Walt Disney World Suspends Annual Passes
The Walt Disney Company has continued its recent run of puzzling decisions.
Yes, your favorite company has suspended annual pass sales at Walt Disney World. I’ll explain what’s happening.
Annual Passes on Pause
Recently, Disneyland stirred up some fans when it announced that its top level of annual pass, the Dream Key, had sold out for a while.
Park officials likely made this announcement due to frustration from its most loyal and highest-paying fans. They were facing plenty of drama at the time.
The people who paid for the highest tier of the new Magic Key program faced problems with attaining Park Passes.
Even though these fans forked out $1,400 for the Dream Key, they discovered that Park Passes had sold out for the body of the next three months.
Perhaps that turn of events has informed this new change at Walt Disney World.
Yes, three out of the four annual passes here are no longer for sale. In addition, Disney has described the program as on pause.
Problematically for DVC members, the annual pass exclusive to us is one of the options that Disney just froze.
When you visit the official annual pass site, you’ll receive the following message:
“New sales of select Annual Passes are currently paused.
Please check disneyworld.com/pass for the latest updates.”
That site hilarious features the message: “Now’s the Time to Become a Passholder.” So, Disney’s just taunting us at this point.
What’s Available to Buy?
The why will require some speculation. So, let’s lead with what I can confirm. Disney restored its annual pass program in Orlando on September 8th.
The company created a new program that mostly mimics the old version of Gold and Platinum Passes, albeit with different names.
If you live in Florida, you can still purchase one of Walt Disney World’s annual passes.
The cheapest option, the Disney Pixie Dust Pass, remains available at $399 plus tax.
So why is Disney selling this one but not the rest?
I suspect that the answer comes down to the blockout dates. With the Pixie Dust Pass, you can only book for 12 dates from now through January 2nd.
Also, all the available options are all on weekdays. And this option isn’t even great from that perspective. As I type this, one of the dates, November 29th, doesn’t have much availability.
So, Disney will sell you some dates that aren’t blocked out, but it’s not making any promises about Park Pass availability. Folks, that’s the one that IS open for purchases right now.
The other three are off the table for the time being. Yes, that includes the Disney Sorcerer Pass, the one that’s exclusive DVC members and Floridians.
As of right now, DVC members cannot buy annual passes unless they live in Florida.
I say this because the best current annual pass, the Incredi-Pass, has also paused its sales.
In fact, extrapolating on the point, nobody outside the state of Florida can technically buy a Walt Disney World annual pass according to the current rules.
Why Did Disney Do This, and How Long Will It Last?
Those are both great questions, and the only people who know for sure work for Disney.
What the company has confirmed thus far is that this decision is temporary. At some point, annual pass sales will return.
However, I don’t think you should expect them this holiday season. If that happens, consider it a pleasant surprise…but not a realistic hope.
I suspect Disney officials have done the math here and realized that the same thing will happen at Walt Disney World as Disneyland.
People will purchase too many of the higher-tier annual passes, the ones with few or no blockout dates. This will lead to Park Pass shortages, especially for Christmas Week.
So, Disney has moved proactively to prevent a later, more severe problem. And it’s not something unexpected.
When the company announced the return of annual passes, it included this caveat: “Some Annual Pass types may be unavailable for purchase at any time.”
I should add that current annual passholders can renew their annual passes. Disney sent out an email confirming that to impacted passholders.
If you fall into a gray area here – and I actually do, so I sympathize – you can and should speak with the annual pass help desk.
You can reach them by calling 407-939-7277 and stating “Passholder Help Desk” at the prompt.
According to Disney, “Cast Members are available from 7:00 a.m. until 11:00 p.m., Eastern Time, seven days a week.”