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Are Disney World & Disneyland Good Per-Hour Values In comparison with Different Leisure?


Like clockwork, when Walt Disney World or Disneyland increase ticket costs, overzealous followers come out of the woodwork to defend the choice and clarify why even on the increased prices, Disney theme parks are a fantastic worth as in comparison with different leisure choices. Others do the precise reverse, complaining about any and all increased costs.

I hate all of that. So naturally, I’m going to hitch them and do the very factor I decry! However as a substitute of partaking in some free PR for the large company or level out the apparent that paying extra stinks, I’m going to dig a little bit deeper and supply context. I’m not beginning this publish with a preordained conclusion, or emphatic sure (or no!) to the titular query.

I absolutely anticipate Walt Disney World and Disneyland to outperform some types of leisure. (“It’s me, hello, I’m the issue, it’s me.” ~Taylor Swift) I’m additionally not going to cherry decide the alternatives or body this evaluation in the absolute best gentle to succeed in the invariable conclusion that Walt Disney World and Disneyland supply nice per-hour worth for cash. I do know the parks are dearer than a whole lot of issues.

For the sake of this evaluation, we’re going to have a look at a median single day ticket, which at present prices roughly $165 at Magic Kingdom or $169 at Disneyland. Be aware that we’re utilizing the 2 citadel parks for the convenience of comparability. Admittedly, it’s additionally to discard the beginning worth of Walt Disney World tickets, which is a advertising and marketing gimmick that solely applies to Animal Kingdom and would skew the numbers.

(It’s value noting that Disneyland has a wider vary for ticket costs: $104 to $194; Magic Kingdom’s vary is $129 to $189. The numbers for every coast usually could be even nearer, however Disneyland elevated ticket costs in 2023 and Walt Disney World didn’t. Properly, not but. There’s nonetheless per week to go!)

Single day tickets for the citadel parks are being chosen as a result of it’s the cleanest comparability to most different leisure, so it is sensible to do The Math™️ on this one. Though this may increasingly come as a shock to Disney diehards who’ve Annual Passes or at all times buy lengthy multi-day tickets, 1-day tickets are an extremely frequent ticket kind. (Final I knew, it was the most well-liked ticket kind…however my data is a number of years previous.) Most vacationers nonetheless solely do day-trips to Disney as a part of all-encompassing Florida or California holidays.

With that in thoughts, we do suppose it’s additionally value acknowledging the distinction between a single day ticket and a 4-night trip. The latter is often considerably cheaper on a per-hour foundation, however rather more costly as an entire. That will be a good evaluation as a result of Walt Disney World has 4 theme parks and is a trip vacation spot, however it ceases to be an apples to apples one with different leisure choices.

However Ben Stiller, most individuals don’t sleep over on the museum…however that’s additionally extra of a single day expertise. I’m additionally not at a live performance for a number of consecutive days, having to buy a whole trip package deal, a number of meals, flights, lodging and who is aware of what else.

(Though from what I’ve learn, lots of people not solely traveled to see Beyoncé or Taylor Swift this summer season, but additionally did issues like bought expensive makeovers for the live performance. That will add large ancillary prices to the expertise, however might be the exception moderately than the rule in relation to concert events. But it’s frequent in relation to trip locations, therefore the title!)

If Walt Disney World and Disneyland followers wish to play the multi-day comparability sport, they actually ought to accomplish that with different trip locations and never leisure. In fact, that doesn’t occur as a result of the outcomes out of the blue aren’t almost as favorable. If folks knew simply how (in)costly it’s to go to Paris or Tokyo or U.S. Nationwide Parks as in comparison with the Disney Parks…they could doing Disney!

Level being, Disney trip packages are cheaper per hour however dearer total, making the comparability each extra and fewer favorable relying upon your perspective. For extra thorough evaluation, we’ll refer you to How A lot Does a Walt Disney World Trip Price in 2024? for the breakdown.

