“Disneyland is a work of love. we didn’t go into Disneyland just with the idea of making money.” Walt Disney
I can’t remember riding on the top of the double decker bus as it goes up and down Main Street before.
So we sat there on Mother’s Day, my carnation corsage already crunched from an 11-month-old’s loving grasp, and Wonder Boy was talking excitedly to some boys sitting next to us on top.
It was their first time, and I congratulated them on their first time and talked with their mother a moment.
Disneyland is my happy place. I truly leave the outside world behind and immerse myself, no matter the crowds, no matter the heat.
With two small children I’ve just made it on a ride or two and it has still been a successful day.
Disneyland just announced higher ticket prices. For instance, the price of a one day, one park ticket rose another four dollars to $96.
The last time I bought a single ticket was back after high school and it was $35. Parking was also like five bucks then or something, versus now it is $16.
It also blocked out the pass we just got a hold of ( through a serendipitous Christmas gift of park hopper tickets and a generous offer for the rest of the ticket price) meaning anyone who wanted to buy an annual pass that wants to go on the weekends- can’t. The crowds were so massive on a Sunday – a day I remember used to be a great day to hit the park – that they couldn’t keep the lines short enough to handle all of those people.
I’ve been marveling at those lines lately. The same as I marveled at the intricate planning of crowd movements in the park. Even where they guide you after a show is carefully planned out, causing that massive swell of guests to flow, creating a virtual roundabout in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle.
It saddens me that Disneyland, which is such a big part of my life, is something unattainable for so many.
I saw someone say on Facebook it takes 13 hours for a minimum wage employee to make the money for a Disneyland ticket. Even thought it’s being raised in July to 9 dollars, for a family to go, pay the 16 dollar parking, buy dinner at the park but not lunch – that’s easily over a week’s wages.
And I totally feel for those families who work hard and save up for a day at Disneyland or a small family vacation, the stress and pressure of getting their money’s worth.
I’ve seen it way too many times, parents yelling at children about eating the food they bought, no you can’t have that toy, yes, you DO have to go on that ride with us.
I recently stood in line for the meet and greet with the Frozen princesses, and felt luck and elitism because of the only two-hour wait time.
This summer could be hell as parents brave four-hour lines juggling hot children just for a magical chance to meet them, but woe to a parent who doesn’t make line cut off ( when I went it was at 4 p.m.).
I saw tears, I saw frustration. I saw parents try to cheer up kids, I saw little girls hearts break and tears fall.
A float before a parade might make it a little better, but its a summation of what Disneyland has turned into.
“Disneyland is a result of love, we did not go into Disneyland to make money,” Walt Disney
I truly do not think Walt Disney meant for Disneyland to become what it has – unachievable. Unreachable.
While I try to not think about what lies ahead for us regarding my happy place, instead I am savoring the act I can give the magic to my kids. We can go and walk around and hardly ride anything and be happy.
Just because we’re there.
The only way Disneyland can become attainable again is for it to go downhill some, which I hate to see. But the bubble will someday pop, as more families stop being able to afford the 500$ for a DAY, including parking, tickets in and a souvenir. Not even food, not even drinks.
Not even that Dole Whip which seems to constantly have a 20-minute line.
And not everyone wants or needs a day at Disneyland. It is a business first and foremost, it is not a right by any means.
But it is so deeply embedded in our culture, along with Coca-Cola and Starbucks and Jell-O, that it is something everyone wants to experience at least once.
I hate to see the door closing in front of me.
I hate to look back and see all the people who cannot give a day like this, to see characters who generations have been raised on, and enjoy a day without understanding the vast amount of work that goes into every moment, from clean bathrooms to picked up trash to the cast member handing that special sticker over after a sweet conversation with a toddler.
I don’t know if the high ticket prices are because of all that hard work, or if it really is ‘just’ to shut out some of the crowds.
For now, I’ll keep packing lunches and driving down, glad I added parking onto my pass when I could and for a few hours leave everything behind and enter the worlds of yesterday, tomorrow and fantasy.
And make memories, because memories are forever, but annual passes are only a year.