Disney World Fans Out Of Luck As Theme Park Pauses Annual Pass Ticket Sales

Disney World Fans Out Of Luck As Theme Park Pauses Annual Pass Ticket Sales

**** Please visit the themeparks official websites for their latest guidelines and openings ****

Topline

Walt Disney World has suspended sales of most of its annual passes, the theme park’s website said starting Sunday night, a sign of the iconic theme park getting increasingly busier as tourism and travel rebound ahead of the holidays.

Tourists leave Magic Kingdom Park in Walt Disney World Resort on July 1 in Lake Buena Vista, … [+] Florida.

China News Service via Getty Images

Key Facts

According to Disney’s website, sales of the three higher-tier annual passes—Disney’s “Pirate Pass,” “Sorcerer Pass” and “Incredi-Pass,” are “currently paused.”

The only annual pass still on sale is Disney’s “Pixie Dust Pass,” which is only available to Florida residents and has the most blackout dates when the passes can’t be used.

Those who already have annual passes can still renew them if they expire, with the change only applying to new sales of the tickets.

Disney had previously suspended sales of its annual passes at the start of the pandemic before resuming them in September with a new structure that requires passholders to make reservations before they visit the parks.

No reason was given for the pause or whether it’s related to pandemic-era restrictions on park capacity—which the company has said are now being relaxed—but Disney noted when pass sales resumed that they may become unavailable in the future as the theme park “continue[s] to manage attendance to provide a great experience for everyone.”

Disney did not give a date when pass sales will resume, but said the resort will “continue to evaluate” when to make them available again, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

Big Number

60%. That’s the percentage of Americans who say they’re now comfortable going on vacation, according to a Morning Consult poll conducted November 10-11, which is near a pandemic-era high of 65% saying they were comfortable traveling on July 4. 

What To Watch For

Travel is expected to increase during the impending holiday season and into 2022, as the summer’s delta variant surge subsides and Covid-19 booster shots and vaccines for children increase people’s comfort in traveling. AAA predicts holiday travel over Thanksgiving will rebound to nearly pre-pandemic levels and high demand for holiday travel has driven up the cost of airfare. As the Thanksgiving travel period gets underway, the Transportation Security Administration also reported it screened more people at airports Friday than at any point since the pandemic began. The travel boom is expected to continue into next year, as a November Harris poll found 48% of respondents have either made travel plans for 2022 or intend to do so, with the share of those willing to travel by airplane rising to 51% from 24% during the 2020 holiday season. International travel is also increasing after the U.S. reopened its borders to fully vaccinated foreigners earlier this month, though Disney CFO Christine McCarthy said on the company’s fourth quarter earnings call the company’s theme parks are not expected to see their share of international visitors fully rebound until the end of 2022. 

Key Background

Disney’s theme parks have overhauled their ticketing systems during the pandemic, as parks moved to requiring visitors to make theme park reservations to manage attendance and both Walt Disney World and Disneyland changed the structure of their annual passes. Disneyland has also so far sold out of its highest-tier annual pass, and the California resort recently raised its ticket prices for the first time since the pandemic began. Disney’s theme park division took a severe hit during the pandemic as its parks around the world shut down, with Walt Disney World and Disneyland shuttered until July 2020 and April 2021, respectively. The theme parks’ popularity has increasingly rebounded, however, with McCarthy reporting during the fourth quarter earnings call that Walt Disney World attendance was up double digits over the third quarter and Disneyland attendance had increased “significantly.” 

Further Reading

Disney World temporarily suspends sales of new annual passes (Orlando Sentinel)

Going To Disneyland Just Got More Expensive — Disney Increases Theme Park Ticket Price For First Time Since Pandemic (Forbes)

Flight Prices Take Off As U.S. Air Travel Nears Pre-Pandemic Levels (Forbes)

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**** Please visit the themeparks official websites for their latest guidelines and openings ****

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