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Disney Parks survey suggests changes to Annual Pass are being considered

in Disney, Disneyland Resort, Theme Parks, Walt Disney World

A recent survey conducted by Disney Parks asked Annual Passholders how they would respond to a two-month blackout period following the opening of new attractions. According to WFTV, Passholders were asked if they would buy regular park tickets, upgrade to a pass without blackout dates or simply wait for two months if their pass prohibited admission during such a period.

The question suggests that Disney is considering a new type of Annual Pass, or changes to the existing options, that would block Passholders on dates of high attendance after new exhibits debut. Most likely the question is being asked in anticipation of Star Wars Land, Toy Story Land and Pandora (or Avatar Land as fans commonly refer to it) which are all scheduled to open in the coming years.

This would definitely be a new direction in terms of seasonal passes. It’s common for theme parks to have various levels of passes, and some of them have blackout periods that pertain to peak seasons on the calendar. However, those peak seasons are determined by traditional patterns for vacationing such as school breaks. They have never been dictated by the the opening of a new attraction. It seems as if Disney is now reconsidering this way of thinking, and it isn’t hard to see why if you recall the five-hour long wait for Frozen Ever After when that attraction initially opened.

Disney was asked by Channel 9 if this change should be expected soon. Their response was noncommittal. “Disney frequently surveys our guests on possible changes, some that come to fruition and some that do not.”

As an Annual Passholder, the idea is disheartening because it likely indicates a higher price to maintain the current perks entitled to passholders. The alternative is to lose more days of access when something new has opened–another unappealing thought. To the families that already spend a large sum of money on repeated trips to Disney each year in conjunction with their APs, such a change would surely taste bitter. And yet it is possible that Disney feels they need to investigate methods for crowd control in the wake of events like Frozen Ever After’s debut.

Leave a comment below and tell us your thoughts.

 

72 Comments

  1. Caroline

    This is horrible to read, the prices are already so high for the AP but continuously blocking out more dates is going to drive me not to buy another one. If this is such an issue, maybe do what Disneyland does and allow certain times and days for APs to attend the new attractions, that way it could help with the control of crowds !

  2. Pidge

    I already pay too much for an AP. What about Disney Runs. If it’s in the 2 month black out, I can’t visit the park after the 10k? No way.

  3. Mark

    How would they handle multiple openings that would happen a few months apart? You could effectively be blocked out for a long period of time.

  4. Elaine

    Oh boo hoo. Passes will be so expensive. Blah blah. You all pay monthly for your passes. Don’t act like an extra $10 a month is going to kill you. Be happy Disney still offers monthly payment plans. I think it’s a great idea. Gives the tea tourists, the ones who save up for years and spend literally thousands to come to disneyland for just a couple days, a chance to have a great vacation with their family and enjoy the new attractions offered without the awful AP population to ruin it for them. If we AP’s were nicer to the parks and to the out of town/states/country guests we wouldn’t have this issue.

    1. Lori

      Not everyone pays monthly for their AP’s. I have one and had to pay for it in full because I am not a FLorida resident.

    2. Hazel

      I agree with Lori. Those who are not Florida residents can not pay monthly. Also, we don’t get any special plans like you do in Florida.

    3. Mily

      I don’t pay monthly. Do the math. $700 times 7 people. I just renewed in August.

    4. Brittany

      Then you might as well never go again because what your saying happens everyday… Not just when something new happens. And some people who have passes can barley afford the monthly payments but they love Disney and it’s a better opportunity to go more often without paying the high ticket price. So what your saying isn’t exactly fair either.

    5. James

      850 x5 people and we can’t go the last 2 weeks of the year. Now you want to take 2 months from us. Not happening. I can spend 5 grand on something eles

    6. Suzanne

      Seriously Elaine we as AP holders keep Disney World and Disneyland going we spend more during a year than anyone else please stat facts and not fiction. So sick of people posting things they know nothing about!

      1. Jacquelin Marquez

        Agree with Suzanne as a AP holder we keep Disney going with the spend. Normally the AP holder go really frequently to the parks, some people almost every weekend if they leave close to the parks. So keeping us with the blackout dates is not a good idea

      2. Jacquelin Marquez

        Agree with Suzanne as a AP holder we keep Disney going with the spend. Normally the AP holder go really frequently to the parks, some people almost every weekend if they leave close to the parks. So keeping us with the blackout dates is not a good idea. We spend
        a lot of money every time we go.

