Buckle up, this is a WILD Disneyland Update. It’s been a week of high anxiety for many Disneyland passholders, wondering how they’ll be able to access the parks now that they’ve been notified their annual passes have been canceled. We’ve never received so many messages asking for our thoughts and advice. Well, today we have a bit of clarity on what Disneyland is considering and how they might move forward. Plus, have you ever wondered how much Disney’s CEO makes? The company has released info on compensation for the two Bobs. And we’ll take a look at a big upcoming Disneyland attraction, pay tribute to a beloved annual event which had to be canceled for the season, and share something which will make you smile.
What Will Replace Disneyland’s Annual Pass Program
Disneyland has tipped their hand at ticket options they are considering in the future. Surveys sent to current and former Disneyland passholders asks potential visitors which features they’d be most interested in, how often they visited in the past, and how likely they’d be to visit in the future given certain example ticket and pass types. The extensive 50+ page survey will surely give Disney a lot of data to analyze. We’ll use some of Disney’s key points to create a survey or two of our own for purposes of discussion and to see what our own readers think.
There’s almost too much detail for us to cover, so don’t let your mind explode. We’ll summarize where we can simplify.
Let’s break down the key points Disney is curious about in their survey:
Annual Pass Payments
Whatever program Disney eventually comes up with, they are clearly considering doing away with monthly payments. One key survey question asks recipients to “Imagine that monthly payments were no longer available at the Disneyland Resort.” It wants to know how that would impact the guest. Would it cause them to simply not buy a pass, downgrade their pass type, or perhaps just pay in full? We’d like to know your response:
Disney offered over a dozen pages of new ticket options. For each page, users were asked to select the ticket type they’d be most likely to buy, and in what quantity (or none at all given the options). Most pages offered several annual pass options, a multi-visit ticket option, and day tickets (1, 2, or 3-day). One of the pages offered no annual pass tickets at all (which is how Disneyland might have to operate in the early days of reopening, with very limited daily attendance capacity).
To understand Disney’s potential ticket features and benefits, the survey offered the following descriptions. Some of this will seem familiar, some is new for the resort, and there’s no way of knowing yet just which features will or won’t make it into future ticket options. But we’ll offer a poll at the end of this section to find out how interested you are in each of the key features.
Disney went hog wild with possible annual pass options. One thing in common with all of them was some level of reserving visits in advance, similar to the old Flex Pass. But we should note that on some of the page options, annual passes weren’t available at all, which means that is at least one possible consideration for Disneyland at this time.
For each pass type, there were various features that were offered.
Here’s just one of more than 15 pages of ticket options which Disney hoped to get answers from (note that on this page there are three “Passports,” a “multi-Visit Ticket,” and three “Day Tickets”). Each page had a different configuration of tickets, passes, features, and prices:
Rather that just show you dozens and dozens of pages of Disney’s survey, we’ve got the key details listed for you below. Think about which of these things are most important to you (we’ll have a poll at the end). Hang on to your hats and glasses because this is a WILD ride.
- No blockouts, Some blockouts, Lots of blockouts for one or both parks
- Reservation Window – 1 month, 2 months, 3 months, 4 months
- Reservations Held at a Time – 2, 4, or 6
- Anytime Reservation – None, 2 per year, 4 per year, 6 per year
- Blockout Day Tickets – 0, 1, 2
- Friends and Family Tickets -None, 10% off 2 tickets, 20% off 2 tickets, 50% off 2 tickets, 2 tickets included
- Merchandise Discount – None, 10%, 20%, 30%
- Food and Beverage Discount – None, 10%, 20%, 30%
- Special Event Ticket Discount – None, 10%, 20%, 30%
- Parking – Included, Not Included, 20% Discount, 50% Discount
- MaxPass – Included, Not Included
- Unlimited PhotoPass – Included, Not Included
- Dedicated Park Entrance – Included, Not Included
- Rewards Program – Included, Not Included
Annual Pass Pricing:
We can’t be very specific here. Disney offered so many different potential pass prices. Sometimes, two passes that seemed very similar in features had wildly different prices. But in general, a few things made the biggest swing in prices: 1) the number of blockout days, 2) the number of days in advance that tickets could be reserved, 3) the number of reservations held at one time, and 4) whether or not parking was included. The more of those items which were included and the greater the value of the total items, the higher the pass price.
