Disneyland Ends All Annual Pass Sales

The Happiest Place on Earth has just shut down its annual pass program, and it’s not a half-measure this time. Here’s what just happened.

The Annual Pass Mess Continues

Last August, Disney announced its replacement for the former annual pass program.

This new system, Magic Key, would work like the old annual pass system, albeit at a higher price and with fewer benefits.

You can understand why Disney liked that idea while Disneyland fans did not.

Alas, the language in the new Magic Key program proved ambiguous, promising its owners access to the parks on most dates.

The top tier of Magic Key, the Dream Key, indicated it wouldn’t include any blackout dates.

However, park officials assumed something that customers didn’t. Disney would still require Park Passes for guests to enter Disneyland’s two parks.

Management promised that Dream Key owners would gain access to exclusive Park Passes, which was true.

The sticking point centered on the number of available Park Passes, which was nowhere near enough.

The problem started with social media criticism and ended with a class action suit. We’re still in the early stages of the legal matters.

Still, Disney isn’t going to wait for any rulings. Last October, the company announced that its top two tiers, Dream Key and Believe Key, had sold out.

How does a company sell out an annual pass? Unfortunately, that’s a good question only Disney can answer.

What I can say is that we’ve maintained that status quo from October until now. Then, on May 31st, Disney decided to end all Magic Key sales.

Sorry, Californians!

Then, there’s this:

Reporter Scott Gustin points out that even if you could purchase one of the other annual passes, you wouldn’t find Park Pass availability until August.

Those last two Park Passes, the Enchant Key and Imagine Key, are exclusive to California residents.

So, Disney has now shut out the locals from buying new annual passes as well.

Not coincidentally, Disneyland just announced a new summer ticket offer for California residents.

Disney’s aim here is impossible to misinterpret. It doesn’t want locals filling up Disneyland this summer.

Photo Credit: Disney Tourist Blog

Instead, Disney desires higher attendance rates from out-of-state residents. These tourists need hotel rooms and generally spend more at the parks.

Disneyland’s Magic Key program will differ from Walt Disney World in one vital aspect.

Owners of Magic Keys will possess the ability to renew their annual passes. However, at Walt Disney World, park officials have chosen to let these passes expire.

I suspect – and this is pure speculation on my part – that Disney’s legal team has indicated the company should allow renewals at Disneyland.

To date, Walt Disney World hasn’t suffered a class action suit. But, since Disneyland has, park officials must tread carefully here.

Here’s Gustin clarifying the renewal stipulations:

So, even the idea of renewals remains theoretical. Disney won’t provide details on how to proceed for another few weeks.

This story is blowing up on Disney, as even trade sites like Deadline are covering it.

This turn of events definitely doesn’t sound like good news for Walt Disney World fans. Frustratingly, Disney appears unlikely to act on annual passes this summer.

The Other Disneyland Resort Update

Not much has changed with Radiator Springs Racers. Disney announced that the ride wouldn’t return for Memorial Day Weekend.

We’re now into June, and the attraction remains closed for additional testing. At least one vehicle has malfunctioned in a way that makes the entire attraction unsafe.

Photo Credit: Disney Tourist Blog

To its credit, Disney represents the gold standard in theme park safety. If attractions aren’t working at the 99th percentile, cast members shut them down.

If you’ve ever heard the “code 101” term for Disney rides, that’s what it references. Any attraction in a 101 state is malfunctioning and won’t return until it’s fixed.

Code 102 means that the ride is back up and running. Radiator Springs Racers remains a Code 101 for now, but I expect it to return this week.


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