named Figment.

        (Do they still have Figment? I went right after EPCOT opened, so I got the original experience, which I doubt exists at all any more.)

        1. No, it’s changed, man. No Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride in the Magic Kingdom, either. And don’t ask about the submarine.


            Why do you hurt me like this ProL? Why?

            1. I’m really sorry, dude. Like seriously. This is a moral wrong committed against you, me, and all French science fiction writers.

              Fucking sub ruled. Why would you get rid of that to install whatever the stupid flavor of the day is? Everyone loved the sub, even people who had no idea where it came from.

          2. I miss 20k leagues. I really thought it dived when I was a kid.

            1. That’s Finding Nemo now.

              1. Wait, I just put it together. Captain nemo: 20k legues replaced by a fish called nemo. Whoa.

                1. Lame. It’s a lame ride, except for the talking crab thing.

          3. When I went to WDW (I think EPCOT was being built at the time), the submarine had a 20,000 Leagues under the Sea theme.

        2. Figment is still there. Captain EO is gone.

          1. I missed Figment then. We were just there. Might’ve glazed over after the 30 minute wait in line.

            1. It’s in a back area, called imagination or some crap. It’s a terrible ride.

          2. I can’t imagine why they’d remove a Michael Jackson themed attraction at a kid’s park.

            1. It just happened this year. I’m surprised it lasted this long.

              1. “You’re just another part of me! He-he!”

              2. Depreciation. I can only imagine the hugeness of the expense in getting him to do that in the first place.

              3. Oh the real story is even worse. They closed it in 1994 (for the obvious reasons) and replaced it with “Honey, I Shrunk the Audience”.

                Then in 2010 they brought it back (for non-obvious reasons).

                It’s currently been replaced with a sneak peek at “Inside Out”, so no word if it’s permanently gone or just temporarily gone.

                1. Is it just me, or is Disney actively evil?

          3. Haha, I saw Captain EO! Hilarious! God I wanted to kill myself afterward.

        3. That was the Imagination ride, not Spaceship Earth.

    7. They’re both totalitarian police states.

      1. I swear to God that there are many leftists who have, as their utopian vision of the future, a Disney America. Not run by an icky corporation, no, but run in the same manner.

        1. So, essentially, a corporation that impose its will with guns.

          1. No corporation at all, just the control that Disney appears to exercise.

    8. It’s pretty obvious that Disney World is vastly superior. Even Animal Kingdom (at least until the Avatar land gets finished, then I might suggest jettisoning it into the sun.)

      Plus they’re getting a Star Wars land or something.

      1. I thought Animal Kingdom was a pretty good park.

        1. Me too, I thought it was the best of the three. The only one that really seemed to have a point (ok, Epcot has a point, but all the foreign food is so badly overpriced it’s severely diminished).

      2. Last time I was there (I was a kid), I so so so badly wanted to go to the water park (I forget what it’s called). But my fucking little sister wanted to go to the Seaworld thing or whatever it’s called, and that day was her turn to choose, and so I never got to go to the water park.

        She received many nuggies and wet willies during the rest of that trip, let me tell you.

        1. Typhoon lagoon and blizzard beach.

        2. There’s 3 waterparks, I think.

          But, if it’s Discovery Cove that your sister picked, she’s awesome.

            1. That’s place is awesome. Very relaxing.

              1. It was booked full when I was there.

                Have you done any of the activities?

                And lemme see if I got this right. You reside in Orlando, but you live there like you’re on vacation?

                1. That’s what is awesome about discovery cove, everything is included including breakfast, lunch, sunscreen, wet suits, bird food for the aviary. The only thing that is extra is to swim with the Dolphins, which is ok once. I’m a DINK, so the wife and I go out a lot. It’s why we moved here. Lots of fun stuff to do.

                  1. It’s absurdly expensive, isn’t it? I haven’t looked in a while, but I remember thinking it was too damned much. I’ve already had a swim with the dolphins.

                    1. I don’t remember the price, but when you consider its all inclusive plus a “free” ticket to sea world or bush gardens, it’s not bad. Plus it’s not crowded like other attractions.

