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Disneyland Resort
Why is Disneyland So Expensive?
April 26, 2018
Author: Lex Tingey

If you’ve ever asked yourself why Disneyland is so expensive, you’ll want to read this breakdown. We’ve not only included how much certain things cost to run at Disneyland, but also everything included in your ticket. You might just realize that Disneyland isn’t as expensive as you thought.

Why is Disneyland so Expensive Ticket


“Why is Disneyland so expensive?” We’ve heard this question quite a few times at Get Away Today and knew it was time to finally delve into it. There are typically three types of people when it comes to this question; those who think the cost is outrageous and don’t want to pay, those who agree the cost might be a little crazy but feel it’s worth it, and then those who find the cost fair and are more than happy to pay. No matter which category you fall into, you’ll want to check out the breakdown below of why Disneyland is so expensive. You might realize it’s not as expensive as you thought!

5 Reasons Why Disneyland is so Expensive:

Operating Expenses

Take a minute to imagine a day at Disneyland. You’re going to wake up early to be the first to ride your favorite rides, try out all the delicious treats, watch the parade and end the night with dazzling fireworks. It sounds magical, right? While the experience is definitely magical, it costs Disney quite a bit to provide all of that magic.

Why is Disneyland so Expensive Astro Ride


And we can’t really argue whether or not Disneyland is expensive until we look at just how much it costs Disney to operate Disneyland for a day. Just think about all the expenses; electricity, employees, ride maintenance, supplies for food and merchandise, parade equipment, fireworks and more. If you thought your electricity bill was bad, it probably doesn’t even come close to Disneyland’s!

Now, there isn’t an exact “Disneyland costs this amount” line, but you can review the financial reports filed by the Walt Disney Company here. You’ll be able to pull some basic figures and get a roundabout idea of how much it costs to run the parks each day. If that doesn’t sound like something you want to spend your time on, don’t worry. Many people have already done the math for us – whew!

Why is Disneyland so Expensive Tomorrowland

On average, it costs Disney about 11 billion (yep, with a b) to run all six of their parks each day. With the assumption that all six parks generate an identical cost, the estimated cost to run Disneyland for a day is just under 5 million. But we all know that the cost isn’t the same for each Disney park, especially considering Disney World is more than quadruple the size of Disneyland. With that in mind, I think it’s safe to say Disneyland costs anywhere from 3-5 million per day, considering crowd levels and operating hours.?

You might be thinking that this number doesn’t matter if they’re making even more millions every day, so let’s look at that as well. Based on the same report, Disney makes about 13 billion per day on all six of their parks. Breaking that down like before, that’s about a 6 million profit per day for Disneyland. For a closer estimate, we’d want to consider a range of 4-6 million per day. On average, that would be a profit of 1 million dollars a day. Now, let’s do some quick math. A million a day means they’ll gross about 365 million in a year and there’s an average of about 17 million visitors per year. If we divide that 365 million by the average of 17 million visitors, that’s a mere $21 profit per visitor.

Again, these are all estimates. The real numbers will vary day by day, if not even hour by hour, but this gives you a pretty good idea of the cost to run Disneyland and the profit, which isn’t as big of a gap as many assume. Does Disneyland still seem so expensive?

Why is Disneyland so Expensive Walt

Supply & Demand

If the operating expenses alone don’t answer why Disneyland is so expensive, consider the supply and demand. Even as costs raise, more and more people are rushing to visit the Happiest Place on Earth. While there may be lulls for slower days and weeks, the park averages at least 17 million visitors a year. That’s a lot of people! And, it explains why it’s harder and harder to find the “slow pockets” that we used to be able predict time and time again.?

Because of this, Disneyland can get a lot of feedback that it’s too busy or too crowded. While the park does an amazing job with crowd control by extending park hours and keeping as many attractions open as possible, there’s still one more way to ease the crowds. And that way is increasing prices. I know that some guests are more than willing to pay more for a less-crowded experience, but not everyone is. And if that method seems unfair, you have to remember a few more things about Disney. Mainly, expansion, quality and value – the next reasons why Disneyland seems so expensive.

