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Is there a "typical or average" WDW visitor/family?

eliza61nyc

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
One statement that I hear often here is that Disney is no longer affordable to the "average" family. So who's the "average" family that goes to the parks now. I know Disney has surveys all the time that do ask demographic type questions but do they release them?

The people I know who go do consider themselves pretty "average". couple of kids, middle of the road car, mortgage etc.

One selling point of Disney is that it tries to have a price point for every "budget".

Thoughts?
 

WondersOfLife

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“Average” people are ones who can afford a season pass to Dollywood, Carowinds, or Six Flags with no problem... but would have to save for a few years in order to justify taking a family of four to Disney or Universal for a few days.
 

lentesta

Premium Member
Disney doesn't release their demographic data. But you can glean a lot of it from other sources.

For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has data that shows how much the average American household spends on vacations each year, broken out by quintile. Here's that data from 2017, summarized:

365073

It's pretty clear that even a day at Disney World for a family of four is going to be beyond the annual budget for the bottom 40% of households. And from Disney's own travel agent media, it's pretty clear they're targeting the top 20%. They're almost certainly targeting the top 10%, 5%, and 1% specifically too.

One interesting thing we got from our (the Unofficial Guide/TouringPlans) surveys is that around 33% of our users' trips involve just adults. That's a higher number than I expected.
 

eliza61nyc

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Disney doesn't release their demographic data. But you can glean a lot of it from other sources.

For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has data that shows how much the average American household spends on vacations each year, broken out by quintile. Here's that data from 2017, summarized:

View attachment 365073

It's pretty clear that even a day at Disney World for a family of four is going to be beyond the annual budget for the bottom 40% of households. And from Disney's own travel agent media, it's pretty clear they're targeting the top 20%. They're almost certainly targeting the top 10%, 5%, and 1% specifically too.

One interesting thing we got from our (the Unofficial Guide/TouringPlans) surveys is that around 33% of our users' trips involve just adults. That's a higher number than I expected.
True but I think for those folks it's a one and done type of deal. Where you save for a year, then go the following year.

Question, is that %, the annual income or just the lower % spent? Meaning the lower 20% might mean a family that is frugal so decides to only spend 1k a year on vacation

Thanks for the chart.
 
One statement that I hear often here is that Disney is no longer affordable to the "average" family.
I understand this sentiment, because as we all know, Disney is quite expensive. However, judging by crowd sizes all year round, I find it hard to believe that they're pricing too many people out.

To answer your question though, with zero research and minimal thought, I would think that the average family would be the one that can afford to go every 5-7 years if they chose to do so. I could be way off though, since my wife and I are very fortunate to travel for work, so we rarely pay for flights (points or client paid) and hotel (points at S&D), so I don't really know what the full price of a trip would work out to be.
 

scorp16

Well-Known Member
Disney doesn't release their demographic data. But you can glean a lot of it from other sources.

For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has data that shows how much the average American household spends on vacations each year, broken out by quintile. Here's that data from 2017, summarized:

View attachment 365073

It's pretty clear that even a day at Disney World for a family of four is going to be beyond the annual budget for the bottom 40% of households. And from Disney's own travel agent media, it's pretty clear they're targeting the top 20%. They're almost certainly targeting the top 10%, 5%, and 1% specifically too.

One interesting thing we got from our (the Unofficial Guide/TouringPlans) surveys is that around 33% of our users' trips involve just adults. That's a higher number than I expected.
The lowest 20% spend 4% on alcohol while the top 20% spend 5.2% - That's why we have Food and Wine.
 

CaptainAmerica

Premium Member
Disney doesn't release their demographic data. But you can glean a lot of it from other sources.

For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has data that shows how much the average American household spends on vacations each year, broken out by quintile. Here's that data from 2017, summarized:

View attachment 365073

It's pretty clear that even a day at Disney World for a family of four is going to be beyond the annual budget for the bottom 40% of households. And from Disney's own travel agent media, it's pretty clear they're targeting the top 20%. They're almost certainly targeting the top 10%, 5%, and 1% specifically too.

One interesting thing we got from our (the Unofficial Guide/TouringPlans) surveys is that around 33% of our users' trips involve just adults. That's a higher number than I expected.
Something feels very wrong with that data. It strikes me as too low across the board, but especially in the highest 20% quintile. My annual vacation budget is about $6,000 and I'm definitely not in the top 20% of household income, let alone double it.
 