                    2. I swam with the Dolphins at Atlantis in the Bahamas. When I peed in the pool, they knew immediately. Smart animals.

                    3. I swam with the Dolphins at Atlantis in the Bahamas. When I peed in the pool, they knew immediately. Smart animals.

                      They will be spared when the end times cometh.

                    4. What did they do?

          1. The orginal waterpark closed, because, if memory serves, it used lake water and there had been some amoeba scares.

        3. Last time I was there (I was a kid)

          Hahahahah….So cute!

          1. “Daddy no want me! I’m gonna take a bus to Reno!”

            1. +1 going o n an adventure!

              I’m waiting until you mention your solidarity with Dozeal

    9. What the fuck is an ‘open faced calzone?’

      I mean, what’s the point?

      /Bernie Sanders grin.

      1. Aren’t calzones just pizzas folded in half anyway?

        1. Minus the tomato sauce.

      2. Wouldn’t that be a pizza?

        1. Now I’m really confused.

        2. What happens if you fold a pizza then unfold it? Which is it then?

    10. I’m going to contribute my uninformed opinion here and say that theme parks all suck. Especially the Disney ones. Which I have never been to and almost certainly never will. Seemed like a dumb idea when I was a kid and seems dumb now.

      1. Was your favorite character Oscar the Grouch?

        1. I am a charming and delightful person.

          1. Yeah when you’re not raping toddlers while using a dead kitten as a condom on your reservations WHICH WE GAVE YOU!

      2. Zeb has no soul.

        1. Either that or I don’t like pointless crowds or lines and think that there is plenty of interesting an fun stuff to do in the real world. Yeah, I could go to Disney world and I would probably have some fun. But there are about 8 million other places I would choose to go to first if I’m going to spend money on a trip.

          1. How would you like to be in some interminable line only to see someone like my mother cut in front of you because she is in a scooter pretending to be disabled? Yes, my mother has done that at Disney on several occasions – not with me present as I only went the one time in college with some buddies.

            1. My favorite is disabled people accompanying people for a fee so they can cut in line.

              Seems to me someone in a wheelchair or scooter is better equipped to wait in a long line than those of us who have to use our legs and stand there.

    11. People who think deep dish is pizza are the only people I would send to the gulag in my benevolent dictatorship.

    12. DL Anaheim has the best Space Mountain. Period. And I’ve ridden every fucking one in the world.

  8. “…a surge-pricing system…”

    I think we know what set off the alarm bells at The Post.

  9. Meh. Disney never did anything for me.

    1. Yeah, but you’re a curmudgeon, so that’s to be expected.

      1. Get off of my lawn…

    2. As far as I’m concerned, all the Disneyxxxx, including Euro Disney, and all of their output could be wiped off the planet (perhaps by using an giant woodchipper of some sort).

  10. “If Walt [Disney] were alive today, he would probably be uncomfortable with the prices they’re charging right now”

    Fuck off, moron.

    And wait, $125 for a day of rides at Disney World? That’s way less expensive than I expected. It is a lot of money per person when you’re a middle class family, but that’s why it’s a vacation.

    1. It is a lot of money per person when you’re a middle class family, but that’s why it’s a vacation.

      Vacation money is not *real* money. It’s like how holiday calories don’t count.

      Plus, with a little planning you can get the trip subsidized as a health treatment or write it off as a business expense like Walt did.

      1. We tend to go on mountain vacations, where I eat like my ancestors–Southern food extravaganza. However, because of all of the hiking and normal walking, I rarely gain any weight. Perfect.

        1. I love the Florida mountains.

          1. Of course, like half of Florida, we go to mountains in other states for vacations. We friggin’ own half of the Appalachians as it is.

    2. “If Walt [Disney] were alive today, he would probably be uncomfortable with the prices they’re charging right now”

      Also, don’t these people hate Walt Disney? So shouldn’t we be pleased if Eisner shits all over his legacy?

  11. The death throes of the intellectual left are just boring.

    The same thing happened in England right around Thatcher and has never really recovered. High art has been the hardest hit.

    It has now come to the U.S. with the failure of Obama to “transform” America and just… ugh.

    The inability of the intellectual “elite” to deal with the death of communism/socialism/progressivism is going to be an interesting read…. in about 150 years when people are allowed to actually view this time critically.

