Holidays in Hell: The Non-Magical Kingdom

Holidays in Hell

I haven’t been to Disney World for about 7 years but on a recent trip I decided to take my family and face the humid summer heat and lines. I’m afraid my takeaway was not so great as the park is really now designed to only offer holidays in hell.

I think Disney is astronomically overpriced. It’s purely commercial and as a brand it has lost its magic. Honestly it really only seems to exist to bilk families out of their hard earned savings.

My parents first took me to Disney World in 1977 which was just five years after the park opened. I brought my father on this trip and he was shocked. He remembers after the 1977 thinking what a fantastic oasis Disney World was. He even remembers telling people that Disney was so well priced that if you bought a Coca-Cola it was the same price as if you purchased one outside the park.

Wow what a difference nearly 4 decades makes.

Let’s start with the food. It really couldn’t offer any worse choices to give your kids. It is literally like they’re not even trying. There is absolutely nothing healthy in the Magic Kingdom. Deep-fried slop is the best way I can describe it. The first stop we made was at a place which only sold mac & cheese and tasted like it was out of a can. You could have barbecue chicken added on top but it also tasted like it was out of a can. A processed hotdog and fries for four people came to $60. Nice start.

Throughout the park the snack food consisted of popcorn, deep-fried foods and highly colored ice cream. There was nothing fresh in sight.

Their supposed high end dinning experience is Cinderella’s Castle. But you have to book reservations about six months to a year in advance. The only reservation we could get was for 4:30 PM and we were out by 6 PM. It was packed.

For four adults and two children the bill came to $410. We had the set cheese and meat plate as an appetizer, a very mediocre main course and dessert and no alcohol as you can’t have that in the Magic Kingdom. So it was just the food cost which came to $410. Not only was it a complete rip off but I felt terrible for all the families that spent that kind of money thinking it would be a great experience.

Yes, there was a glimmer of hope. The princesses come around and stop at each table which made it quite fantastic for the little ones, but really come on.

The next day at the Dolphin Hotel we stopped at the deli for something to eat. Two glasses of wine, 3 cups of soup, one sandwich, one order of fries and a salad came to $125. Another rip off for bad food. Meanwhile breakfast at the hotel for three adults and one child was $85 including service charge.

Now let’s talk about the rides

Peter Pan is one of the most popular rides and a natural place where families gather. At this time of year the lines can be up to 2 1/2 hours long. In 90° heat and full on humidity this is for a ride that lasts just 2 minutes.

Disney has a Fast Track Service which allows three passes for each ticket. You can get an app on your phone and book a time ahead to cut the line to about 15 minutes.

If you really want to indulge as we did, you can get a tour guide to take you around which means you get fast track passes on every ride without booking anything ahead. This Service is $400 an hour for up to six people with a minimum of six hours. So this cost us a cool $2800 plus you still need to buy the tickets to the park which was $895 for our family. We got to see every ride and did the park in one day but that came at quite a price though.

Then there are the Characters

When I was a kid you would just see Mickey and Minnie Mouse and various other characters walk through the park. You could run to them for an autograph and grab a picture.

That’s not the case now in the commercialized world of Walt Disney. Now families can wait up to two hours to see Mickey Mouse and then they’ll only see him for about two minutes. You can snap a picture or have one of the Disney photographers take a professional one. They scan your tickets and you can access them anytime you want once you leave the park. This is fantastic but of course it comes at a price; $59 to be exact.

All in all, I really feel Disney is not what it used to be. Rides like Peter Pan, the Haunted House and Space Mountain haven’t been updated in 40 years.

I believe corporate greed has caused Disney to completely out-price itself. I know this was not the ethos of Walt Disney himself, but this is how the park has evolved. What a shame!

Daniel - Living GreenDaniel Green, the Model Cook is a Celebrity Chef known for his healthy approach to food and living  well. With TV, books, magazines and live appearances, Daniel spends his time helping fans to cook better, feel better and live better. He’s also an avid traveler and a self-confessed Foodie.

To contact Daniel or learn more visit or follow on Twitter  and Facebook.

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