22 Apr 2024DisruptorsDisney Devotees Take Trip Planning To The Next Level

As the price tags of entertainment, holidays and travel skyrocket, Disney devotees are proving that they won't let cost dampen their magical spirit. In a world where the cost of joy is outpacing inflation, Disney fans are determined to squeeze every ounce of enchantment out of their adventures.

Rachel ChoiRachel Choi is a Behavioural Analyst at Canvas8. With a degree in Archaeology and Anthropology from Oxford University, she has an interdisciplinary understanding of behavioural and cultural patterns across societies. She has a love for stories that capture the nature of human experience, through writing, media, or material culture. Outside of work, you can find her attending exhibitions, oscillating between overthinking and head-empty-just-vibes, or rewatching her favourite (usually Studio Ghibli!) films.

Disney has always been a paradise for planners – or a nightmare for the disorganised. When is the best time to go? How can we save money? What rides are a must? What’s the difference between a Lightning Lane and a Genie Pass?

Overwhelmed with the idea of a trip, and the complicated Disney jargon that comes with, would-be Disney visitors are turning to ‘experts’ and creators to make sense of it all.

Whether that's travel agents, YouTubers, influencers, bloggers or friends with experience, a new wave of Disney experts and paid services are tapping into the Disney park hype and helping prospective attendees fill in their knowledge gap.

Some are sharing their tips and tricks on social media, while others have monetised the opportunity by offering online classes and guides for a fee.

“There’s an entire system to doing Disney World the right way,” says Brooke Raybould, a social media content creator who sells a 200-page digital “Mom’s Guide to Disney World” for $40.

The cost of a trip to Disney World can quickly add up which is why people are determined to do it the right way in a bid to maximise both savings and fun.

A one-day ticket to Disney World during the peak holiday season has risen 47% since 2019, far outpacing the rate of inflation. On top of tickets for each member, once accommodation is factored in, plus transportation, food and gear, souvenirs and additional charges for line skips… the total could be thousands of dollars.

Having fun has never been so expensive, so why are people willing to pay?

In a phenomenon dubbed ‘funflation’, people are prioritising spending discretionary income on experiences that spark joy. Some of this is a result of revenge spending mindsets and people seeking escapism as they distance themselves from the challenges of everyday life.

For many, there is no better place to escape to than one of the Most Magical Places on Earth.

One-of-a-kind moments like a concert or a Disney World trip are starting to feel more valuable given economic pressure and budget constraints, moving them into status symbol territory.

Even as finances tighten, 87% of US Gen Yers and Zers are willing to spend more on once-in-a-lifetime experiences, cutting down spending elsewhere to be able to afford them.

As a result, Disney devotees have turned their vacations into a near-competitive sport that some prepare and save up for months in advance. But what’s behind Disney Parks’ enduring appeal?

Despite recent flops in Hollywood and streaming losses, profits for Disney’s global parks rose more than fourfold with sales increasing 35% in the year up to February 2024. Much of this may be attributed to Disney’s devoted, almost cult-like fandom of Disney adults whose childhood revolved around the Disney empire.

But what keeps them coming back to Disney World today is its all-encompassing, immersive magic of escape. Disney devotees foster a sense of community both online and in-person, sharing memories, tips, and insider knowledge that enriches the collective experience for all.