Interesting article about Disney and the middle class

We are thoroughly enjoying our time at Atlantis and I highly recommend it. It is a beautiful property with great amenities.

I should add some caveats to my food price comment. They have to import everything, so even food at the grocery store is more expensive than at home, which is the baseline. Also, things are just opening up here so some of the cheaper places are not yet open or have very limited menus…

Second, there is a 12% VAT and a 15% gratuity added to every bill. So there is is bit of a psychological sticker shock when you order a $15 burger and it comes in at $19 at a counter service location… (The gratuity doesn’t fully cover the wait staff so at Table Service you should tip more).

But several days in I have also had a big “aha”. The Atlantis has 4 main places to stay: the Royal which is the big iconic main tower (I am equating these rooms to a Disney moderate/delux) The Cove which is the very high end tower (deluxe plus) the Reef which is a timeshare with studios and suites with kitchenettes and it shares amenities with the Cove (Disney DVC) and the Coral the lowest cost tower (value/moderate). Well I just discovered prices vary by where you are in the resort. So food at a pool bar at the Reef (where I am staying) is more expensive than food at a pool bar near the Coral, a 10 min walk away. It’s like you can choose to have breakfast at the equivalent of the 4 Seasons or walk 10 minutes and have breakfast at the equivalent of the Coranado.

I highly recommend the Reef and we have cooked many meals in our room. Now I know to walk for cheaper food, and found the QS locations at the Marina for some cheaper dinners.


Thanks for explaining all that, I find their website so confusing with all the different hotels. I wish there was a website like this one breaking it all down for us, lol! How did you book your room?

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Disney is already behind the 8 ball on delivering for their exorbitant prices.

Disney went all in a few years ago on pricing out the masses. They think they can make the same amount of money while lowering crowds and thus raising guest satisfaction. I sincerely hope they find out they’re wrong and go back to making the parks and resorts a place for everyone, not just the ultra wealthy.


Yes, especially if you come from a distance. People joke about Disney math, but there’s a reason for those calculations, it’s not just wanton spending.

Let’s say You’re coming from far away, 5 people. Right off, you’re paying at least 2k in airfare, more if you upgrade or want decent times. And if your pay is linked to production or hours, you’re already in the hole another 2k- but probably more. If you want to stay for a week, you really need 8 or 9 days because of the all-day travel.

This starting cost of at least 5k just to get to Florida sets off a chain reaction of costs- having sunk that much money, you won’t try to save a few hundred by staying at Pop. Having taken off a minimal amount of time you won’t stay off-site, either, or deal with the busses, so now you’re at a Deluxe. Then the % cost of CLFP starts to make sense- it’s a small fraction of what you’ve already paid, as are the dessert parties, taking Lyft, and all the rest.

A budget vacay to WDW just doesn’t make sense for a lot of people.

At the end of the week, the total financial hit is 15-20k. So it’s true that things like a trip to Antarctica start to compare rather favorably.

To me, Disney is like the The Force. Do, or do not. There is no try.


I realize because of the layout I left off “the Beach” hotel which is tied to the convetion center and not one I pass by. It is the cheapest of all, just a bit more of a walk to amenities, but closer to the beach than the Royal or the Coral.

I booked through their website. It might be worth signing up for their “deals” emails. I believe you can also book The Cove, The Royal and The Beach directly through the Mariott site.

Last note, I think they are upgrading their website which should be helpful. But read all of their COVID travel info carefully it is hard to find but crucial info.


I’m grateful I’ve never given in to the sunken cost fallacy. Spending more money on X doesn’t make me more likely to spend more money on Y (which is probably why I’ve never stayed at a deluxe). Debt stresses me out. I’ve known too many people who are paying on a credit card for multiple vacations, and as much as I envy their trips I’m not taking on that level of debt.


It’s all in what one choses to emphasize. This is basically just a lifestyle choice, not solely an economic equation, so how they want to view it is pretty much up to the individual.

It’s also not productive to the conversation to label someone else’s priorities, whatever they may be, as false.

Flying my family of 7 anywhere adds up so quickly that we’ve never done it. It would have been 1/3 of my trip budget for Disney in 2019, plus I didn’t have to worry about booster seats and relying on Disney transportation. It was an easy thing to fly to Disney when we only had two kids, but I don’t think Disney would be on our family destination list more than once if we couldn’t drive. Working for a school also means that in the summer I have time to make long road trips. My time at that point is cheap.