There were 6 price points Disney used over and over, but the features and benefits used at those price points varied significantly. On one page the price might offer a 90-day reservation window and free parking, and on another, the same price might not offer parking (or just with a discount) and a differed number of guaranteed reservations and window length. It’s pretty clear that the numbers weren’t as important to Disney in this survey as trying to figure out what features potential guests were most interested in. Still, it’s interesting that these price points were used over and over again: $399, $599, $799, $999, $1199, $1399
Some of you will note that those prices are VERY close to the passport prices in 2019, before the 2020 increase. Here’s the MiceChat pass matrix for the 2018-2020 pass increases:
Considering the various options (new and old) included in Disney’s survey, please let us know how interested you would be in each. There are two pages in this survey, be sure to hit “Next” when you reach the bottom of the first page. There are 14 questions:
While the Annual Pass options had the widest variety of features, limitations, and prices, the non-pass options were much more tightly defined from page to page of the survey and are very likely to be close to what Disney officially announces before the parks reopen. None of the options below include parking or discounts. All would either be dated tickets or require a park reservation.
- Multi-Visit Ticket – 3 day ($199), 5 day ($334), 12 day ($799)
- Day Tickets listed below are a range of prices from low-demand days to high-demand days (such as holidays)
- 1 Day Ticket – $104 – $209
- 2 Day Ticket – $235 – $290
- 3 Day Ticket – $310 – $365
We found it very interesting that one of the ticket pages in Disney’s survey included no passes and no multi-visit tickets, just 1, 2, or 3-day tickets. It’s quite likely they are testing for interest in the early days of opening before new passes and multi-visit promotions can be released. The prices look very much in line with how they were before park shut-downs.
These were the actual one-day ticket prices for Disneyland from 2018 through the 2020 shutdown:
For purposes of simplicity, we’ve created 6 sample pass tiers based upon the dozens of versions Disney tested (these don’t necessarily correspond to anything Disney will ultimately decide upon but are based upon the options they presented in their survey). Please let us know which pass, ticket, or promotion (if any) you would be most interested in:
Here’s What We Currently Think Might Happen With Tickets When Disneyland Reopens
Before we tell you what we expect to happen, note that even Disney doesn’t know yet. They are still collecting and analyzing survey results. However, we know that they have canceled all active annual passes and have started the refund process. That was done because they had too many passholders and too few expected spots available in the parks when they first reopen. So, we don’t believe they’ll offer annual passes again in the early months of park reopening. As park capacity increases, they’ll be keeping a very close eye on park reservations. If they dip below the current capacity, you might see Disney begin offering the SoCal multi-visit ticket offers (they tested 3, 5, and 12-day options extensively in their poll). Once park capacity fully returns (perhaps as early as 2022) they may roll out a reservation-based pass program, not unlike the one we polled you on above. They would likely cap the number of passes available in each tier-type, perhaps even creating a waiting list for certain pass types. Since day-tickets can always be purchased, that would be the best and easiest way for Disney to limit attendance and still allow anyone who really wanted to visit to do so.
Well, that’s our summary of over 50 packed pages in Disney’s exhaustive poll. We know many of you would like to see everything just return to the way it was, but since that is likely off the table, which of the options do you think will work best for you? Please be sure to take the polls above and comment below.
A Light on the Horizon
As we write this, it’s expected that California’s Governor will announce the end of the current safer-at-home order in the state, which would revert things to the way they were just before the holiday surge that forced our shutdown.
While Orange County, where Disneyland is located, will likely still be firmly in the purple “Widespread” tier, that does allow for outdoor dining. Shopping was never stopped during the recent restrictions, which is how Disneyland was able to continue operating Downtown Disney and Buena Vista Street.
If all goes as expected, restaurants could resume outdoor dining by the end of the week, zoos and aquariums would likely also be able to resume operations. We would expect Knott’s to launch another food festival soon, and this would pave the way for Disney to do the same if they wish (which we hope they do).
The Millionaire Bobs Club
Disney released compensation details for their senior executives this past week. You’ll remember that Disney cut its executive pay last year in advance of a historic layoff announcement for the company. While Bob Iger agreed to forgo his salary, and Bob Chapek (who had only JUST assumed the role of CEO) took a 50% pay cut (base pay), other executives also had their pay rolled back. But it didn’t last for long. By the time the layoffs actually hit Disney’s magic makers, full pay had been restored to Disney’s top brass.
