The Disneyland Resort has suspended the sale of all annual passes as the theme park struggles to control crowds at the start of the busy summer travel season.
The new annual pass system launched in August, dubbed Magic Key, created four annual passes ranging in price from $399 per year for Southern California residents to $1,399 for the no-days option. blocking and the greatest flexibility to make reservations.
But in October and November 2021, the resort suspended sales of the two most expensive passes – Dream Key and Believe Key – and on Tuesday it halted sales of the two cheapest passes – the Enchant and Imagine Keys.
“It’s about managing the customer experience,” Disneyland spokesman Jaime Clower said.
The resort plans to let current pass holders renew their passes this summer. More details will be released at a later date, she said.
The previous annual pass program was discontinued and replaced last year with passes that were slightly more expensive and required park visitors to make reservations before entering Disneyland or Disney California Adventure. Daily ticket holders are also required to make reservations. Under the old system, pass holders could show up any day, as often as they wanted, as long as their pass was not blocked on that date.
Theme park experts have blamed the ongoing overcrowding problem at the Disneyland Resort primarily on annual passholders, especially local fans, who visited several times a week, often to ride one or two attractions or to take a meal in the parks.
After the parks reopened after a 15-month closure due to the pandemic, resort operators adopted a reservation system for all park visitors to maintain attendance limits imposed by public health officials. After pandemic limits were lifted, the resort maintained the reservation requirement to try to reduce overcrowding, congestion and long lines for attractions.
Martin Lewison, theme park expert and professor of business at Farmingdale State College in New York, said Disneyland appears to be trying to deal with the overcrowding problem that has made trips to Disney parks less enjoyable for some visitors lately.
“Demand again exceeds capacity, and the customer experience suffers when parks cannot deliver what is promised to people who have paid,” he said. “This is particularly problematic when those who have paid to avoid blackout dates find they cannot get reservations.”
Still, some fans prefer the previous pass system which allowed pass holders to visit without a reservation.
“I would like a pass similar to the old system, even if it means paying more without a reservation,” said Lexis Hanssen, an annual pass holder from Bakersfield who visits the park once a month. Under the old system, she could plan a trip to the park with just a few days’ notice, she said. Now she has to make a reservation several weeks in advance.
The new pass program was the subject of a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court last year that alleges Walt Disney Co. misled purchasers of Magic Key passes who believed that They would have unlimited access to the park and say they were instead blocked in favor of day pass buyers.
The lawsuit filed by Jenale Nielsen of Santa Clara County, who is described as a longtime Disney customer, claims that Walt Disney Parks and Resorts sold her a Dream Key pass for $1,399, on the understanding that no date would be blocked for entry to the Disneyland Resort. in Anaheim. Disney officials say the company has clarified the changes to the program and has pledged to vigorously defend itself against the lawsuit.
Disneyland representatives declined to disclose how many passes they have sold or how many visitors they allow into the parks daily. Before Disneyland added its latest expansion – Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge – insiders said it had a capacity of 80,000 visitors. A longtime Walt Disney executive has revealed that attendance at Disneyland on a “normal” day is 65,000.
California residents can now purchase a three-day ticket, starting at $249 per person for Monday-Thursday entry or $299 for three days, including weekends. Tickets must not be used on consecutive days and may be used at Disneyland or Disney California Adventure. One must reserve. More details are available on the Disneyland website.