For most students who live or attend college in Southern California, Disneyland has always been an added perk. Students enjoy afternoons and APU study days at the park and riding the attractions, eating clam chowder bowls and making quick trips to dazzle at “Fantasmic!” However, with prices at Disney’s parks continuing to rise, who knows if such days will continue to be a reality for most students.

At the end of February, Disneyland Resorts made its annual announcement of park ticket increases and put the changes into effect immediately. College students can expect to pay just under $100 for one day at the happiest place on earth.

A single-day, one-park adult ticket increased from $96 to $99. To upgrade a park hopper ticket, buyers now pay $56 in comparison with the prior $54.

Annual passports were also included in the price increases. The biggest spike hit the premium annual pass, which includes parking and no blockout dates. Already expensive enough, the pass went up $100, costing a total of $799. New regulations explain that the premium membership is now the only pass offering parking benefits.

The Competition

Knott’s Berry Farm, Six Flags Magic Mountain and Universal Studios are all local amusement parks willing to work with people and their finances.

Knott’s Berry Farm, located less than 10 minutes away from Disneyland Resort, offers a single-day ticket for $65, charging $84 for the entire year. Similar to Disneyland, it also has a resort that includes both a hotel and water park.

Six Flags Magic Mountain, located in Valencia, offers a one-day ticket for $69.99 and an annual pass for $129.

In Hollywood, Universal Studios ranks No. 2 for the most expensive park in the area, charging $92 for a one-use, full-day ticket and $139 for a yearly pass with no blackout dates.

In the past few years, Disneyland has implemented a more affordable way to purchase its annual passes by creating an option for park-goers to either pay the entire amount up front or a monthly fee starting at $19.

Dr. John Thornton, Leung School of Accounting chair and professor of accounting ethics at APU, explained how his experiences have changed over the last few years when the monthly plan became an option. He guessed that the increase in capacity affects the overall park experience.

“The last two years have been super-crowded, I would try and go on a Thursday in the middle of February and [the park] would be packed,” Thornton said.

Perhaps with the increasing prices and the elimination of the Southern California pass, the Disneyland Corporation is more concerned with the quality of experience rather than the quantity of visits.

Affording the magic

For the college student, having an annual pass is convenient and ultimately more affordable if one plans on going to Disneyland multiple times in one year. Even with the recent price increase, junior liberal studies major Mckenzie Goff believes that there is more value in being able to experience Disneyland at one’s own pace than covering the grounds in one day with extremely long lines.

“My experience was great [when having a Disneyland pass] because I was able to experience the Disney magic without the Disney exhaustion,” Goff said. “ I appreciated not having to feel the chaos of wanting to see everything in one day, and passes allow you to to really understand what you are taking in and seeing all aspects of the park.”

There is no greater stress than trying to figure out how you can ride and see everything to get your money’s worth.

Olivia Cate, freshman communication studies major, is passionate about Disneyland and not bothered by the crowds, nor does she hesitate renewing her pass as long as she can continue to afford it.

“I have loved Disneyland since I was a child and now as an adult,” said Cate. “I have a mature respect for the artistry and what goes into it. The price increase sucks because everyone can’t afford it, but it’s the capitalist dream and I completely understand it.”

Is it worth it?

Disneyland creates a unique atmosphere, one unlike any other amusement park. It is clear lots of creativity and inspiration go into creating a place full of magic and wonder for all ages to enjoy. However, I cannot stand behind the annual price increases.

As a former deluxe pass holder of three years, there is no good explanation as to why the company must increase its prices every year. My experience is valuable, but having a healthy bank account is more valuable.

I am not saying Disney is not justified in increasing its prices. However, paying approximately $375 to $549 more with additional blackout dates and having no parking benefits, all changing within a three-year span, is too drastic a move. Not only that, but who knows where the prices will be in another three years?

Disneyland will always have my heart, but perhaps not my wallet.