I realized while walking though Disneyland that it is truly a substantial investment. I’m not telling you to avoid Disneyland, but do consider where that money can take you if you traveled instead. A “real” vacation may be much cheaper…and more enjoyable.
Disneyland Versus A “Real” Trip – Consider The Alternatives To A Day In The Happiest Place On Earth…
Disneyland was packed. And this was a weekday in the off-season:
Nothing like spending hundreds of dollars for tickets to Disneyland only to encounter long lines. Throw in exorbitant prices for food and drink plus souvenirs and you’re looking at blowing the vacation budget in one day.
And indeed, that’s what many people do.
For many, that is exactly what they want and there is no judgement in that. I saw all the die-hard fans with their pin collections and mouse hats and other Disney-related apparel. I know that for kids Disneyland can be a joy, as it was for my five-year-old son.
But the point of this post, coming from a travel writer, is that I’m not sure everyone considers the alternatives to a 1-2 day vacation at Disneyland.
With budget carriers like Avelo, Frontier, or Spirit, you can travel to destinations near and far, sometimes for under $50 round-trip if you travel light. Imagine instead of driving to Disneyland and spending a day there, you can fly to Montana or Colorado and enjoy a few days in nature. Or flying to Miami or Seattle or Las Vegas and enjoying seasonally pleasant weather, reasonably-priced hotels, great food, and a change of venue.
I’m not a die-hard Disney fan and therefore I guess I cannot understand how important Disneyland is to some people. But if I only had a few days off per year, I’d want to stretch my money out and go explore a new city. It truly is possible once all the costs are added up.
Airports and airplanes don’t have to be hassles. Parking, security, baggage, boarding, and deplaning may sound daunting, but arriving early and traveling light make the experience so much easier. I find I routinely overpack even with just a carry-on bag. Traveling light is liberating.
Throw in smart credit card spending and the trip will end up costing even less if you can use points to offset airfare, hotels, and car rental.
Looking at the pricing and crowds at Disneyland, I just could not believe how much of an investment a trip to Disneyland is. While I will treasure the memories from this day and the pictures we took, I find money much better spent on trips to new cities than to theme parks like Disneyland.
I suppose there is no way to objectively value a trip to Disneyland, but even with your own subjective measure, do run a cost/benefit analysis and understand how cheap it is, thanks to budget carriers, to hop on a plane and fly across the country.