What Did a Walt Disney World Trip Cost in 1971?

What Did a Walt Disney World Trip Cost in 1971?


Disney World is a great vacation spot, but
over the years it’s become more and more fair to say that it’s not really a cheap
vacation spot. If you were to ask what a Disney trip today
would cost, I would tell you to just go look it up on their website. That’s what it’s there for. But what about when it first opened? What did a Disney World vacation cost in 1971? OK before we get started, I just wanted to
cover a few details. Obviously depending on where you live and
who you go with the costs associated with a Disney vacation would change. For this video I’m assuming that the family
in question is a family of four, two parents and two kids, and that they live in New York
City. Today most people going from New York to Orlando
would probably fly. It’s cheap. It’s safe. Most importantly, it’s fast. However in the early 1970s flying was still
somewhat of a luxury. It wasn’t until the Airline Deregulation
Act of 1978 that we really begun to see airfare drop to levels that allowed for it to be a
reasonable option. So our New York family will be driving to
Disney World, and in classic National Lampoon style, they’ll be taking a station wagon. The drive from New York to Walt Disney World
is around 1,100 miles, depending on where you start. That’s about 17 hours to drive. In 1971 the average station wagon got a whopping
12 miles to the gallon, and at that point the national average for a gallon of
gas was 36 cents. With about 91 gallons needed, the cost of
gas on the trip down would come out to $32.76. Now 17 hours driving means in all likelihood
our family is going to need to spend the night at a motel along the way, and spend one more
night at a motel at the end of their journey, so they can start their day at the Magic Kingdom
bright and early. Sure a really dedicated driver could make
the trip in one stretch, but this is a family vacation. The average motel room at the time ranged
from $12 to $15 a night, so we’re going to go with $13.50. For two nights that comes out to $27. Now, a family’s gotta eat, so let’s consider
food. To save our family a little money let’s
assume they ate breakfast at home and brought a bagged lunch with them. That means we only need to account for dinner for day one, and then all three meals on day two of the trip. This is obviously going to vary a lot depending
on where you look so to keep things simple, I’m using McDonalds prices from the early
70s. Not healthy, but it was cheap. A cheeseburger, fries, and a soda ran about
$1.20 per person. That’s $4.80 per meal for our family, or
$19.20 for the four meals. So now we’ve finally arrived at Walt Disney
World, and already we’ve spent $78.96. Not bad right? Still under $100. Now we’re onto the good stuff. Our family here had two options when it came
to hotels at Walt Disney World in 1971, the Contemporary and the Polynesian. I mean, there was also the Fort WIlderness
campgrounds, but let’s be real, this family just spent two days in a car with each other. They’re on vacation. They don’t want to go camping. Rooms at the Polynesian and Contemporary back
then ranged from $29 a night to $44 a night, with a middle $36 option. The rooms were all the same, but the different
prices reflected the room’s locations. We’re going to go right down the middle
and pick the $36 room. Once they’re all checked in, it’s time
to go on rides! So which park should they go to? Well, it was 1971, so their only option was
The Magic Kingdom. So they’re going to the Magic Kingdom. In 71 Disney didn’t have general admission
the way it is today, where you paid a flat price to enter the park and had free reign
to ride whatever you want as much as you wanted. You had to buy tickets or ticket books, similar
to the way carnivals or amusement parks at the time. Each attraction was given a letter grade that
corresponded with its own type of ticket, and the different types had different prices. So for instance you could pay 10 cents for
an A ticket to ride Cinderella’s Golden Carousel, or you could spend 90 cents to ride
an E ticket attraction like the Jungle Cruise. By the way, Disney still uses the term “E
Ticket Attraction” to describe exciting new big-budget rides. So if you ever wondered where the phrase came
