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2 Reasons the Disney Parks Aren't So Magical After All

Sarah has been going to Disney theme parks since she was 4 years old.

Main Street USA at Disneyland

Main Street USA at Disneyland

1. They're Overcrowded

Though I used to love going to Disney parks, I just don't feel the same way anymore. I still enjoy it and have fun, but I hate that the theme parks are overcrowded all the time. There are just too many people, which makes it harder for me to enjoy my time there. I often find myself just wanting to leave and go somewhere more quiet than to want to spend ten hours of my day walking around a Disney theme park.

Disney has become more and more crowded every year. There doesn't even seem to be a quiet period at the parks anymore—it feels like it's crowded at all times of the year and almost every day no matter what day of the week it is.

Don't get me wrong, if friends ask me to go to a Disney theme park with them, I won't say no and ruin their fun. I still go and enjoy the time to the best of my ability but I just feel that with an overcrowded theme park, it's less fun. There's barely any room to walk sometimes and attractions are at least half an hour to an hour of waiting time.

If you spend an hour waiting for every attraction, you'll probably only do three or four rides before you're fed up with waiting. Also, you do need to eat and with so many people in the parks, the wait for food is very long too.

2. They're Overpriced

The prices at Disney have also gotten ridiculously high in the past three to four years. Similar to what others have been saying, it feels like Disney is only for the rich now and that the company doesn't care if lower or middle-class families can afford to go or not. Disney has always been a premium brand and has always been expensive, but the prices of admission, food, and merchandise have gone up at least 25% if not 40% in the last couple of years.

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For example, in 2016 I was able to purchase a one-day park hopper ticket to Disneyland and California Adventure on a premium day like New Year's Eve for $160. If it wasn't a premium day to visit, the same ticket would cost around $120. In 2019, a non-premium-day one-day park hopper was almost $200 and on a premium day, the ticket would cost more than $200! This is a big increase in price all of the sudden. Tickets were always going up in price slowly every year, but between 2018 to 2019 was the biggest price increase.

The last couple of years have taught me that there are so many more things in life that are more important to me than being able to afford to go to a Disney theme park. For the same price of $200, there are countless other things that I can do for fun. Like many others, I had to deal with unemployment in my home during the pandemic, which taught me what's really important and what's not.

I still spend a lot on going on vacation and seeing new places but I realized that Disney just isn't worth the prices that they're charging to go to their theme parks. I was planning on buying an annual pass to Disneyland later this year but finances are low currently and I don't know if I can actually afford it. I feel a little disappointed, but I'm not upset and depressed like my younger self would be.

Pixar Pier at California Adventure

Pixar Pier at California Adventure

I Grew Out of Disney

I think I have grown up in a way since I left my job at the Walt Disney Company and since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. I prioritize other things, and things that were so important when I was a child up until my mid-20s don't seem to matter as much anymore. My younger self would probably say that she doesn't recognize who I've become now, but people change and grow. Unfortunately, this is just a way of life, and the person you were as a kid isn't the same person you are when you are a teenager or when you finally reach adulthood. In this transition, I think I've grown out of Disney.

I notice that I no longer miss going to Disney theme parks like I used to. Before leaving my role at the Walt Disney Company, I was always so excited to see the next big thing that Disney was making and I couldn't wait to be there. Even before being a cast member, I was willing to pay more than $100 a day so that I could visit Disneyland and California Adventure. In 2016, I loved Disney so much that I traveled to Anaheim five times that year so that I could go to the parks as much as possible. I think I spent almost $1000 on park tickets that year. I spent so much that I could've just been an annual pass holder at that point because I had bought the equivalent of an annual pass in single-day park tickets.

Before 2016, my parents would take me to Disneyland once a year on our yearly vacation to Los Angeles. Since Los Angeles was eight hours away from San Francisco by car, we could only go on vacation there once a year. I remember always being so excited to finally get to go to Disneyland again and I couldn't wait for that day to come. I was always looking on Youtube to see what was the next new thing that I needed to see that year while I was at Disneyland. I also remember always feeling like I wished I had another day at the parks because one day just wasn't enough. There were a few years of my childhood when we couldn't afford to go to Disneyland that year or go to Los Angeles that week and I remember feeling so upset about not being able to go to the parks.

© 2022 Sarah Wong

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