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Comments for OpEd: Is Disney Giving Annual Passholders What They Paid For?

Disney Annual Passes

All Images Credit Disney

35 Comments

  1. Chris

    If Disney is going to do reservations, there should only be two pools:
    Onsite Hotel Guests (and only Disney owned hotels)
    Everyone Else

    Let it be open and fair for everyone, onsite hotel guests are small enough numbers to not make a significant impact and they should have some benefits for staying onsite, otherwise it should be wide open with everyone having an equal shot.

    1. ReservationsAreFair

      So where do APs fit in? If anything, they should have first choice since we “pre-paid” for our tickets and the ability to come as often as possible.
      The reservation system is good as-is other than APs being limited to a rolling 5 without a resort stay. Even so, I know plenty of people that make day of trips no problem.

  2. KevinY

    This is apparently the “catch” for the prices not really going up from the last AP increase in 2020.

  3. JJ

    I just paid them $1400 (ALL AT ONCE) and now I can’t come from out of state when I want (and/or am able) even though there ARE openings available?! This really pisses me off!

    1. CallDisney

      So why can’t you go? Like you said, availability is wide open for as far as the calendar goes, so if you’re having an issue, maybe try calling the AP line. I’ve never had an issue getting a reservation as an out of state AP holder, but mine was already active when the parks reopened.

    2. Jason A.

      I agree. My girlfriend and I are in the same position. We live in Northern California where it takes roughly 6-7 hrs to drive to Disneyland. We go on the weekends, if it’s not completely booked! We are Dream Key holders. We payed for no blackout dates.

      1. NotBlackedOut

        A park reaching capacity is different than a black out date. It’s no different than before in this regard — if the park is full, you aren’t getting in. For DL can you carry more than one reservation? If so, just look ahead and book your weekends ahead of time, if that’s what it takes. What would you do if there wasn’t a reservation system and drove the 7 hours only to find out you couldn’t get in?

        1. Sam

          The problem with your argument is that this is not an issue with the reservations being full because the park is at capacity. You can still make a reservation if you buy a full price ticket because the reservations bucket is different for key holders and ticket holders. Disney established a quota of key holders that appears to be much smaller than the overall capacity restriction at the time. Sure, regular ticket holders need a chance to make reservations too, but I feel that we should have been warned that the capacity buckets would be different for key holders and regular ticket holders, as opposed to a vague “subject to availability.” Very sneaky if you ask me. Now if we want to plan a weekend ahead, we can only get January 15th. It’s mid October and the only weekend we’ve got open is Jan 15th! I’m one of the people refreshing daily to see if my birthday weekend will pop-up. It’s been two weeks and nothing. I also noticed during this time that, for weekend reservations, people aren’t cancelling last minute as often as I thought they would. If I did see the date pop-up, it’d be gone in a minute. At this point, is it even worth it to buy a dream key pass? $1200 and you can only book 13 weeks in advance. I’d probably only be able to go 6 times or so in a year, which is as many reservations as I’m able to hold at once. Not worth it for me anymore.

  4. charles

    They should do away with the reservation garbage and put it back like it use to be .Annual Passholders are still not getting what we paid for .A lot of Passholders i see will not renew and will just go with Sea world and Universal Studio .Who ever came up with this idea of making park reservations needs to wake up

    1. Lisa Scott

      Well, the reservations are for park capacity. Until they are at full running mode from Covid, then the reservations go away. But I am a passholder and the only benefit is getting in unlimited. There are no perks for the price you pay. No deals, no great discounts, no bring a friend day, and all I see is a magnet in the mail once a year. They have to do better for loyal customers that come once a month and spend money on all their over priced stuff.

      1. Sue

        We are annual pass holder and live 9 miles away and yes we go at least twice a week we spend money on food. Don’t do rides but we don’t get anything discounts. Plus we never go on Fridays or Saturdays. And we only get 3 reservations at a time. And we have the Epcot after 4.

      2. Ferollew Lewis

        You got a magnet!!?!? I never received anything for being a top tier AP

        1. Barbara K Bennett

          I haven’t gotten a magnet in over a year.