from, now you know. Our family is spending two full days at the
park, so rather than buying tickets a la carte, they’re going to get ticket books. For an adult, the “7 Adventure Ticket Book”
cost $4.50. This got them 1 each of the A, B, and C tickets,
and 2 each of the D and E tickets. The ticket book for one of our children, who
is between the age of 12 and 17 will cost $4.00, and the ticket book for the other child,
who is under 11, will cost $3.50. Total cost for all four ticket books? $16.50. Doubled for the two days they go? $33. Now let’s consider food for these two days. Using the Town Square Cafe prices on Main
Street from 1971, the average entree was $1.75 and a soda cost 25 cents, making the meal
for one person $2 even. Each meal for a family of four? $8. Three meals a day? $24. Two days? $48. So they do to Disney and have a grand old
time, but now the fun is over and it’s time for them to head home. Similar to the trip down, they’re going
to spend a night at a motel before setting off for New York, and will spend two days
on the road. No packed lunches this time but they’ll
probably get home for dinner, so with the previous prices and five meals accounted for
(that’s so much McDonalds), the return leg will run them $83.76. All in all the 6-day road trip vacation to
Disney World for a family of four in 1971 will have cost $279.72. Now in all fairness a family like this would
have likely done other things in Florida while they were down there. After all, as we just saw, the trip down and
up itself was a hefty chunk of the overall cost, so it would make sense that’d they’d
want to make the most of their time down there. But today we’re just looking at Disney. Now, what about inflation? Sure a Disney Trip for under 300 bucks sounds
awesome, but the value of a dollar has changed a lot over the years. Well adjusted for inflation, that $279.72
cents would be $1,675.28 today. Not so cheap anymore. Still though, what really interested me was
seeing how inflation reflected on prices for the specific parts of the trip. Take the Contemporary resort for instance. Adjusted for inflation the mid-tier room we
booked at $36 in 1971 would be $215. However in actuality that room at the same
resort today costs around $450 a night. Similarly, ticket prices have changed a lot. Adjusted for inflation the two days worth
of ticket books for a family of four would cost $197. Today, two days of passes for the same family
would cost $784. Food was surprisingly alright. With inflation the two days worth of meals
cost our family $287. Using average quick-service ballparks, the
same number of meals today would cost them around $360. Still higher, but not four times higher. So how does all of this compare to the same
trip today? Well, the biggest catch with that question
is that today airfare is much much cheaper, and the advantages it offers by making the
journey a few hours instead of a few days almost offsets the crazy price hikes over
at Disney. For a family of four to fly down to Disney,
spend a night at the Contemporary and two days at the parks before flying back, would
cost about $2,200. Compared to the 1971 cost adjusted for inflation,
that’s only about a $250 difference. Of course with three more theme parks, two
water parks, and a bunch of other stuff to do our family would probably fly down for
a longer trip, which means a longer hotel stay, more food, and ultimately more money
spent. Now if only I could get a room at the Contemporary
for 44 bucks. Now if you’re a fan of the Contemporary and
Polynesian resorts and want to take a piece of them home with you, don’t. You’ll probably get in trouble because that’s
stealing. Instead you can do the next best thing which
is check out Ye Olde Proppe Shoppe who sponsored this week’s video. Ye Olde Proppe Shoppe creates and sells theme
park inspired signs for your home based on Disney resorts and attractions. Some examples include the iconic Disneyland
and Disney World Main Street plaques, Haunted Mansion welcome signs, and even Polynesian
Resort signs. If you’ve ever noticed the Contemporary plaque
in the background of some of my videos, that’s from Ye Olde Proppe Shoppe. You can check out everything they have to
offer at YeOldeProppeShoppe.net, or you can find the link in the description below.

