We reported last week that Disneyland announced an end to their Annual Passholder program. The company revealed that they will be using this time to revamp the program and will likely introduce a new system whenever they are allowed to reopen.
Many have concerns the news is an indication that the Annual Passholder program will also be canceled on the other coast. Disney World’s program however, is drastically different than Disneyland’s.
Disney World is a destination park. The majority of their revenue, even now, comes from travelers. People traveling from out-of-town, staying on property, eating, drinking, shopping and “living” on Walt Disney World.
Related: Disneyland Ends Annual Pass Program
Although many, like us, don’t live there but are AP’s, many more purchase tickets as part of a vacation package.
In Disneyland, it’s more of a local’s park. Once reopen, unfortunately, Disney will likely need to recoup some losses from the extended shutdown and they will have to increase the costs for whatever program they reveal for locals.
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Disney has confirmed to us that while current annual passholders at Disney World can continue to use and renew their passes, they will not be issuing new AP’s for the time being.
New annual passes to Disney World are not being sold. This has been the case since the parks reopened in July 2020. According to the castmember we spoke with, this will continue indefintely.
Dr. Ady Milman, a professor of theme park management, told WESH Orlando that she believes Disney’s move to cut back on the number of annual passholders is in part economic. Which makes sense.
“When they sell annual passes which are significantly cheaper than typical admission tickets we are going to see the parks full of local residents,” Milman said.
As we said above, Disney thrives and makes most of their money from travelers, not locals. Locals have Annual Passes and use them frequently. With the current capacity restrictions, Disney World wants to be full of travelers, not locals to help them recoup losses from the pandemic. That’s how they make their money.
As Bob Chapek said when the parks reopened in Florida, much to the chagrin of locals, while Disney values their local guests, they put a higher value on those traveling from out-of-state. That’s where the money comes from.
Locals don’t tend to eat, drink or purchase as much as out-of-town guests and a higher priority must be put on bringing in those big spenders especially during this time.
We don’t think Disney will discontinue Annual Passes but we do think that they will hold off on issuing new ones until they are in a more economically stable situation with their parks around the globe and in Florida.
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