In any case, it’s not possible to do The Math™️ on a full trip package deal on a per-hour foundation. For the needs of this publish, it’s in all probability enough to level out the approximate price of a trip package deal and say “that’s so much!”

As an alternative, we’ll merely decide the per-hour worth of a single day in Walt Disney World or Disneyland. This may appear like a easy matter of taking the per day prices above and dividing that by the variety of working hours in a day, proper?

I’m skeptical of such an strategy for a few causes. First, what proportion of company are literally arriving at park opening and staying till park closing? Positive, that’s an choice. And it’d appear to be that is essentially the most “honest” strategy since you may also depart a sporting occasion early if it’s a blowout or a live performance if you wish to beat visitors. I believe that’s a bit completely different, although, as the common individual experiences a sporting occasion or live performance in full, whereas they spend X variety of hours per go to at a spot like a theme park or museum.

Second, the sort of evaluation conveniently overlooks the period of time spent ready in line at theme parks. If I’m going to a Taylor Swift live performance, I’m going to come across traces to purchase merchandise, meals, and for the restrooms or no matter. However the music “Anti-Hero” isn’t gated behind a 3-hour line. I stand in a single spot, and the leisure involves me in succession with no considerable, non-enjoyment downtime in between.

With Walt Disney World and Disneyland, the ‘fulfilling hours’ are a bit completely different. It’s not as if the one moments of leisure are available in 5-minute or so concentrations of every trip. Strolling round absorbing the ambiance counts. So too does consuming, buying, or “seeing stuff.” Standing in line isn’t all unhealthy–however not all enjoyable, both.

The issue is that this makes it exceedingly tough to calculate. In case you simply use what number of hours the parks are open, that’s readily ascertainable. Pleasurable hours for the common individual is extra summary and open for debate. Nonetheless, that’s the malleable metric I’m going to make use of, as a result of it appears fairer.

I’m additionally going to say that quantity is 8 hours, on common, at Walt Disney World or Disneyland. If I wished to complicate issues even additional, I’d muddy the water by claiming that the common for Walt Disney World is 7-8 hours whereas Disneyland is 8-9 hours. I believe I may realistically make that assertion primarily based on variations in climate and operations, however I received’t. (Even whether it is in all probability true-ish!)

(Circling again to the entire trip package deal vs. leisure expertise concern, I’ll say that this ‘fulfilling hours’ concern arguably makes Disney Cruise Line cheaper per hour than Walt Disney World or Disneyland even when it’s sometimes dearer as an entire. However that’s past the scope of this publish–one other matter for one more day!)

Which means the per hour price of a Walt Disney World or Disneyland day is roughly $20. Right here’s how that compares to different stuff which will or could not leisure you:

