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  • News Devalued Annual Passports

    I was alarmed by the recent change in policies regarding Annual Passports. The changes have the effect of reducing the value of the Annual Passports my family, friends and I purchased earlier in the year. This change is legal. Disney does not give any guarantee of admission based on purchase of an Annual Passport. However it is an awful change. I have been away from MiceChat for some months and may have missed discussion regarding the recent changes in rules for Annual Passports.

    Background: I have recommended to friends that they purchase the low cost versions of the passports and upgrade as needed. My friends purchased the Southern California Select version. The blockout days were viewed as half-price days because blockout tickets were available. When my family or friends came on a blockout day, a choice was made between buying blockout tickets or upgrading the passports. The cost of upgrading from Southern California Select to the full Southern California version was close to the cost of a blockout ticket. Thus, both California versions were a good buy for people living in Southern California.

    The Change: Effective May 18, 2014, the blockout tickets and the full Southern California Passport are currently discontinued. The official Disney websites announces it this way: The full Southern California Annual Passport is "NOT AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE" and "Blockout Day Tickets are currently no longer available." Thus, our Select passports cannot be upgraded unless we want to upgrade all the way to Deluxe, Premium or (the almost unknown) Premier levels.

    The official rules for "UPGRADES: A Guest wishing to upgrade to a Passport from another form of eligible Theme Park admission media must upgrade on the same day in which the original form of Theme Park admission media is valid. A Guest who chooses to upgrade to a Passport from another form of eligible Theme Park admission media must choose a Passport of equal or greater value than the original Theme Park admission media retail price, and the difference in prices shall be due on the day of the upgrade. If an upgrade to a Passport is made from a single-day or multi-day ticket, the Passport will be backdated to begin on the first day that such ticket was used; if an upgrade to a Passport is made from a lower level Passport, the new Passport will have the same expiration date as the original Passport. Each guest wishing to upgrade his/her ticket media to a Passport must be present at the time of the upgrade transaction. Fully used ticket media, complimentary ticket media (except for certain promotional tickets) and ticket media stating its ineligibility for an upgrade may not be upgraded to a Passport. Upgrades are subject to Passport availability. Downgrades are not allowed."

    Rumored reasons: Disneyland expects large crowds in June, July and part of August. Managing a large crowd requires a large crew, but Disneyland does not get much money from sales of blockout tickets to manage as many holders of California passports as management expects. Thus, Disneyland may be make more profit by offending their long-time customers and excluding them from the busy months than the parks make by allowing them their usual privileges.

    My suggestion: Telling people that the passports they purchased are useless is bad business. If large crowds are really too much for cast members, then I think Disneyland may need to make everyday a blockout day for the lower-cost passports, but allow the price of a blockout ticket to be a function of month and type of passport. Thus, the lowest level of passport could have most blockout days be half-price days, but popular days have a price for blockout tickets that is three quarters of the Park Hopper price. The next level of passport would have prices of blockout tickets ranging from a third to two thirds of the Park Hopper price. The next level would have the price ranging from zero to a quarter of the Park Hopper price. All the higher levels (Premium and Premier) would be free from any blockout days. Thus, people would have a good estimate of the value of a passport before they purchase it even though rules would allow Disneyland to adjust rates if really necessary.

    That is one possible solution, but it may be considered a weak one. Readers, please post better solutions. Also please post any corrections needed to the information I posted.

  • #3
    Re: Devalued Annual Passports

    I don't understand the problem. You bought a ticket knowing the valid days. If you wanted to go other days just buy that ticket originally then. I understand wanting to get a day you wouldn't be normally allowed in the park. That's a dumb clause that I think should have been removed years ago.

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    • #4
      Re: Devalued Annual Passports

      I know you have not been on the forum for a while but search and you will read the pages upon pages of people discussing this topic.

      It was a business decision and Disney would have a lot of research to back up why they did it and why they chose that particular AP to "not be available". They have also honoured the people who have that pass to allow them to continue to renew it so I think that was a smart move.

