Walt Disney World is an expensive vacation, that’s not exactly new information. Even stuff that used to be free at Disney World now costs money. However, a new video puts the reality of just how expensive it has become quite plain, and more than a little terrifying. It’s not just that Walt Disney World tickets cost a lot but the fact that tickets have become so much more expensive over time, having increased in price by nearly 4000% since Walt Disney World opened in 1971.
The video posted to TikTok compares the rise in prices of Disney World tickets compared to changes in pricing on gas, rent, and wages, in the same period. While those other three categories see significant increases over that same time, they are absolutely dwarfed by the rise in Disney World ticket prices. Check it out.
Things are relatively normal with Disney World tickets increasing at about the same rate as the other items on the list, until the early 1980s. At this point Walt Disney World ticket prices skyrocket compared to everything else and they never look back. While there are a few places where prices jump at an even higher rate, the climb never slows down. And since Disney tickets go way up compared to the increase in wages, it means that buying the tickets has become more expensive to the people shelling out the money.
There are some questions that are left unanswered in this video that might go to explain the massive increase, at least in part. We don’t know exactly what pricing is being used. Are we comparing single-day, single park tickets across the board? That would be fair, but it also wouldn’t tell the whole story of the way Disney World has changed in the last 50 years. Multi-day tickets include slight discounts, but are obviously more expensive overall. And people are simply spending more time at Disney World than they did in 1971.
The initial spike that raised Disney World tickets above the other categories happened in 1982, and to be fair, there’s a significant reason why prices likely jumped then, Disney opened a new theme park. Epcot Center, now known simply as Epcot, opened in 1982. Yes, prices may have gone up, but there was now also more available for guests to experience. Two more theme parks would be added later as well and countless new attractions have been built over the years, and continue to be built.
Then, in 1984, Michael Eisner became CEO of Disney, and he was the one that really saw ticket prices in the Disney parks as far too low. The theme parks were the one part of the Disney company that were regularly profitable, he was brought in specifically because the movie studio was struggling, and Eisner believed prices could be raised without drastically impacting attendance.
This is where we see one of the major price increase spikes. Although, Eisner also invested a lot of that money back into the parks, greenlighting major new attractions like Star Tours, Captain EO, Splash Mountain, and more.
Whatever the case and whatever the reasons or the rationale, it’s certainly hard to argue that Disney World isn’t really expensive. At the same time it’s difficult to argue that it’s too expensive, since people are certainly still willing to pay the prices.