  • Books – The library provides me these totally free. I routinely pay late charges as a result of, let’s name them scheduling points. I additionally pay taxes that assist help the library, however that’s true of a whole lot of issues I don’t use. However, the per hour price for books is measured in cents, not {dollars}.
  • Griffith Observatory – Free admission and entry to a Terminator filming location. Infinity worth at $0 per hour.
  • The Getty/Villa – Two of the most effective museums in america are additionally free. Sadly, no Terminator tie-ins, however nonetheless $0 per hour.
  • The Ocean – In each Florida and California, you may go to the seashore totally free. If you wish to do actions–and never simply take a look at the ocean, enter it, or stroll round it–determine that may price you a number of {dollars} per hour. (Way more if you happen to do one thing like whale watching, however that’s technically not “the ocean,” however moderately, “the whales.”)
  • The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom – Perhaps I must be embarrassed to confess this, however I’ve logged over 100 hours saving the Kingdom of Hyrule during the last a number of months. (In my protection, Sarah was falling asleep at like 8 p.m. in the course of the peak of my taking part in.) I can’t imagine online game followers complain about costs, as they’re simply the most effective worth in leisure. Once more, that is measured in cents, not {dollars}.
  • Balboa Island – Technically, there’s at all times cash within the banana stand, so if you happen to play your playing cards proper, visiting Balboa might be fairly a worthwhile enterprise. If not, it’ll set you again a couple of dollars per hour.
  • Common Museum – There are a whole lot of museums in Central Florida and Southern California that do cost for admission, with a tough per hour worth of round $5.
  • Joshua Tree Nationwide Park – The America the Stunning AP prices eighty bucks and covers entrance charges at lands managed by the Nationwide Park Service and US Fish & Wildlife Service and day use charges at different alphabet soup companies. It covers the passholder and all occupants of their car. Or you may pay $30 per car for 7 days. Both manner, it’s a couple of dollars per hour, per individual.
  • Everglades Nationwide Park – Identical deal at Everglades Nationwide Park in Florida. I assume it may price extra if you happen to get attacked by an owl or gator and wanted medical consideration, however isn’t that simply a part of The Florida Expertise™️?
  • Film Tickets – Our native theater is a Cinépolis, which is fancy. These might be present in each Orange Counties. However we go throughout matinee hours or half-priced Tuesdays when tickets are $10. Let’s say that the nationwide common is nearer to $18 and the standard film is 2 hours. That’s $9 per hour. (Nobody is forcing you to purchase popcorn. Popcorn is noisy and mediocre–it’s salt and butter that tastes good. Popcorn’s recognition is mystifying.)
  • San Diego Zoo or Safari Park – That is the most effective zoo in America (good attempt, Ohio!) and the park that Animal Kingdom was primarily based on. Reductions listed here are considerable, however we’ll simply go together with common ticket costs, which put the per hour price round $10.
  • Los Angeles Angels Sport – Regardless of squandering two generational abilities, the Angels are terrible and nobody needs to attend their video games. $12 per hour is supposedly the common, however we’ve by no means paid that a lot to observe them–not even when Ohtani and Trout had been each within the lineup.

  • Los Angeles Dodgers Sport – After dropping over $1 billion (!!!) to safe the most effective free brokers in the marketplace, I’m terrified about how a lot it’s going to price to see the Angels’ crosstown (probably not) counterparts in 2024. My guess is $50 per hour.
  • Tampa Bay Rays Sport – Regardless of truly being nice, nobody goes to Rays video games as a result of they’re “too far” away. As if Dodgers Stadium is straightforward to entry. $12 per hour.
  • Tampa Bay Lightning or Anaheim Geese Sport – The typical price of those two groups is sort of equivalent. It’s by some means beneath the Winnipeg Jets who play (and that is true) in Winnipeg. However that’s in Canada, and who is aware of what’s up with their forex. $25 per hour.
  • Coachella – As a result of I’m so certain there’s appreciable overlap between the audience for Disney theme parks and the audience for Coachella, I’m together with this. I believe the final act I acknowledged that carried out at Coachella was Hologram Tupac. Each time I see the annual lineup launch, I wonder if it’s written in code (simply what’s a “070 Shake”) and understand I’m previous. However I assume if you happen to’re younger and hip, it is a good approach to burn $40 per hour.
  • Orlando Magic Sport – Regardless of rising up in Michigan on the tail finish of the Dangerous Boys period, my favourite NBA crew rising up was the Magic. Who didn’t love Shaq and Penny?! You received’t see them as we speak, which might be why the common per hour price is “solely” $35.
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sport – Admittedly, that is primarily based on knowledge from final yr when the Bucs had been a very completely different crew. The typical per hour price may’ve been increased than as we speak, at $53.
  • Los Angeles Chargers Sport – The ethical of the story, unsurprisingly, must be that Hollywood leisure is dearer than Florida enjoyable. $63 per hour.
  • Los Angeles Lakers Sport – Going to the Lake Present is rather more costly, however you’ll additionally get to see one of many sport’s all-time greats in his closing years. $66 per hour.