Why is Disneyland so Expensive Ride


When Disneyland raises their ticket prices, they don’t just raise the ticket prices and keep everything the same. Every single time Disney has raised their prices at the beginning of the year, it’s been along with announcements of new and better things coming. In 2015, it was the 60th celebration and in 2016 it was the re-imagining of rides like Space Mountain, Soarin’ Around the World and the brand-new Frozen show. In 2017, the parks welcomed the new Guardians of the Galaxy ride and more re-imagining for favorites like Rivers of America and the Disneyland Railroad. This year, Pixar Fest and Pixar Pier are the focus while next year everything will be centered around the brand-new Star Wars Land.

Why is Disneyland so Expensive Pixar

Every expansion and upgrade that Disneyland plans ends up bringing more people the resort. And, they seem to add even more magic to an already amazing vacation spot. Those expansions and upgrades don’t come without cost, though. In fact, Disney is spending over a billion dollars for the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge area in Disneyland alone. It’s one of the most expensive projects to date and any increase in ticket price helps to support it along with all other expansions. I don’t know about you, but I’m willing to pay a little bit more each year if it means I get to experience things like Star Wars Land and Marvel Land (coming to Disney California Adventure in 2020).  

Why is Disneyland so Expensive Storm Trooper


Another big factor in the cost of Disneyland is quality. A vacation to the Disneyland Resort is a premier product and the cost is going to reflect that. I’ll admit, the first time you look at the cost of a Disneyland ticket, you may be a little shocked. But then you have to think about exactly what you’re getting from that ticket. It includes amazing entertainment (we’re talking Broadway caliber performances), incredibly themed attractions and an overall magical atmosphere.

Why is Disneyland so Expensive Frozen

Disneyland also goes above and beyond with the food and merchandise they offer. Again, you’re looking at theme park prices when you purchase anything in the parks, but you’re getting something much better than usual theme park fare. Just imagine enjoying one of those warm and sugary churros or taking a bite of a delicious Dole Whip and you’ll know exactly what I mean.

Why is Disneyland so Expensive Dolewhip


While the quality of the Disneyland Resort could be a reason for why Disneyland is so expensive, the value of what you’re getting may be something to convince you that it actually isn’t as expensive as you thought. In fact, you may be getting a lot more for only a few more dollars when compared to other theme parks.

How do we figure the value out? By doing some quick math and getting an idea of exactly how much you’re paying per day and per hour when you buy a Disneyland ticket. For this, I’m going to use Get Away Today ticket prices, since our tickets will save you money and make a Disneyland trip even more affordable than you thought.

Why is Disneyland so Expensive Pixar Ticket

Let’s look at the most popular ticket, the 3-Day Park Hopper. It currently costs an adult $325 and a child $309. Divided by three days, that comes to $108.33 per day for an adult and $103 per day for a child. The per hour will depend on when you go, and the hours scheduled for that day. Typically, Disneyland is open anywhere from 10 to 17 hours. For slower times, you’re looking at $10.83 per hour for an adult and $10.30 per hour for a child. For the summer and holiday times when the hours are longest, it’s about $6.37 per hour for an adult and $6.05 per hour for a child.

It becomes even more affordable when you go for five days, as the Park Hopper price can be as low as $4.17 per hour for an adult and $3.96 per hour for a child. 1-Park per Day tickets will have even lower prices, with an average of $5.39 - $9.16 per hour for adults and $5.07 - $8.63 per hour for a child when considering three days. To figure out the hourly rate for your own vacation, simply divide the ticket price by the number of days. Then, divide that number by the hours the park will be open. Voila! You now know how much you’re paying per hour to be at Disneyland.

I don’t know about you, but even $11 per hour isn’t that much to be able to spend that hour in Disneyland. Especially when you get to enjoy all that quality entertainment we talked about earlier! And, consider the fact that many other amusement parks charge $85+ for a single day and don’t include anywhere near as many things to do or as great of a quality. Since you can spend even less than that per day at Disneyland (a 5-day ticket breaks down into as little as $71 per day), it goes to show that Disneyland isn’t as expensive as you may have thought.