    7. tina

      That’s kind of a rude reply. I had to pay for my pass upfront, I booked 4 vacations in 12 months with the pass, that’s called revenue for Disney……

    8. dangeresque

      This is the dumbest thing I have read all week. $120 a year is an enormous raise to the cost of any pass. Paying for something per month does not make it less expensive. Why should anyone who pays a lot of money for something have to shut up and take it like Disney is doing them a favor because they could have made it worse?

  5. Nicole

    I think that with the way the parks have been under-attended this summer, you would hope that Disney would get the message that those of us who are loyal AP holders and invest our vacation dollars there should be encouraged and given every opportunity to enjoy the benefits that we are already paying for. We are the guests they can count on. If I were them, I wouldn’t want to be driving those faithful guests away.

    1. Steve

      The attendance is down but the revenue is up – and the revenue is the only number they care about. The feeling is, if revenue increases while attendance decreases…it gives them a bubble that they can then increase the revenue when the attendance rises. And they know it will rise, because of all the new things coming to the parks. Disney doesn’t like AP holders, they like tourists that pay full price for tix and rooms.

    2. Revenue is not up, because Cast Members have been given their holiday discount 3 months early AND extra park tickets. Between Zika, the Pulse shooting, & upping prices attendance is way down, as well as revenue

    3. tam

      Steve from a financial perspective revenue is not what matters, profitability is what matters. AP holders tend to spend more generally because they didn’t have to think about that $1000 at the gate to get their family in. They go more often and spend more. If you think the money is at the door you are mistaken, it is in the retail. IJS

  6. Allan

    I am thinking that it would effect more of the APH that live closer to the park. Our drive from Pensacola, so we don’t mantain an AP. We buy it and use it for a couple times during that year. If, however, I did live in Central Florida, this would definitely make me do a double take on when or if to renew

  7. Stewart St.John

    really? we pay a pile of money now and can only use our passes for 16 days a year (due to our location from Disney) this really seems unfair,or is it just a big cash grab,i would venture a guess that it’s a cash grab

  8. Sue

    This is a terrible idea !! Annual pass holders spend a lot of money in the parks during the year. It seems to me as a pass holder that should be one of the perks !! It seems like pass holders are being pushed to the back burner !!

  9. Desiree Moreno

    That would just be wrong! We pay big $$ for these passes and spend a lot more when we go each time. We get a measly 10-15 % which basically covers tax at certain locations of the park and small special offers like AP days and some advance showings and early registrations which we still pay a crap load for. But If they take away our days for that long knowing we buy these passes for those specific and special opening events they at least should give the AP holders a chance to experience it first before its opened to everyone else. Give us fans a day or two to experience these amazing attractions before taking them away. We live in the area we have family and friends who help keep this park going , we deal with the traffic and crowds this Park brings they should at least give us some more deals or opportunities.

  10. Tim

    I, for one, would likely discontinue my Annual Pass purchasing if this were the case. Living with a teacher, I’m limited on when I can visit (from Michigan, mind you). Since summer is more likely to be when we can visit, and Disney is notorious for opening attractions when they’ll have their best attendance, that would essentially negate my ability to use my annual pass. I also went through a whole cost-benefit analysis prior to purchasing this pass, to make sure that I was justified in the cost – was it actually going to be cheaper than paying for tickets? This time it was, but if I cannot use it when I want to use it because a new attraction opened, what is the point?

  11. Panda

    I hope Disney will not take more from AP because we do value our time there enough to invest in the passes. They could give special days/preview opportunities and that would cut down over crowding from AP holders. We love having our AP’s so please consider some ways to Not cut our benefits.

  12. Ian

    Or they could you know do AP previews of new attractions to help relieve the traffic of opening months

  13. Pete

    Well, we’re doing our part. Stopped visiting Disney cause Don’t agree with company direction. More room for the rest of you.

    Oh, wait attendance is down and more restrictions threatened. Maybe others came to same conclusion. Amazingly enough there’s plenty of other great theme parks, etc to visit. Thank you Disney for giving me the push after 44 years. As for DVC people oops bad move.

    1. Jet hero Tull

      Attendance down at all theme parks in Orlando, not just Disney.

