By Jeff Girod
Beginning this week, adult tickets to Disneyland cost $87, a $7 increase from $80. This is the second time in less than a year Disneyland has raised prices. This time last year, an adult one-day pass cost $76.
And for those who just can’t get enough Mickey: All of Disneyland’s annual passes are also going up, by as much as $150. (That’s enough for Donald Duck to finally afford pants.)
This is nothing new for the land of Goofy. Prices have been rocketing upward $2 to $7 annually for the last decade. Admission costs $21 more than it did 4 years ago and $46 more than it did 11 years ago, before California Adventure opened.
For a family of four, that’s as much as $348 for four dopey tickets. Throw in $15 for parking and another $60 for food—not to mention a screaming car ride all the way home because you’re the awful, cheapskate parent who wouldn’t shell out another $50 for a full-sized light saber at the Star Tours gift shop.
Creating a single lasting memory at Disneyland shouldn’t cost close to $500. Forget Toontown or the Haunted Mansion, for that kind of money I want to ride bareback on Little Mermaid and hunt the Seven Dwarves. The Pirates of the Caribbean should feature real pirates chasing real hookers and they should all take turns trying to drown and boil Johnny Depp.
To its credit, Disneyland tried to justify its greedy rat-finked price hike during the worst economy in 80 years in one of the hardest hit regions of this country:
“A Disneyland Resort ticket offers a tremendous value for guests to experience our world-class attractions, and is based on the quality experience we consistently deliver,” said Suzi Brown, no-doubt a highly paid spokes rodent for Disneyland Resort. Then Brown laughed maniacally and charged everyone within earshot $15 for a “souvenir” Coke with no ice.
We both know Disneyland can do whatever it wants. Where else are you going to go, Knott’s Berry Farm? Puh-lease. The entire amusement park is carved out of wood. And there’s a reason the “Old West” isn’t popular any more: It’s called indoor plumbing and desegregation.
Sure, Magic Mountain is still affordable. All the money its visitors save on park admission, they apparently spend on neck tattoos, gold teeth and LeBron James jerseys. The only thing “magical” about your experience at Magic Mountain is seeing if you can get through the 2-hour line for the Batman ride without seeing a dozen women who look like the Penguin.
And I have lived here for four decades and I have never once considered going to Universal Studios Hollywood. Yuck. I’d rather go miniature golfing.
According to its website, among Universal’s most popular “attractions” are themed rides tied to movies including Waterworld, Terminator 2 and Revenge of the Mummy. Thanks, Universal Studios, for helping me relive some of the worst cinematic failures of the 1990s through the gift of something that goes slower than a Goped. The only thing that could make these box office bombs more excruciating is a safety arm bar and a shirtless, hippie, animatronic Kevin Costner.
The more every other amusement park sucks, the more Disneyland will just keep raising prices. It won’t be long before parents will have some tough financial decisions to make: Sending Little Timmy to college for four years or Tomorrowland for an afternoon.
I guess I misunderstood those ’80s Disneyland commercials featuring an athlete who just won a Super Bowl, then looked into the camera and said the next thing he was doing was going to Disneyland. Apparently in order to afford admission, parking and concessions, you have to train your entire life to become a multi-millionaire Pro-Bowl quarterback with a shoe contract before you’re capable of affording the Teacups.
I went to Disneyland a lot as kid—30 or 40 times when prices were still cheap. I didn’t realize how lucky I had it.
It’s just too bad I’ll have to tell my son the truth about Disneyland now: We can’t go because vandals burned the place to the ground.
Contact Jeff Girod at firstname.lastname@example.org.