As you may have seen, over the weekend Disneyland raised ticket and AP prices, which caused the typical outcry from fans as we've seen every other time they've raised prices.
The typical arguments flew around, Disney is greedy being chief among them. As we always try to do, we're going to try and give these things a bit of reasoning.
In addition to the AP prices, there were also a few things announced at the D23 Expo in Japan last night. So we figured we'd include them here and not make you click through 500 different articles. =)
Written by Gregg Condon
Here we are, a year or more from Star Wars Land opening at Disneyland, there are over a million Annual Passholders, Disneyland is crowded every single day yet for some reason Disney keeps trying to trim the amount of Annual Passholders.
They know that Star Wars Land is going to be huge, it's going to bring in people who aren't AP's, but what's going to happen when those people pay $150-$200 a day to get in the park only to find the park is filled with 50,000+ Annual Passholders and they can't do anything?
This is pretty much what all tourists these days find.
So in an effort to fix this, Disney has once again raised ticket and Annual Pass prices. Yet they've still not eliminated the one thing that would actually cause the number of Annual Passholders to go down, the payment plan.
This has been a source of contention with many for the past decade. The payment plan makes it easy to justify the price of an Annual Pass, because you can spread it around. What it has done however is turned Disneyland into a "hangout".
You now have a full generation of Disneyland fans who view it was something that's just "there", They can go whenever they want. The "specialness" of it is going away. It's no longer a "treat", it's just what they do on weekends and weeknights.
What's the answer? We don't know. All we know is that as infrequent visitors, we'd be way more willing to shell out $600-$800 for a day at Disneyland if we could enjoy a park that wasn't bursting at the seams with APs. As it is now, we go to the park once every 2-3 years. We'd definitely make multiple trips per year if the parks weren't as busy. I don't think we're alone in this.
At the end of the day, we don't see the current AP model as sustainable over the long term, and I don't think Disney does either.
So expect even more changes coming to the AP program sooner rather than later.
With all of that said, let's let's look at the new AP prices:
Disney Signature Plus = $1149
Disney Signature = $999
Disney Deluxe = $729
Disney Southern California Select = $369
As we've done in the past, we're going to look at the Annual Pass prices for Disneyland and compare them to the other theme parks in Southern California.
(click any of the links to be taken to the AP pages for each park)
Knott's Berry Farm
Regular Season Pass = $94
Knott's Gold Pass = $113
Cedar Fair Platinum Pass = $216
So let's break this down a bit.
You can get a Universal Studios Hollywood Gold Pass, Magic Mountain Gold Pass Membership, Cedar Fair Platinum Pass, Legoland Standard Pass and SeaWorld San Diego Pass for a grand total of $918.99.
If you won't be visiting any other Cedar Fair Parks other than Knott's, that drops your price $103. If you don't have small kids and don't need Legoland that drops your price $199. If you don't like roller coasters and don't want Magic Mountain, that drops it $97.
Note: If you have a Costco Pass you can get the Universal Studios Hollywood Gold Pass for $199, which saves you another $100. (Thanks to Mike for pointing this out)
There are also a ton of other non Theme Park Options, a few of them are below:
The point is, there are other options out there. There are things to do other than Disneyland.
If you enjoy going to Disneyland, if the price makes sense to you, by all means, keep your AP. Do what makes you happy.
If you find yourself increasingly bitter about the rise in APs, then maybe it's time to look elsewhere to spend your entertainment dollars.
The AP prices weren't the only big news this weekend, DisneyParks showed off some new artwork of a few things at the D23 Expo in Japan.
Details of all new Attractions at Walt Disney World
Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith at Walt Disney Studios Park to Receive Marvel Transformation
Alright, those are our thoughts on the price increases. Be sure to let us know your thoughts below.
Do you think we've laid out some good alternatives for people who may be fed up with Disney prices? Are we totally off our rocker? Be sure to let us know that too. =)
Earlier in the week it was announced that Disney was cancelling all RunDisney races on the west coast for the foreseeable future. This was kind of known since none of the races for 2018 had gone on sale yet, and the first one of the year was in January.
So as of today, the Super Hero Half Marathon in November may be the last race on the west coast for some time.
Written by Gregg Condon
The reasons for this are as extensive as the excuses flying around. Everything from Star Wars Land construction to Disney trying to "stick it" to the Anaheim City Council for them dragging their feet approving the Eastern Gateway and Harbor Bridge.
Never mind that Disney dragged their feet for more than a decade while they had a very favorable city council in Anaheim.
So what does this mean for you, the consumer? Because the ramifications of this go FAR beyond race weekends.
First off, if you think the Eastern Gateway and Harbor Bridge is going to be completed by the time Star Wars Land opens, I've got some bad news for you.
And it's going to make traffic around the resort during the 24 hour Disney parties look pale in comparison. There simply aren't enough roads, parking spaces, access points, freeway exits and ways to get people to the park. The Eastern Gateway wasn't going to fully address this problem, but it's better than them adding 400 parking spots in the Toy Story Lot.
And who is going to feel the brunt of all this? The Disneyland front-line Cast Members and park visitors. Disney is still going to get their money, the city of Anaheim is still going to get their tax revenue.
People are still going to descend on the parks to be "first" to visit Star Wars Land. They are still going to complain on Twitter on how big of a nightmare it is, how Star Wars doesn't fit at Disneyland and how everything is now ruined ... all while waiting 10 hours to get into the new land.
