Average trip to Disney World puts parents $2k in debt, study finds

Average trip to Disney World puts parents k in debt, study finds

Parents are going thousands of dollars into debt to make their kids’ dreams come true at Walt Disney World, a new study has revealed.

American families took on an average of $1,983 in debt on their vacations to the famed theme park, according to the financial website LendingTree.

It surveyed more than 2,000 US consumers and discovered that 45 percent of parents who’ve taken their children to the theme park in Orlando, Florida, and Disneyland in Anaheim, California admitted to going into debt to make the trip happen.

Overall, 24 percent of people who went to the parks went into debt for the visit. That number has gone up 33 percent since the last survey in 2022.

At least 83 percent of parents have gone into debt to take their children to the park within the last five years. However, 59 percent of those surveyed said they have no regrets about the decision.

The majority of parkgoers said it took them less than six months to pay off the debt.

One of the biggest costs while spending a day at the happiest place on earth was the in-park food and beverages, parents reported. A majority said the cost was significantly higher than what they expected to spend. Parents also said transportation and accommodation costs were high.

Parents are getting thousands of dollars into debt to take their kids to Disney World, new study finds
Parents are getting thousands of dollars into debt to take their kids to Disney World, new study finds (Getty Images for Disney Dreamers)

A standard park ticket varies per park and day. On some days, tickets can be as low as $99. NerdWallet estimates that a seven-night trip for two adults can easily cost up to $4,000.

An average meal at the park can cost anywhere between $19 to $93 and parking can be $36 a day plus tax.

LendingTree Chief Credit Analyst Matt Schulz said it makes sense that a large percentage of parents would be willing to take on debt to get their children into the magic kingdom.

“For so many parents, taking their kids to Disney is a rite of passage, something they remember fondly from their youth and want to experience with their kids,” he said. “Because of those feelings, they’re often willing to take on debt to get there.”

He argued that going into debt for the visit could be a good thing. “That debt helped bring you an experience that you and your family are going to remember and talk about for the rest of your lives, which is a pretty darn good return on your investment,” he said.

“Of course, that doesn’t mean you should do it often. Every once in a while, a little debt generated in service of a greater goal can be fine.”

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