100 Comments

  1. lohphat says:

    Ahem. It was never pronounced "Yee old". https://youtu.be/PVVTk7yy4kU

    #pedantalert

  2. American Patriotism says:

    You forgot to incorporate New York traffic.

  3. Random Disney says:

    Intresting that a Price in the past is little and now the price is thousand of dollars wow Disney what r u doing to us or our money

  4. snarkus63 says:

    My first visit was in '75. My family stayed at the Contemporary for two days. I remember that in the Magic Kingdom,they'd already begun celebrating the Bicentennial with their parade.

  5. lexfacitregem says:

    How about using the system my parents used to do when going down to Disney…. staying at a hotel in nearby Kissimmee. Of the 20 or so times we went to Disney, we never stayed at any of their hotels. Way too rediculously expensive!

  6. Matt McIrvin says:

    One way to think of it is that cheaper, faster transportation is effectively subsidizing Disney's much higher ticket prices. The market wouldn't bear the cost of their passes if it were still that hard to get to Florida.

  7. burnedbytheword says:

    Nice library on the bookcase! Can you give us a list of the titles you have? Thanks!

  8. Con Mars says:

    But Rob, where do I get the trash can salt and pepper shakers?

  9. LP Morano says:

    Well thats not depressing at all. Thank god I'm currently only planning on a trip for two, staying at a value resort

  10. Cameron Mueck says:

    It cost a lot to go to Disney World, I think the last time me and my family went it cost us right at or close to $3,000, that was with 3 adults and 3 children

  11. Bryan Fykes says:

    Didnt account for souvenirs…

  12. Dustin Cade says:

    We drove down family of 5, from Indiana to Florida, rented a condo nearby, 5 day park hopper passes, rented a van, all in all it cost almost 6k… Still money well spent

  13. Emelenzia says:

    Seems weird to compare 1 ticket book to a full day now with unlimited at disneyland.

    For rare times I get a chance to go to disneyland I go on far more then 7 attraction. At least 20-30, which be 6 to 9 E ticket attractions. So it seem more comparable to say that today's experience at disneyland is around 4 ticket books in 1971.

    So that be about $84-110 vs the $97 – 124. Overall pretty comparable I would say.

  14. Kristin says:

    This video was great. You always make amazing videos. Keep up the good work. I found this video very informative. Thank you 👍👍

  15. Sammy Lane says:

    Rock and Theatrical metal bands have adopted this term.Bands like KISS and AC/DC have been described as "giving their fans the Disney E Ticket and that why they are great to see at concerts".

  16. Sammy Lane says:

    The total price for the same meal maybe around 300 + dollars but it is in fact mostly bun what we are all eating.Really…look at the size portion of your food and compare it to the massive bun(s) that comes with the meal?The bun/bread is almost 35% of your plate alone.

  17. atomic fox 64 says:

    can you do a few sequels to this video to see how much the price was in 1982, 1989 and 1998? that would be really interesting!

  18. Dennis Farrell says:

    Tolls?

  19. Sammy Lane says:

    Yeah..that $2000 trip price is the reason why I look for DISNEY/UNIVERSAL/OTHER Parks contests from legit sites or even on the actual companies site(s). Because fuck paying SOOOO much money to these companies and I still need to pay rent…apparently my Landlord isn't too big on the idea of me living at my building for free…*sighs* SOME PEOPLE,HUH??Haha!!

  20. ghadlaidlass says:

    You forgot the Mickey ears souvenirs, among other souvenirs.

  21. Elliot Earles says:

    The prop shop looks really cool, but I can’t afford a cool looking sign, i could be using that money to stay at the contemporary

  22. Rich Conner says:

    I remember those ticket books when I went with my family in 1978

  23. djthereplay says:

    But a number of people who visit time and time again don't like it when Walt Disney World updates things on its' property .
    This includes the Attractions , System , etc .

  24. Michael Demers says:

    Loved the video! Just an FYI, in '71 most families would have been hitting Howard Johnson's on the road, not McDonalds. 😄 But great work!

  25. Ricky Morgan says:

    in 1972 I spent more for food than I did for tickets and hotel. we had the Disney club and got a deal for hotel and tickets.

  26. Tim Krajewski says:

    Rob ! You should put your patron in the description !!!

  27. Lita Keaton says:

    Have times changed. That trip is cheaper compared to today's tax prices. When I was coming up in the 90s and early 2000s it was expensive to go to Disney World in Florida since we only lived in Minnesota and not close by like New York.

  28. Dan The Man says:

    Since when is $2200 $250 more than $1675?

  29. cbernier3 says:

    Disney hotels are a waste of money. You know you can just get a regular hotel in Kissimmee right?

  30. Rob Plays says:

    Correction: I state towards the end of the video that the difference between a similar trip today and the adjust price of the 1971 trip is only around $250. The difference is actually around $600. A script error resulted in some accidental math there.

