Some families going into debt to visit Walt Disney World, study shows

Some families are willing to go into debt to visit Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, according to a recent survey.

A study by LendingTree, a financial website, found that 18% of 1,500 consumers surveyed reported that they owed money to enter Walt Disney World, which celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2022. Research has found that parents with children under the age of 18 are the most likely to incur this additional expense.

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The study also found that expensive dining options and park ticket prices were higher than most people expected or predicted. The average cost of a one-day, one-park ticket for adults and children 10 and older from November 2022 to October 2023 will be $141.74, although the price may increase.

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According to an analysis by Mouse Hacking, a Disney-focused blog, the cost of a Disney World vacation for a family of four — consisting of two adults, one child age 10 or older, and one child ages 3 to 9 — was $5,731. 2022, or about $287 per person per night.


Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World

Crowds pack and fill Main Street USA at the Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World in Orange County, Florida, on June 1, 2022. (Joseph Prezioso/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images/Getty Images)

The cost includes flights, transportation to and from the park, a five-night stay at a Disney World resort, five-day tickets and toll-free service and all meals at the approximate cost of a regular Disney meal plan.

“A Disney trip can be an experience you and your family remember for a lifetime, and those are the kinds of things people are willing to go into debt for,” said LendingTree principal analyst Matt Schulz.

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According to a study by LendingTree, seventy-one percent (71%) of those who overused these parks do not regret it, because they will be able to pay off their debt in six months or less. Fourteen percent said it would take them seven months or more to pay off their Disney debt, while another 6% didn’t know how long the debt would hang on them.

Monorail, Walt Disney World

The Monorail at Walt Disney World is shown in this file photo. (Stock)

However, a different study from the gambling website Time2play surveyed 1,927 “Disney World enthusiasts,” and of those, 68.3% report that the price increase makes them feel like the theme park has “lost its magic.” A high 92.6% reported that they believed that the high cost of the park made vacation for the average family “out of reach.”

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A ticket to Disney World’s Magic Kingdom in 1971 was $3.50 total, according to the study. When adjusted for inflation, that would mean tickets would be around $25.60 today. Disney World single park tickets now range from $109 to $159 per day, according to the study.

Climbers on Splash Mountain

A guest reacts to being hit by the cool water at Splash Mountain at Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World in Orange County, Florida on June 1, 2022. (Joseph Prezioso/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images/Getty Images)


“You shouldn’t take out a huge amount of debt, and you shouldn’t do it too often,” Schulz said. “But if you have to take out a few months of credit to pay for a once-in-a-lifetime Disney trip, it might be okay.”

Fox News’ Emma Colton contributed to this report.


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