Written by Gregg Condon
Today news broke that the Disneyland Annual Passholder Program has essentially been cancelled. We will try to outline this, what we know now, and what we think is going to happen in the future for any kind of passholder program.
The official statement is below.
So what does mean, and what can we decipher from this statement.
The words that pop out in that statement are "choice" and especially "flexibility". It's no secret that Disney has been seeking to roll out more Flex passes in recent years, that was our Annual Pass of choice when we got our new AP's in December 2019, after not having AP's for about 7 years.
Obviously we don't know, but don't be surprised if the Annual Pass program looks like a Flex Pass program when it returns. And honestly, for me personally, I'm ok with it. We're planners, we live 100 miles away from the parks, so for us it's not that big of a deal.
The people this is really going to impact are those who use Disneyland as a "hang out" or "babysitter", and these are the types of Passholders Disney has been trying to weed out for years, and they've finally come up with an excuse to do so.
It's also not any accident that this announcement comes approximately 10 months after the parks closed. This is something that's most likely been in the works for some time, but from an "agreement" standpoint, they probably had to wait for a certain timeframe for this to happen.
But it was inevitable.
So why do we think some sort of Annual Passholder program will come back in the future?
What likely isn't coming back? SoCal passes. Sorry. They're gone. Done for. Kaput. No more lower tier passes that caused the parks to be busier on a Tuesday in October than a Saturday in July.
Why does making all Annual Passes "Flex Passes" make sense.
Let's face it. Daily and resort visitors, you know, the people who spend money when they go to the parks, were getting hosed the past few years. Because the park was constantly packed with Annual Passholders who, let's face it, don't spend a whole lot of money.
When Universal Studios Hollywood opened Wizarding World, they discovered a few things. One, attendance was not as high as was anticipated during the first summer it was open. And two, guest spending was through the roof during that same time period.
Guess word spread that people will be more than happy to spend money on merchandise when they're not fighting through oppressive crowds all day.
As we get through the next couple of months, and the vaccine becomes more readily available, and there is a light at the end of this awful tunnel, I'd anticipate we will start to hear about the new program. They already have it, they just aren't saying yet. And that's smart.
There is pent-up demand for theme parks, and Disneyland in particular. By controlling the amount of people who will want to go to the parks ASAP they are setting themselves up for a smooth roll-out in a couple of months (we hope).
What are your thoughts on these changes? Pro? Against? Let us know in the comments below.