If I had 20k to drop on a vacation, especially as my kids get older, I wouldn’t pick Disney with more bells and whistles, but to experience something they haven’t seen before.

But Disney being close-ish to us with so many things to do and with so many resources to plan it to the T knowing we will have a blast will bring us back again eventually.


Exactly. Mine is much cheaper now, too, since I retired. But now it’s a choice between other things I want to do, vs. taking a 2000 mile road trip. Which actually can be fun- I just drove from MT to TX and back and had a blast. But we didn’t have anything else going on, and saw lots of friends & relatives along the way.

There’s always a trade-off! No one has unlimited time, even if they have lots of cash. And most of us don’t have an unlimited pile of that, either.

Agree. That is why I am shocked they are doubling down on the higher cost, fewer people, fewer perks strategy. Only time will tell.


I’m not saying anyone’s priorities are “false,” if someone wants to go all out at a deluxe resort with dessert parties then bless them.

As I said I’m envious of people who are able to take multiple trips a year and/or do them lavishly, but I don’t have the stomach for that kind of debt lol. When I spend 4-5k on airfare I don’t view that as a sunk cost, it’s a chunk of my budget that I have to make up for elsewhere.


I hear ya. To me it’s both. We just live so far from everywhere (almost always 2 or even 3 flights) that when we do go somewhere, we either stay for a while or live it up.

And then the rest of the time, it’s camping and shorter road trips.

I do remember back in the day, we’d take 2 trips a year- one “fancy” and the other to WDW. Somewhere along the way WDW morphed into “fancy”.

Over the past 25 years it just seems like we are spending more and more to have the same amount of fun there.


I think they will get the false idea that it is working for them, because of the revenge travel. In a couple of years is when they’ll get the rude awakening

Thinking through our upcoming trip. It will happen because we’ve told DD we are going. I’ve wanted to go for 40+ years, but if it were just DH and I, even I’d skip it. But, it looks like we’ll bring in more food, and eat less than half as many in-park meals. I don’t see us spending more than the min. on park merch. DD gets a snow globe every vacation.


The kind of debt would make my stomach hurt as well. We vacation a lot, certainly a lot more than most. And we spend a lot. I might go to a Disney park 6 times in a year (and we live far, far away from any of them).But, we have never gone into any debt for a vacation (or anything, to be honest except the house mortgage. Everything else is paid for, including our kids’ college years). The whole key to life is spending less than you make, whatever that is. If you want lavish vacations, you need to have a career that allows for that. If not…don’t take lavish vacations you cannot afford. I am blown away that people go on vacations they cannot afford. I guess it is common, but not with people I know I guess.


I wouldn’t go if I had to take out a loan, I guess.
I can justify a mortgage, and maybe a car loan as one has to have transportation. Although we, too, pay for cars up front. College, too. I’m way too cheap to pay interest!

I can’t see a loan for a vacation, I just can’t. I went camping & visited family growing up, never went on a “real” vacation, ever. We didn’t have the cash for it, end of story- but everything else was paid for. I didn’t feel like I was missing out, though, since pretty much everyone else did the same thing.

So that’s what I would go back to doing before taking out a loan for a trip, and save up money for one someday.


I agree w/ both of you about NOT going into debt for a vacation, but the vast majority of Americans have debt, not just for houses, but for cars and education. Only a small minority can afford to pay cash for those things.


Yes, I know that. But those are assets and investments, and they’re worth getting loans for. Vacations aren’t. They are in a whole different class of spending entirely. Read any financial website and they go ballistic when people talk about loans for vacations.

But, this is MY feeling about it. I’m not going to tsk tsk if someone else chooses to do it.


Agree with these general financial strategies. The one time it might make sense to me to borrow for vacation is if there are time sensitive circumstances to it where you might never again see some discount or low rate, and that the difference between that and what is expected in the future is more than the total interest from borrowing. Of course it still assumes one can easily make the payments.

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Yes, and I can envision other time-sensitive major events, like a honeymoon. We spent two days in a B & B for ours. That doesn’t suit everyone.

op, sorry I didn’t mean to imply going into debt for a vacation was ok. I was trying to point out that most ppl have debt. But… happy news, the pandemic helped many save more money than ever before :wink: If you got to keep your job that is…