The Happiest Place on Earth may also be the priciest.

The tab for admission tickets to the Disney World and Disneyland theme parks has jumped more than 3,871% in the past 50 years — dwarfing increases in visitors’ wages, as well as the cost of rent and gas, according to a viral TikTok video.

Disney shuttered its parks during the height of the pandemic, only to reopen them and hike prices to make up for some of the losses. Set to rousing Disney orchestral music, the animated chart shows Disney World ticket prices steadily soaring since 1971, ratcheting higher through various financial disasters from the 1973 oil crisis to the 2008 financial crisis, ending with the pandemic.

By comparison, wages as well as the cost of rent and gasoline have all risen by percentages well below 1,000% during the same timeframe, according to the video from Pie Chart Pirate, an account operated by SJ Data Visualizations, a UK-based consulting firm.

Disney fans commented on the video, with one adding: “Isn’t late stage capitalism magical.” Another wrote: “I remember going to Disney for spring break in 1989. My FL resident ticket was $19.”

A chart showing a 3000% increase in ticket prices at Disney World over the price of gas, rent and food.
Disney World’s prices have significantly increased compared to wages, gas and rent in the last 50 years.

While many complained about how unfair the price hikes have been, some users also noted that the TikTok chart didn’t appear to adjust for inflation.

Disney fans have noticed big price hikes of late. In October, Disney said it would increase ticket prices at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure in Anaheim, Calif., this year, noting that its popular single-day ticket price would jump 6.5% to $164 for admission to one park, while a two-day park hopper pass would cost $319, up nearly 9%.

In terms of merch, Disney blog Walt Disney World News Today said several items at the Florida-based park are seeing increases ranging from $5 to $15. A Miss Piggy backpack, which was released a year ago for $80, now costs a whopping $95. Mickey ear headbands jumped $10 in price to $39.99, while a Monsters Inc. water bottle is up $5 to $29.99.

Disney World at night.
Fans griped that it is not just ticket prices that have increased at Disney World; food and merchandise prices have risen, too.
ABC via Getty Images

According to fan blog Inside the Magic, even prices for ice cream have been jacked up. The Mickey’s premium ice cream sandwich and chocolate-coated premium bar rose from $5.69 to $5.99.

At Disney World restaurant Ale & Compass, New England Seafood Pot Pie rose $3 to $28, while Brick’ Lemon-Herb Half Chicken increased $2 to $24.

Meanwhile, customers have griped that the more expensive grub hasn’t translated to better quality.

Customers at Disneyland and Disney World have taken to Reddit and other platforms to slam the skimpy, overpriced food portions at the theme parks — with some even calling the meals as “disgusting slop” and “prison food.”

A view of a topiary display of Goofy with Spaceship Earth in the background during the Flower and Garden Festival at Epcot at Walt Disney World in Orange County, Florida
Experts believe that prices will continue to rise at theme parks, despite consumer complaints.
Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The price hikes and soaring demand to return to the parks has lifted Disney’s financials. In May, the Mouse House said its second-quarter income jumped 50% to $3.7 billion or $1.08 a share while revenue rose 23% to $19.2 billion.

Despite the barrage of gripes from customers about price hikes, theme park experts expect the trend to continue.

“Get used to it,” president of Cincinnati-based International Theme Park Services Dennis Speigel told the Tampa Bay Times. “Our industry is moving towards the upcharge. Magic Mountain is doing it. Six Flags in California and others are experimenting with it. Within three or four years, you will see every park having a surcharge to get ahead of the line.”


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Tyler Cowan