Monday, February 11, 2008

Disney Yes, Discount No

Mickey Mouse is a thief. He's a ruthless, uninhibited scoundrel who will simply walk up to you in broad daylight and take your money. Okay, so my hyperbole is a bit on the extreme side, but anyone who is a parent, knows a parent or has ever traveled to Lake Buena Vista, Florida will tell you that almost all things Disney are not wallet friendly.

Case in point, Lee and I took the kids Friday night to see "Hannah Montana and Miley Cyrus Best of Both Worlds Concert featuring Jonas Brothers" in Disney Digital 3-D. Early word is the movie is up for an Oscar for most exhausting title. The tongue-twisting title aside, I thought it would be cool to take the kids to the movie. Both Natalie and Daniel are HM fans and, like 99% of all other parents out there, I could not afford the reported $2000 to $3000 for tickets to her actual concert. It was a Friday night and we hadn't been to the movies in a while, so I figured, "Why not?"

Little did I know this Disney movie came with Disney prices! Whereas a normal night at the movies would have cost $9 for each adult ticket and only $6 for each kid, little Missy Montana set me back $63 for the four of us. Yep, you read that correctly. $63!! That's $15 per ticket (no discount for the kiddos) and, to add insult to fiscal injury, a $3 convenience fee. Thank you very much, Mr. Bob Iger (CEO of Disney). You've managed to gouge me yet again.

Don't get me wrong. This is not a rant against the cash cow that is Disney. (Well, maybe it is just a little bit). Rather, it's an observation that as much as we shake our head in disbelief at the money we spend on Disney movies, CD's, DVD's, theme parks, t-shirts, etc., I have always found the end result to be completely worth it. There is a high level of quality that goes into the Disney experience, and with regards to Mickey's Kingdom, the saying holds true that you get what you pay for.

Specific to the Hannah Montana movie, I was pleasantly surprised at how well the whole thing was put together. The shots from the concert were interspersed with behind the scenes footage of Miley Cyrus rehearsing for the show, transforming herself into Hannah, and other tidbits that made the movie as interesting for the grownups as it was entertaining for the kids. Throw in the added coolness of digital 3-D and the end result is a high quality, high energy, and highly entertaining event.

Still, I can't help but be taken aback at the decision to price the movie so high. Not to mention the fact there was a table set up in the theater selling Hannah Montana CD's and DVD's at $20 each. It's not like Miley needs the money. It's not like Disney needs the money. As a parent, I was disappointed with the pricing scheme. As a consumer, I was nearly appalled. For as much as Disney bills themselves as a family friendly corporation, the outrageousness of their pricing is anything but.

Still, it's Disney. They're like the lovable, evil empire. They're everywhere and there's no escaping Mickey's grasp. It's not like I can boycott them, and considering I have two kids I don't think I'd want to either. Not only would a Disney boycott mean no more Magic Kingdom and a severe restriction on the movies to which I could take my kids, it would also mean boycotting ABC and ESPN, both of which are owned by Disney. Given the fact Lee and I have tickets to ESPN the Weekend which will be held at Disney, I guess my only option is to sell one of my kidneys on eBay and hold a fundraiser for extra cash.

Anyone got a couple hundred bucks they can spot me?

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