  31. Mickey says:

    another good vid !! but i think its time to film some new b-roll, the guy at 0:19 is looking too familiar lol.

  32. Ninja Master says:

    i miss the old Disney i haven't enjoyed the parks since middle of last decade. seems they have created a large paywall and gouge at every turn.

  33. Ninja Master says:

    really enjoyed this type of video.

    the sponsor at the end was nicely done and interesting to visit.

  34. bob conway says:

    Hello Rob I have an unrelated question Does it benefit you if I watch the ads on channel . Thanks

  35. DANIEL CARLSON says:

    Although not the most popular ride, do you think Disney world will bring back the backlot tour in some way? THANK YOU, ROB!!

  36. Jim Smith says:

    As someone who went in 1971 (at 4 years old) and several times since then there are a few problems with your transportation costs and time. I-95 wasn't complete back then. So sometimes you had to get off and go on Route 1. This added a lot of time to the trip. It would be impossible to do it in 17 hours. Average family from New York probably had to spend two nights on the road. We (from MD) usually only did it spending one night but it was two travel filled days.

  37. John Adam Gallegos says:

    Hey Rob, love your videos. Please keep up the great work. Wanted to ask you where you aquire your Disney BROLL for your videos. I'm taking in a similar project and would love your input. Thank you sir. Please check out my stuff as well, if you get a chance.

  38. SophiaPetrillosBuddy says:

    This is why, in all of my 20 years of life and living in Florida, I've only been to Disney World once.

  39. Brandon DPersonal says:

    $1696.82 accounting for inflation. That's what I pay for 2 people.

  40. B Miles says:

    How ridiculous is it that in today's dollars, a theme park view at the Poly was $272.98 per night. It's at least twice that now. Disney has way out done inflation and it's pretty disgusting.

  41. Sir Arnie says:

    I would add a stop at South of the Border in SC. No way a family wouldn't stop there going down 95.

  42. Bruhhh92738383 says:

    Hi rob me and my family are going to book a wdw vacation in about 2 weeks and we haven't decided on a hotel, do u have any suggestions of good and nice hotels, (not poly, contemp, or grand) also do u think carrib beach is good?

  43. TXG says:

    Rob, I have a question for the Q&A:
    The Disney corporation has just decided to develop a plot of land just south of Hollywood Studios and west of the Art of Animation resort. They are planning to build a new 5th gate and have tasked you with theming the new park and a new mode of transportation to get to the park other than the existing transport methods (i.e. Gondolas, boats, MinnieVans, buses). Thanks and have a magical week!
    -Grant

  44. A Floyd says:

    You ignored a budget for souvenirs.

  45. Kay Oz says:

    Sponsors! Awesome! Keep up the great work! Thanks for sharing. KO

  46. Boom1327 says:

    My grandma and mom tell me what it was like driving and the tickets. They always stayed at fort wilderness or the contemporary. Note this wasn't in 1970, it was later

  47. Republic of MAC says:

    Disney has gotten too expensive. Nice prop shop, though!

  48. Simonne says:

    I'll stay here in Anaheim where I live. I don't want to go all the way to Florida. I love the original Disneyland 5 minutes from my house.

  49. Nathan Fournier says:

    i always did wonder what e-ticket meant lol thanks!😂

  50. Just Cara says:

    My mom and her family stayed at the fort wilderness campground back then, traveling from Michigan. My grandpa still made the trip every year until his passing, last year. Pretty impressive. If only I could have made the trip with him every time! Lol

  51. Julia Mason says:

    I went to Disney World shortly after it opened to the public. when our high school had Grad night, we all went to Disney World, we spent the night in Disney World riding the rides. The price of a Grad night ticket was $9.00. No air fare involved . I live 60 miles from Disney World.

  52. Molly Wissing says:

    love your videos so much, and im a huge disney parks fan and i learn so much from your videos!

  53. TooCooFoYou says:

    Can you do a similar take of this on Disneyland, California?

  54. Mykaila Reynen says:

    The dollar is not what it used to be

  55. srce says:

    Ye olde proppe shoppe is a really fun idea!

