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If the economy stinks, why are so many folks at Disney World?

Ninety percent of Americans say the U.S. economy stinks. A CNN online poll shows that 72 percent think we’re heading into another recession. No surprises here. We’re all walking around with a cloud hanging over us. Doom and gloom is all I hear these days.

Then, I attend a conference in Orlando, Fla. You know, Mickey Mouse, Magic Kingdom, family playground in the middle of a swamp. I met my daughter there, hoping to get in a little mother-daughter time along with the conference activities.

It was the end of September. The off season. After the conference wound down, we headed to the parks, expecting short lines and sparse crowds. Boy was I surprised.

Every park was packed, and most were filled with families. In some cases, it was obvious the children had been pulled out of school for this grand adventure. In other cases, the children were only skipping out on nursery school. I’ve never seen so many strollers in my life.

DisneyWorld is not a cheap place to vacation. Our one-day park hopper pass cost $127 each. Children’s tickets are not much less. Food in and around the parks will put a ding in any family’s wallet. Expect to spend $75 to $100 a meal for a family of four, and that may not count the drinks and ice cream in between mealtimes. It’s hot in Florida, even at the end of September.

Then there’s the extras. Of course, every kid in the family will need a pair of ears. All little girls will require a princess costume, and all little boys will need to be outfitted in pirate regalia. You’ll also need t-shirts and sweatshirts to go around. Add in the cost of your hotel, and you can easily spend $1,000 a day for a family. And that doesn’t count the cost of getting there.

As I fought my way through the crowds, dodging strollers and screaming children, I really wondered if our actions matched our words. And as I stood in line for over a hour to go through the “It’s a Small World” ride, I wondered if anyone told the families at DisneyWorld about the recession. I think not, for the cash was flowing freely, and everyone seemed to be having a grand time.

So, 90 percent of Americans think the economy stinks? Something just doesn’t smell right to me.

Nancy Lottridge Anderson, Ph.D., CFA, is president of New Perspectives Inc. in Ridgeland — (601) 991-3158. She is also an assistant professor of finance at Mississippi College. Her e-mail address is nanderson@newper.com, and her website is www.newper.com.

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