        2. AllTheMagnets

          Is your AP information up to date?

      3. GreatValue

        Strongly disagree. The value of my AP was over $5k last year compared to the renewal rate of $1100. We got plenty of discounts on resorts, food, and merch.

      4. SG

        At WDW, before school opened, as APs, we were still able to get a reservation the night before and the parks were really crowded with long wait times. It looked like we reached capacity but we still got in. We were lucky enough to renew at the old price and benefits. Next summer we might rethink renewals since they raised the price for less benefits.

      5. Ruben R.

        The reservation system is not going away anytime soon, even after Covid is gone. Disney will use the reservation system to throttle the amount of AP’s entering the park to allow more full price ticket holders in. The profit margin is much higher on someone who paid $500 for a 4 day ticket than someone who paid $1400 and wants to visit the park 52 times a year. It’s simple: give those who want their AP enough of a carrot to keep them buying, but limit the numbers so you can squeeze in more of the “cash cow” full price ticket holders. I’m sure Disney has already run the analytics to see what percentage of AP’s they’ll lose to this new system.

  5. Marcus

    This is just another example of the Chapek era philosophy: cater to the stockholders at the expense of WDW guests. We are no longer seen as anything more than a source of profit, and this source needs to be “enhanced.”

    – Magical Express: Gone
    – Complimentary Resort Parking: Gone
    – Complimentary PhotoPass for APs: Gone
    – Complimentary FastPass: Gone
    – Resort Room Rates: Up
    – Ticket Prices: Up
    – Food & Beverage Prices: Up
    – Unrestricted Park Hopping: Gone

    An interesting fact: An opening day 1971 ticket to WDW cost $3.75. That is less than $25 in 2021 dollars. IOW: Ticket prices have increased at FOUR TIMES the rate of inflation.

    1. JW

      Exactly! Disney needs new leadership. All companies have to make money, but Disney was always special because even though you spent more there were benefits not available at other theme parks and awesome customer service. Not any more!

  6. We renewed our annual passes in March because we weren’t sure if they were going to do away with them completely. Now that the APs have changed, I don’t think we will be renewing next year. We are FL residents and it’s always a toss up on whether the AP will be worth it versus buying FL resident tickets as we go along. With all the new changes, the AP isn’t making much financial sense anymore I’m afraid. We have a few months before we have to decide but it’s not looking like we will renew. We have been three times since they reopened and haven’t had any issues with crowds or getting on the rides we want without the FP system but there seems to me almost daily news of changes that don’t seem to be beneficial to the APs. We shall see I guess….

  7. Rich

    Disney doesn’t care whether you like it or think you’re getting your money’s worth. Until and unless it hits them in the pocketbook, it’s all bean counter driven.

  8. Jd

    People have to stop going. Seriously I know we all love Disney but if their bottom line gets destroyed they will go understand and make good changes (and maybe kick out their leadership). I personally am NOT going back. I went to universal for the first time and my mind was blown. Disney is not keeping up with the times or technology. Not a single Universal ride was down the five days we were there. I’m done with Disney. No more.

    1. Hilarious

      Not keeping up with times or technology? 🤣
      Universal has never been the cheaper option when we’ve priced it out. We wouldn’t need more than 3 days/2 nights, and the cost of that is always equal to or more than we would spend on 6 days/7 nights at Disney.
      Universal’s rides definitely break down, too, but I could say the same about our last trip to WDW in April. Never experienced a ride breakdown the week.

  9. Michael

    Disney isn’t giving what you pay for anymore period. They are just sucjing more money out of guests, and folks stupidly decide to keep going for it

    1. WothEveryPenny

      🤷‍♀️ sounds like a you problem. We haven’t had a problem getting more than what we paid for out of our trips.