  14. Katie M.

    As a Disneyland Annual Passholder, it is very frustrating when Disney changes prices/blockout dates for the APs. However, I really don’t think a 2 month blockout period would be THAT bad. In fact, I have the SoCal AP and it blocks out 2 months of summer, and it really isn’t that long of a wait. I have experienced extremely crowded days regarding special events (the 24 hour opening day of the 60th Anniversary, anyone?) and the crowds really took something away from what should have been a fun event. I really think Disney needs to take steps to reduce the number of attendees for the Star Wars Land opening, and frankly the best way to do that is discourage the APs from visiting because we all know they will jump at the chance of visiting SWL as soon as possible. If it came down to it, I’d rather wait 2 months than pay extra money to visit Star Wars Land because I won’t want to go anywhere near SWL (or Disneyland, for that matter) for at least 2 months after it opens anyway because of the massive crowds it will bring in.

    1. dangeresque

      You aren’t going to get a discount when they black out 2 months trust me.

    2. Amy

      Disneyland is so different from WDW. And you live much closer disneyland if you are in socal. Here AP holders have to drive greater distances so its harder to make your pass worth it.

  15. Jen

    I think unless they give a calendar of openings and stuck with that day then it would be very hard for AP to plan a vacation. I don’t live in FL so planning a vacation takes a few months. It would make me rethink renewing and spend the $700 plus dollars somewhere else.

  16. Nathan

    This is frustrating. There are not any real significant perks for AP’s. The only one is the monthly payment plan. They added blackout dates already and did nothing to the prices. Those of us who have been AP’s for a long while are the loyal fanbase. AP’s are the returning guests. Sure, visitors/tourists spend an ample amount but it’s a one hit visit. AP’s keep coming back because we have loved Disney. But there are more and more restrictions WDW is implementing with little incentive to keep anything. Newsflash: Spending more to “upgrade” a pass just so there are no blackout dates (which was changed to the chagrin of MANY) is NOT an incentive.

    1. Kevin

      One time hit? I come to park annually and spend far more than you do on your AP every single time. I swear you AP’s are entitled little brats.

      1. Erica

        Entitled brats? Sounds like Kevin needs to up his “annual” trip and go get a churro 😊

      2. Daren

        AMEN BROTHER !

      3. frostysnowman

        When I lived in FL and had an annual pass, I went to Disney almost every weekend. Many times we’d go on a Saturday and stay overnight in a hotel, just for fun. So collectively, I probably spent more money in a year than someone who came on vacation for a week. That’s what the AP’s are talking about.

  17. It saddened us to hear this. We are annual Disney holders, DVC members and Platinum on Disney cruise. We do not live in the state of Florida. We love Disney !!! Please find a way to award those of us that are committed to promoting Disney.

  18. Chris

    LOL…and here I am thinking the reason I might stop going to Disneyland is because the crowds are getting to be too much. I’m one of those wishing prices would go up to help thin the masses.

  19. Hazel

    We would like no price increases. It is expensive enough. Black out dates are not a good idea for those of us out of the state. A possible suggestion for those who live in Florida.

  20. Michelle

    This is one of the many reasons why I cancel my AP this year. I AM DONE!!

  21. Nicole Magaskie

    We have been DVC Members since 1995. We get APs when we know we are coming at least twice in the year. We were last at WDW in May 2016. We noted that the parks and our resort were not as clean as we are used to. Also there seemed to be
    fewer personnel. And some cast members were less than happy. Food service was also lacking. In BOMA we were told the bus boy positions were eliminated and the server had to clear the plates and,do the drink service . We were disappointed. The cost of our annual pass was the most it has been in 20 years and gave us the least of the Disney Experience we are accustomed to. To add even more black out dates , seems to mean REALLY not getting what you pay for. We enjoy Universal also and get annual passes there. With the Harry Potter section, in many ways Universal is a better deal!! I hate to say it because I have been a staunch Disney supporter. I will reserve my recommendations going forward. ” Say it isn’t so “

  22. Jamie

    Honestly, this is a really bad idea. If you don’t go gold or above, you’re already blocked out for the entire summer and unless you do platinum you can’t go for the end of the year either. Why on earth would I buy an annual pass or continue going when now anytime something is new or revamped I would be unable to attend the park for more approximately 4-5 months each year?

