Disney Fans Feel Like the Magic Is GONE

Price increases have become a staple at Disney World, with tickets, food, and merchandise getting consistently more expensive. Although many Disney fans are disappointed in the increasing costs, crowds at the parks have seemed to indicate that guests will continue to visit despite the extra expense.

Cinderella Castle

However, a new study has found that fans might finally be reaching a breaking point when it comes to Disney World prices. This study revealed how many people have postponed a Disney trip due to the rising costs and how many people think Disney has lost its magic as a result of the price increases.

Disney World has absolutely gotten more expensive over the years. Tickets have gone up in price consistently. In October 1971 (when Magic Kingdom opened), tickets were just $3.50 per person. Adjusted for inflation, that’s about $25.09 in today’s money.

©Disney

Currently, the lowest possible ticket price for Disney World is $109 — over 4 times the 1971 price when measured by today’s money value. And that’s the cheapest option: ticket prices vary depending on the day, with more popular times of the year having more expensive tickets. The highest price for a ticket now is $159.

Hollywood Studios

So it’s clear that the parks have gotten MORE expensive. But is Disney World TOO expensive?

According to a survey by time2play, the answer might be yes. This platform surveyed 1,927 “self-described Disney World enthusiasts,” asking about their feelings towards the price increases at the parks.

Spaceship Earth

The results of this survey show that 92.6% of Disney World fans believe that the cost of a Disney vacation is currently too expensive for average families. In addition, 68.3% — well over half of those surveyed — feel that Disney World has lost its magic as a result of those price increases.

©time2play

Almost half of those surveyed claimed that they recently postponed a Disney World vacation because of the price increases. Many of those who did intend to travel to the parks soon said that they expect their next vacation to be significantly more expensive than their last one. In fact, they anticipated the next trip to be, on average, 35.7% more expensive than the last Disney vacation they took.

Magic Kingdom Parking Lot

Although it’s clear that many people have become disillusioned by Disney World’s increasing costs, the number of guests visiting the theme parks is continuing to rise. According to Statista, visitor attendance at Magic Kingdom has increased fairly consistently from 2010 to 2019. Of course, that number dropped significantly in 2020 due to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, and data for 2021 and 2022 is not yet available on this source.

©Statista

For those people surveyed who did visit Disney World recently, many expressed dissatisfaction with recent changes that contribute to the rising costs. For example, a lot of people are unhappy with the replacement of the free FastPass+ with the paid Genie+ service.

Genie+

Many feel pressured to pay for the extra service so that they can get on more rides during their vacation. In fact, 66.9% of those surveyed said that they “feel that if they don’t upgrade to Genie+ and purchase additional individual Lightning Lane entries, they won’t get the full Disney World experience.”

©time2play

It’s true that more people are paying for Genie+ now than ever. In a recent earnings report, Disney executives revealed that almost half of Disney World visitors are buying Genie+.

This is in Town Square Theater on Main Street, U.S.A.

The rising ticket prices coupled with more fees and extras that people feel pressured to purchase create a rapidly increasing total cost for Disney World vacations. That cost may be getting just too expensive for most people to pay in order to visit The Most Magical Place on Earth.

Magic Kingdom

According to recent statements by Disney CEO Bob Chapek, the price increases are likely not going to stop anytime soon. When asked about future price increases, Chapek said, “Well, it’s all up to the consumer. If consumer demand keeps up, then we act accordingly.” Chapek also clarified that “for all visibility, we have into the future, we’re not seeing any softening of our demand.”

©Orange County Register via Getty Images

If you’re hoping to visit Disney World soon but are worried about the cost, we want to help! Check out these posts to see how you can save BIG on a Disney World vacation:

We’ll continue to watch for more ways to save in Disney World, so stay tuned to AllEars for the latest updates.

