How greedy Disneyland is pricing out its most loyal customers

‘The magic’s too expensive’: Disney is ‘pricing out loyal customers’ by targeting more affluent families with $800 hotel rooms and $100 sandwiches despite having no fireworks or parades since COVID

  • A Disney vacation will now set a family of four back more than $6,000
  • The average annual income in America now stands at $68,703 – or $5,725 each month – meaning a visit to the ‘happiest place on earth’ is out of reach for many 
  • The hefty price tag comes despite pandemic-related restrictions squeezing some of the magic out of the experience
  • Firework displays, shows and the iconic character parades have gone
  • Instead of slashing the prices to make up for the disappointment, costs have continued to climb 
  • Since it reopened in April, Disneyland has focused on premium add-ons like an extra charge on the new Spider-Man ride to ensure a higher score
  • It is also now offering a $100 supersized sandwich at its new Avengers Campus
  • The cheapest hotel room in Disneyland in July is $463, with some costing $800 

Disney has been accused of pricing out loyal customers by targeting affluent families with $800 hotel rooms and $100 sandwiches at its theme parks, despite having scaled back its ‘magic’ since the pandemic began.  

A family vacation to Disneyland – once the pinnacle of summertime for middle-class American families – will today set a family of four back more than $6,000.  

With the average annual income now standing at $5,725 a month, this means a visit to the so-called ‘happiest place on earth’ is increasingly out of reach to the average American family.

And the hefty price tag comes despite pandemic-related restrictions squeezing some of the magic out of the experience.  

Firework displays, shows and the iconic character parades have gone due to social distancing rules – with the first fireworks set to return for July 4.

And yet, instead of slashing the prices to make up for the disappointment, costs have continued to climb. 

Disneyland, once  a go-to vacation spot for middle-class American families, is becoming increasingly unaffordable, new studies show

The supersized sandwich at the new Pym Test Kitchen costs $100 and is said to feed 6 to 8 

A $60 add-on to the Web Slingers ride at Disneyland’s new Avengers Campus (pictured) allows ride-goers to earn higher scores

A five-day trip to Disney World for a family of four now costs $6,033, according to Business Insider.

This includes tickets at a cost of $2,316, a four-night stay in a family suite at one of the park’s budget hotels at a cost of $2,617, and the lowest cost dining plan at $1,100.

It does not include add-on experiences, air travel or transport costs, parking fees, merchandise or any other extras – meaning a vacation actually comes in at a significantly higher cost overall.

The average annual income in America now stands at $68,703 – or $5,725 each month – and monthly spend tops $5,100 a month in terms of housing, transportation, food, utilities and other living expenses, Insider reported. 

This means that it would take around three years for a family on an average income to afford a trip by saving $200 a month – leaving them with only around $400 spending money a month during this time.   

And Disney prices are only increasing as the company appears to be shifting its focus to target wealthier customers. 

Disney World has increased its ticket prices at roughly double the rate of inflation over the 2010s in an effort to compete with Universal Studios, which opened its Wizarding World of Harry Potter in 2016, according to The Wall Street Journal. 

‘Disney does not like to lose – not just lose, Disney doesn’t even like to compete,’ Robert Niles, founder of Theme Park Insider, told Insider. 

‘Disney wants to dominate its competition.’

In February, Disney CEO Bob Chapek said the company was taking a ‘more aggressive’ financial strategy ‘particularly at Disneyland.’ 

Since it reopened in April after shuttering due to the pandemic, Disneyland has turned its attention to premium add-ons, Business Insider reports.

And a hotel room at the Grand Californian in Disneyland can cost up to $800

Wealthy visitors can now pay an extra $60 charge to get a better score on the new Spider-Man ride.

Meanwhile people with a big appetite can fork out $100 for a supersized sandwich at the new Pym Test Kitchen on the Avengers Campus, which has consistently seen a four-hour wait since it first opened on June 4.

The Pym-ni sandwich serves between six and eight guests and contains salami, rosemary ham and sun-dried tomato spread on toasted focaccia bread.

American families, many of whom were hard hit during the pandemic, are starting to be turned off by the rising prices.  

A recent survey by Business Insider found that more than half of the 1,086 respondents with and without children said they thought Disney vacations were too expensive ‘in general’ to warrant a trip.

And another 32 percent of participants with children said they would like to visit a Disney property, but cannot afford to. 

Dominique King of San Diego, Abigail Power and Harrison Power of Modesto, California walk down the road as they take in the sights and sounds of Main Street U.S.A. at the Disneyland Resort on April 30, 2021

Of the roughly 18 percent who said they would be willing to go, those earning $175,000 or less seemed the most eager to take the vacation, while those with incomes over $150,000 being the least likely to take the vacation, even though they would be better able to afford it. 

The survey did not distinguish between Disney World and Disneyland vacations, but the San Francisco Gate reports, a Disneyland vacation is more expensive.

The least-expensive room available for a night in July, one of the busiest months for the theme parks, is $163 at Disney’s All Star Movies, but on the same night, the least expensive room at a Disneyland resort hotel is $463 at Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel, it reported.

The hotel regularly costs about $500 for a standard resort, while Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel can charge about $800 for a standard room.



Some people have taken to Twitter to express their frustrations with the high prices

Ticket prices are technically cheaper at Disneyland than Disney World, at $104 compared to $109, but Disneyland tickets at that price have not been available since the park reopened, and will not be offered until August 30. 

The most expensive ticket at Disneyland, a one-day Park Hopper, is $209 per person and at Disney World its $201 per person. 

People have taken to social media to call out the company for its unaffordable prices, with one tweeting: ‘I thought they were expensive before covid but now they’re insanely expensive.’

Others agreed with one person writing: ‘Sadly your magic is too expensive for many people, including children.’

‘Magic and expensive their prices went sky rocket,’ another person tweeted.

‘Unfortunately Disneyland only for the rich and famous.’ 

Another person chimed in: ‘Why does Disneyland & Universal Studios have to be so expensive. I really really want to go.’ 

The theme parks were once far more accessible to American and international tourists alike.

Back in 1971, tickets cost just $3.50 – equivalent to around $22 today, reported Insider. 

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