  23. Mily

    I’ve been an annual pass holder for 10 years. If this goes into effect I will not be renewing my family of 7 annual passes. We pay for the passes and support Disney by making dining reservations and purchasing their merchandise especially during non peak times. Raising the price or blocking out days will ultimately discourage AP holders and hurt Disney. I hope they take this into consideration.

  24. Roxie

    We pay alot of money for those passes and I’m sorry some people feel we are entitled brats for this. I feel like they should go back to Passholder previews for new ares, as they did with New Fantasyland, we try to get to those when they had them. It was a soft opening for passholders. Blocking us out should not be an option. The Florida passholders deserve better! We spend money on the hotels, food and drinks like everyone else!

  25. As a close to 20 year PASSHOLDER, that move would be the end of our passes. We go at different times all year long and to close the new attractions to PASSHOLDER’s would be the final straw for us.

  26. Jennifer

    We will not renew again if this happens. We already purchase at a higher price for not being residents. As a military family, we have little control over when we can take vacations (missing school is the least of my worries). Risking a blackout at the times we can go as a family would make APs completely worthless to us. Plus, we like to do the races when we can. Not being able to use the parks during our stay would make us skip the races as well. This would be a crap move. Either offer soft openings of attractions for APs, open EMH for them for the purpose of shortening the ride lines later in the day, or leave it the heck alone.

  27. Cathy

    If Disney decides to do this I’m thinking there won’t be any Passholders. I like the idea of having a few days that Passholders can ride the new rides but the public can’t. This seemed to benefit everyone.
    For those who are saying that can’t be Passholders you can just not Florida Resident Passholder. If you don’t live here then you can’t have the resident pass.

  28. LeRoy

    I would not renew my annual pass

  29. Heather

    If there are restrictions, lower the cost of the pass and then I may get behind it. But same price for less dates? Or more money for same dates? Um, that’s a mouska-dont.

  30. Rita

    Being in California and able to pay for my AP in monthly payments, I don’t have a problem. What ever happened to the AP night, when APH could stay in the parks til 1am and Disneyland would close early at 7pm??? That would diminish the daytime over crowdedness (is that a word?)…especially if an APH can bring a guess that’s not an APH.

  31. Gilbert

    We don’t like crowds (20 minute waits max for us…maybe up to 30 depending on the attraction, but only 2 or 3 of those max per day) so I don’t mind paying less money for an AP for the less crowded days. Give us a credit on our next annual fee for every 2 months you block out!

  32. Art

    Want to control crowds? Stop letting so many people in. I’m kinda done with this garbage of continually raising the coat of admission for the good of the guest. If they want to continue to reach deeper and deeper into my pocket at least come up with something better than “it’s for my own good.

    1. Gilbert

      Unfortunately, they look to lighten the attendance with higher admission instead of closing the gates. 🙁 Which doesn’t work since people pay the higher prices to go because that’s the only day(s) they can go if they are from out of town…and the crowds don’t get any thinner.

  33. Diana

    Well, if this comes to pass it would be the catalyst for our not renewing. We looked long and hard at how we wanted to spend part of our entertainment budget this year. The fact that renewing at the same level as before would cost us $400 more for two people gave us cause to renew, but at one level below our former passes. We did this after MUCH consideration because Disney isn’t the only thing we want to do. This isn’t counting the money spent on food, when we go we like to have lunch or dinner. We live close to Disneyland, so we like to go often.
    If there will be more, and longer blackout dates, we simply don’t want to pay for the privilege of NOT being able to enjoy the park.
    Oh and Lori, not everyone pays monthly. Paying for things you owe on a monthly basis is the best way to get yourself into financial trouble. ONLY $10 here and there adds up.

  34. alicia

    I love Disney, but geeez! Enough with the greed.

  35. Acola

    We were almost out this year with the added silver pass blackouts. We wouldn’t renew. Passholders spend far more than their pass price on food and addons. Actually stayed on property at Port Orleans for a week this summer and got a better deal on Orbits than AP rates. They are clearly telling us they don’t want us.

  36. Justine

    They haven’t opened anything on time recently… ahem rivers of light. How could you black out a time period for the opening of something when you can’t be sure when it will open .

  37. Garry

    I already pay too much for an AP. why is it that the ap ticket holder always take the hit…. that terrible and Disney is out of hand…if this keep up i will sell my DVC and start going the other park in Orlando….

  38. Jess Newcomb

    Already paying a premium for my sig+ passes and live far enough away that I cannot attend as much as I would like. Restrictions on that would not sit well.

