See bolded text within quote for one person's thoughts. I think lots of us who have been going to Disney for a long time and have seen so many changes have asked ourselves many of the same questions you are asking and get where you are coming from. Honestly, I so often say you are charging how much for that. And on top of that to try that, I paid how much (think I'll skip next time) -- thinking of Disney meals and special experiences. I still think the theme park tickets while expensive (and they have gone up so much more than inflation, especially the one day or just a few day tickets) offer a good value when compared to so many other things. But with that frivolous, fun vacation budget do what gives the most joy to you and your family. We are all fortunate to have these first world problems.I wasn't sure where to post this, so here it is.
I'm budget minded, financially conservative, nearing retirement, loving Disney.
But at what point do I say 'enough is enough' with the price increases? We used to get annual passes and actually go a few times. It was fun and an easy to plan trip for us. But I'm beginning to think at some point, I have to say it's just too much. -- For those who have a particular budget that they stick to, there are lots of choices for still going if people still want to (offsite, shorter trips, less frequent trips, sharing quick service meals, bringing food and a water bottle into the parks). We've been doing more trips other places, but find that other places that appeal to us are mostly more not less expensive than Disney. But we were already for decades doing things that lower the cost of a Orlando trip and find exceptional value in offsite condo/house rentals (an overbuilt market with very good prices for quality).
It's the resorts and tickets, the $3 bottles of water, the parking fees and on and on and on... Ticket prices are something you can't get around. Offsite and take uber/lyft is a way to avoid parking fee. Actually though a rental car and parking when offsite usually comes out cheaper. I know being nickled and dimed gets really old, really fast. That water bottle and asking for ice water is always an option.
Do you think disney will just keep increasing the prices at the rate they've been doing to ' see how far they can'? I mean, if the crowd keep coming, what is to stop them? If I were in it, to please the stockholders, which is what any for-profit public company does these days, why not keep increasing the prices? I think prices will still go up, but Disney will be closely looking at the economy, profits, and attendance. I own some Disney stock and wasn't planning on selling it.
Do you think there will be a tipping point where folks say enough is enough? -- Maybe if the whole economy crashes. I still see people coming for that once in a lifetime trip. I see lots of Disney lovers out there who will keep doing repeat trips. I'm very surprised how often I go (and I'm not that much of a Disney fan). I see value even in the expensive one day tickets when you look at what you get for the dollar compared to amusement parks, two hour tours, four hour tours, six hour tour experiences at other destinations, one day ski lift tickets at nice resorts, a two hour concert, a two hour broadway show, a sporting event. As a finance professor you probably also see what I see when comparing the 70s, 80s, etc. to now - a global economy where more people in the world have the means to travel than ever before. That is meaning more crowds in popular destinations everywhere (especially in the more common bucket list kinds of places) -- record crowds in Paris, price increases and increased attendance at Disney, US National Parks are being loved to death too and take a look at room prices at those and Disney looks like a bargain.
I'm a financial professional and I cringe when I see folks spending thousands on repeat vacations but not investing in their future. I'm starting to wonder, where else can we go instead...Pigeon's forge? I don't know...I think I'm starting to try and have a talk with myself. Do you have a tipping point? -- I don't know statistically how many people are doing expensive vacations and not saving for the future and other things. The people that I personally know that do the repeat trips to Disney are doing both and seem to be pretty savvy with money from what I can tell. Most of them vacation primarily just at Disney. One party said that the increase in the annual passes means they will just be doing one trip next year with a multiday ticket vs. multiple trips and springing for the annual pass like they have done for the last few year. They are still, however, going. // Other choices we have done that are less expensive than Disney (South Dakota trip to see the monuments, Badlands, and chilling at Custer State Park to see the wildlife and night sky, a week long trip to Rocky Mountain National Park/Estes Park -- late Aug. after school has started and before the Elk Rut as the park is being loved to death) / More expensive than Disney - a two night stay in Orlando with a one day Disney fix and then a cruise on one of the big RCCL ships out of Port Canaveral (planned for next year). Your idea of Pigeon Forge could be nice with the national park and tourist attractions (good combo). Those $30, $60 pp tourist attractions can really add up, though, and you might be surprised at how costs are quite similar to a Disney trip. Still it sounds like a nice change of pace and why not go for it. I have an annual vacation budget - a frivolous fun fund, and the fun part is deciding what to do with that budget. Sometimes Disney gets some of that money, more often than what I would expect actually.