So with all of this, WHY did Disney cancel RunDisney races?
Is it because of Star Wars Land construction? Possibly. But as you can see, we got pretty close to it last year during the Super Hero Half.
It also can't be because it wouldn't allow enough distance running through the park, because during the Super Hero race in 2014 there was just over 2 miles of running through the parks and backstage ... during a 13.1 mile race.
It can't be because Anaheim doesn't like the revenue they get for the police, traffic officers, permits and other things.
This is about 2 sides wanting different things, one side (Disney) dragging their feet and one side (Anaheim) not wanting to bow down to the mighty mouse.
Sure, them cancelling these races may not impact you right now, in fact, many of you will probably enjoy not having runners descend on "your" park 3-4 times per year.
What makes you think the relationship between Disney and Anaheim will somehow improve by them doing this? If anything, it's going to make it worse. And the next time Disney wants to expand their parks or resort or build a hotel ... good luck.
A couple of weekends ago we made our first trip to Disneyland since 2014. We were very excited (obviously) to visit our old stomping grounds (we were AP's from 1998-2012) and of course to try out the new attractions.
We also decided to use the all new MaxPass to get the most out of our day. Read on to see how it went. We have lots of pics and videos to share.
Written by Gregg Condon
First let's take a look at Star Wars Land ...
Soon we'll only see the backs of buildings
We first headed into Disneyland. We wanted to spend our morning in Fantasyland and it's always fun to do a whole bunch of rides in a row when the park is slow in the morning.
We also set up our MaxPass and while we were walking to Fantasyland and got to get FastPasses for Space Mountain.
Hey Walt, long time no see ...
We skipped Peter Pan because, well, that line is just crazy and headed first to my favorite Fantasyland ride ... Mr Toad.
Video of this classic!!
Snow White's Scary Abrupt Ending Adventure's
Snow White has her Adventure ... Pinnochio has a Journey
Some fun on Ghost Galaxy ... one of the cool things about MaxPass is the free photos
While in line for Space Mtn we got some fastpasses for Star Tours, and then for Buzz ... Maxpass was working great so far.
After getting FastPasses for Haunted Mansion Holiday, it was time for a happy cruise
Headed to New Orleans Square, we had to check out the new stuff
Star Wars Land ... we'll see it in 2029 or something. Honestly, even though we are Southern California Locals I'm placing bets that we visit Star Wars Land in FL before we visit it here.
Love the changes to the RR
While waiting for our HMH fastpasses, we took a Pooh
And grabbed some Splash Mtn fastpasses ... we got soaked.
While I personally think they should keep the regular Mansion open through Halloween (haven't done the normal mansion since 2011 because all our visits have come during Holidays) I can't deny how fun this is.
LOVE the updates to the Railroad
While on the Railroad the parks got crazy busy ... seriously, between 11 and 1145 fastpasses for Soarin' went from 1:00pm to 9:00pm, Guardians fastpasses sold out (due to Monsters after dark) and the parks just seemed a lot busier.
The longest line of the day ... we didn't wait for it.
This is the AP problem in a nutshell ...
The Halloween decorations in CarsLand are AMAZING!!
I have to admit, this ride is growing on me
Love these posters ... wish they sold them
As close as we'd get to riding this ... sigh.
So, unknown to us, they cut off FastPasses for Guardians because Monsters After Dark was set to begin at 5:00. They closed Guardians at 4. Yes, their brand new ride, closed for an hour.
We tried to get Fastpasses for Monsters after dark at 3:00 when those were available ... which broke the MaxPass/FastPass system because so was everybody else.
I'm not sure if they've fixed this since (apparently everything was fine last Saturday), but the system was down for hours, which kind of messed us up fore the rest of the day.
What they SHOULD have done was made FastPasses available for both all day. And people could pick one or the other. For us, as infrequent visitors we would have picked Guardians in a second. While I have to believe most AP's would have picked Monsters After Dark. By trying to "reset" FastPasses at 3:00 for this one ride, it messed up EVERYBODY. Both MaxPass and FastPass users.
We did totally love the decorations at DCA
Hi Heady!! (No, Headley)
So we left DCA without being able to ride Guardians or Soarin' Over The World. We had planned on just doing Single Rider on Soarin', but they don't offer it anymore for some reason.
We'll catch them in 3 more years I guess.
Because it was snack time we figured we'd enjoy a dole whip in the quiet courtyard of the Tiki Room ... boy, we missed the news of the huge queue in there now. No more quiet courtyard. :(
Pure Disney Magic
Luckily the FP system came up so we got to get some FP's for Indy and Big Thunder ...
Side Note: We had totally forgotten they had made the updates to Indy ... loved them!!
We always love the Halloween Tree
LOVE they still do the swing dancing on Saturday Night!!
Jungle Cruise at night is the best!!
After Jungle Cruise and Pirates we exited just in time to catch the fireworks. We didn't know they did projections on the river now, they are awesome and we enjoyed it more than in front of the castle (less stress too).
We enjoyed a perfect unexpected family moment thus there are no pictures. Sorry. =)
So how did the MaxPass work for us? Watch the video below to find out.
We had a truly memorable day at Disneyland. We all agreed that we miss visiting Disneyland more often ... we don't miss the oppressive crowds however.
Because we are planning on making a few trips to FL over the next 18 months we may spring for the Premiere Pass next year to squeeze in a few DL visits, but we'll see.
Hope you all enjoyed our trip report and all of the videos!!