    1. The inability of the intellectual “elite” to deal with the death of communism/socialism/progressivism is going to be an interesting read….

      Really? Seems to be going strong to me. By “going strong” I don’t mean actually succeeding in its stated goals. It’s impossible for everyone to live at the expense of everyone else. But it has emotional appeal, and as long as people choose to emote rather than think, they’re going to demand that some form of collectivism be imposed on them. It’s not going away. If anything, it appears to be coming back with more support than ever. Remember that it’s not a new idea. It’s an ancient idea. Forced collectivism has been around since people invented government, and it’s been destroying societies ever since.

      1. More support than ever? Someone needs to read up on prairie socialism.

        The proggies had their high water mark in the ’30s. They’ll never get that back.

        1. You’re delusional. These are high times for the progs. The End? can’t come soon enough for me. Burn it down and start over, cause that’s where Europe and the US are. South Am/Asia are just….whatever they are. Beyond hope already. And forever.

          1. You’re delusional. These are high times for the progs.

            Yep. Obamacare. More people on permanent disability than ever. Higher minimum wage. Talk of inequality being one of the greatest threat to mankind, which of course implies using force of government to “spread the wealth.” It’s a progressive’s wet dream.

            1. And not enough money to fund that.

              The Euro welfare state is dying, your blubbery crybaby act notwithstanding.

              1. And not enough money to fund that.

                I never said there was.

                he Euro welfare state is dying

                Uh, huh. How exactly does that refute my statement? Collectivism eventually bleeds the host dry.

                your blubbery crybaby act notwithstanding.

                Yeah, sure. Go suck your warboner, ass.

                1. Do you know what happens to parasites when the host can’t give anymore? Think more cry less.

        2. People will always want free shit at the expense of someone else, and support politicians who promise to deliver. That’s just human nature, and it ain’t gonna change.

          1. Anyone who believes human nature is unchangeable is a fool. It’s also human nature to compete and that’s lethal for progtopia.

            1. It’s also human nature to compete and that’s lethal for progtopia.

              Very true, which is one of the many reasons why collectivism can never work. That doesn’t change the fact that it’s easier to live off plunder than to live off what you produce, and that doesn’t change the fact that people are always trying to find easier ways to live. Some find easier ways through innovation, and others through plunder. Unfortunately the plunderers have organized violence on their side, and they will always win. Until there’s nothing left to plunder.

              1. they will always win

                Remember that time The Enlightenment happened? Or most of the rest of human history?

                it’s easier to live off plunder than to live off what you produce

                It’s ‘easier’ but the plunderer is worse off than the producer.

        3. Progressivism, socialism, communism, whatever, they’re all the same to me. They’re all collectivist “isms” where everyone lives at the expense of everyone else. Some of the details may differ, but in principle they’re all the same thing. As in using force of government to give some a claim to the property and labor of others in the name of fairness. It’s always been around, and it ain’t going away. Ever.

          1. It’s always been around, and it ain’t going away. Ever.

            “Racism has always been around and it ain’t going away ever. That’s why Jim Crow is only going to get worse.” /sarc in 1940

            This meme is one of the most retarded around and that’s saying something.

            1. Are you saying that humans have been cured of racism? I see racism every day. Just turn on MSNBC and you’ll see a ton of it. Though they’ll say they’re not racist since their hate is directed at white people. If you can’t bear to watch MSNBC, turn on right-wing talk radio. You’ll hear tons of racism directed at brown people, though they will call it patriotism. Racism is alive and well.

              1. Racism is alive and well and negroes aren’t getting hung for eyeing white girls. Are you incapable of thinking in terms other than all or nothing? Are you binary only? How does this comport with you emo-tarian faux-edginess?

    2. Your Future Reptilian Overlords will view this time as the pre-conquering, with about as much critical thought as you would shed on a sandwich.

  12. The class warfare irritates me, but I’m even more bothered by how oblivious these types of articles are to poor people. The only metric that seems to matter is whether reasonably comfortable middle class people can do something or afford something. Only when deprivation enters a middle class household does it become truly meaningful and noteworthy. I’m having trouble working up any anger or disappointment that middle class families may have to save more for a Disney vacation or take fewer vacations to attend or just go somewhere else – heaven forbid! That’s hardly a tragedy worth discussing.