Well, now we know how much they all made. And while the numbers will shock many of you, it’s also the lowest Disney has paid its CEOs in decades. In 1994, Michael Eisner made $203 MILLION. Insane even by today’s standards. Bob Iger made well over $65 MILLION in 2018 ($48 MILLION in 2019). So you’d expect something huge for Bob Chapek.
In his first year as CEO, Bob Chapek made $14.2 million. That’s still a lot of free cash in a year that so many Disney employees lost their jobs . . . but it’s also a massive decline from the gravy days of Michael Eisner. Bob Iger made $21 million. He has continued to be in charge of content at Disney, overseeing both the FOX merger and studios as well as Disney’s hot new streaming services. Together, the Bobs made less than Iger alone in 2019. Not that you need to feel sorry for these well-paid executives.
Disney’s box-office in 2019 alone was $7.67 BILLION (sorry to keep bolding these numbers on you, it’s just that my mind is melting under the weight of all those zeroes).
But with Disney’s stock defying all odds on the basis of the stellar performance of Disney+, and Disney’s compensation committee stating its top executives showed “strong leadership amidst incredible challenges,” we’ll likely see Bob Chapek earn his financial wings soon.
How much do you think the reasonable top pay should be at a massive entertainment powerhouse like Disney? It’s not such an easy question to answer when you consider the astronomical amount of revenue they are expected to create for the company.
WEB SLINGERS Additional Info
This week, Disney shared some new information about the upcoming attraction in Avengers Campus at Disney California Adventure, WEB SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure (yes that’s how they write it – the first part in all caps, then a colon, then regular title-case).
The ride itself is mostly done and tested with cast members recently. We know folks who got to ride it!
While all Disney will commit to on an opening is a “future top secret date,” but there was more info about Tom Holland reprising his role from the Marvel Cinematic Universe for the attraction. Additionally, similar to how the attractions in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge feature a digitized format of the land itself in its signature ride, WEB SLINGERS will take riders through other attractions— or rather, “addresses,” as Disney calls them— in Avengers Campus. You can watch the video of Tom Holland explaining his interaction with Imagineering in the video below.
Still curious about Avengers Campus? We’ve got you covered. Here’s what’ll be coming to the brand-new land when it opens (hopefully) in the not-so-distant future.
Downtown Disney Updates
It’s been a quiet week over at Downtown Disney and Buena Vista Street. Between the light crowds In normal times, this would be the kickoff weekend to the Lunar New Year Festival at DCA, but obviously, this year is different. But that said, there still some Lunar New Year goodies to be found. Here’s the latest from Downtown Disney this week.
After the disappearance of Asian Street Eats last week, the area in front of the old Rain Forest Cafe— soon to be the upcoming Star Wars Trading Post— remains barricaded. No “coming soon” sign to advertise the new Star Wars-themed shop yet.
The biggest change this week has been that one of the World of Disney windows has been swapped out for a brand new plush collection, nuiMOs.
If you’re not quite sure what the Disney nuiMOs are, you’re probably not alone. These are a set of plushes with fancy clothes. Apparently, these plushes are a big deal in Japan, and their release here in America has excited toy collectors.
You can read more about these little guys with a lot of spirit in the article below.
Just outside of Downtown Disney, there’s some fencing surrounding part of the walkway towards the Simba parking lot and continues behind the back of the Frontierland building of the Disneyland Hotel. While these fences aren’t particularly new, we’re still curious as to what they’re working on.
We would not be surprised if Disney is expanding their security bubble for the hotels. Disneyland Paris screens all guests before they enter the hotels on property. That might be coming here as well.
Lunar New Year Merchandise
Around Downtown Disney and Buena Vista Street, you’ll find an assortment of Lunar New Year merchandise featuring the Year of the Ox. While much of this merch has been available for the past few weeks, there’s some new additions too.
The two new items to note are the lanterns prominently featuring this year’s art of Minnie and Mickey riding a highly ornamented ox.
Secondly, you’ll find a limited-edition statue of the featured art. It certainly is cute!
That’s not all the Lunar New Year stuff we’ve got for you today! Further along in the Update, we’ve asked our readers to share some of their favorite photos of the Lunar New Year festivities from years past.
