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$49.75? Are They Crazy?

Disney just raised admission prices at their theme parks. I can't wait until we move to a whuffie-based economy and the fans take over.

Beginning Sunday, Disneyland and California Adventure will increase the admission price to $49.75 for guests over 10 years old -- a jump of $2.75, or nearly 6 percent, Disneyland Resort announced Friday.

In Florida, Walt Disney World also is raising its admission prices $2.75 on Sunday, from $52 to $54.75.

Company officials said the higher price reflects the cost of investments in the popular theme parks. New attractions include a Snow White musical production at Disneyland and the "Twilight Zone: Tower of Terror" ride, which opens May 5 at California Adventure.

Disneyland last raised prices from $45 to $47 in 2002.

According to Yesterland, the price in 1972 for a 15-ride ticket book -- the highest-priced admission back then and so the most apt comparison to today's unlimited attractions ticket -- was $5.95.

Using this handy calculator (thanks, NASA!), we can tell that $5.95 in 1972 dollars equals $26.19 in 2003 dollars. That means that Disney's ticket prices are now 1.9 times higher than if they had risen at the underlying inflation rate. Put another way, if this trend holds, in the year 2035, it will cost $94.50 in 2004 dollars to visit Disneyland for the day.


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Of course, inflation is based on the CPI, which is based on a "market basket of goods." I'm pretty sure that basket is very different from what it takes to operate a theme park. That's also assuming that what you're getting from their 2003 parks is exactly the same as what you'd get from their 1972 theme parks. While the hours in a day haven't changed, the theme parks have increased in size and complexity, requiring more service personnel and resources. In 30 years, have their theme parks increased in entertainment value by 1.9 times? It's subjective, so we'll never know.

Still, I suppose it's a fun exercise pitting these kinds of statistics against each other. The final trend arrived at is probably the more important one, but I hope the entertainment value eventually levels off, as one can only take in so much at a time.

As I noted, if the trend holds, it will cost $94.50 in 2004 dollars for one person to visit Disneyland in the year 2035. So what you have to ask yourself is this: if Disneyland raised its price to $94.50 tomorrow, would you visit? Can you imagine any circumstances under which you would do so? What if they made the park twice as large? Added many more great rides? Limited attendance?

Speaking personally, I can't imagine what Disney could do that would get me to shell out $94.50 to visit Disneyland for the day.

I can't believe it, my co-worker just bought a car for $80535. Isn't that crazy!

I don't know -- it depends on what kind of car your co-worker bought. $80,535 today (well, last year, to be precise) equals $17,657 in 1972 dollars (calculator here). What kind of car could one buy for $17,657 in 1972? According to this page, the top-end Jaguar in 1972 -- a V-12 Coupe 2+2 -- had a suggested retail price of $7,997, or $36,475 in 2005 dollars. Interestingly, a top-end Jaguar today, an XKR, has a suggested retail price of $87,330 -- an increase of 139 percent over its 1972 equivalent.

Silly me, I fell for blog spam. For once, it actually seemed to make sense in the context of a blog entry.

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