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The Hornet

Serving the Fullerton Community Since 1922

The Hornet

Disneyland raises prices on Annual Passports

Recently Disneyland raised the prices of their Annual Passports, which caused many current pass holders to lash out towards Disney across social media platforms.

Annual Passport
Disneyland Resort Annual Passport. Photo credit: Kim Cisneros

If pass holders want the privilege to visit the park 365 days of the year, they will have to pay a grand total of $1,049 for the Disney Signature Plus Passport.

Before this pass was introduced, guests were paying $779 to have unlimited visits to both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure, along with free parking, merchandise discounts, and discounts at various food locations throughout the parks and Downtown Disney.

Not only did this price raise affect the annual passports, but it also affected the parking. Parking in the Mickey and Friends parking structure, and the other lots too, was raised by a dollar, $17 to $18.

However, the most dramatic change for parking was the price in the Downtown Disney lot.

Before the change in price, these lots allowed for three hours of free parking, plus two more with validation and a charge of six dollars for each additional hour. Now only two hours of free parking (and two more with validation) are allowed and it’s a $12 charge for each additional hour.

Charging for each additional hour might be a way to weed out all of the annual pass holders that used this parking as an alternative if they didn’t have the premium pass which included parking.

One may think, “but Disney makes so much money every day. Why make us pay more for basically the same thing?”

There are many reasons why Disneyland made this move. Many of which the Southern California community of pass holders doesn’t take into consideration, one major reason being that it’s for tourists.

It’s believed that tourists spend more money on souvenirs, food and hotel rooms. Many times, pass holders will only visit for a few hours at a time, which means they are less likely to be spending money on meals and souvenirs.

People who have the opportunity to visit the park every day of the year don’t mind standing in long lines and only going on a handful of rides during their visit. The guest that are visiting from out of town might not be so thrilled about that.

With this price increase, it seems as if Disney is hoping that there will be less pass holders in the park crowding the lines and walkways, therefore it will be more enjoyable for the person who only has the once in a lifetime chance to visit their parks.

Disney California Adventure on a rainy night Photo credit: Kim Cisneros

Disneyland recently made an announcement that created a lot of buzz: Star Wars Land.

If the impact of guest and pass holders is affected in a similar manner as it was when Cars Land and Buena Vista Street opened in 2012 at Disney California Adventure, the parks will always be packed. Although it will be a few years before Star Wars Land opens up, it’s best for Disneyland to start their crowd control early on.

24 hour day
Disneyland guest queue on Main Street for the opening of 24-hour day on May 22 2015. Photo credit: Kim Cisneros

With all the events going on like the 60th Anniversary Diamond Celebration, which kicked off with a 24-hour day on May 22, 2015. This included some changes to the parks. Sleeping Beauty castle was decked out in “diamonds,” new shows premiered such as Disneyland Forever fireworks, World of Color–Celebrate, Paint the Night parade and there’s even new specialty food items available.

Due to these changes, the parks have seen an even bigger increase in attendance.

Never Grow Up
Peter Pan interacting with the crowd during the Paint the Night parade Photo credit: Kim Cisneros

During the 24-hour event, both Parks opened up at 6 a.m. and stayed open until 6 a.m. the next day. By lunch time, both parks had hit capacity and there were lines of people wanting to get in. Many of the attendees that day were pass holders taking advantage of their favorite playgrounds being open all hours during the day.

It’s not everyday they get to see the sunrise, sunset and the sunrise again at The Happiest Place on Earth.

24-hour day crowd watching Disneyland Fo-ever Fireworks at Disneyland Photo credit: Kim Cisneros

The changes in passes has a lot to do with crowd control. It is making the cost of visiting the park on their busiest days a bit more pricey. If less people are willing to pay for the highest available pass, there will be less local pass holders in the parks on the busiest days of the year and more space for money-spending tourists.

This steep price hike led current pass holders to become outraged saying that they couldn’t afford to have this luxury of visiting The Happiest Place On Earth whenever they want. Don’t be so quick to judge and make decisions, do some investigation and compare the different passport tiers.

Previous to these price changes, the only pass that came with parking was the most expensive, the Premium passport. Now, the top two passes, the Disney Signature Plus Passport and Disney Signature Passport, include parking.

Besides the $200 price difference is the approximately two weeks of blackout days from Dec.19 to Jan. 2. The Signature pass holders still gets parking, the same discounts and the same benefits for the Disney PhotoPass Downloads.

The Disneyland website states that the Disney PhotoPass allows Annual Passport holders to log onto their online account and to download photos and other digital content. This added benefit allows guest to have more than just memories as a keepsake.

The moral of the story is: if you can go 15 days without visiting Disneyland or Disney California Adventure during the December holidays and New Years, you can still visit the Happiest Place on Earth without paying over a thousand dollars a year for the Signature Plus passport.

Look at it this way, getting a Signature passport is only a $70 price increase from the previous Premium passport. It all depends on how everyone values the price of the Southern California exclusive luxury.

The Mouse
Mickey Mouse during the Paint The Night parade at Disneyland Photo credit: Kim Cisneros
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