The Price of Happiness

dollarThis week, my wife, Muri, and I spent the day at the Disneyland Resort with our grandkids … and their parents.  You can’t call it Disneyland anymore because there are now two separate parks, Disneyland and California Adventure, strategically positioned adjacent to each other so that you can hop from one to another. Provided, of course, that you are willing to pay a premium of about $40 above the $100 it costs for a single park ticket to make it a Park Hopper.  We did.  My daughter, son-in-law and grandkids did two days but Muri and I were fairly certain our old legs couldn’t handle that.   Let me say this before I start being a curmudgeon … we (and they) had a great time.  Even when a sore back keeping me off some of the better rides, I enjoyed watching the kids enjoy themselves.  Now, the curmudgeonly part.   The two days at Disneyland for them, a day for us, plus parking, food and souvenirs set us back something north of $1500.

disneylandOur first trip to Disneyland was during a visit with our college friends, Doug and Chris, who’d moved to California after graduation from UConn, where we met.  Back then, you could purchase a general admission ticket, which just allowed you to walk around, or a ticket book, containing admission plus lettered tickets, A through E.  The E-tickets were good for the big rides, like the Matterhorn.  The phrase, That was an E-ticket ride, came to mean anything that was a lot of fun.   Of course, unless you are ancient, you’ve nevere tick heard that cliche.  Back then, admission with a book of assorted tickets cost under $4.00 and you could buy E-Tickets in the park for $.50.   Back then, local companies would rent the park for the night and a ticket with unlimited rides cost about $5.00.   Since company nights were not open to the general public, we could walk right onto rides.  That was the Disneyland my kids grew up with.

If you are interested, an article in the L.A. Times talks about the price increases, as well as some good reasons that the price increases have outpaced inflation.  They note that the product is substantially better than it was in those early years.  This, I didn’t know … more and more people are coming to the park on annual passes, so Annual Passports have gone up even faster than tickets.  After all, the last thing Disney wants is to close the park to walk-ups because there are so many Passport holders.  Me?  I don’t need to read anything to know the difference between now and then.  In 1969 I was a just-starting-out engineer making under $10K a year … and the $3.75 ticket book prices didn’t even make me blink.   Now I’m 71, and while I’m not rich, I’m very OK financially … and the prices make me wince … more than once … particularly as we pay outrageous food and parking prices at The Happiest Place on Earth.

I know what you’re thinking.  Stop being a curmudgeon.  Can you really put a price on this?


Or this?


No, you can’t.   But you can’t put a price on this either …

park kids

… and an Annual Pass at Yorba Regional Park is $35 a year.  We get to bring our grandkids for free, too.  Just sayin’.


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3 Comments on “The Price of Happiness”

  1. cherperz Says:

    WOW…north of $1500 does sound like a lot but I am in total agreement you can’t put a price on spending time with your gorgeous grandkids.

    I often feel guilty at how little respect I have for money this time of my life when it come to things like trips. We live fairly modestly day to day but because we are as you are ” OK financially”, I don’t tend to think about how inflated the price of things are when I want to purchase them. We have gone from very thrifty in our humble beginning to “if we want it, we get it.” Luckily we don’t want a lot.

    So while I am a bit shocked that a weekend could cost that much, I totally would spend it, as well, if I could get my grandkids freed up from all their assorted activities and take them on an adventure.

    • oldereyes Says:

      It is pretty obvious we are at similar stages in our lives where our basic conservative tendencies toward money aren’t REALLY necessary and can be ignored for special situations like trips and grandkids. It did astonish me, though, when I discovered what tickets cost when we first visited the Happiest Place on Earth. Those smiles though … who can put a price?

  2. Michael Curatola Says:

    Hi. I enjoyed your thoughts on this subject. Very cool are the pictures of the styles of that time. I’m sure the grand kids will cherish the moment forever.

    Sent from my iPhone


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