      If you had the lower one and only upgraded when you "needed" it then you can't complain about it. You now "need" to either pay full admission or upgrade to a deluxe of premium.

      As I said, read the arguments for and against and feel free to add your feedback to them. But in the end Disney has made the decision and crowds are still increasing and this will help them to further boost their revenue in the coming packed summer season.

      Your also not excluded from summer. Those AP's never were available in summer. All Disney is saying is that you can not have a discount for the blockout days. If you want to go then pay full price like all the other tourists.

      People may complain but will continue to pay. I don't see any issue with it. I'll pay any increase without complaining as all the AP's are a bargain compared to buying a ticket every time you went and I live in Australia and I still see the premium AP as a bargain.


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      • #5
        Re: Devalued Annual Passports

        Telling people that the passports they purchased are useless is bad business.

        In what way is it useless? The ticket you bought is still valid on the days it was advertised as valid when you purchased it. It's completely within reason to discontinue an additional discount for additional tickets, which is what blockout tickets were: an entirely separate ticket from the passport you chose to buy. If you want flexibility in dates buy a ticket with flexibility in dates.

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        • #6
          Re: Devalued Annual Passports

          If you viewed your pass as no cost admission on some days and half cost admission on the others I can see where you might feel your asset has been devalued (not useless though).

          But since the passes have never been marketed that way I don't think you can accuse Disney of conducting bad business.

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          • #7
            Re: Devalued Annual Passports

            I think the biggest beef is that blockout days tickets aren't available anymore. That part's unfortunate, and they were listed as something available when he got his pass, but since the price on them had been raised so much I don't think they were very useful anymore anyways.

            ------
            Back when, I definitely made use of them. You could get 3 or so of them before the price outweighed having upgraded to the next pass level I think. So if you wanted the social select pass but there were a couple extra days you specifically wanted, it still made sense. they were used heavily on July 17th, 2005.

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            • #8
              Re: Devalued Annual Passports

              I never understood the point of a blackout day pass in the first place. If you ended up buying lets say 5 you may as well bumped up your pass right? As far as Disney is concerned it makes much more sense to get rid of them. That way they take out a group of ticket buyers which I assume makes crowd prediction a little easier.
              These are some of my favorite TRs I have posted

              DL 55th BDAY trip report
              My company had a special night at the park
              WdW trip report with WWoHP
              NYE 2011 trip report
              Mice Chat 7th anniversary
              Leap year 24 hour report
              New DCA trip report
              NYE 2012
              HKDL trip report

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              • #9
                Re: Devalued Annual Passports

                Originally posted by whoever View Post
                Upgrade to premium AP. Done.
                was going to say the same thing.
                I believe my future must be brighter than my past. Without that belief, I'm just waiting to die.
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                • #10

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                  • #11
                    Re: Devalued Annual Passports

                    ^^ it's their park so essentially they can change any rule they want when they want. When it comes down to it none of us are guaranteed any visits to the park. I am sure there is fine print attached to all of our Aps that state they can change the rules whenever they want.
                    These are some of my favorite TRs I have posted

                    DL 55th BDAY trip report
                    My company had a special night at the park
                    WdW trip report with WWoHP
                    NYE 2011 trip report
                    Mice Chat 7th anniversary
                    Leap year 24 hour report
                    New DCA trip report
                    NYE 2012
                    HKDL trip report

                    Comment


                    • #12
                      Re: Devalued Annual Passports

                      Honestly, I still don't get it. You bought a pass with specific block out days. But you wanted to go on days that were blocked out? You can go, it will just cost you more. The old block outs were $80, a 1 day 1 park ticket is $96. That would be one option for you.

                      Why would you buy a pass that was blocked in the summer if you wanted to go in the summer?