    1. Not to mention that a great deal of lower-middle-class Americans are getting government subsidies. My wife gets annoyed hearing from other homeschool moms who are on the dole when they mention having annual passes or otherwise doing things we spend money they supposedly don’t have on.

      1. They’re clearly blind to their own privilege. A lot of government programs go toward the middle class (and corporations, obviously), and they aren’t usually the source of the same vitriol as poor people welfare.

        And I honestly don’t begrudge anyone a trip to Disney or anywhere else. I’m happy for them. I just tired of hearing people who have means complain that their means aren’t enough to allow them to do whatever they want, whenever they want. Oh, boo-hoo.

  13. First all, there aren’t enough rich people to keep Disneyland operating.

    Secondly, it’s way too vulgar for the really elite.

    These people don’t feed their kids mass market entertainment. They are too busy learning violin and travelling around Europe.

    If Disneys trying to take anyone’s money it might be the nouveau riche. But that’s mostly because those people are too dumb to know what to spend it on.

    1. Damn straight.

  14. Disney World explained by the leading philosopher of our time. (Skip to 12:40 if the link doesn’t do it for you)

  15. During our week at the various Disneyworld parks around the lagoon in Orlando, I kept an eye out for something that was broken or out of place as a challenge to myself. Finally, on the last day, I saw a trash can with a stuck-open lid by the Tower of Terror. That’s it.

    You don’t keep up that level of quality and detail by charging $40 for tickets and $4 for beers. Even liberals can understand that.

    1. a trash can with a stuck-open lid by the Tower of Terror

      Maybe that was done on purpose to add to the Horror.

    2. My wife and I were just talking about that, in comparing Disney World with Busch Gardens. The difference didn’t used to be as stark, back before Busch Gardens started giving away annual passes. Now it’s like the DMV of theme parks.

  16. DaVinci Notebook: Magic Kingdom in the Sky

  17. Never, ever took my kids, the youngest of whom is now 20. Went to Disney World once, when our college band was touring Florida. I didn’t play in the marching band – just the jazz band – so I had the whole day to just ride rides. 1983 – not at all bad – only line was for the then-relatively-new roller coaster (whatever it was). Went three times cause it was that fun.

    After seeing it, and then seeing how much it would have been if I’d have had to pay? Fuck it – the decision was made.

    You wanna spend a mint to visit the place? Be my middle-class guest. Not my cup of tea. Unless it’s FREE…like it was in 1983.

    1. Has anyone told you that you’re a bad father?

      1. Well…..

        I don’t care. No Disneyland/world. EVER!

        Suck it, kid. Life sucks, and then you die.

        1. You named your son “Sue”, didn’t you?

        2. “Suck it, kid.”
          Oh dear. DOJ/child services will be at your house shortly.

    2. I’m with you, Al. It helps that my kids don’t give much of a shit about Disney.

  18. “If Walt [Disney] were alive today, he would probably be uncomfortable with the prices they’re charging right now,”

    Yeah, he’d probably think you’re under charging.

  19. “The morning was lovely, but by mid-afternoon it seemed as busy as a Saturday, with wait times approaching an hour for some rides (two hours for Splash Mountain as the sun warmed things up).”

    It’s called the ez-pass or whatever they call it. It went like a breeze for us as I gave the middle finger to all the suckers who waited in line.

  20. To a prog, Disneyland(world) should be like health care – a right written in the constitution.

    1. “Freedom from Boredom.”

    2. Yes, everyone will have access, but don’t mind the 10 hour waiting line.

  21. I pretty much hated everything Disney growing up. Guess that saved my parents some dough. All I needed was some good rides and a bank of video games to fill the time between the rides. Any of the local amusement parks easily fit the bill.

    1. I’m fortunate in that none of the kids are total Disney freaks. My youngest likes it and, of course, likes their movies, but not fanatically.

    2. It’s funny. Yet to my immigrant father he became a babbling idiot he loved it so much.

      After a year of listening to his anti-government rants, about how North Americans are spoiled and general all-round bitterness because he didn’t get a chance to go past the 5th grade, he morphed into something else in Orlando.

