In case you didn’t know, attendance at all the World Wide Disney Parks are down at least 17%. (click here) Why? Because Disney raised their park entrance fees by 20%. Disney isn’t worried. In fact, they are elated. Why? Because fewer people are attending, less work has to be done and because of the high raise in entrance fees, Disney’s profits are up. Makes perfect corporate business sense: work less, reduce your overhead, raise rates and watch your profits soar.
I’m certain Walt Disney must be turning over in his grave. This is not what Mr. Disney had in mind when he started his theme park enterprises. Walt Disney wanted to build a place where ALL children could go and have fun (with their parents, friends and relatives). Walt Disney called his theme parks the ‘Happiest Place On Earth’.
Here’s a comment from Disney Inc. regarding their drop in attendance: But while attendance fell, profits during that same time did not. The park portion of the Walt Disney Company had an operating income of $3.3 billion in 2016, which the Times reports is a 9% increase from the year before; again, an increase that could be attributed to the new pricing systems. So while fewer folks are going to the parks, those attending, no matter if they’re coming in on a peak holiday, are perhaps having a better experience than in the years before.
I don’t know about you but paying a $107 entrance fee to enter the (un) Magic Kingdom comes to around $428 for a family of four. That’s a helluva lot of money. Throw in a few meals (Disney frowns upon attendees bringing in their own food) and a few souvenirs and you’re looking at a one day price tag of almost $1,000. Granted yes, you can save (?) money by buying a multi-day pass BUT that means you have to stay in your hotel longer, have more meals out, buy more souvenirs, thus more ka-ching! No matter how you slice it, what you do and/or where you stay, if you’re going to Disney World it’s going to cost you big bucks. Sadly, Disney has now become a theme park for only the rich.
So, what’s a parent or fun-seeking child to do? Fortunately, Disney World isn’t the only game in town. Especially in Florida or California. You have Universal Studios, LegoLand, Harry Potter and Dinosaur Land to name just a few alternatives. In fact, attendance at Universal is up 7.5% (click here). Don’t forget you have Six Flags and as I have just recently discovered, DollyWood.
Dolly Parton, county music’s superstar (bless her ever-loving country heart) has built a beautiful, 150 acre, down home theme park in the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee. (click here) There’s a theme park, water park, resort, dinner show and lovely cabins to make your stay a memorable one. Located in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains in Pigeon Forge, DollyWood is a 150-acre family destination and ranks among the “best of the best” in theme parks for Best Shows, Best Food, Best Christmas Event, Best New Ride for Wild Eagle, and Friendliest Park!
A one day pass to DollyWood Theme park for an adult is only $67. Children between the ages of 4 to 11, plus senior citizens age 60 and older get a discount! Hello grandma and grandpa! A one day pass to the water park is only $49 for adults with the same child and senior discounts applied. Of course, if you get a multi, dual park pass you will save even more money. Plus, if you buy 4 passes, as in a family of four, Dolly takes off another $40 in savings! I wouldn’t walk to DollyWood. I’d run!!!
With more than 40 rides, 15 exceptional shows, five of the South’s largest festivals, Southern-style dining, and the friendliest employees in the world . . . DollyWood is an award-winning destination! DH and I have put a visit to DollyWood on our Bucket List. It’ll be one of the places we are going to stop at and see while traveling in our new RV on our way to The Grand Canyon.
And to heck with Disney. Thankfully, we Americans still have a fellow American, Dolly Parton who truly cares about us, is not corporate greedy AND just wants us to have fun AND enjoy life in her home town.
Thank you, Dolly. We appreciate it.
We will always love you.
PS: Netflix is running an excellent, luscious French version of Beauty And The Beast. The movie is dubbed but the story line is excellent, the visuals divine, the costumes, the scenery, this version will just take your heart away! AND IT’S FREE (with your Netflix subscription).