Home > Disneyland is not for poor people

Disneyland is not for poor people

October 22nd, 2017 at 06:41 pm

Our first trip to disneyland with kids is complete. It was really fun for the kids and the Halloween decorations and ambiance was fun. They were still pretty scared of most of the rides, frightened of Pirates, haunted mansion, etc. But we did a lot of the smaller toddler rides and they like looking at different things. Two days one at California Adventure and one at Disneyland was more than enough for us adults. I think our kids could have done a day more at each park and we could have taken it easier but the taste and fun was enough. Going during the week was nice especially Thursday it wasn't busy really. Friday it was a lot busier. I will say that staying across the street was well worth it. Very convenient and just easy.

But Disneyland is not for poor people. I've heard from people say going to amusement parks are where poor people go to waste money. The comments that it's a waste of a vacation. But personally DH and I have had fun at all the disneyland locations we've been and the kids had a great time.

But interestingly it's not a cheap vacation and I really doubt any poor people are going there. Actually if I had to guess it seemed more like middle to upper middle class people in terms of income were there. The tickets alone run around $90/day per person. Let's assume you have an annual pass and live locally. Then yes it could be very cheaper fun. But the annual passes from what I can tell still are around $1000 per person.

Then assuming you aren't local you have to pay for pretty pricey hotels, we spent $200/night. Which for us is a lot considering I usually consider $100 an indulgence. Then the flights and car rentals.

But then with all these people wearing paraphanelia which on average is around $20/each piece I'd say that no way does a poor or even really a middle class family afford this vacation. Not to mention the food. For the four of us I'd say skipping breakfast and eating lunch at the park and dinner outside we spent on average $50 for lunch. The kids shared or got a kids meals but with tax and tip and bringing our drinks in. We could have brought in prebought sandwiches from the stores on the way or panera but it wasn't that much of a savings actually. Panera and even mcdonalds for the 4 of us would run around $40 and we'd have to lug stuff all morning.

So I'm curious why people think Disneyland/world/amusement park vacations are so cheap? How they seem to think the average family can afford it? How do people have this stigma about it? Personally if anything after this visit I think the foreigners visiting must be upper echelons of money from their countries, and most americans did not seem local to southern california, probably are in the top 25% of income if I had to guess. We were asked if we were locals probably because we weren't dressed up and very casual about rides. But even the couple of locals we talked to, everyone had an annual pass with maxpass upgrade, and said they had to with all their friends and families they always came with.

I know my family in southern california always used to come with us to Disneyland when we would go. My first trip was at age 5. My mom scrimped for about 3 years to go but interestingly my family was known to travel on a dime and I know my aunts and uncles helped a bit financially. A single aunt traveled and stayed in our room and my uncle paid for my grandparents and we ate outside the park across the street where we stayed. Plus back then we booked huge rack room deals with connections we had and traveled en masse. All my aunts and uncles were massive savers and extremely thrifty when traveling and still are. In my family we are totally into trying to outdo each other with the best travel deal (i've been winning a lot lately!).

But I don't think people do disney the way they used to. Before talking with friends they would talk about how their parents would also do disney on the cheap. DH hadn't gone till after we met and even then it was for a day once until now.

But disneyland is not for those on a budget. I'm still astonished how much it can cost and how people can afford it. But the truth is I think most people are in the top income %.

What do you think? I'll put up some photos later.

17 Responses to “Disneyland is not for poor people ”

  1. rob62521 Says:

    Overall, I would agree with you. The exception might be those folks who have credit cards and use them to finance this vacation that they really cannot afford.

    A number of years ago I attended a conference that was held at Disneyworld properties. DH went with me. We paid for his air fare, as well as hie meals and his admittance to the parks. There was a special offer for the tickets since he was tagging along on my conference. But even then, we were astounded at the high cost of food, souvenirs, and other things. The first night we ate at a restaurant at downtown Disney...chicken breast, a few green beans, and a small helping of mashed potatoes...$40 for the two of us before tax. And that was almost a decade ago.

    I don't think you can do Disney on the cheap. I know there are specials and such out there, but cheap...nah.

  2. Carol Says:

    I agree that Disney is not a " cheap " vacation. That said, I have always found it surprisingly enjoyable. So it's a fun treat, but not "for poor people" and not just for little kids.

  3. Butterscotch Says:

    I’ve never heard anyone call a trip to Disney cheap.

  4. MonkeyMama Says:

    Disney used to be one of those things I could easily fit into a very frugal budget. I have the benefit of living close. I mean like in college I wouldn't have thought twice about driving to Disney (one tank of gas in my 20-year-old car), sharing a hotel with 5 other people, and paying $30 for one day admission. I had virtually no money, but I could afford a day at Disneyland. We did a similar trip when my son was 3. A 3yo doesn't need to spend more than one day in Disneyland. (we splurged on TWO nights at a hotel, for that trip).

