Guess How Many Parents Go Into Debt For A Disney Vacation? Surprisingly, They Consider It A 'Treat' And Have No Regrets

A study by LendingTree has revealed that a significant portion of American visitors to Disney theme parks are taking on debt to fund their magical getaways. According to the data, 24% of surveyed visitors have incurred debt for their Disney trips, a figure that jumps to 45% among parents with children under 18 years old.

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The study highlights that for many families, the financial strain of a Disney vacation is outweighed by the perceived value and joy of the experience. "Among these parents, 59% say they have no regrets," the study reads. "Additionally, 90% of parents who've taken their children to Disney say it was a treat." On average, parents of young children took on approximately $1,983 in Disney-related debt.

Survey respondents who went into debt highlighted unexpectedly high costs during their trip: 65% reported in-park food and beverages as a significant expense, followed by transportation and accommodations, cited by 48% and 47%, respectively.

The demographic breakdown of the study offers further insight into who is most likely to take on debt for a Disney vacation. Men were more likely than women to incur debt (32% vs. 16%), and younger generations reported higher levels of debt, with Gen Zers and Millennials at 39% and 36%, respectively. In contrast, only 7% of Baby Boomers reported taking on debt for their trips. Household income also played a role, with higher-income households more likely to accrue debt, though the percentage remained significant across all income levels.

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The financial strain of Disney vacations is a common topic among Disney enthusiasts on social media. In the Disney Annual Passholder group on Facebook, a post asking about going into debt for Disney vacations sparked various responses, reflecting diverse approaches to funding these trips. One user posted: "This may be a crazy personal question for some. But do many people put themselves in a little debt to take a Disney vacation?"

One user shared their approach, noting, "No, We save up beforehand and then go." Another recounted a family experience tied to significant life events: "So my dad was in the navy and was getting ready to leave for what we didn't know was two years … We went all out! Disney, water parks, Universal, resorts. It was amazing. What my dad did was transfer the like 10k in debt onto a credit card that had no interest for the first year and paid it off over that year." 

Other responses varied from financial caution to a carefree attitude. One user wrote, "I do!" A young adult in her 20s mentioned, "I save until I have the money to pay for it. For vacations, I always make monthly payments after I book or pay in full at the resort during check-in." Another person simply stated, "YOLO. No money is going with me when I die. As long as my bills are paid, I'll spend it how I want."

The insights from the LendingTree study are eye-opening about the financial pressures and personal values that influence how families plan their vacations. If you're considering a similar trip, it might be wise to consult a financial advisor to ensure your vacation plans align with your budget and financial goals.

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