  • Knott’s Berry Farm Day – A enjoyable and quaint theme park, however arguably with much less to do than Disneyland to fill a full day. Additionally, less expensive admission. $10 per hour. (In case you’re an area, you should purchase a season move for about the identical price!)
  • Common Orlando Day – There are slight variations within the ranges and dates, however Common mainly matches Disney ticket costs of their native markets, making the common right here the identical as Magic Kingdom: $20 per hour.
  • Common Studios Hollywood Day – I like USH and Tremendous Nintendo World, however realistically, you’re getting much less ‘fulfilling time’ per day at Common Studios Hollywood with out spending further or visiting in the course of the low season. However, the bottom worth is identical at $20 per hour.
  • Common Las Vegas Present – Everybody loves magic, singing and comedy. Get pleasure from all of that, plus two Disney alums in “Steve Martin & Martin Brief: You Gained’t Consider What They Look Like Right this moment!” Common price per hour is about $33.
  • Common Broadway Present – Theater is a blind spot for me, however the web says common ticket costs are $122-148. That works out to be round $75 per hour…and now I do know why I’ve a Broadway blind spot! (Yeah yeah, I do know stuff like TKTS exists.)
  • Taylor Swift’s The Eras Tour – The reported averages are far and wide–from a lot decrease face worth numbers to insane resale quantities–however the common of these averages of what followers truly paid to see Taylor Swift’s newest tour is (very) roughly $435. That’s the per hour price, not the ticket whole. (I do know individuals who paid lower than that for his or her tickets, however the level stands–Taylor Swift prices greater than Disney.)

Which of the entries on this record are value it? Which aren’t? That relies upon upon the individual, however what all these items have in frequent is recognition. (Minus the Angels.) So sufficient folks have voted with their wallets and deemed these items ‘value it.’

For our half, we’ve achieved permutations of all the things on this record besides Broadway (which means an costly live performance, however not Taylor Swift; professional sports activities, however solely a number of the groups talked about). I don’t remorse the cash we spent attending a single one of many occasions. That’s proper, even the Angels video games!

The purpose is that every one of that is extremely subjective, and never simply from individual to individual. At the same time as I sit right here, there are experiences that I’d say had been completely, unquestionably “value it” to me at a wide range of completely different worth factors. One in all my all-time most memorable journey experiences was an all-day hike to a seldom-seen spot in Yosemite Nationwide Park, the Diving Board.

My images buddy and I had been actually the one ones there for one of the epic sunsets I’ve ever seen. That vista is indelibly burned into my reminiscence, and the per hour price of that hike was in all probability a greenback or so given the price of my AP. Ought to this expertise be the benchmark towards which all the things else I do is judged?

Then again, Sarah and I paid almost $140 every to attend Oogie Boogie Bash, an occasion we’ve attended earlier than at a park to which we even have Annual Passes. The per hour price of that labored out to about $30, and an honest quantity of that point was spent ready in traces. But, we additionally had an absolute blast.

Was that Halloween get together not “value it” as a result of it price greater than the hike? (I may additionally add that the hike probably improved my well being, whereas the sweet I ate on the Halloween get together in all probability did the alternative.) What if the very same occasion a number of years in the past was considerably cheaper? Is anybody who pays the upper worth a sucker?

Through the years, this weblog has been fairly important of assorted upcharges choices at Walt Disney World, save for my valuable events. (We’ve been solely mildly important of the worth will increase for these. Presumably as a result of we take pleasure in them and are thus biased, whereas we don’t like most different upcharges. Hmmm.)

Anyway, there’s a pervasive sense of FOMO that drives many individuals to spend on pointless experiences at Walt Disney World. Think about it a type of maintaining with the web Joneses/Kardashians. That may even be why some folks go to Disney within the first place–they see their “pals” do it on social media, really feel pressured to take their children on the rite-of-passage journey with the intention to be a “good” mum or dad, put on ‘Most Costly Day Ever’ shirts in quiet protest, and drop hundreds of {dollars} on a trip they perhaps didn’t need within the first place.

