When Magic Kingdom opened in 1971, a single-day admission ticket was $3.50. Someone earning federal minimum wage in 1971 ($1.60 an hour) only needed to work 2.19 hours to pay for admission.
Fast forward to today, and prices have skyrocketed. A one-day ticket to a single Disney World park varies from $109 to $159 per day, depending on the day.
To put that into perspective, a minimum wage worker visiting a single Disney World park on the cheapest of days would have to work 15.03 hours to afford admission, an increase of 586% since the park first opened. If the same person wanted to visit the park on a high-demand day, they would have to work 21.90 hours, a massive jump of 900% since 1971.
Is this really the dream that Walt Disney envisioned?
Did Disney’s Greed Turn Them Into Ebenezer Scrooge?
According to Time2Play, 92.6% of surveyed Disney World enthusiasts said they believe the cost of a Disney vacation is now out of reach for average families. What used to be regular vacation for middle-class families has evolved into a luxury trip with pricey add-ons everywhere you look.
In 2021, Disney World ditched its Fast Pass system after more than 20 years for the new Genie service and its paid companion Genie+. Most park loyalists have poorly received this change. 66.9% report feeling they won’t get the whole Disney World experience if they don’t upgrade to Genie+ and purchase additional Lightning Lane entries to certain Disney park rides.
But the disillusionment doesn’t stop there. 68.3% said rampant price increases and nickel and diming have made it feel like Disney World has lost its magic.
That’s why many are leaving The supposedly Happiest Place on Earth for a more carefree, joy-filled, and affordable family vacation. According to Newsweek, families across America are replacing a trip to Disney with a trip to a Great Wolf Lodge instead.
Great Wolf Lodge – 19 Indoor Water Park Resorts and More On the Way
Many people equate indoor water parks with Great Wolf Lodge, and it’s not hard to see why. With 19 locations and two more under construction, they are North America’s largest family of indoor water parks.
“For more than two decades, Great Wolf Lodge has provided a close, convenient getaway for families to come together to laugh, play and strengthen their family bonds,” shared Brooke Patterson, Senior Vice President of Brand Experiences for Great Wolf Lodge.
The centerpiece attraction at each one of their lodge-themed resorts is a large indoor water park featuring water slides, pools, and play areas. Additionally, each resort offers other attractions such as ropes courses, arcade games, miniature golf, bowling, and their branded exclusive interactive game, MagicQuest.
According to CouponCravings, Great Wolf Lodge’s regular room rates are between $199 and $329 per night, depending on the room type. However, mid-week stays are often discounted and rooms can be purchased on Groupon or Living Social for as low as $99 to $149 a night. Additionally, day passes are available for purchase for those who live nearby.
Great Wolf indoor water parks can be found in:
- Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin
- Sandusky, Ohio
- Traverse City, Michigan
- Kansas City, Kansas
- Williamsburg, Virginia
- Pocono Mountains, Pennsylvania
- Mason, Ohio
- Grapevine, Texas
- Grand Mound, Washington
- Fitchburg, Massachusetts
- Charlotte, North Carolina
- Garden Grove, California
- Manteca, California
- Colorado Springs, Colorado
- Bloomington, Minnesota
- LaGrange, Georgia
- Gurnee, Illinois,
- Scottsdale, Arizona
- Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada
- Perryville, Maryland (2023)
- Naples, Florida (2024)