So, I missed the very beginning of the episode because I was at play rehearsal, so, I'm going to go re-watch it on, ahem...HULU, which I have. But not the Disney Bundle of Crap. Oh, do I sound anti-Dizzney? Yeah, probably. I have my reasons. I'm sure a lot of you out there reading this have your reasons too. Even those of you who work for Uncle Walt: you know who you are.
So, in Season 3/Episode 1, entitled: Mickey Ears, $19.99; the Hayward extended clan go on an impromptu visit to Disneyland in Southern California. They've once again convened for Sunday brunch at wealthy brother Connor's manse. Connor, trying to avoid a difficult conversation with his brother, blurts out, apropos of Uncle Walt; that "We're going to Disneyland!" And after the commercial break, that's exactly where they are. The implication is that it is the same day. How? How would this possibly be possible? We'll get back to that in a minute. But first, let's talk about that title. "Mickey Ears, $19.99"
How much do you think it costs to produce one of those hats? It's basically a compendium of plastics. Fake felt (if that's possible) probably polyester; and plastic ears. Well let's say it has about as much plastic in it as one of those big red Solo cups. They cost 25 cents a piece. So, Disney is making $19.74 on 25 cents worth of plastic. I'm no mathematician; but I think it's safe to say that is an incredible profit margin (if that's the correct phrase). Or if you prefer, in layman's terms: they're making a shit load of money off those ridiculously overpriced hats.
...Now wait just a minute Chris!
Oh, hey everybody; look who stopped by! It's Uncle Walt! Hey Uncle Walt!!!
You're actually on a computer...
My, my...how fancy...tell me Chris, can you use that device to sell things?
You sure can!
How? Because I'm still using a candlestick phone...
We can confab on that later Walt. What brings you by?
Well, I heard what you were saying about my Mickey hats...aren't they cute!
Yeah, adorable; what about them?
Well, you were talking about the cost to profit ratio and you were way off--
Really? Do tell.
It actually costs us twenty-seven cents to make, so...
I see. Well I stand corrected. By the man who pretty much invented tie-in merchandise.
I don't want to brag; but yeah, I did.
Yeah, you created an entire consumer market based around an annoying rodent.
(Holding up Mickey doll and doing Mickey voice) I'm not annoying! I'm adorable! And you NEED me! Besides, I'm giving Americans good solid jobs during these trying times!
Well, it seems every time I pick up one of your products it's marked "Made In China."
Of course! Our facility in China, Texas...U.S.A.!
Okay, sure...let's get back to our main topic...
Is there a little boys room around here? (Mickey voice) I've got to twinkle!
There's a rest room backstage...
Be right back!
And back to our main topic.
So, ABC has a habit of sending the families of it's most popular and successful shows to the Disney theme parks.
Now wait just a minute Chris!
Oh, look who's back everyone: it's Uncle Walt and Mickey, fresh from the little boys room. How was your "twinkle" Uncle Walt?
Oh, we don't talk about that at Disney. Nobody twinkles or doodies in a Disney movie, right?
Does Bambi shit in the woods?
Oh Chris, you're too much! So, I want to correct you again about pricing. Getting into Disneyland is a very affordable undertaking. I want all the world to be able to get into The Happiest Place On Earth, so I made sure the prices are as low as possible. Why, it's only a dollar to get in!
But it is 1955!
Where are you coming from Walt? Are you a hologram again? Or a clone?
I think I'm a non-corporeal entity...
Well, where I am it's 2022.
Okay, well, adjusting for inflation, that one dollar admission price would be about 11.00 dollars in your time. I think that's incredibly affordable...even for a paper-boy or a Girl Scout! And inside the park, you can ride whatever you want for extremely reasonable prices, what with my A through E ticket system!
Well, aren't you the cynic...didn't you and your family enjoy stays at my Florida parks in the recession-riddled 1970's?
Yeah, we did...
Looking back, did it seem outrageously over-priced?
Well, I can't really speak to that, I was a kid. My parents paid for everything...
So maybe you should think before you speak?
Look Walt, in the 70's your company was on the skids. It was churning out junk like The Apple Dumpling Gang and The Boatniks...not exactly Box Office fire. You needed to keep prices low. Somehow, Disney Corp. came roaring back and now pretty much owns most of Hollywood.
Did you hear that Mickey? We own Hollywood! (Holds up Mickey and does his voice again) I want to renegotiate my contract, Walt! (Regular voice) Wait, what? (Mickey voice) You heard me...
So, back to the Hayworth family:
In order to get to Disneyland from San Francisco in one day; firstly, that brunch would need to be a real early brunch. And secondly, you couldn't drive, because by the time you got there, the park would be closing. So, we have to assume that Connor (who is the only one who could afford it) chartered a private jet. Now, in order to transport six adults and four kids, you'd need a "super mid-size" jet. Those cost, on average, $5000.00 dollars an hour. Now, if it takes an hour and a half each way and you're only being charged for hours in the air, that would be $7,500.00 each way. So, thats $15,000.00 for a round trip, conservatively speaking; since you'd probably want the plane on stand-by if you were only going for a day, so who knows how much more that might cost.
So, tickets for one day with the option to visit both SoCal parks for ten people, two of which seem to be under the age of nine...by my research and math skills...comes to about the $2,400.00 ball park. So, our little trip for one day at Disneyland, is now hovering around $17,500.00. That's not counting meals and souvenirs, which we see later in the episode that Connor has dropped probably a couple of thousand on toys for his daughter.
But it's all on deep-pockets Connor, right? Our upper-lower-class and middle-middle class segments of the family are completely off the hook for any of this. If baby brother, who's in the 1% is paying, no questions asked, then yeah...WE'RE GOING TO DISNEYLAND!
Who's next ABC? The Conners?
Now just hold it right there Chris! Of course they can. Why just this past Halloween they put on an impromptu party that must've cost them thousands of dollars!
Your studio, anyways. It's easy to throw an impromptu Halloween party with top of the line costumes if you live on a soundstage at The Walt Disney Studios! You see, the Conner's are only "poor" when they need to be. Just like school on Abbott Elementary.
It's a TV show that runs on your network. It's about an inner-city elementary school that is surviving on grit and moxie, hanging on by a financial thread...
Yes. But somehow they too managed to have an elaborate Halloween party at the school. A school that only, apparently, has one working toilet.
It's Disney magic Chris! When you wish upon a star!
Yeah, it's wishful thinking all right...
Oh, they're just TV shows...it's Fantasyland!
Well, don't preach to me about socio-economics during your Wednesday block of sit-coms and then just have them be poor or not poor whenever the scripts require it. It sends out a mixed message. You send these financially strapped characters to your parks and show them wallowing in Disneystyle Consumerism and then people in real life have to go into debt to actually go there, while your parks are more and more catering to the upper percentiles...Walt? Uncle Walt? Where did you go?
Mickey Mouse: He had to twinkle again. Lighten up, Chris. Here's a Disney dollar. Go buy yourself some mice ears.
Mickey Mouse: Sure...and at 1955 prices, it will buy you half a hat.
Gee, Mickey, thanks a lot.