  39. Stephanie Maurer

    We are AP holders (3 of us) and just got back from our latest trip. We live in Indiana so quite far away. We still love Disney but will not renew our passes. Came away from this trip feeling different. So many closures, we did not enjoy the new Frozen attraction, CM seemed overworked and some seemed sad even. The new signature dining at Tiffins was the worst we have ever had on property. Even the Halloween party lacked the usual luster. Only one dance party, less treat stations and I understand the costume restrictions but it def interfered with the overall experience. We will be going from 2/3 trips a year to one starting next year. No annual pass so will be less days in the park and more relaxing at our resort. Just our thoughts.

  40. Please leave the passes as they are. My plans for Star Wars Land is to enjoy the rest of the resort while the big rush is on.

  41. Matthew Doherty

    If they enacted a change where passholders could not go for 2 months after a new attraction opens I would stop getting my annual pass. I already have blackout dates for all of summer as well as part of Christmas and Spring Break. Honestly the summer doesn’t bother me since I don’t want to stand in line in the Florida sun from June-August anyway. And if all the new attractions opened in the summer again I would have no problem. But I am not going to pay for a pass and have January-March blacked out just because a new ride or show opened. Getting half a year or less on an ‘annual’ pass seems like a bad deal.

  42. Rebekah

    We used to have APs for our family of 6. Then this past year we decided to not get APs for the kids- just 2 of us since we were doing some runDisney events. We bought military tickets instead and only took the kids once. Next year, we may not buy APs at all. With attendance down, you’d think they’d be encouraging AP holders but seems like Disney only appreciates AP holders on the west coast.

  43. Claire

    If they block block the passholders for 2 months are they not just extending the high crowds? once the 2 months are up everyone will go and you have the exact same problem you would have had anyway

  44. Celia

    We buy 5 annual passes every year to be able to go to More frequently and not just once a year! If Disney does this we will no longer purchase annual passes and only attend once a year maybe! With school and sports schedules it is getting harder and harder to go.

  45. Joe

    Could this change being put into effect now? I could not pay for my Gold AP online (error message), and now that I purchased our APs through member services, I can’t access the AP website. Anyone else experiencing this? Could this be Disney updating website with new restrictions?

  46. Sue

    What is Disney thinking? Do they think they’re losing money on people who are passholders. We have Florida Resident seasonal passes and don’t mind the current blackout date, so when Frozen opened while we were blocked out, no problem. Since we have a pass even for a new ride we won’t wait longer than 1 hour, so if the line is longer than that we just try another day, leaving room in line for those who paid the one day price to get in and they can wait 2-5 hours if they wish. We only live 1 1/2 hours away, so visit the park frequently and love the buffets, so usually spend $100 for a great meal since we didn’t have to pay the one day park admission. But if you figure we have at least 12 or more great Disney meals a year, they can do the math and realize they’re still making money off of us. If they don’t want passholders in the line for at least 2 months, maybe they should offer a few days where only passholders can ride before the grand opening of any ride opening. But either way why should their passholders be penalized and not treated like any other guest at Disney for the day?

  47. Paul Wojtysiak

    I find this unacceptable. We buy the annual pass when we are planning to go to WDW and w go twice in that year. We have little, if any, flexibility in dates. This could mean we arrive at the perfect time for a new attraction to find we are not allowed to go to it. It may be years before we get back. We shouldn’t have to wait because of the type of ticket we purchased. If it is valid for that park it should let us visit all attractions.

  48. TOM

    I Love Disney but cannot afford anymore. It seems that when times are slow Disney raises the prices and when times are good Disney raises the prices!

  49. Wayne

    The passes are great we live 20 minutes away. But the prices are getting way to high. They are adding rides but it will take a couple years to enjoy and they are taking out rides to make room. We probably will not get a pass this year will wait till the new ridesign open. WI’ll get a unversal pass this year. Also email Iger and let him know . I did and got a call from didney asking me questions.

    Let Iger no your feedback

    .

  50. Crazyaboutdisney

    Go back to the paper fast passes where you get the pass the day you are in the park. If you can’t get a pass one day you get it the next if you are there multiple days. Now even staying on property and being able to schedule 60 days out doesn’t guarantee you getting a decent restaurant or a fast pass for the ride you want. After being a loyal AP holder for many years we won’t be renewing this time.

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