I had to renew our Walt Disney World annual passes yesterday, which marks three years of living in Orange County. We went to Epcot the night before, and it was the first park visit we had in probably a month, because of our time away on the cruise, work and just a natural lag. It's unusual to go that long. This year we opted for the lesser "gold" tier passes they introduced last year, after we renewed. They have a reasonable blackout date range, specifically the last two weeks of the year and two weeks in April for spring break. These are times we never go anyway because of the crowds.
It got me to thinking though, what is our relationship to Disney? It's extensive, though I don't know that I would consider us super fans. I mean, none of us have a tattoo of the castle or anything. But we consistently enjoy ourselves at the parks, and for the frequency of our visits find it to be a pretty good value. It's an easy way to catch up with friends from up north since everyone seems to get here eventually. Given the proximity, it's fair to describe WDW as our back yard. It's especially surprising to see how much we hang out at Epcot, in large part due to Food & Wine and Flower & Garden. So much good food and music.
Our biggest Disney spend is with the cruise line. Doubly so this year, with the Alaska cruise (ouch!). Their boats are my happy place, and we have a consistently good time on them. For us the expense is worth it, and the convenience for the itineraries leaving Port Canaveral is pretty hard to beat. These trips have the best beach days ever. I'm disconnected, and I don't have to think about anything. They even tell me when to eat.
The films are something we regularly consume, given our 6-year-old. I was really enamored with the musicals of the 90's, but lost interest until the more recent renaissance started. Now that the company owns Lucasfilm, I suppose we're much bigger Disney movie fans than we were. I know there are people who cringe at Disney's massive influence on entertainment, but I think the quality of what they offer is generally pretty high. It's OK if art is popular and profitable. I won't apologize for enjoying Tangled.
It is strange to see how much money Disney does get from us. Annually, it's second only to Target (where we buy much of our groceries). This year, because of Alaska, Disney may actually win. That's pretty crazy, that one company can be the single largest recipient of the part of your income you spend.