‘Happiest place on Earth’ tests patience, breaks budget

Long lines, bad food and steep prices aren't so magical after all.

by Talia Raoufpur, Staff Columnist

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“The Happiest Place on Earth” is welcoming 2017 by introducing a new, three-day pass to all residents of Southern California and Northern Baja California. The pass costs $149 to enter Disneyland and $189 to enter both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure.

While it may seem like a value, it is not. Disneyland is scamming us.

The issue is not particular to the high cost of tickets, but rather to the psychological manipulation of the park stating to patrons that Disneyland is the epitome of happiness.

The average person surely cannot be amused standing in line to ride Space Mountain for two hours, walking around the park with a stomach full of sugary, processed Franken-foods, or later reviewing their monthly credit card statements, detailing every frivolous item purchased at the park.

While all theme parks in the U.S. advocate for a positive, friendly experience, Disneyland takes it too far.

Multiple family and parenting blogs recommend that attendees hop on popular rides early in the morning – around 9 a.m. It may be true, the early bird catches the worm, but the bird did not have to pay hundreds of dollars for the opportunity.

While most of us might complain while waiting in line to purchase groceries, textbooks or at the DMV, we recognize the value in it. Yet, many of us will spend hundreds of dollars to wait hours in an infinite line that will eventually place ourselves on a ride that only lasts for two to three minutes.

Most college students agonize over the high price of textbooks. Heaven forbid a book cost more than $30. However, make note that if a textbook is used regularly, the information learned can become beneficial in the long run. Disneyland has managed to cast a spell on its customers, which has enabled them to accept the long lines and agony that accompanies them.

The seemingly “low” price is simply an entry fee.

The costs of attendance can skyrocket when traveling with multiple people. This deal results in a family of five spending an average amount of $1,050 during the three-day adventure. While all theme parks are expensive, overcrowded and serve processed, unhealthy foods, Disneyland is unique to these qualities, due to its excessive promotion and promise to patrons that they will find happiness at their parks and resorts.

A day spent at Disneyland will only live on as a memory, and as another item on a credit card statement. The park has programmed adults and children to believe their hard-earned dollars should be thrown at a company that peddles empty promises of joy without a hitch.

Disneyland is no different from any other capitalist company in the United States. Americans, quick to investigate the unhealthy kitchens of McDonald’s, or the clothing factories in Bangladesh, show no hesitation in pulling out their wallets for Disney.

No animal, princess or life-like castle can make up for the consumer mistreatments in which Disneyland has partaken.

According to the Orange County Register, the park earned a staggering $4.4 billion during the park company’s third fiscal quarter, which ended in July 2016, a six percent increase from the previous quarter. As consumers, we must have a greater sense of awareness towards all companies’ marketing techniques.

In Dec. 2015, Disneyland experienced a measles outbreak. According to the Los Angeles Times, five park employees were infected and 42 cases were diagnosed in California, including a four-month-old infant. Just two months after the outbreak, Disneyland increased its standard, one-day, ticket price from $96 to $99 for one park. For children ages three to nine, their ticket prices increased an additional three dollars, from $90 to $93. While Disneyland has a history of increasing ticket prices, one would assume that the health scare would entice the park to ensure its prices remain the same or offer an incentive for its patrons still willing to visit.

Sacrifices are to be expected when traveling, especially with a large group of people. However, Disneyland is just not worth it. Spending thousands of dollars to spend days behind fences and gates surrounded by hordes of people is not worth the financial sacrifice.

The issue is Disneyland’s manipulation of consumer’s minds and brainwashing them into believing in the theme park’s magical properties. While selling the notion that the park fosters happiness, there is little attention brought to the high costs consumer are forced to pay when attending the facility. Having fun does not need to cost money, especially not at the rates Disneyland charges.

While it may be a small world, but Disneyland’s sole magic trick is its ability to make our our wallets smaller.

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