Buena Vista Street
When we visited Downtown Disney and Buena Vista Street, it was nice and peaceful. Not too many people, and it was a breeze to get in and out of shops. It still shocks us sometimes how different it all feels from one year ago – guests surging through BVS to get to the festival booths along the parade route. These days, it’s mostly easy going . . .
All in all, it was a pretty light week at Downtown Disney. We’re curious if the new Star Wars store and the return of Wonderground Gallery will draw shoppers back to Downtown Disney. You can read more about the upcoming experiences in last week’s Disneyland Update:
Lucky Lunar New Year – MiceChat Reader Photos
In normal times, this would generally be the kickoff week to the Lunar New Year Festival at DCA. Once you’ve passed through the festival arch, the parade route is filled with red and gold, and plenty of delicious food. Although this year, the only way to celebrate Lunar New Year at Disneyland is by purchasing some new merchandise, we’re taking a look at previous years in a reflection of happier times. This week we asked the MiceChat Facebook group to share their favorite memories of DCA’s Lunar New Year, and our readers didn’t disappoint! Here are some of our favorites from this week:
Mickey sure looks happy to be in his Lunar New Year outfit. Red and gold are the perfect colors to bring some good luck into the new year.
One of the most exciting aspects of the festival is Mulan’s Lunar New Year Processional. Filled with color, dancing, and classic Disney characters, this is definitely not to be missed.
We’d love to see more of Mulan around the parks!
And you can’t forget about the food from the festival! Lunar New Year at DCA is unique because it draws from a variety of Asian cultures, so you get interesting interpretations of traditional dishes.
At Paradise Gardens, one of the pergolas is adorned with new years wishes from guests. By the end of the festival, the entire structure is covered in these wishes!
Plus, it’s always nice meeting characters like Mickey, Minnie, and Pluto in special Lunar New Year outfits.
We’re missing Lunar New Year at the resort, but we’re certainly glad that we’ve got some great memories to tide us over until next year.
We’d like to share a wonderful video from last year’s event that our staff videographer, Trevor Perez, put together for you (Press PLAY, you’ll be glad you did):
Thank you to everyone who shared a photo with us this week! We certainly had some beautiful ones, and we couldn’t show all the ones we received. To see the rest of this week’s photos, take a look at the MiceChat Facebook page!
If you’re still missing Lunar New Year, take another trip down memory lane with our coverage from the event last year in the article below!
This & That
And now to wrap up our spectacularly long Disneyland Update, a few other Disney stories from this week!
ToonTown Turns 27
Want to feel old? Well, truthfully neither do we! But yesterday, January 24, was ToonTown’s 27th anniversary. It’s hard to believe that area opened that long ago! With the upcoming Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway currently under construction in that area, it’ll continue to bring a smile to guests for years to come.
Just for Fun – Disney Bernie Memes
If you’ve been on the internet at all this week, you’ve probably seen the viral photo of Bernie Sanders sitting curmudgeonly at Joe Biden’s inauguration. The senator from Vermont has taken the internet by storm, and Disney fans saw the opportunity to have some fun with it. Here are some of our favorites that were shared by our readers in the MiceChat Facebook group:
— Eleanor (@EleanorAbbey93) January 24, 2021
Positively Minnie: The Polka Dot Summit 2.0
When National Polka Dot Day came around (January 22), we posted a how-to guide on making Minnie Mouse-inspired sugar cookies. Usually, Disney does something in the same vein celebrating Minnie’s classic dots. This time around, they announced the second iteration of Positively Minnie: The Polka Dot Summit, a virtual conference on February 13 where fans can partake in Minnie-inspired workshops and styling sessions, listen to a keynote conversation with participating talent, shop the latest Minnie merch, among other activities. This event is free for all participants but does require advance registration. If you’re interested in this summit, you can learn more HERE.
A Gift For The Whole Family!
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Let’s Hear From You
Well, that was a bit longer than we’d originally intended… If you’ve made it all the way to the bottom, we’d like to congratulate you— you deserve a cookie! With the ending of the AP program, there are still a lot of questions. While we don’t yet know for sure what Disney will decided to do, the surveys above certainly point us all in the right direction.
If you had to go a year or more without a pass once Disneyland reopens, would you be willing to buy day tickets instead? If so, how many do you think. you’d buy? And if Disney relaunches a pass program similar to the one described in the survey, what features (old or new) are you most interested in? Were you surprised at how much/little the Disney Bobs raked in last year? Are you missing the Lunar New Year Festival at DCA right now? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.