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The Carroll News

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Is it worth it for college students to go to Disney World?

Laken+Kincaid+and+Evan+Richwalsky+write+about+whether+or+not+a+Disney+trip+is+worth+it+for+a+college+student.
Aliyah Shamatta
Laken Kincaid and Evan Richwalsky write about whether or not a Disney trip is worth it for a college student.

Disney World is seen as a fantastical wonderland that inspires creativity, wonder and a family experience everyone should have. It is the place that the NFL’s best visit after winning the largest game of their career and where children with access to cable TV beg for tickets to every holiday season. It is an immersive experience where anyone can become a pirate, a princess, a hero or whatever else they choose to be. 

However, this flight of fancy often comes at great financial cost to most families and individuals who attend, save for employees of the parks. And no one knows financial hardships quite like college students. 

A common stereotype is  that college students are among the lowest income groups in the country, as only some hold jobs on top of paying tuition and room and board expenses to attend school. The average person usually grosses about $37,338 in student loan debt and, while taking classes, their bank account usually sits at around $3,900. If you account for the lofty prices of necessities like gas, rent (which is around $1,322 a month alone around John Carroll according to Rent Cafe) and even just the occasional outing with friends, this leaves little room for free spending. Needles to say, this circumstance does not lend itself to the high prices of a Disney World trip.

So, how much does it cost to visit the so-called “most magical place on Earth?” Here is a sample breakdown for a day trip:

  • One day park hopper ticket: $235
  • Lightning Lanes to ride Guardians of the Galaxy and TRON: $35
  • Rideshares to and from the park: $40

That $310 does not include drinks, flights, lodging, merchandise or other extras like PhotoPass. 

If you decide to stay on property in order to elevate your experience, expect to pay between $168 and $323 (depending on the time of year you decide to visit) for just one night at a bargain hotel like one of the All-Star resorts. If you want to live in the lap of luxury in between your sprints to Magic Kingdom and Epcot, room bookings at Disney’s Polynesian Villas and Bungalows scrape a whopping $6,146 per night. 

Food is also an expensive buy as meals are usually $26, even at a quick service location. For sit- down restaurants, that price can double. Again, if you want to ball out, you can always sit at a premier table at Victoria and Albert’s restaurant for a towering $425 per person. 

Taking into account how much the bare essentials cost, and the fact that there are four parks and two waterparks to visit in total, the budget for a Disney World trip may not even allow for a cute sweatshirt or lightsaber to showcase your visit to all of your friends back in Cleveland. 

Another photo from Disney World. (Aliyah Shamatta)

However, as with all things, money comes back, experiences and opportunities don’t. From indulging in various cuisines and beverages from international pavilions in Epcot to waving at Tinkerbell as she flies down from the castle amidst fireworks at Magic Kingdom, memories from these parks are priceless. 

If you have a special adoration for characters like Stitch or Cinderella, an  experience like this may be the highlight of your collegiate career (especially if you share it with some of your classmates). While thrill rides may not be Disney World’s prowess, unlike the roller coaster haven Universal Studios that is just down the road, the story behind the parks is what draws in people from all around the world, students and non students alike. 

To make a judgment call about whether or not the heavy price tag of a voyage to the land of the mouse is entirely up to each individual. How much do you value the Disney brand and experience? If you answer very highly, then it’s worth it to save and take a trip. After all, you are completely surrounded by your favorite characters and media for hours, escaping whatever assignments or pressures linger back on campus. If you do not feel this connection, then it is probably smart to let this one take a back seat for a  bit, just like a single rider on Space Mountain.

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About the Contributors
Evan Richwalsky, Multimedia: Audio and Engagement Editor
Evan Richwalsky is the Multimedia: Audio and Engagement Editor for The Carroll News from Avon, Ohio. He is currently a senior at John Carroll University majoring in Communications (Digital Media) and minoring in Leadership Development.
Elsewhere on campus, Evan is heavily involved in WJCU, serving as the Production Director for the station, as well as a sports producer and a heights DJ and DJ trainer. He is also a Student Senator for the Class of 2024 and works in the Sports Information Office. Off campus, Evan previously had heavy involvement in youth leadership on the national level for the Boy Scouts of America. He also earned the Eagle Scout rank, the Summit Award, and was recognized with the Order of the Arrow’s Founder’s Award and Vigil Honor.
With what little free time Evan has, he enjoys running, being outdoors, graphic design, trying to keep up with sports and flying places to go see his friends.
In the future, Evan hopes to get a job behind the scenes in sports, either as a broadcast producer or working in a stadium scoreboard/replay control room.
Laken Kincaid, Editor-in-Chief
Laken Kincaid is the Editor-in-Chief for The Carroll News from Beckley, West Virginia. They are a senior at John Carroll University who is double majoring in political science and communications (digital media) and minoring in leadership development. Laken has written for The Carroll News since the start of their freshman year and has previously served as a staff reporter, campus section editor and managing editor of the paper. They have received 18 Best of SNO awards, a Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence award for Region 4 and two honorable mentions from the College Media Association. They have also been recognized by universities like Georgetown for their investigative reports. Additionally, they also write political satire for The Hilltop Show and feature stories on global poverty for The Borgen Project. In addition to their involvement with The Carroll News, Laken is involved with the Kappa Delta sorority, the speech and debate team, the Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion, the Improv club and other organizations. They also serve as the news director for WJCU 88.7, John Carroll's own radio station, and as the president for John Carroll's Society of Professional Journalists chapter.  Laken also started their own national nonprofit organization known as Art with the Elderly which they have won the President's Volunteer Service Award and the Humanity Rising Award for. When not writing, Laken can be found doing graphic design for their internship with Union Home Mortgage or working as a resident assistant and peer learning facilitator on campus. Laken also enjoys skiing and watching true crime documentaries. In the future, Laken hopes to become a political journalist for a national news organization or to be a campaign commercial editor for politicians. To contact Laken, email them at [email protected].
Aliyah Shamatta, Multimedia: Visual and Technical Editor
Aliyah Shamatta is a senior from Parma, Ohio. They are a Communications major with a concentration in Digital Media and a double minor in Leadership development and Peace, Justice, & Human Rights. Around campus, you can find Aliyah being involved with WJCU as the Social Media Director, hosting their genre show “Do It For The B-sides”, and being a heights DJ. Other involvements include being in the Kappa Delta sorority, Orientation Leader, and a class of 2024 senator. From Halloween to horror, Aliyah loves anything that is spooky-related. Outside of school, you can find them taking daring adventures, playing video games, graphic design, and painting while watching the sunset. In their future, they want to work with companies' social media accounts and have a side broadcasting career.

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