Relating to upcharges, the FOMO impact can also be a driver of pricing. Experiences like fireworks dessert events or eating packages have nightly capacities that quantity within the lots of, whereas there are tens of hundreds of individuals watching the nighttime spectaculars every night time. You don’t want a math whiz to elucidate why these items reserving up shortly is extra a numbers sport than it’s a reflection of whether or not these items are “value it.”

However simply because there’s a FOMO impact or it’s restricted capability or priced extremely doesn’t imply folks can’t be pleased with the expertise and discover it was value it to them. It wouldn’t be value it to me, however I’m not the final word arbiter of worth. Others might be sincerely happy with the providing and even have been prepared to pay extra for it!

It in all probability goes with out saying, however prices relative to enjoyment may also range. Within the case of the aforementioned Yosemite hike, I’d pay $1,000 proper now to be immediately transported again to that second. Heck, I’d give the identical quantity to observe SpectroMagic yet one more time! Worth is nebulous, and doubtless the easiest way to evaluate it isn’t comparatively, however after the actual fact.

With the good thing about hindsight, would you pay that a lot to have achieved it for the primary time? What would you pay to do it once more? The solutions are going to range from individual to individual, and simply because somebody derives pleasure from a nearly-free e book or hike doesn’t imply that a way more costly live performance or theme park go to will not be value it to them.

Selection is the spice of life, and that would appear to use to leisure actions and worth propositions, too!

In the end, it’s honest to say that Walt Disney World and Disneyland are neither the most effective nor the worst values in leisure if you try an goal measure. So far as in-person experiences go, they’re about center of the pack–dearer than common parks, motion pictures, and museums.

Cheaper than most sporting occasions, common concert events, Broadway reveals, and Taylor Swift or Beyonce concert events. For the explanations mentioned above, goal measures don’t even start to inform the total story…to the purpose that they’re virtually pointless! Not solely that, however we haven’t factored in meals, which is just about a necessity when visiting theme parks or attending a multihour expertise. It could be a controversial opinion, however I’d argue Disney Parks supply higher bang for buck in relation to quick meals as in comparison with virtually anything–stadiums, live performance venues, museums, zoos (our native library doesn’t serve meals).

It’s additionally honest to say that anybody preoccupied with per-hour worth isn’t going to be paying the costs listed right here. Truthfully, I used to be shocked about a whole lot of the per-hour averages on leisure we’ve achieved with some extent of regularity, as a result of our prices are virtually at all times considerably decrease. The identical might be true with Walt Disney World and Disneyland, each of which supply ticket offers or decrease season costs.

Ultimately, I think that a whole lot of the complaints about Disney theme parks providing “poor worth” come from longtime followers who’ve seen and felt the trajectory of Walt Disney World and Disneyland costs. I additional suspect that the defenders who contend Disney affords “nice worth” are largely an overcorrection to the critics, or folks eager to justify their very own Disney addictions. Truthfully, I really feel the identical…as each teams.

In some instances, Walt Disney World and Disneyland price twice as a lot as we speak as they did a decade in the past–and that’s after costs got here near doubling within the decade earlier than that. That’s a tricky tablet to swallow, and whereas I can empathize with the critics, I additionally don’t have entry to a time machine. There are a variety of issues that price considerably extra as we speak than years in the past, however the market has determined are ‘value’ extra now.

That features each Walt Disney World and Disneyland, as their attendance as we speak is increased than a decade in the past when the parks had been cheaper. I’d add that this worth evaluation has been made by all of us who nonetheless go to Walt Disney World and Disneyland. Complain as we would about costs, the votes we’ve made with our wallets converse far louder than our phrases ever may.

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Your Ideas

Do you suppose Walt Disney World and Disneyland are good values on a per-hour foundation as in comparison with different leisure? Is the quantity that you simply’re paying to do Disney increased or decrease than $20 per hour? What’s your balking level for a per-hour price of Walt Disney World or Disneyland? What do you consider the value-proposition of the parks: good, unhealthy or ugly? Any questions? We love listening to from readers, so please share another ideas or questions you’ve got within the feedback beneath!