      Spooked us to no end, but we also kinda understood too.

    3. I was spoiled by living right next to Kings Island as a kid. I have fond memories of The Beast. I wonder if they ever made it any less shockingly unsafe. I seem to remember being able to stand up on it during the ride.

      1. I went to King’s Island many many times when I was a kid; back when my dad was opening new Meijer stores down in Ohio. He would drop my brother and I off for the day while he went off and worked.

    4. When I was little we used to vacation in Atlantic City every year – and this was before the casinos. Dumpy hotel. Rickety pier rides. Weirdos on the Boardwalk. I loved every minute of it.

      1. Heh. Same here.

        And Wildwood.

        All the skanks one could bare.

  22. What I truly fear in life is American Girl Doll Land. If that ever happens, please send me to another planet.

    1. Please no. I just found out about that crap. They opened a mega store here, with tea longue and doll salon.

      1. I’ve had lunch there already. It’s a terrifying place for a father.

  23. Speaking of incomes, I know I’ll be employed until at least June 28th. Yay. Nothing like two weeks of stewing about my livelihood while stewing in the sweltering garbage weather of DC.

    1. I live in Leesburg. Strangely, the weather doesn’t bother me. It must be my proximity to the wine region, the horse farms, the Blue Ridge and the Shenandoah.
      We usually go raspberry picking along the W&OD; trail around this time of year. At dusk the fire flies come out and it is quite magical.

      The problem with DC is that it’s the city. The weather is just fine once you get out under the trees.

  24. I’ve found the perfect solution for introverts and misanthropes who love roller coasters: go to an amusement park on Mother’s Day. Of course, this works only if your Mother’s Day involves a quick phone call to mom on the way to the park…

  25. Does Epcot still have the same movies in the pavilions that it did twenty years ago (and even further back when it opened)? And the restaurants – unless you live in some food desert, you
    don’t need to go to Epcot to experience a good Italian, Moroccan, Chinese or seafood restaurant.

    1. I actually don’t think i’ve ever seen a Moroccan restaurant. Then again, if I knew where one was, I’d probably avoid it anyway.

    2. No, the restaurants are fine, but I wouldn’t go there just for that.

  26. Let’s see, spend a week at a theme park crammed full of people to wait in line 70% of the time or pay three months mortgage. What to do? What to do?

  27. We have Michigan Adventureland and that’s the kind of crappy amusement park that we like here in the Mitten State.

    1. “Michigan Adventure it’s a whoooooooooooollllllllllllllllle,,,,,summer of fun!”

      Kids used to sing that commercial all the time.

      Nope – we never took ’em.

      And, when we finally drove by it – what a shithole!

      1. It has gotten better than the old days. But it is expensive. My son digs the waterpark part the most; even though it populated by tubbies. It’s white-trash fest there so I can only stand it for so long.

    2. My kids grew up on stuff like going to Scotland for the World Pipe Band Championship (which, when I thought about it, prolly cost about the same as a week at Disney Derp), traveling all over Canada and the US for pipe band/highland dancing contest (they all did highland dancing), and,,,

      …that was 90% of it. As they got older, we started heading to the UP, Beaver Island, got a boat and did that for a few years, fishing.

      Stuff where you actually go do things. Not “amusement parks”. Never, ever took them to an “amusement park”. The fair? Sure. “Amusement Park” – no. Never.

      1. *eyes Al-WoodChippin-manian with a sense of awe, like seeing a terrible car wreck*

      2. But how will they ever get morbidly obese, docile, and lethargic like the rest of us? Don’t tell me you also deprived them of a public school education too?

    3. I bet you can get an *awesome* splinter on that thing!

  28. “assistant professor of hospitality”
    What. the fuck. is that?

    1. The University of South Carolina in Columbia has a whole college devoted to hospitality, retail, and sports management.

      1. hospitality, retail, and sports management.

        I wanna be the Sparky Anderson of waterpark gift shops.

    2. It’s like winning the lottery, except you get to ogle coeds.

    3. Cornell has a very famous and well-regarded school of hospitality management. It’s an actual real field, unlike, say, gender studies.

