Over the July 4th weekend, my family and I traveled to Long Beach Island on the Jersey Shore. It was a wonderful, relaxing weekend and my son Ryan did great during his first extended trip away from home.
On July 1, our best friends took a ride out for the day to spend some time shopping and taking our kids on the rides at a small amusement park, Fantasy Island. We've been going to Fantasy Island for many years, but this was the first time we've visited with our own kids.
Unfortunately it was downpouring for most of the day. Instead of wasting our time, we decided to play in Fantasy Island's indoor arcade. I would say each family dropped about $50 for an hour or two of play. We had a lot of fun.
After we finished, we noticed that the sky had cleared up a bit and the staff informed us that the rides would be opening shortly. Because the kids were so young, we only really wanted to take them on one ride - the carousel.
I purchased $20 worth of ride tokens and my best friend and I proceeded to the carousel with her one-year-old and my six-month-old. We were informed that they would each cost five tokens to ride with us, so I handed over $10 worth of tickets. Because the boys were so young, we decided to sit with them on a bench instead of a horse. That's when we were informed that if we sat with the boys, we would have to pay five tokens each as well.
Do the math. It cost us $20 for a minute and a half carousel ride. The kicker - we were literally the only people on the ride.
Considering we paid nearly $60 per family for about two hours worth of entertainment at Fantasy Island, I have to laugh at the plethora of articles bemoaning the price of admission to Disney Parks. I'm not saying that admission to Disney Parks is cheap by any means, but when you compare what you get in a Disney day to what you get elsewhere, there is really no contest.
Yes, your average middle class family must save quite a bit for an annual Disney vacation, but in the end I think the quality product is worth the hit to your wallet.
There have been articles written lately about how Disney has out-priced the middle class, using examples of pricing at the most expensive resorts and luxury restaurants. There have been pieces that have insinuated that Disney vacations are now only meant for kids of "Wall Street Dads" comparing tickets to opening day prices in 1971 to current day, without mentioning that those opening day prices didn't include attraction tickets.
The bottom line is this: you get what you pay for. If you want a quality experience and a quality product, you have to pay for it. If you've seen attendance numbers in recent years, I think it's safe to assume that people (including the middle class) feel that Disney Parks are worth the price of admission.
I certainly do. And my trip to Long Beach Island only confirmed this opinion.