I was reminiscing a bit about when my oldest daughter was about 5 and we had a family vacation to Disneyland. The girl, her Mother, and me. We drove from Santa Rosa down to Disneyland in a Datsun 310 hatchback with one of those containers that you can put on the top of the car for all of our necessary stuff. No A/C in that car. Not back then…..And it wasn’t really expected.
It was a long drive, and at some point, my daughter began figiting about the extended car ride, She wound up in the front seat, and my (then) wife retired to the rear. My daughter finally had enough of the drive, and the heat (it was summer time in Southern California) and while on the freeway she opened the passenger door of the car to get out.
I was really busy for a short period of time.
When we finally got to the Disneyland area, we got to our hotel, which was nearby. We had 5 day passes that included a “Magic Morning Breakfast” with the characters, and an early entry. It was spectacular. I’d built this trip up in my daughter’s eyes that everything at Disneyland was both magic and real. Since I was her Dad, she believed me, and for that I will always be grateful.
The whole thing made for a fine happy recollection. The price didn’t break the bank, we had the time of our lives. This was, probably, 1985. I had been to Disneyland once before in my life for a single day when I was about 8 or 9. Went to Fort Wilderness and saw Indians in Frontier Land. Not that any of that is available now.
Later in life, after I was mostly retired, I moved to Bakersfield, California, and purchased Annual passes for my younger daughter, who lived with me, and myself. Also bought an annual parking pass. That parking pass allowed you to park the car and ride a shuttle all the way into the entrance to the park. That shuttle is now non-operational, so even if you pay the $45 American to park, you've got to walk about a mile to the entrance. What a grand deal. There was a “Southern California” discount for annual passes, and daily entrance in those days. Made for an easy thing to afford. I lived about an hour 30 driving time from Disneyland and would sometimes just go down there to have breakfast by the Rivers of America, then go home when the park started to fill up.
I won’t really get into today's prices, but suffice it to say it now costs more. In 1985 the cost for a Disneyland admission was $16.50.
I understand that times have changed. Regular folks seem to be priced out of going, Annual passes have been curtailed, Southern California discount, likewise. The “Magic Morning Breakfast” and early park admission that was always the best part of the day have also been curtailed. No room for that sort of nonsense in a modern Disneyland. I wonder what Walt would think about what has happened to the " Happiest Place on Earth".
I’m just glad that I got to bring my kids there when it counted, and I’m more than a little sad that they can’t do the same for theirs.