      1. Oh. I figured it had to do with learning how be “hospitable”, i.e., operate a brothel.

    4. The deranged idea that you have to have a college degree to be the asst. manager at a Day’s Inn.

    5. Managing a large hotel or resort is a pretty significant undertaking. It’s like a very specialized kind of business school.

      1. Yep. Cornell has a school of hotel management.

  29. I believe that I may be the only professional travel writer never to have visited the Mouse. Never wanted to, never plan to. And fortunately, my nine-year-old twins aren’t big into Disney.
    Our family vaca this summer is to Hawaii. One week Oahu, one week Big Island. Walt can pound sand.

      1. Mickey would make a good sacrifice to Pele. (Either the soccer player or the volcano goddess.)

  30. Well we’ll have a, a coupon day or something.

    1. +1 blood sucking lawyer

  31. “(This Bureau of Labor Statistics Report from 2003 shows that for entertainment, the poorest Americans do not spend much on fees and admissions, focusing instead on home-based entertainment choices.)”

    Don’t forget GatorWorld, NASCAR, tractor pulls, county fairs, and tobacco-spitting contests.

    1. Gator land is actually nice.

    2. Yeah, because NASCAR races and merch are, like, soooo cheap.

      1. The merchandise for Nascar may be high, but pricing for Nascar events is a lot less than I expected, though it does depend on the track and the event.

        If you are making a weekend out of it you can pay as little as $25 a day at some tracks. You might even be able to bring in a cooler.
        Of course those are the cheap seats. Best seats in the house at the tracks I’d like to go to are 100 a day.

        Most of the tracks I’ve checked out charge very little, if anything for camping so you don’t even need a hotel if you don’t want one.

    3. And I think I spent about $50 at the Champlain Valley Fair last year, just on myself. So that’s not in the cheap bin, either.

  32. “They’ve priced middle-class families out.”

    This is what happens when you live in an environment without fear of a ‘reality check’.

    My best friend took his son to Disneyland last year – and, at best, he’s ‘working class’ economically.

    Sure, DL/DW are not something everyone can do every year on a whim – who would want to anyway?

    Plus, what’s middle class? $39k? If you can’t find the money to drop $3-4k once a year on a vacation (to anywhere) then either you’re managing your money horribly or you have decided there are far more important/urgent things for you to spend that money on.

  33. Instead of further analyzing this math, the story points to the new ways the Disney parks are trying to appeal to richer clientele. Fancier hotels! Expensive restaurants! Guided tours! Princess makeovers!

    They could be trying to cater to richer clientele. Or they could be trying to give a better experience to the same clientele they always have.

  34. The best place to vacation in FL is Key West before cruise ships docked there, so you’ll need a time machine to visit.

    True story: As a high school student, I got drunk and kicked out of Sloppy Joe’s. Good times.


    1. woodchippers?

  36. The Orlando parks have a weird pricing dynamic. Disney, Universal and Sea World do not want to be seen as sigficantly priced lower than the other two (because they think that that makes them look cheap), so when one raises admission the other two follow suit.

  37. Went a couple times as a kid. Thought it sucked. Kennedy Space Center was cooler.

  38. The subsidies have ticked off Americans for over half a century. I remember a comment being made when Disney appeared on What’s My Line (circa 19-old)

  39. I’ll say this much . . .

    I don’t know if Disney is “pricing out the middle class.” But I can say that since my wife is no longer employed by Disney (she was a campus recruiter for years, and though she was not paid a wage, she was paid with various cast member perks including entry passes – as a cast member she got in free anyways – generous hotel/merchandise/dining discounts, and other “stuff” like free ice cream coupons and such). We grew up in Disney World. We fell in love while she was in their college internship program (which prompted me doing a Disney run every couple of weeks for months). I’d estimate conservatively that we have been there 100x each.

    But we have not been back since she is no longer a cast member because what used to be a well priced vacation for our family of 4 is now a very expensive vacation for a family of 4 (one that makes much less than the average household income). And this is despite a great love that we have for all things Disney.

    I don’t begrudge Disney for trying to pay the bills and make a profit, but they have all but priced us out.

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