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9 Replies to “Disney Fans Feel Like the Magic Is GONE”

  1. The magic is like baking a cake. Sure, the cost and genie price gouging is the flour, but it’s just an ingredient. Relaxed dress standards, visible tattoos, lack of staff, staff that adopt a rule enforcement attitude over service, rides out of service, extended lines, reservation and ticket restrictions, lack of buses and transit from inside and outside the park, food quality and extended wait times for interior restaurants, politics, themed pride months, lack of characters for kids, ride rebranding and political corrections, reduced hours,etc,etc,etc

  2. Everything is expensive these days, not just Disney World. A one day ticket at another amusement park, such as Cedar Point or Universal, + their fast pass option is very similarly priced or higher than a one day ticket + Genie+ at Disney World. Food and merch is expensive elsewhere too.

    I personally do not understand the uproar over Genie+. FastPass was never really free. You were paying for it in the price of your ticket. Disney could make Genie+ “free” then increase ticket prices even more and I think many would think that’s better.

    Now those resort prices are another story. Unless you’re paying for a value resort, most of your cost is with the resort. You could easily spend $3000+ on just a place to sleep, depending on where you stay.

    I think the magic is something you create, not Disney. You create the special memories, spending time with your family. Go to 1 character meal, instead of 4. Your kids will have just as much fun at Pop Century as they would at the Poly. You don’t need multiple pairs of Disney ears. If you go broke going to Disney, of course it won’t be magical.

  3. Disney has killed the magic. They took a magical place and turned it into just another amusement park. No longer is it a carefree day that lets you forget the world outside. It has turned into the outside world.

  4. Best way to save money is, of course, go elsewhere. Failing that, stay offsite. There is no incentive anymore to stay on Disney property…those perks have been taken away. Stay offsite and don’t eat on property. Bring your picnic meals, patronize AirBnB. Hit Disney in the wallet…it’s the only way they will listen.

  5. Well, one thing he said was true. As long as people buy it (aka Genie+, tickets, food, parking, resorts) they will keep increasing the prices. Disney fans are their worst enemy. They complain about the price increases (so do I), but continue to support Disney. Unfortunately, there won’t be relief anytime soon. Since the board extended his contract they support him and his ways 100%. They don’t care one bit about Disney fans. Disney is kind of like major sports. Complain about their politics and whining for more money, but keep going to the games.

  6. DVC Member since 1998. The cost to go to Disney is no longer achievable for the average family. Before the pandemic my husband and I at least went twice a year and my kids with their families came down at least once in the summer. No longer. We did not visit Disney during the pandemic due to family health issues so we went in July this year not to loose our banked points. 13 of us in total. Disney no longer gives service from Airport (From NJ) so we used Uber back and forth. No more Fast Pass (We did not buy Genie Plus), Annual pass no longer available outside of Florida, Reservations to get into park ridiculous we found parks to be more crowded than any other time we have been their which included a trip during Thanksgiving, and trying to get a couple of lunch reservations was impossible. My husband and I will visit in May play golf but not go to the parks plan on getting annual pass to Universal if we like it. My only hope is that within the year attendance will go down and maybe Disney will realize that Chapek has taken away the magic. If not I will probably sell my DVC membership in the next 2 years.

    1. We have been DVC members for many years as well (at least 2-3 trips per year and multiple family trips by our kids/grandkids)and agree with everything NotWorthIt said. We now stay at the Disney resorts but do not go to the Disney Parks. This will be our game plan at least for the next few years, e.g. my kids go instead to Sea World Parks and Universal and we go to local attractions off-property. We try to limit eating at Disney Restaurants to only one or two per trip. We stock up with food/snacks from the local grocery stores. We have also started to use our DVC points for Disney Cruises and non-Disney partner resorts. I am so sick of hearing that Disney will continue to raise prices as long as there are people who pay them. That shows a “lot of love” for the fans who have supported them all these years. It is now way too expensive for the average family to afford and not very magical!! The stress involved in trying to plan and enjoy the Disney attractions definitely does not make it worth the money.

  7. Justhe beginnings. Disney will have to feel the pain in their bottom line before they react. Does the story of killing the goose that lays the golden egg ring any truer than today’s greed? I along with many others are lookng to move on.

  8. What was the cost of a ticket the year Disney stopped the individual attraction tickets and all rides were included in the cost of admission? That seems like a better measure for the price of a ticket today vs. the inflation rate.

    At some point, the peak price of a Disney vacation will be reached, and attendance will drastically decline. Until then, Chapek is still going to encourage his underlings to raise prices on everything.