  56. Sam Phappalapa says:

    This is great because it tells you how much more you'll pay today, in adjusted dollars, to have to deal with massive crowds and terrorist-inspired security measures that didn't exist in the 70s, I wish I appreciated life more back then…they weren't always the "good old days" but they were so much better than what we are left with today.

  57. Magic Gamez says:

    me = $0 i use points dvc

  58. Magic Gamez says:

    DVC is awesome i go for free but not in to the parks

  59. Marc Crawford says:

    $1,679.13 in today's money.

  60. Jory Adamson says:

    What about souvenirs?

  61. dʒeɪms says:

    you are a disneaboo

  62. ChaoticChiqen says:

    I wish Disney wasn't so expensive because I love it so much (not counting the trip there)

  63. Landon says:

    And in 2017, the gas cost alone for such a trip would be $300. Wow.

  64. crystalfairy912 says:

    Do you think the ticket books would work today? Or is paying one price to get into the park the better option?

  65. Dave Adams says:

    But, in 1971, if you were making $200.00 per week (I was making $120.00 and doing pretty good) you were doing well.

  66. The Sean Ward Show says:

    Your research and level of detail are bonkers! Me and my wife save your videos to watch on Saturday mornings.

  67. CandyCute18889 says:

    Okie byeeeeeee im travelling back to 1971….

  68. Joe Blow says:

    How has the wages changed since then? Are we better off in 1970 vs today?

  69. SRV. 123 says:

    That was about the price of 1-1/2 ounces of gold. Today that would be 1-1/2 x $1300.00. Equals $1950.00. But there is so much more to see. This does not allow for flying. Same trip as in 1971.

  70. old man says:

    in 1981 my wife and me with our 3 kids and wife's mother went to FLA. we stayed at the Days inn east on hwy.192 for 4 nights. we went in Disney world 2 days.1 day at sea world and also went to six flags wax museum.spent 800.00 bucks total.from 1981 through 2001 my wife and me went over 30 times.my wife passed away in 2003.

  71. Kat Holloway says:

    One reason to live in florida, helps a lot with disney trips

  72. wysong miles says:

    Love this video , drove down from Ottawa in 1972, 8days Inns $8, remember those tickets books

  73. MrProTechHD says:

    i went to wdw back in 87 it was even cheap back than

  74. Silverware Warrior says:

    I'm currently planning my first trip to Disney Land, and I was curious, aside the parking, food and admission price, do I still need to pay for rides?
    As I keep remembering these letter ticket things that limited you on certain rides.if anyone can answer his for me, I'd greatly appreciate it. :3

  75. Bobby Slater says:

    $279.72! Today you have to mortgage your house in order to go to both Disney World and Epcot.

  76. KMichelle Argus says:

    You just need 10 friends…unoffically

  77. Tito Tim Travels says:

    My dad bought our 3 bedroom house in Dallas in 1970. The house payment was $114 a month. So the 1971 Disney trip cost is about 2 months mortgage… My kids and I did 10 Disney trips in the naughts (and early 2010s) and the cost was about 5 months mortgage (my house payment was $600). Still worth it! 😀🍹🇵🇭

  78. Ar. Bob says:

    I remember wasting an E ticket on "It's a Small World." Wanted to jump overboard.

  79. Chris says:

    $279 is one night at a moderate resort….

  80. WayToSon says:

    LUV LUV LUV this video… As soon as I said "I wondered where that term came from" about the E ticket. Love the comparisons. TFS

  81. c0mpu73rguy says:

    Disney World have a website?!

  82. c0mpu73rguy says:

    How can flying be cheaper than taking the train in your country is a mystery to me.

  83. Look at that Kitty cat says:

    I’m from New York and we fly me and my friends say the best part Is going to the plane don’t get mad at me plz

  84. stenbak88 says:

    Are you kidding me .90 cents for an E ticket ride in ‘71 that’s insane, I mean pricey btw not cheap.

  85. lacegirlrocks says:

    what's the ride at 4:00?

  86. wdwnutjm says:

    Great video!!! The only possible addition was that the family would have purchased some kind of souvenir (like one of those plates or thimbles)

  87. AZDuffman says:

    One flaw here is that the 1970 family probably stayed at a cheaper motel somewhere near Disney, not on-site.

