June 24, 2012

Popcorn Price Index

I can’t count the number of times that I scooped a box of Orville Redenbacher's Gourmet Popping Corn as a Disneyland Outdoor Vending Cast Member back in the '80s. It was all our popcorn wagons sold. No bottled drinks or souvenir buckets. Just paper cartons of Orville's best. I even met the man himself once.

Almost all of those sales were sixty-five cent transactions. Most guests plunked down three quarters for their box of hot fresh corn. The Eisner/Wells era shrunk the size of the box, raised the price, and began my feeling that the Park was sadly changing. But even then, a popcorn took only eighty-five cents out of guests' wallets and purses.

Now, get ready to barely get change back from a five when you step up to a Magic Kingdom popcorn cart. What was a fun and fast impulse treat that harkened back to childhood now costs as much as a pint of the adult beverage you might need to make the cost of that and everything else in today's Disneyland easier to swallow.

Just getting into the "resort" these days practically means taking out a second mortgage. If the price of popcorn is any example, the expense far exceeds what it should be. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index inflation calculator, what cost $.65 in 1983 would cost $1.40 in 2010. Sure, the price of popcorn has gone up. But it hasn't left orbit. Does everything in the Park have to be an overdone merchandising opportunity? Why not just equip the wagons with shelves for the latest Pixar plush?

Most everyone who reads this blog probably knows that Walt didn't go into Disneyland just with the idea of making money. It would be nice if the company reflected on that and at least brought the price of Disneyland popcorn back down to Earth.


TokyoMagic! said...

Price gouging! Don't give them any ideas about selling Pixar plush at the wagons......they just might do it!

...But It Wasn't Always That Way! said...

Oh TM, it's jinxed now!