  10. Lynne

    I have been been a Florida Resident Annual Pass-holder for Disney World since this began, but this last increase in Price and decrease in PERKS while still giving Disney an assured income from my Annual Pass and increased difficulty in getting Reservations has finally pushed me to deciding to NOT renew. I will still go to Disney World, but not even half as much as I have in the past, but I will just purchase tickets and Park Reservations as I go. I will miss being able to just hop into my car and come for a day or decide to come for a night or 2 when there are special Events. This Price increase was the last straw. So sad.

  11. Barb304

    All these restrictions for annual passholders are ridiculous as are the ‘reservations’ you have to make to go to certain parks on particular days! Cut it all out!!! It’s supposed to be the most magical place on earth but Chapek has turned it into the most confusing place on earth. Heads up Chapek, the confusion and the outrageous charges you’ve caused are going to be highly detrimental to your crowds. Once the 50th anniversary celebration has ended I see far, far, smaller crowds! Oh, one more thing, having to pay to park at any Disney resort is just pure greed!!! I much prefer the ‘good old days’ when I could park my car at my resort for free and all you had to do was buy a park hopper and go from park to park all you wanted to plain and simple! I love WDW, I’m 76 years old and have been there about 40 times but my prospects of ever returning are nil!

  12. Kathleen Atwood

    Pissed off from the beginning of this nightmare before Christmas!
    Fire the CEO’s…

  13. Eric M

    I am shocked… SHOCKED that Disney would so such gleefully screw over their most loyal customers!

    Wait, scratch that. I’m not shocked at all, this is exactly what I told my wife would happen as soon as they announced this garbage and is why we did buy the nightmare keys

  14. Barbara K Bennett

    I think it is wrong to black us out for most weekends. We bring friends who buy regular tickets. Also taking away the photo pass stinks.and the price increase as well. Being handicapped, sometimes my only option is weekends. Also I don’t even get the pass holder magnets anymore, at least a year. My son in law, still does. I don’t understand 6Disney, anymore. Sure Walt woul be on our side.

  15. C. Trip

    When I read that the Magic Key passes would offer “Choice, Flexibility, and Value” I knew we were doomed. Disney never had to say that about the old passes because they actually offered choice, flexibility, and value. I loved the old spontaneity of going to Disneyland. That spontaneity was true flexibility. I have frequently had fun dreams about Disney, but last night I had my first Disney Nightmare – I came all the way to Disneyland and was told I didn’t have a reservation for that day. Disneyland is now the place where nightmares come true!

  16. Michele

    And to think, literally just a few weeks before the pandemic we pass holders received a questionnaire. They wanted to find out how “appreciated” we AP feel. The answer is No – and I was very honest with them. Flash forward, they have an opportunity here to do the right thing and what do they do – more of the same, take things away from us, but make us pay more! Been a WDW pass holder for years, seriously considering not renewing. Tired of the greed.

  17. MCG

    Reservations are here to stay. There’s just no getting around that. Reservations were in place at Disney World before the pandemic, and the Flex pass was the way Disney was introducing them at Disneyland.

    For everyone complaining: did you actually read the purchase details, aka the fine print? It was all spelled out very clearly in the description of the passes. If you didn’t… do you always drop hundreds of dollars without reading the fine print?

    Disney is not obligated to cater to middle class families and keep prices low. Nor is it obligated to keep all the things you may have enjoyed previously. (ex. photo pass) If the changes at Disney offend you, then stop going. It’s just that simple.

    Times change. Companies change. Except for one thing – companies are always going to have the end goal of maximizing profit.

    1. Robert

      AP holder, and frequent visitor here. They were most certainly NOT in place before the pandemic at Disney World.

  18. Andy

    It’s not a question of capacity. They aren’t blocking passholders because they are running at full capacity. If they really were at full capacity, then they wouldn’t be selling tickets to full-price payers. This business about operating within capacity is a ruse to justify screwing people over. The article clearly states they are maintaining two separate reservation calendars, so that they can say “We’re not going to honor your annual pass today, but you’re more than welcome to come in to the park if you pay full price for a ticket.” Bottom line: The “Magic Key” program is a sham. Anyone that buys one is getting ripped off. Pure and simple.

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