MickeyBlog News for November 29th, 2021
This week, Walt Disney World unexpectedly paused annual pass sales.
We’ll explain what’s happening in the latest MickeyBlog news.
Annual Passes on Hold
A few weeks ago, Disneyland earned headlines when it announced an update to its annual pass program.
Disney announced that the top tier of the new Magic Key passholder system, the Dream Key, sold out in late October.
Recently, word came down that the second tier of the Disneyland annual pass program, the Believe Key, has also sold its current allotment.
Park officials stress that these situations are temporary and fluid. At some point, more passes will go on sale, presumably in high demand.
Still, the prevailing belief was that Disneyland was facing supply issues that Walt Disney World wouldn’t mirror.
After all, Disneyland is notoriously more of a home park for California locals. But, conversely, Walt Disney World’s customer base encompasses the East Coast.
Well, I’m sorry to say that Walt Disney World fans are out of luck for now. The Orlando version of Disney’s annual pass program is almost entirely on pause.
Currently, the only people who can purchase annual passes are Florida residents willing to accept the lowest tier, the Pixie Dust Pass.
That $399 offering caters to the weekday crowd and is the sole remaining annual pass on sale right now.
Everything else, including the Disney Sorcerer Pass and Incredi-Pass, are off the menu for the time being.
Since the Sorcerer Pass and Incredi-Pass represent the only options for out-of-state travelers, non-Floridians are entirely shut out of the annual pass program.
There is one massive caveat here. Presuming that you already own an annual pass, this change doesn’t impact you.
Walt Disney World still allows the renewal of annual passes for those who currently own them. So, this conversation is more about those on the outside looking in.
What’s Happening Here?
Disney officials quickly reminded people that the wording on the annual pass sales page warned of this possibility.
Realistically, few believed that scenario, at least until the Dream Key sold out at Disneyland.
Even then, the perception of the two parks’ differences in tourist behavior caused would-be buyers to expect endless supply.
Somehow, here we are in a surprising position, though. As the pandemic’s infection rate slowed earlier this year, Disney committed to the Park Pass system.
Park officials love having that daily headcount of what to expect. It enables more efficient staffing, among myriad other benefits.
The sellout of the annual passes at Disneyland and Walt Disney World serves as a byproduct of the Park Pass system.
Disney cannot have a significant portion of its Park Passes tied up by annual passholders. Otherwise, they’d block out-of-state tourists from visiting.
I realize that’s a strange argument to make after pointing out that annual passes aren’t available to out-of-state guests.
Well, that’s a feature, not a bug. The post-pandemic leadership of Disney wants to earn more money from fewer guests.
From its perspective, park survey scores increase when guests face smaller crowds.
Thanks to the additions of Disney Genie+ and Lightning Lane, Disney earns substantially more per guest.
Conversely, annual pass critics like writers at the Motley Fool deride passholders as paying less than $5 per day for the same experience.
Disney appears to be warming to that logic, at least slightly, as it weathers what we all hope is the final stage of the pandemic.
They’ll know the best strategies for ticket purchase over the next few months, and their services are free to you.
Other Disney News and Notes
Walt Disney World has thrown a bone to existing annual passholders. From December 1st through December 15th, Disney’s Animal Kingdom will offer a new amenity.
Annual passholders will receive exclusive seating at showings of Disney’s KiteTails. This option is available during all daily performances. So, that’s something.
Speaking of Animal Kingdom, Kali River Rapids is currently undergoing its annual refurbishments. That’s not the newsworthy item here.
The ride closed on November 1st, a bit earlier than usual. Interestingly, it’s showing available dates again starting on December 16th.
I’m skeptical that it’ll reopen that soon, but Disney might want it up and running during Christmas week to help with the line queues at some other places.
Once we get to 2022, something else will become available at Animal Kingdom. Insiders suggest that Finding Nemo: The Big Blue and Beyond will debut then.
We’d already known this, but it’s nice to have additional confirmation. Sometimes, projects fall behind. Thankfully, that doesn’t appear to be the case here.
At Magic Kingdom, we can look forward to something else. The Disney Adventure Friends Cavalcade will debut in 2022.
During Destination D23, Disney promised a comically large number of characters for this cavalcade.
We’re talking Mulan, Stitch, and Miguel from Coco, among others.
Now that Disney has chosen to make cavalcades permanent, it’s embracing the notion to the fullest.
EPCOT claims the weirdest news item of the week, though. Cast members have debuted their latest costumes, which isn’t a big deal on its own.
The surprise is that they’re partially made from recycled plastic bottles. Weird, right? You’ll never know it from looking at the outfits, though.
Finally, Disney California Adventure will unveil a new show and character appearance with Kate Bishop and Clint Barton, the stars of Hawkeye.