  88. Karideplov says:

    I watched this video yesterday and it got me thinking about my first trip to WDW and how much it cost. I've only been twice in my life. I was born and raised in California and I remember back in 1998 begging my parents to go to WDW for our annual vacation. This was when the Backstreet Boys and NSync were doing ABC specials (concerts) at the parks and the holiday parades and I would watch it on tv. My love for the Orlando based boy bands drove that need to go see WDW because Disneyland was no longer enough theme park for me. So there I was, summer before my senior year of high school in August 1999 and I was going to WDW for the first time. Obviously my parents paid for everything. We stayed offsite because my parents owned timeshare (not DVC). I still have my tickets and parking passes from that week. We went from a Saturday to Saturday. 5 Day hopper pass was 189USD + tax per adult. Parking per day was 5USD…5 USD!!!!!! I still have the pass. I have a ticket stub for DisneyQuest, which was also new then. Universal Studios, which I think was only 1 park or I only have pictures from going to 1 park, did not have the price printed on the stub or it was worn off. Parking at Universal Studios was 6USD. I also don't see the price for Kennedy Space center.My second time to WDW was in August of 2010 with my husband (fiance at the time). By this time, i had already moved to Europe so I now have to factor in international flights. Unfortunately I no longer have the ticket stubs but I remember buying the 5 day pass and I think hopper was optional by then and I can't remember if I got it but I doubt I did. We still did 1 park per day and I want to say that the price was somewhere around the 500-550 USD mark. I remember buying it through an authorized vendor. Hopefully we will be able to go back in a few years with our daughters. I want to try for the 50th anniversary since I did go to Disneyland's 50th anniversary in 2005 my girls are still young and I think it would be best to wait a few additional years.

  89. Maddox021 - Comedy and More says:

    1:07 – I-95 didn't exist in 1971

  90. matt13r1 says:

    I paid this much just for my flight to Disney World!

  91. debbie boring says:

    We would have drove with 4 kids in my family we always drove. And most of the time we drove straight through. We would have camped because we had a pop-up camper. I lived in upstate NY so we did this all the time. But the first Disney Trip I took was after we moved to AZ. We went in 74'. They still had the tickets. We stayed in a hotel then because it was only 8 hr drive. And Rob those early shots of the family were from late 50's or early 60's. LOL We didn't dress anything like that in the 70's. But thanks for the breakdown of the cost most people don't even think about it they just put it on a Card.

  92. Dr Demento says:

    The $280 in today's dollars is $1766.75.
    I doubt you'd be able to duplicate that now.

  93. Bantham Nobilis says:

    I still have 2 full books of tkts, and some Disney dollars!

  94. Kyouko Toshino says:

    All that, to ride 7 rides. 4 of which are basic ones. I'd just go to the carnival

  95. Disney Matt says:

    Cost of souvenirs??? lol

  96. K1naku5ana3R1ka says:

    3:47 Anyone else think it weird that A is actually the cheapest rides, given how ubiquitous grading systems that usually go the other way are? Maybe those systems weren’t such household usage then, though I doubt that.
    Or maybe they were thinking they’d have even bigger rides, so that with the normal system they’d have to bump everything down a level, while with this one they could just assign it the next letter. Then again, if they did that, all the jokes about the lettering would basically mean they F’d themselves (I’ll get me coat).

  97. Nathaniel Mancini says:

    As far as I know idk how much luck a family would have going to Walt Disney world in 1971. Walt Disney World opened in October, 1971 by Roy Disney. Most families would've probably tried to get to Walt Disney World in 1972.

  98. SandwichSlayer Official says:

    Hell, my family used to go from Colorado to Arizona, spend a week there and go back on just $500. And that was in 2010. 9 years ago.

  99. Caleb Weldon says:

    There is an Amtrak to Disney from New York, just two trains from Boston

  100. Just a girl who wants to tell some stories says:

    I live 15 minutes away from NYC. We always drove to Disney in the early 2010s, and it stunk. We stayed in the Pop Century Hotel, as a tradition. Driving stinks, and I reccomend that people fly. Much easier.

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