    In the years since, the cost of Disney has skyrocketed to insanity. Is far beyond anything I am willing to pay for. & I say this as someone who took her kids to Disney like practically 8 years in a row. But times have changed. Not only that, but if Disney for me means driving, staying at a cheap hotel, walking the entire time we are there, and not paying for extras, and spending only ONE day in the park. This is not at all how people do Disney in this decade. They want to stay in the right hotels, stay at the park for a week, and they want to pay for all the extras.

    It is what it is. This year I recall one day in summer when they had to turn people away because Disneyland was at capacity. That was so unusual it made the news. People are lining up to throw more and more money at Disney. They have to raise prices to keep the crowds in check. Supply and demand.

    Disney used to be a place that wasn't insane crowded in the middle of the week (like in September or October) and you could actually enjoy. Those years I loved Disney. Those days are long gone. I no longer see the draw.

    This is one of those things that is mostly paid for with debt. Everyone I know doing these extravagant trips can't afford them in the slightest. It's all on credit.

  5. MonkeyMama Says:

    P.S. I guess turning away guests isn't that unusual. But for whatever reason really made it all over the news when it happened in May of this year.

  6. Butterscotch Says:

    “I've heard from people say going to amusement parks are where poor people go to waste money.”

    Are you sure you aren’t thinking of carnivals?

  7. CB in the City Says:

    Hmmm. I would say that comment must have come from a wealthy person who views middle-class people as "poor." No way could a genuinely poor person fund a trip to Disney.

  8. Single Guy Says:

    We're leaving for Disneyworld next weekend, and I know tickets ain't cheap. We're trying to make the trip cheap with timeshare visits and buying almost no trinkets at the parks. We'll take some food in with us, buy a 7 day pass (so the rate per day is not astronomical), and well... it will still be money, but not something to break the bank with.

    All that said, yeah its not cheap. My best answer for those that can, buy some Disney stock, at least the money will somewhat come back to you (I have 60 shares, so I get some money from Disney every year).

  9. LuckyRobin Says:

    We were able to afford to go because my mom had a World Mark membership, so we got to stay in the condo near the park for free because of that. My husband had miles from going back and forth to work, so we were able to have free air fare as well. So our cost was in the park tickets, souvenirs, eating out, transportation to and from the airport, parking fee at the airport, and the bus pass, since our condo was quite a few blocks from Disneyland. We did cut our costs on breakfasts and lunches because our condo had a full kitchen and the convenience store had eggs, bacon, milk, juice, cereal, butter, peanut butter, jelly, deli meat, bread, and cheese. It was a little pricey, but not compared to eating out. We packed a lunch on a couple of days. They do have lockers you can rent for the day and we put our lunches in there and also sweatshirts or jackets depending on the weather, because it would often get cold in the evening in January. There are hotels about six to eight blocks away from the park that have full kitchens as well. I doubt we could have afforded to go like we did without the free airfare and free condo.

  10. LivingAlmostLarge Says:

    It is a lot pricier than people would think. I have to admit that I found the asia disneyland strangely cheap and the food ridiculously cheap.

  11. Amber Says:

    Glad you all had a great time.
    I'm in Florida so we have Disney World. This is one of my least favorite places. We would go when I was a kid, I disliked it then and I dislike it now. It's super expensive, even for locals, overcrowded and over priced.
    I do think that if you have small children, and can take them at least once it's worth it.

  12. Thrifty Ray Says:

    I grew up 15 minutes away from Disneyland and have been many, many times. From ticket books, to an all day pass card, to paying admission and everything is included. We would go there on Friday nights for date night- of course that was long before the price skyrocketed.

    Walt's dream was a happy place for all children...and I am sure he is saddened that it is now such a commercialized money machine.

    That said, I still love Disneyland - it is still a magical place for me. I hope to visit more with my grandkids.

  13. terri77 Says:

    I went to Disneyland once as a child and Disney World once as an adult. I wouldn't miss either if I never went back. I'm not a fan of amusement parks anyway.

    I went to China a few years back. Including air, hotel room in a business class hotel, breakfasts & lunches, tours, my cost for 8 days was $1,000. There are much better travel deals than Disney.

  14. LivingAlmostLarge Says:

    I found it nice. The kids loved it. It is a huge money machine. I can see how it's super easy to keep spending money.

    But we also took it a lot easier than I think big fans. Everytime we went, we did not stay till the end. We left early and ate lunch leisurely and only stood in lines less than 15 minutes. We fast passed everything else and walked and enjoyed the parks.