                      This is what confuses me.
                      We bought the Select passes because we expected our schedules to be free enough in the summer to go to Disneyland more than once in the summer. Now that money has been paid for the passports, Disneyland informs us the rules have changed and we cannot use them until after our planned visits.
                      If you see a cute yellow lab puppy with a yellow cape, WAVE! It might be us! (Or it may be someone else that lurks here!) Thank you for asking before you pet! Next trip, Dec 22-Jan 3rd.

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                      • #13
                        Re: Devalued Annual Passports

                        Honestly, I'm a little confused about that too. Upgrading to SoCal wouldn't help you over the summer since that pass is blocked out for all of July and most of August (that is the pass I have). If your friends can't afford to upgrade to Deluxe, which is about $230 up from the SoCal Select, how could they afford to spend $160 - $240 over the summer on the blockout tickets?

                        With the blockout tickets at $80/each, if you buy three of them you're already up to $240. Add that to the cost of a SoCal Select - which I think was $269 before the recent price increase - and you've already well over $500...so you could have just bought a Deluxe Pass to start, and had a lot more open days to visit the parks. Why not just do that to begin with?
                        Merida looks like this. Not a Barbie doll!

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                        • #14
                          Re: Devalued Annual Passports

                          Originally posted by Malina View Post
                          Honestly, I'm a little confused about that too. Upgrading to SoCal wouldn't help you over the summer since that pass is blocked out for all of July and most of August (that is the pass I have). If your friends can't afford to upgrade to Deluxe, which is about $230 up from the SoCal Select, how could they afford to spend $160 - $240 over the summer on the blockout tickets?

                          With the blockout tickets at $80/each, if you buy three of them you're already up to $240. Add that to the cost of a SoCal Select - which I think was $269 before the recent price increase - and you've already well over $500...so you could have just bought a Deluxe Pass to start, and had a lot more open days to visit the parks. Why not just do that to begin with?
                          For some people, such as myself back in the day, that was a genuine strategy. Disneyland was a several times a year thing, but not quite as often as local Orange County residents could go. So an AP made sense but there was still the option of getting in a cheaper day or two with a blockout day pass and it still being less money. And the blockout days were definitely something Disneyland advertised as an offering for the passes. So I side with the author of this thread to some extent. Disneyland can change rules for new passes anytime they want but for existing passes, even if they find ways that they technically can change things, it doesn't mean they should. The blockout day pass should still have been offered to existing passes for the remainder of their year if someone really wanted to buy one.

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                          • #15
                            Re: Devalued Annual Passports

                            Originally posted by Malcon10t View Post
                            Honestly, I still don't get it. You bought a pass with specific block out days. But you wanted to go on days that were blocked out? You can go, it will just cost you more. The old block outs were $80, a 1 day 1 park ticket is $96. That would be one option for you.

                            Why would you buy a pass that was blocked in the summer if you wanted to go in the summer?

                            This is what confuses me.
                            [/COLOR]
                            A blockout ticket is like a Park Hopper, not like a single-park ticket. At the time of purchasing our passports, the rules allowed purchases of blockout tickets. Since we hit our favorite attractions in the two parks in a single visit to the resort, buying a Select passport allows us to enjoy a few free days (only a few because of busy schedules) each year and a few half-price days in the summer season. I frequently need to go to Orange County on business and like to visit the parks for a few hours when I get out of business meetings. Those meetings typically occur during blockout days. I cannot afford to pay for a Park Hopper for a few hours. In summers, we often have several days off work (although sometimes not all in the same week). You can see that a Select passport was ideal for my situation. My friends have different situations, but saw similar value in the Select passport. However, the change in rules has demolished their reasons for purchasing the passports. I cannot justify buying a Premium Passport for every member of my family and my friends cannot afford such an upgrade. (The full price is charged even for children.) Disneyland presented a reasonable plan for us, a strategy recommended by cast members, and then policies changed on May 18, 2014, in a very unexpected way. Even cast members were caught off guard by this one.

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