Is Walt Disney World Actually More Expensive Now?

If you regularly travel to Walt Disney World, you may have noticed over time that the cost of your trips has gotten more and more expensive.

Welcome to Disney World!

It’s not a terribly hard thing to notice; in fact, it’s almost expected by Disney World fans that the price is going to go up every year.

But when we adjust for inflation, is Disney World actually more expensive now than it was in years past?

The short answer is, yes, Disney World is much more expensive these days, even when you account for inflation!

On opening day of Disney World (October 1, 1971), the price of admission to Magic Kingdom was $3.50. Adjusted for inflation in 2021, that same ticket would cost $23.25 (according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).

© Disney

Keep in mind that a ticket to get into the park wasn’t enough if you wanted to go on the rides. Back then, you needed to buy a separate booklet of tickets called the ‘7 Adventures Book.’ In 1971, that cost an additional $4.50 on top of your park admission, or an additional $29.89 in 2021 pricing.

A classic Disneyland ticket book.

So the grand total for a day in the Magic Kingdom in 1971 with park admission and ride tickets cost $8, or $53.14 in 2021 pricing. The face value of a one-day ticket to Magic Kingdom in 2021 starts at $109 per day for one adult! That’s an increase of 105% when you account for inflation. When you don’t account for inflation, it’s an increase of 3,014% (just admission) and 1,262% (admission plus rides).

Magic Kingdom

That’s a lot of math and numbers to arrive at a place we already agree on: Disney World has gotten MUCH more expensive over the years, but the value of the cost of a trip to Disney World has also increased over the years.

Spaceship Earth

Back in 1971, a guest would spend $8 to experience one theme park. These days, Disney World has four theme parks, two water parks, dozens of hotels (some of which are destinations in their own right), and a shopping and dining district. There’s much more to see and do in 2021, and it’s virtually impossible to do it “all” in just one vacation!

Expedition Everest

Be sure to follow along as we share budget tips and ways to save on your next Disney World vacation! That way, you’re maximizing the value that you’re receiving when you visit the parks and resorts!

Click here to read our thoughts on whether or not Disney World’s most expensive hotels are actually worth the cost!

Has Disney World gotten TOO expensive, or do you think the price is justified by the value in what you can do? Let us know in the comments! 

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6 Replies to “Is Walt Disney World Actually More Expensive Now?”

  1. We’ve been annual passholders for many years. With the parks being closed last year, we opted for the refund. We were hoping to pick them up again when the parks reopened, but then Disney started up with the masks. 95 degree days with high humidity + mask…no thanks.

    The real final straw for us was how little you get for your Disney $. It’s been a death by 1,000 cuts. The latest insult is the paid FassPass…so now you’re paying $100+ to get in the gate, then have to buy E-tickets again.

    We’re done with Disney. I’ve already made our vacations plans for the next 2 years. Not a single $ going towards anything Disney, and I’m a shareholder saying that. You can travel overseas for far less than a Disney vacation and see *real* castles.

    We drove past the Magic Kingdom parking lot last weekend and it was almost heartbreaking. The lot was a ghost town. Zurg / Jafar / Aladdin lots were full. and that was it. Everything else was empty. Wait times on the app confirmed what we saw in the parking lot.

  2. I’ve found a great way to save huge amounts of money…I don’t go.
    I’ve been 62 times and have all the information from each trip. What
    canceled trip number 63 was looking at what past trips cost and the number
    of FREE things that are NO LONGER free. Sorry, there are other things to
    see and other things to do in this world.

  3. We have been going to WDW since it first opened and have done so almost every year since. Very early on, a room at the Contemporary cost $38 a night. Since then, we have stayed at most of the hotels on property with the rates increasing every time. Although we would like to stay at the deluxe resorts, we have now decided the moderate resorts are more in line with what we can comfortably handle and still be able to enjoy a few full-service meals at some of the part restaurants. But even those are challenges. The pris fixe meals at some of the restaurants are obscene. I know it’s because of the atmosphere (i.e. Space 220, Be Our Guest) but factor in the park admission price with that of the meal, and it becomes an outrageously expensive dining experience.

    With that said, we will be arriving the week after Thanksgiving and will stay at a moderate resort, eat mostly counter service meals along with grazing at the Holiday Kitchens in Epcot and decide on one full-service meal.

  4. We started going to WDW the year EPCOT opened and continued going every 2-3 years until 3 years ago. This included 4 Disney cruises. We camped at Ft. Wilderness 4 times, Pop Century 4 times, Shades of Green 3 times, the Contemporary 1 time, and Caribbean Beach 1 time. It was the best of times. But, on our last trip we noticed it was getting more expensive and decided not to return for awhile. Now with paying to park at your resort, no fast passes, no early morning or late evening hours for staying on property, ticket prices skyrocketing, hotel rates rising, and no Magic Express , etc., there are no perks for even going anymore. It’s a dream vacation that we may never get to share with our great grandchildren. 😢