The P.A.

A weekly address from Patrick Adams,
President of St. Louis Community Credit Union

The High Price Of Happiness

On June 10th, 2013, posted in: Uncategorized by

Disney refers to their twin theme parks “land” and “world” as the happiest places on earth. What a great brand, and certainly the smiles on the faces of the kids running hither and fro adorned in mouse ears, wizard caps, or floppy dog ears lays credence to the level of happiness. Yes, Disney just may be number one on the list of places to be.

Check out dad. He’s the guy a few steps behind carrying and pushing something. Oh, he’s happy to see the joy in the wide eyes of his offspring’s cherubic face. But his own eyes are wide open – I mean WIDE OPEN. Just a few minutes earlier, before they busted through the gates of Mickey’s playground, he forked over $92 for himself and the Mrs. and every kid older than 10. The kids under 10 allowed the old man to catch a break – those tickets were only $86. OMG!!!

I have a 21-month-old grandson, and can’t wait to take him to one of those happy places when he is old enough to get it. For $86 or whatever it will cost in a few years, I want him to remember every moment. Imagine years from now sitting around the coffee table looking at pictures and saying something like this: “remember when P-Paw took you to Disney World?” If his response came back “nope,” my reddening face filled with expensive futility would rush in like a ride on the Tower of Terror (only with more terror). We’re waiting awhile. I want him to remember everything.

But in the spirit of Walt’s dreams, let’s pretend that that day is now. After all, Disney is all about pretend. So me, Grandma, the baby’s mom and dad and my little buddy would rush through the gates at opening time for a whopping $454. Shortly thereafter we would begin eating, drinking and being merry. My guess is we’re hitting $600 before we leave later that day – $700 if you add in some memorabilia beyond the standard pennant and silly, swirly straw. By the way, I’m recommending leaving at closing in order to get our money’s worth.

How is this afforded? I know these happy places are packed every day but, seriously, how does one afford to go? Same holds true for a professional baseball game. And if you go, go on a full stomach. Buy a soda or two, a beer for the old man, and a handful of hot dogs, and you’ve spent a couple of hours of overtime pay. Events make you pay for parking on the way in. There is a reason for that – you got nothing on the way out. If you want to take your family to a hockey game, you have to take out a loan to sit in the top row of the arena.

I feel sorry for millions of kids around the country whose feet will never grace the pristine asphalt walkways between the Magic Kingdom and Frontier Land because mom and dad are trying to make ends meet, and the price of bread, gas, daycare, health insurance and life’s other necessities are annually rising like flood waters in June.

I guess I got caught by surprise last week when I read of Disney’s price increase. I don’t blame them; they’ve got a business to run. But, man, after you toss that kind of coin to have some fun, you BETTER have some fun.

By the way, a guy who has kids in Disney’s target market told me that you never go for one day. You go for three and get some sort of “hopper” ticket that allows you to move about from theme park to theme park. The costs for that are hundreds of dollars more. OMG…I have been out of touch.

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