Please keep in mind that in any given year, less than 3% of the U.S. population visits WDW.The median income for a household (not individuals) in the U.S. is $53,000. [link]
The mean for those in the 40-60 percentile is $53,400.
The mean for those in the 20-40 percentile is $31,400.
While the elite offerings and multiple visits in one year may only be able to be afforded by a minority at the top of the ladder, the idea that the majority can no longer afford a Disney vacation is odd to say the least. Do people think that the middle class, while not making gains, are currently all below the poverty line?
Just want to point out that mean of the bottom 20 percentile is only $12,000. I say that just because some lunatic once claimed that anyone... anyone... can afford a Disney vacation if they just save enough. As if making less than $10,000 a year enabled one to save for a Disney trip.
For most, the desire vs. cost eliminates WDW as an option. WDW is not particularly interesting to them and, given the cost, they'd prefer to spend their money elsewhere.
For others, it's a matter of saving for years.
For others still, it's a matter of taking on credit card debt. (When I was very young, credit cards were rare. Only business people had them. Certainly no one would pay for a vacation using a credit card.)
The point of the chart is not to show that people can no longer afford a WDW vacation, only that, year-by-year, it's getting increasingly difficult to do so.
As with any price bubble, something's got to give eventually. It's already happen once at WDW in the early 2000s, when Disney offered incredible discounts and an entirely new ticket price structure to make WDW more affordable. It's happening a bit this year as Disney offers ticket discounts to some of its more frequent visitors. (For example, DVC members are being offered a discounted Annual Pass at 2006 prices.) It will happen again.