Why is Disneyland so Expensive Mickey Ticket

Hopefully we’ve answered your question on why Disneyland is so expensive adequately. We’re not in any way saying that a trip to the Happiest Place on Earth isn’t expensive, just that it may not be as pricey as assumed. Especially when you book with Get Away Today! Our discount tickets and reduced hotel rates are just a few of the ways you’ll save. Our Disney experts also have all the best tips and tricks to make sure you have an incredible time. You can book online now or give our agents a call at 855-GET-AWAY.

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Sam - Thanks so much for your feedback on your experience! We're happy to hear we were able to help you save money on your recent purchase and hope your vacation is amazing.

We recently bough tickets through get away today and were very please for 5 day park hopper and 6 nights in a hotel across the street from Disney was only 1900 and a dinner at midevil nights . then we are saving to have 3,000 to spend during those 6 night. i feel like this is extremely affordable considering all that we are getting. for the people complaining about the crowds, that is what happens when the population grows like it does and you own the most popular park in the world.

Anonymous- We hope you'll have the opportunity to attend Disney to relieve some of those memories sometime soon!

It's really a shame that it is so expensive and you can't even enjoy the entire park in one day anymore. You are forced to spend exceedingly more money in order to do that over several days. I always thought it would be a good idea for Disney to be reservation only and that way the parks could allow for a more even guest entry and reduce the over crowding. It's wall to wall people any more. Standing in line for hours for a handful of attractions ruins the experience. Kids are crying and everyone is on their cell phones. We haven't visited in years because it is just way too crowded. Great memories though.

Anonymous- If you purchased your ticket from us, will you please give us a call at 855-GET-AWAY? Thanks!

Its SO SO SO expensive to go !! And now to eat,its so much..Disneyland needs to change.. I bought a perk ticket,but something happened and we went on a perk day and I asked for the difference, and they said NO..But if you have a value ticket and want to go on a perk day then you MUST !!!!!! Pay the difference..That's so wrong..Prices need to change for the good of people..not everyone can afford to go ,??? shame on you..

It's very expensive.

I agree ... is very very expensive


way too expensive! Walt Disney had a plan for families! All we saw were a lot of season ticket holding teens! Our grandson still loved it all, but we will take the old SWEET Disneyland any day! Way too crowded now, Way too commercial and expensive! I am sad to see the madhouse it has become!!! Sorry Mr. Disney.

The stated operating costs are given as $11 billion per day, however I think you meant annual costs, i.e. $11 billion per year. Divided evenly across the parks that comes out to $5 million per day which is consistent with what you stated as the daily operating cost. With 19 million visitors per year (the numbers I found put it higher than 17), that means about 52,000 per day. The final number of interest is the cost per person, per day, which comes out to about $96. Coincidentally, this is the same as the ticket price. If these numbers are accurate, this means that they are recouping all their operating costs at the gates and their profit is driven by what you spend in the park. Based on your $13 billion dollar profit figure, each person who enters must spend an average of $18.

I get that they have a lot of expenses and are delivering a quality product, and I know the demand is high no matter what they charge. However, hundreds of dollars is still hundreds of dollars, no matter what you're getting for your money. My girlfriend is a Disney fanatic, and we're going to be spending 2 days at Disneyland for her birthday this year... To the tune of $500+, and that's not including lodging, food, gas, souvenirs, etc. All told, we're looking at close to $1k for 2 days. We're barely middle class folks, and to say this is a considerable amount of money for us would be a massive understatement. I'd be way more content paying half that much to get a Disneyland with 50% fewer bells and whistles, as opposed to expanding for the sake of expanding and paying insane amounts of money to fund their ever increasing empire.

This article seems a little bias. Even taking into account the overhead cost and the quality of the attractions of all the parks, rising cost of the economy is forcing the question “Can my money be better spent elsewhere”. The cost of everything is rising all the way down to milk to buying a house, people will start to second guess if they should spend the money they have been saving all year on a over priced theme park. I agree Disney land is a must see for the kids at least once for the kids but not as recurring trip. There are just too many other options especially for large families.

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