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More parents are taking on debt to pay for Disney vacations as prices soar

Lauren Edmonds   

More parents are taking on debt to pay for Disney vacations as prices soar
  • Lending Tree surveyed Americans about how vacationing at Disney World impacts their finances.
  • Nearly 50% of parents with children under 18 go into debt for Disney trips.

As prices soar, some parents are emptying their bank accounts for a trip to Disney. Others are maxing out their credit cards.

Disney's expensive prices have been a hot topic among parkgoers recently. They even caused Disney CEO Bob Iger to raise his eyebrows in disbelief.

Disneyland raised ticket prices in 2023 and Disney World is expected to increase costs in 2025.

So Lending Tree surveyed over 2,000 American consumers to understand just how much a trip to Disney's theme parks can impact a family's finances.

What it found is a little concerning.

"Across the 77% of theme park-going parents with kids younger than 18 who've been to Disney, 45% have gone into debt for a Disney trip," the survey found.

That's up from the 2022 Disney debt survey, which found that 30% of parents with children under 18 were going into debt.

According to the survey, parents with young children had an average debt of almost $2,000.

Despite the financial hit, 59% of parents said they didn't regret the decision.

"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," LendingTree chief credit analyst Matt Schulz said in a statement. "Because of those feelings, they're often willing to take on debt to get there."

Food, transportation, and accommodation are the biggest dents to parents' Disney budgets. The survey found that 65% of respondents with Disney debt said food and beverages cost more than they expected.

Disney World and Disneyland representatives did not respond to Business Insider's request for comment.

The rising prices at Disney and, well, everywhere, coupled with stifling childcare costs, are already impacting parents across the country, leading some to look for alternatives to Disney.

One husband told BI his family decided to visit Great Wolf Lodge in North Carolina instead of their usual trip to Walt Disney World.

The husband said his children enjoyed Great Wolf Lodge more than their Disney adventures, and it cost less, too.

Have you taken on debt to take a trip to a Disney theme park and want to share your story? If so, reach out to this reporter at ledmonds@businessinsider.com




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