It all started in February 2015 when Walt Disney World announced that they were increasing ticket prices which broke the $100 threshold for a single day ticket for an adult to enter the Magic Kingdom. Many online theme park fans, like always, went a little crazy and said that this could be the end for Disney and they were shooting themselves in the foot for charging so much.
In March 2015, the Bora Bora Bungalows at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort opened as part of the Disney Vacation Club. Those without a DVC membership can pay out of pocket for a stay in one of the bungalows for anywhere from $2,137 to $3,040 per night based on the season and day of the week.
Yet again, many fans scoffed at the price, and said that Disney was being greedy and no one would stay in those new units based on the price, though arguably, they may be some of the coolest rooms on WDW property.
More recently, The BOATHOUSE opened at Downtown Disney, which offers a steak on their menu priced at $115 that is designed to feed two people. A side of asparagus will run you $12 and if you’re looking to get dessert, their S’Mores Baked Alaska costs $40 and is designed to feed four people Sound pricy? I hope you’re sitting down.
Just outside The BOATHOUSE is a one-of-a-kind ride experience in custom Amphicars. These unique vehicles can not only drive on land, but can also double as a boat and motor around the lake at Downtown Disney. Maximum capacity is three guests per trip which runs around 20 minutes and that trip will set you back $125.
These are actual reactions to The BOATHOUSE menu and Amphicars found recently online and I am not making these up: “They have a steak that costs 115 dollars, it must be made of gold”… “Too bad Disney is unreachable / unobtainable for the average working class person and their children”… “It’s stuff like this that will doom Disney”…. “I guess ripping families off at the front gate is not enough!!”. It goes on and on.
For comparison sake, let’s start with ticket prices. $105 for an adult to enter the Magic Kingdom for one day, it becomes cheaper per day with multi-day passes, but we will use that to compare experiences.
Currently to see Aladdin on Broadway, the cheapest full priced seat you can find in the New Amsterdam Theater (if it’s available) is $64.50 including all fees. The next cheapest seat is $183.75 and it goes up from there.
How about a Los Angeles Lakers game? Seats will set you back $42.85 if you can find them in the upper nosebleed section and the 200 level seats will run you anywhere from $55 to $104. Now if you think a Broadway show or an NBA game is a better value, that’s fine, just know that theme park ticket values are set to what is considered comparable averages to these events.
Two Bedroom Villas at Disney’s Bay Lake Tower adjacent to the Contemporary Resort that face the Magic Kingdom can run anywhere from $1,038 to $1,840 per night. Roughly half the price of a stay at the Bora Bora Bungalows to be sure, but then again there are only 20 bungalows, they are not connected to any other buildings, are completely free standing and feature their own front and back porches. Exclusivity doesn’t come cheap, but the range isn’t so high that people won’t pay.
Finally, The Boathouse is run by a third party and not by Walt Disney World, but before you scoff at the price of that steak let me remind you that a 32-oz porterhouse for two runs $110 at Yachtsman Steakhouse at Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club Resort. If you think even that price is out of line, Ruth Chris Steakhouse just up the road in Orlando offers a porterhouse for two at $85. A bargain perhaps, but keep in mind, Disney is considered “beach front property” and will be higher priced simply based on location alone.
To be clear, I am not defending these prices and frankly, can’t afford most of this myself. However, the world is an expensive place and will not be getting cheaper anytime soon. There are premium experiences that will always be available at Disney World and then again, there will be cheaper options like staying at All Star Sports for $96 a night or even an off sight hotel for even less. No one is forcing anyone to buy a high end steak and you can certainly take the free boats around Downtown Disney instead of coughing up $125 for an Amphicar.
Visit Orlando just announced that 62 million people visited Orlando in 2014, which is a record number for this town. Walt Disney World continues to increase park attendance year after year and hotel occupancy rates hover around the 90% range for most of the year. While your particular family may not find an Orlando vacation affordable anymore, just know that the prices reflected in this article will not “doom Disney.” Let’s all calm down a bit and take a reality check, shall we? Your thoughts?
Make sure to follow Theme Park University on Twitter and like our Facebook page! Doing any online shopping? Click on any Amazon links on this page and it helps TPU pay the bills and costs you nothing extra!
Images Copyright: Theme Park University, Mousesteps.com, Walt Disney Theatrical. Los Angeles Lakers, Universal Orlando Resort