With my youngest son turning 30 in a couple weeks, I realize that it has been a long time since I had young children (a really long time!). It has also, obviously, been a long time since I was a child. Since the ‘arrival’ of our two six year old grandsons last summer, however, Alan and I have started to revisit the idea of amusement parks and other family-style entertainment. When you live in Southern California, the first amusement park that comes to mind is, of course, Disneyland.
As I mentioned in a recent post, we are planning to take the grandsons to Disneyland to celebrate Alan’s birthday next week. As I was researching ticket options and pricing, though, I was hit with a bit of sticker shock. The price for a one-day, one-park visit to the Magic Kingdom is $76 per person, for children age 3-9, the price is $68. Doing the math, the price for a family of four to purchase the most basic of entries is $288. That is before doing anything optional like, well, eating. And of course:
As I also mentioned in that last post, I spent a lot of time at Disneyland when I was a kid. We lived close by and my dad was a member of the Magic Kingdom Club. Back then, you had to purchase the old A-E ticket books. Magic Kingdom Club membership meant that our tickets were basically all as good as “E” tickets (in addition to other perks like discounts and Editor’s Day-unique back then, but basically meant the park was open, no tickets needed). And, it was pretty cheap. Admission was separate from the ticket price, and was about $4.00 (we’re talking late 60s, early 70s here). A book of tickets was around $6 or $7. I think there were 10 in a book. So for about $10 you were good to go for a day at Disneyland. Plus that pesky food thing.
As I was researching for this post, I found that Disney’s most recent price increase was August of last year (no recession in the Magic Kingdom!) and that they have raised prices each year since 1994. You now pay $10 more for the single park ticket than two years ago, and $35 more than a decade ago. FYI, they usually raise the prices the first week of August, so if you plan on going this summer, you might want to purchase your tickets before then.
Since our hearts are set on amusement parks, I thought I’d do a little comparison shopping. Knott’s Berry Farm, which is just a few miles away, was also a favorite of mine when I was young (and it was barely more than a berry farm/ghost town). I even sneaked a puppy home from there once, but that’s another story. The price for adults is $33.99 when purchased online (you save $23). That is their winter price. In June, that goes up to $46.99. The price for children (in this case ages 3-11) is $22.99, which will go up by $2 in June. That is the same price that adults 62 and over pay with the senior discount. Adding it all up, total for this family of four: $102.96.
I also checked the prices for Magic Mountain, even though I don’t want to drive all the way north of Los Angeles. I didn’t go there often when I was young, but Alan and I went a few times when my son was a teenager. When purchased online, the adult tickets are the same price as their child tickets: $34.99. Price for our family of four is $144.96. Half the price of Disneyland.
Now, of course, as a vegan, there are other things to consider when traveling. From the various blogs and articles that I have been reading, I gather that finding vegan food at Disneyland is pretty easy. Many of the restaurants offer vegetarian choices that can be ordered without dairy. One blogger even wrote of an experience she had when planning her trip. She called the Disney Dining Line the night before and was given the chef’s private line, where she left a message. Amazingly, when she arrived to eat at Ariel’s Grotto in Downtown Disney, she was delighted to find that a special dish had been created just for her. Now that is vegan friendly!
Unfortunately, Knott’s does not seem to have as many choices. Now, I’ve just begun my research, but their website says nothing even about vegetarian options. A keyword search only gave me a couple dated forum-type questions and responses. I have a pending question on their Facebook page, so I’ll see if that comes up with anything. Even if I have to bring my own food or head outside the park for lunch, the thought of saving $185 makes that idea, well, more palatable.
I did a quickie search for vegan food at Magic Mountain, just for the purposes of this post since I really doubt we’ll go there. I found this article, which indicates that there are a few choices, in particular, for this french fry lover, a little cart called Fresh Cut Fries, which uses veggie oil. Plus a few healthier options.
Am I the only one who finds the idea of a $400 one day Disneyland experience a little outrageous? Maybe more depending on your food and shopping choices. Vegan-friendly or not, I think it is over the top, especially compared with other Southland amusement parks. Yet, millions of people each year will keep handing Mickey their hard-earned dollars.
Maybe it is just me.