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  • Disney Releases New 'Avatar' Concept ArtThe World of Pandora is under construction at Disney's Animal Kingdom
  • The Return of the KingUniversal's corporate parent has confirmed Kong's return to Orlando
  • Disney World Tops $100 a DayHere's what you need to know about Disney's latest price increase
  • The Wizarding World of Harry PotterRead our complete guide to Universal's Harry Potter theme park lands
Disney Releases New 'Avatar' Concept Art The Return of the King Disney World Tops $100 a Day The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Robert Niles
Editor

Vote of the Week: Are You Priced Out of an Orlando Vacation?

Published: February 27, 2015 at 1:58 PM

Who much money do you need to afford a Walt Disney World vacation?

A reader who works at the resort emailed an interesting piece of information she'd picked up during a recent staff meeting. She wrote that the executive in the meeting said that Walt Disney World's target household income for its visitors is $80,000 a year and up. Given that the median household income in the United States is about $54,000 a year, this report would seem to confirm what many Disney fans have been saying in recent years — that Walt Disney World has become out of reach for many middle-income Americans.

Money

About one-third of American households have a combined income of $80,000 a year or more, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. That would put two-thirds of Americans outside of Disney's reported target market. (You can blame Disney for its rising prices, or you can blame a U.S. economy where workers' incomes haven't kept up with their productivity increases since the 1970s. But that's another vote, for another time.)

Obviously, $80 grand isn't a hard cut-off. I can tell you from personal experience that $80,000 in Orlando buys a lot more than $80,000 buys in Southern California. (And this is where our readers in New York City and San Francisco reach for a drink... before realizing that they can't afford one.) Many families who earn less than that find ways to get to Walt Disney World and enjoy a vacation there. But with each price increase, that becomes tougher to do.

Disney isn't the only option in Orlando, either. The first trade-off many Disney fans make is to stay off-site, instead of at an on-property Walt Disney World hotel. Some theme park fans even opt for skipping Disney and putting together days at Universal Orlando, SeaWorld, Busch Gardens, Legoland, the beach, or other area attractions to enjoy their Central Florida vacations.

Golden goblin
Standing on some fat stacks at Universal Orlando

But with Universal raising its prices to keep pace with Disney, even the "non-Disney" Orlando vacation option is becoming more expensive. Disney and Universal are the attractions that make the Orlando area unique among vacation destinations. If you can't afford to visit either of them, you're probably asking whether you should look elsewhere for your vacation.

How are you feeling these days about the affordability of an Orlando-area theme park vacation? Is it still a great deal for you, or are you finding it more difficult to make happen? Or have you decided to look elsewhere for your family vacations? It's Vote of the Week time.


Tell us in the comments what you're doing to make your vacation affordable, whether it's to the Orlando area or elsewhere this year. And, as always, thank you for being part of the Theme Park Insider community.

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Robert Niles
Editor

Getting a Look at the Magic Kingdom's New Hub

Published: February 27, 2015 at 9:34 AM

Walt Disney World has begun to open parts of the newly refurbished central plaza hub at the Magic Kingdom. Replacing much of the old Swan Boat canal and its sloped banks, these newly graded, landscaped and paved areas are designed to accommodate crowds for the nightly fireworks and parade viewing.

Magic Kingdom hub
Photo courtesy Disney

Eventually, Disney will be designating some of these areas for Fastpass+ reservations to see the shows. By expanding the available space to stand and watch, Disney hopes that it will be able to spread the crowd for the fireworks, allowing people to move around the Magic Kingdom's center more easily before and after the shows.

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Robert Niles
Editor

The Original Battle Over the Color of a Dress

Published: February 26, 2015 at 11:21 PM

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Robert Niles
Editor

Is Loyalty is a Luxury You Just Can't Afford?

Published: February 26, 2015 at 7:00 PM

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Robert Niles
Editor

Disney Releases New Avatar Concept Art

Published: February 26, 2015 at 1:07 PM

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Robert Niles
Editor

Universal Orlando Raises Ticket Prices, Up to $102 a Day

Published: February 26, 2015 at 8:57 AM

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Robert Niles
Editor

The Hat is Gone

Published: February 25, 2015 at 1:38 PM

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Robert Niles
Editor

London's Paramount Park Adds Wallace & Gromit's Aardman Studios

Published: February 25, 2015 at 10:03 AM

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Robert Niles
Editor

Comcast Confirms Kong's Return to Universal Orlando

Published: February 24, 2015 at 9:41 AM

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Robert Niles
Editor

Disney Moves Bob Chapek to Replace Tom Staggs as Parks Chairman

Published: February 23, 2015 at 1:04 PM

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Robert Niles
Editor

Weekly Top 10: Top Theme Park Carousels

Published: February 23, 2015 at 12:02 PM

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Robert Niles
Editor

Walt Disney World Raises One-Day Ticket Prices Above $100 - Prices Rise at Disneyland, Too

Published: February 21, 2015 at 10:44 AM

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