Fall in Connecticut marks the middle of the local Fair season. These local town fairs often are filled with food booths and simple carnival type thrill rides.  After experiencing on of the “better” fairs I thought of the big picture  of the comparison on the value of the family entertainment dollar against our “gold standard” of family entertainment, Walt Disney World.

While probably unfair to compare a day trip to a local carnival type fair with a week long vacation at the Happiest place on Earth, we will focus on the day trip mentality of both.

Walking into a local fair we are asked to “only” pay $14 per adult, where kids under 11 are “free”.  Immediately after walking down a dirt hill past several temporary stands we encounter the “ticket booth”. For the savings package we can purchase a 40 ticket slip for $30. Quickly we realize this gets us 8 rides split between 4 people. Basically $4 per person per ride….on dirt. Now the rides are basic carnival thrill with no theme (or covering) that last 3 minutes. After spending $50-60 in an hour for 4 children (who were FREE!) to ride 4 rides each I decided to step back and start the math (coming from my background as a mathematical science major in college).

At this rate we would spend $15 per hour per child…we are now exceeding the hourly average cost of 8 hours in a day of WDW parks..for temporary installed rides….on DIRT.  (We won’t go into the fact that an adult beverage couldn’t be found..with no appeal of the surroundings like the Magic Kingdom.) While we did not spend $50 per day that we get with our large magic your way or AP..it was well on its pace if there was any type of atmosphere to keep us there.

So where are we going with this? WDW is expensive..yet given the numerous experiences that are so far beyond what the average weekend fair in your local town provides..value compared to costs does not lie in spending less more often. Instead value for your family entertainment dollar is found in getting more..less often. 

Enjoy your trips to WDW…it’s the best bang for the $15 per person per hour.

If you have any thoughts..please share here or with a reply on twitter to @disneyhelp.