Club Cooloholic

Well-Known Member
Something feels very wrong with that data. It strikes me as too low across the board, but especially in the highest 20% quintile. My annual vacation budget is about $6,000 and I'm definitely not in the top 20% of household income, let alone double it.
Yeah is this per month or quarter?
 

eliza61nyc

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Maybe it's not the annual salary we're seeing but the amount spent on vacation? 🤔
I googled "how much do Americans spend on vacation " and got the figure if 4400 per family of 4 from 10/2018
 

lentesta

Premium Member
True but I think for those folks it's a one and done type of deal. Where you save for a year, then go the following year.

Question, is that %, the annual income or just the lower % spent? Meaning the lower 20% might mean a family that is frugal so decides to only spend 1k a year on vacation

Thanks for the chart.
Each 20% represents 1/5th of American households, segmented by total annual household income.

Here are the stats for 2017 from the US Census:

Lowest 20%: annual household income < $24,639
Second 20%: AHHI < $47,111
Third 20%: AHHI < $77,553
Fourth 20%: AHHI < $126,856
Fifth 20%: AHHI of $126,856 and up

So using that and the chart above, households with a total income of less than $24,638 spent an average of $309.59 on out-of-town trips in 2017.
 

Weather_Lady

Well-Known Member
I read recently (I don't remember where, but I'm posting a link to an article that's consistent with it) that a family of 4 pays an average of around $5,000 per vacation, for lodging, activities, hotel and transportation. https://www.creditdonkey.com/average-cost-vacation.html For my family and most of those in our rural area, setting aside that amount takes anywhere from 1.5-5 years.

If that's the case, though, it does indicate that WDW isn't that much more expensive than other destinations (as much as I do hate the constant price hikes and nickel-and-diming about which WDW is becoming increasingly artless). I know I've recently tried to price out some cruises, short European trips, Caribbean all-inclusive resorts, and Disneyland (which we're doing in August) as vacation alternatives for my family, and they're all within $1,000 of the cost of a week at WDW (that is, a week at WDW "the way we typically do it," which ends up totaling about $6,000 for our family of 4 with both kids aged 10-and-over - I realize that amount could be adjusted significantly up or down, if we made different choices about where to stay, what tickets to buy, etc.).
 

kap91

Well-Known Member
My guess is it's probably most likely to be families from the south and Midwest United States with low 6 figure family incomes and kids between 5 and 14. Also a significant amount of international tourists with similar demographics.
 

bigrigross

Well-Known Member
It's consistent with the BLS data from 2010. You may be an outlier.
I dont see how. I have no kids (just a wife) and even with DVC being around 1K a year with annual due, we pay out at least 3K on a Disney Vacation. Heck, our North West 7 day train trip we are taking next year is above that. Unless people are taking short out of town vacations, that data is extremely low. That data has to be per person and not per family of 4. Plane tickets alone would cost a family of 4 $1000. A car rental will cost you 300 dollars a week and another 150 for gas.

Edit: Yeah, that has to be per day. That data seems right if you add it up per day.
 

scorp16

Well-Known Member
I think the GAPS here are in the definition. What's an average household? Numbers seem to indicate it's somewhere around 2.6. Then we need to figure out what is the average length of stay. I've seen numbers ranging from 4 to 8.

So - If you take the 3rd 20% who let's say make around $80k and assume they stay somewhere for let's say 5 nights - and that the chart is overall spend for a household - the math says: $296 / 5 nights = about $59 per night. Which seems really low. But if we multiply the $296 by 2.6 then / 5 - then your average room cost is about $154 per night (which seems a bit more in line). So it has to be per person.

However

That argument has it's own problems. Because in the scenario above if I cut the stay down to 3 nights. $296 x 2.6 / 3 = $256.50 per night
And If I bump it up to 7 it's about $110 a night.


AND it can't be per/day - Because that same $80k family is not spending $98 in gas everyday (well -unless it's an RV and they're driving to Yellowstone)

:rolleyes:
 
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Roakor

Well-Known Member
Coming from the midwest I can attest that WDW prices are EXTEREMLY high by comparrison to prices here. Having traveled to places like chicago and Seattle, WDW prices are really not that bad compared to those places. I had a friend from NY come to visit and commented how cheap things were, he only paid $20 for breakfast. I told him he was ripped off, don't eat at the downtown hotel anymore. Its all a matter of prospective. Most people around here consider someone making 6 figures to be rich. You can live comfortably on half that.
 
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