    So we didn't do the whole getting on everything and doing everything in 1 day speel. It was pretty relaxing. I mean yes I think I might have done 4-5 rides the whole day but the ones we did the kids like and the ones we passed they might have been scared anyway.

  15. disneysteve Says:

    I can't really speak about Disneyland as we've only been there once but we go to Disney World at least once a year, sometimes 2 or 3 times when we're able. There are lots of ways to cut costs, which is part of why we're able to go so often.

    We usually drive down. We live just over 1,000 miles away. We stop for one night on the way, usually in South Carolina or Georgia depending on when we leave home.

    We stay offsite. This is the biggest savings. We can rent a 3-bedroom townhouse for under $75/night. A "Value" resort onsite costs twice that. Having our own house also means we eat breakfast in the house instead of a restaurant. We will occasionally make dinner at the house or at least do inexpensive take out instead of an onsite meal.

    Staying offsite means you pay for parking at the parks but that's only $100 total if we go in for 5 days. The last couple of years, we've had annual passes and they include parking so we don't have that added cost.

    $75/night for 7 nights is $375.
    One hotel night on the road each way at $75 each is $150.
    Gas: $250
    3 5-day passes is $1,500.
    Food at $25/person/day for 10 days is $750.
    Total cost: $3,025 for a 10-day trip for 3 adults

    That's not super cheap but it's not outrageous either. We could stay somewhere cheaper as there are absolutely rooms available in the Disney area and on the way down for less than $75/night. We could spend less on food. We could get non-Hopper passes and save about $300. So we could probably do the trip for $2,500 if we wanted/needed to. And we could go for a shorter time which would knock down the costs also. Only doing 3 or 4 park days lowers the ticket prices and you wouldn't need as many hotel nights. So you could do a family trip for $2,000, maybe even less. That's pretty reasonable as far as vacations go.

    Do poor people go? I guess it depends what you define as poor. I practiced in a very poor area and I pretty regularly had patients tell me they were going or just got back from Disney World. Sometimes they stayed with relatives. Sometimes they just went for 2-4 days. And I'm sure some of them went into debt to do it.

  16. LivingAlmostLarge Says:

    Really? I guess I found the price of tickets expensive. It cost as much the hotel the tickets. Of course if we did go for longer it would be cheaper per day but more money overall. i paid $780 for tickets for 2 days for 4 people. But then the hotel was expensive because we wanted to stay walking distance. Of course we could have easily cut that in half staying a bit further. But also it was mickey's halloween weekend so hotels around the area were more expensive than normal for off season. But our tickets were cheap.

    Steve how do you spend so little on food while traveling? $25/day per person seems low.

  17. disneysteve Says:

    "Steve how do you spend so little on food while traveling? $25/day per person seems low."

    It is low compared to what most people spend. But it also demonstrates that the food budget is one place where it is quite possible to trim costs a significant amount.

    As I said, we stay offsite in a rental property (condo/townhouse/house). We do breakfast in the house. Nothing fancy. Just juice and cereal, same as at home. That costs pennies per person so for all 3 of us maybe $2.00/day if that. So we have the bulk of the $25/person/day to spend on lunch, dinner, and snacks.

    Staying offsite and having a car (or even onsite with a car) also gives us the opportunity to eat at least some of our meals offsite, outside of the "captive audience pricing" on Disney property. That helps keep that average down. We always have at least one meal at Sweet Tomatoes and my wife is on their mailing list so we always have a coupon when we go. That runs about $10/person.

    As for onsite, be aware that you don't have to order food just the way it appears on the menu boards. A lot of people don't realize that. I shudder when I see a family with 2 parents and 2 younger kids walk away from the counter with 4 full meals: 4 sandwiches, 4 orders of fries, 4 drinks, and 4 desserts. That can easily be $75 or even more. We will get 3 sandwiches but only 1 order of fries that we all share. We will mostly drink free tap water, not the expensive bottled stuff. If we do get a soda, we will get one that we all share. And we rarely get dessert at a meal. We'd rather get a snack later in the day with those dollars. So we can easily do lunch for $30 for the 3 of us. The same for dinner.

    Onsite, we do almost exclusively counter service meals. The counter service food is great at Disney. It isn't like other amusement parks where your choices are limited to hamburgers, hot dogs, and chicken nuggets. You can get some really good food without having to go to a table service restaurant (or pay table service prices).

    Another tip is to pack some snack food that you either brought from home or bought offsite at the supermarket where prices are normal. Granola bars, nuts, raisins, and other things that aren't lousy for you, are easy to tote around, and hold up well in the heat.

    We'll also keep snack food back at the house, both healthy stuff and not so healthy stuff. Yogurt, cheese sticks, cookies, Pop Tarts, whatever.

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