Ladies and gentlemen, I have found the one magical place on Earth where New Yorkers can go and be appalled by the price of a chili dog, revolted by the cost of a bottle of water, and be utterly nauseated by the price of a typical postcard—the one, the only, Walt Disney World. I find myself on vacation here this week and am noting a frighteningly significant price increase in everyday items purely as the result of tourist supply and demand. Since this city-dweller needs every reason to justify living in a city as expensive as New York, I thought I’d share some of my observations so that they might temporarily ease some of your city related guilt over paying $12 for a pack of Marlboros. And yes, I realize that Disney World is not exactly an indefinite state of residency, but humor me. Luckily, I am staying for free in a friend’s lovely house, and 4-day tickets were procured using a military discount (look it up, military vets/dependents!) so my vacation isn’t costing me an obscene amount of money. I shouldn’t even have to say this, but if you’re looking for a budget-friendly vacay, Disney is NOT the place to go. Also if you have a low tolerance for children, stay away. Far, far away. Ah, lessons learned!
Depending on where you buy it in NYC, a small bottle of water can range from typically $1.00 to $1.75. Also, most places have a “fill your canteen” for free rule, or at the very least, offer a cup for tap water if you don’t feel like purchasing a drink. A bottle of water at Disney World is Dasani only and costs $2.50 a pop.
Hit up the Sabrett cart on pretty much any corner in the city, and a hot dog will run you 2-3 bucks. A chili dog at Disney will put you out $5.50, and that’s the cheapest food option, as a burger will run you $9 and up.
Every good NYC inhabitant knows where to get the best cheap pizza in a pinch (dollar pizza, hello!) No such luck at Disney World. Today, my boyfriend bought me a “personal” pizza that came with three pieces of lettuce (also known as a “Caesar salad”) and it cost over $12 with an aforementioned bottle of water.
I walked into the candy store on Main Street right in front of Cinderella’s magic castle and walked right out after seeing that a chunk of fudge about half the size of my cell phone cost $4. A Rice Krispie treat also runs about $4, and that’s for one that isn’t drenched in chocolate and shaped like Mickey Mouse.
One awesome thing about Disney and any other theme park vacation is that you walk around a shit ton. Parking’s not terribly bad if you decide to leave a car in the lot, at $15 for all-day parking. Obviously, walking’s free (if you don’t count all the future joint surgery you’ll have to have from being a lifelong pedestrian), and the trams, buses and monorail are FREE in between the different parks as well. There is also the option of renting a motorized scooter for $25 a day, which my boyfriend and I have been alternately making fun of and being depressed by all in one fell swoop. We’ve been seeing a lot of this:
In NYC, these things are a steal. Literally, bodegas will leave their carousels full of 5-for-$1 postcards outside of the store on the sidewalk because that is how invaluable they are as money-making merchandise. In Disney World, postcards will run you from $1.50 each, up to $5 for a “fancy” one, like maybe it’s cut out in the shape of Mickey’s head, or it has a holographic picture of all the Disney Princesses. Today I bought an un-fancy, regular one and along with it I purchased a postage stamp for the 32-cents USPS required to mail a postcard these days. Surprisingly enough, they didn’t upcharge me for the stamp! Ah, it’s the little things in life, isn’t it?
In one of the gift shops, I spotted a castle made of crystals and the price tag on it was approximately how much it cost me to go to a four-year college. There is also a vacation program where you pay $21,000 for “points” to Disney resorts at which you can stay for about a week a year for “FREE” over the course of the next 45 years. There are several issues I have with that program, mainly having a spare 21K to spend up front on future vacations. Also with the lifestyle I lead, I’m not sure I would be willing to gamble on my being able to take a weekly vacation every year for the next consecutive 45 years, or actually being alive for the entirety of the next 45 years for that matter. Honestly, I don’t even know how we got cornered by that sneaky ass travel agent. If you can swing it though, Disney World can be alright, with all the rides and whatnot. If you can manage to get cheap tickets and a place to stay for free (c’mon, doesn’t everyone know someone in Orlando?), Disney doesn’t necessarily have to break the bank. Just watch out for the chili dogs. They’ll getcha every time.
Photo Credit: disneycharacterlistbyname.info