Disneyland is one of those places that everyone knows about and wants to visit at least once in their life, but as the price of things skyrockets around us, including the prices at Disneyland, many people are asking themselves, is Disneyland worth it anymore?
If you can afford it, Disneyland is a wonderful place for you and your family to make lasting memories. However, there are a ton of lesser-known parks that offer many of the same memories for a fraction of the price.
Continue reading to learn more about the pros and cons of Disneyland to decide if this massive theme park might be your family’s next destination.
What Is Disneyland?
Disneyland is a theme park that features rides, mascots, and attractions modeled after various Disney movies and characters. Located in Anaheim, California, Disneyland is the only Disney theme park built and designed under Walt Disney’s direct supervision.
Disneyland opened its doors on July 17, 1955, after only a year of construction. When it opened, the park featured five themed areas:
- Main Street U.S.A.
Since then, the park has grown substantially and undergone various renovations. Today the park features nine themed lands:
- Galaxy’s Edge: Star Wars Theme
- Fantasyland: Fairy-tale Theme
- Tomorrowland: Space/Futuristic Theme
- Adventureland: Jungle Theme
- Critter Country: Forest/Animal Theme
- Frontierland: Pioneer Theme
- Main Street U.S.A: Small-Town America Theme
- Mickey’s Toontown: Cartoon/Animation Theme
- New Orleans Square: New Orleans Theme
Additionally, the park includes several other attractions, a sister park, dining areas, hotels, and shopping areas. Spanning over 500 acres, Disneyland has long been a place of magic and a favored vacation destination for families all over the world.
The Pros and Cons of Disneyland
When trying to decide if Disneyland would be a good vacation for you and your family, it helps to weigh the pros and cons. Let’s look at the reasons why some families continue to return to Disneyland year after year, and why others avoid the place altogether.
The Pros: Reasons You Should Visit Disneyland at Least Once
Although some people have a bad taste in their mouth when it comes to Disneyland, others make the trek yearly, so what keeps them going back?
1. There Are Ways to Make It More Affordable
One of the biggest downsides of visiting Disneyland is the price tag. Families can quickly burn through life savings visiting the magical kingdom. However, where there is a will, there is a way, and several blogs have devoted themselves to finding ways to make the trip more affordable for your average family.
If the price is the only thing holding you back, you may be able to take advantage of one of the many travel agencies that offer layaway payment plans, where you pay for the vacation in small increments over a period before you go. Additionally, families can read through one of the many blogs that explain how to save money on tickets, food, accommodations, and much more.
2. Truly Magical Moments
If you have never been to Disney, you don’t know what you’re missing. Once you look past the prices and the line, there is something truly magical about this place, which is what Walt Disney worked so hard to achieve. The different areas submerge you in an experience you will never forget, from roaming the jungles of adventure land to experiencing what small-town life had to offer in Main Street U.S.A. Plus, nothing compares to watching your child’s eyes light up with excitement when they get to see and hug their favorite Disney character.
3. Holiday Events
Sure, there are other parks that offer rides and attractions, but very few can say they offer holiday events, and Disney tries to cover them all. Check out the giant hand-painted eggs, or search for some yourself in one of the many Easter egg hunts over Easter weekend. Watch a truly mesmerizing fireworks display over the Magic Castle on July 3rd and 4th. Ring in the new year with Disney and roam the park after midnight. And of course, if given the chance, everyone should see the magic kingdom decorated to the nine during the Christmas season.
4. You Cannot Forget the Rides
You could spend days just wandering around, taking in all the sights that Disney offers its guests, but then you would miss out on all the rides. Disney currently features 53 attractions and 49 of them are “rides”. Plus, there is something for everyone. The adventure junkie in your family will love Space Mountain, while those who prefer a more laid-back ride might enjoy a boat ride through Fantasyland.
5. Walts Special Touches
One of the things that set Disneyworld apart from other Disney parks is that it was the only Disney Park built by Walt Disney himself. In fact, there is a small apartment above the fire station in Main Street U.S.A, which was modeled after Walt’s hometown, and Walt and his family used to stay there whenever they visited the park.
The Cons: Reasons You May Want to Avoid Disneyland
Although Disney is a magical family getaway, and we cannot argue with that, there are some families who vow they will never go back. So why is Disneyland not worth the hype for some people?
1. It Can Be a Headache to Plan
Between transportation, finding accommodations, knowing where to eat, and making sure everyone is packed for the adventure, planning a vacation is no small feat, and this is especially true when visiting Disneyland. Having an itinerary is important if you want to do as much as possible in the time you have. However, it can be difficult to navigate Disneyland’s many parks and attractions. Additionally, deciding when to go, where to stay, and what add-ons to take advantage of can be a nightmare. There are people who make a living simply advising people on how to plan a Disney vacation, which proves just how difficult it can be.
2. It Can Be Super Expensive
Although there are ways to reduce the price, you should know that Disneyland is not a cheap vacation. Plus, the park has recently started charging for things that used to be free for parkgoers, such as line passes and transportation from park to park.
The price of admission ranges from $97 to $300 a day depending on the type of ticket you buy, and that is per person. If you have a large family, this can add up quickly. Furthermore, you will have to pay for plane tickets, baggage fees, hotel accommodations, transportation, food, parking, shopping, and extras such as the MaxPass, PhotoPass, and special experiences.
3. The Lines and Crowds Will Drive You Insane
Expect to spend a lot of time navigating through crowds and standing in lines. Even if you take advantage of extras such as the Genie, Genie+, or Lightning Lane services you may find yourself glued to your phone the entire day or running from one attraction to another. Disneyland has lost a lot of fans recently to these problems, with many parkgoers saying that these modern services have caused the park to lose much of its magic.
4. It Can Be Chaotic
Whoever coined the phrase, “I need a vacation from my vacation”, was probably visiting Disneyland. Yes, it’s magical. Yes, there are moments you will cherish forever, but what you will not cherish is the chaos in between those moments. Trying to find a place to eat, forking over money for one experience or another, kids who all want to do something different, and a family who becomes grumpy because they have been walking all day in the sun. If you do decide to go, make sure to include some leisurely activities throughout the day to keep everyone from getting overstimulated. Even going back to the hotel for lunch can help your family recharge their batteries.
4. You Might Have More Fun Somewhere Else
Although every child dreams of the day that they might meet their favorite Disney hero or princess, the truth is, there are several other parks and attractions that offer the same level of fun for a much cheaper price tag. Seriously, like, thousands of dollars cheaper.
For example, if all you care about is the rides, you might have a much better time in Jackson, New Jersey visiting Six Flags Great Adventure. There are tons of rides, from smaller rides for children to scream-worthy roller coasters, there is something for everyone—including a sky tram. The best part? Tickets only cost $77 a person ($47 if you buy them online) and you can stay ten miles from the park for between $60 to $120 a night.
If you are serious about roller coasters, you might want to check out the roller coaster capital of the world—Sandusky, Ohio. Here you will find Cedar Point, and for only $65 a ticket ($45 if you buy them online), you can ride all 16 of their famous roller coasters. Additionally, as the second oldest park in the United States (opened in 1870) it is brimming with history.
If you had your heart set on visiting Disney’s many princesses, Storybook land might be a good alternative for you. Located in New Hampshire, Storybook land features some killer rollercoasters, awesome water rides, and even a railroad. Additionally, kids can meet some of their favorite storybook characters, including many beautiful princesses. How much does it cost? Under $30 a ticket. And if you want to make a weekend out of it, you can decide to visit Santa’s Village, which is located a short distance away.
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