Disneyland Is Expensive

Being a native of Northern California, Disneyland was always a distant adventure yet to be undertaken for me and my family. We had always heard stories about what a happy and joyous place it was, the self-declared, “happiest place on earth.” Then one summer between sixth and seventh grade, we made the six-hour trip down to Anaheim. The trip proved to be more than worth the cost. Today, after living in Southern California for over three years, I understand really how much Disneyland means to the people here. My friends are constantly saying how they are heading over to Disneyland over the weekend (every weekend) and how much fun they are going to have.

The only problem for me – and I’m sure many in Orange County – is the cost of admission. If you live in Southern California and are considered local to Disneyland, the cost to obtain a season pass is just downright ridiculous. Call me cheap, but paying anything more than $100 to obtain limited admission (there are restrictions known as block-out dates for the lower-level passes) to an amusement park just seems a little preposterous to me. It just doesn’t seem like you are getting your money’s worth when you are paying over $300 for the deluxe park pass and over $450 for complete access.

The basic and more reasonably priced annual pass allows you to visit Disneyland only on non-holiday weekdays throughout the entire year. This is the biggest way in which Disneyland gets its money. You can’t take your family to Disneyland during the holidays unless you purchase the premium annual passport, which is offered at close to $500 per person!

Furthermore, anything and everything else you need to buy once inside the park is on you. And since you’re in a theme park, this means paying 200 percent above the price of that item in the outside, “normal” world. Consider the example of the McDonald’s in Disneyland. The restaurant charges $8 for the same sandwich that in any McDonald’s outside Disneyland would cost $2-$3. Still, on Sunday, Jan. 2, Disneyland hiked the price of its annual two-day ticket deal for Southern California residents from $72 to $99, further raising the cost for its most loyal customers a total of $27. The only upside of this change is that this year’s ticket can be used at either park — two visits at one park or one visit at each park.

While the place itself is majestic and wonderful in more ways than I can count, limits are limits. There comes a certain point when you have to come back to reality and realize that paying egregious sums of money to gain entrance to the most magical place on earth is just not worth it in 2011, especially for the majority of the residents in Orange County who are struggling just to stay alive in this disastrous economy. For a place designed to make a positive life-long impact on a patron, it sure has a hefty price tag.

Sahil Batra is a fourth-year biological sciences major. She can be reached at sbatra@uci.edu.