It’s been two weeks since Disneyland canceled its annual pass program. In that time, thousands of surveys have been sent to previous passholders asking an exhaustive list of questions designed to determine what they are looking for in a replacement program. We’ve recreated some of the key questions and have results for you below which show how hard it will be to get passholders back into the parks. Plus, Disney shocked fans with the reveal of big changes for the classic Jungle Cruise, there was a Star Wars surprise in Downtown Disney, and we have photo updates from the resort. This is a long, but fun, update that attempts to solve a few riddles…
Disneyland AP Survey Results
The big question on the minds of millions of Disneyland fans is whether or not they’ll be able to access the parks when the reopen, and how much it’s going to cost. First, here’s what we know so far. Disneyland has canceled its ever-popular Annual Pass Program and has refunded the unused portion of those passes (where there was still value left). We expect Disneyland to open with limited capacity of just 20 to 25%. As a result, Disney will require a reservation to visit the park and/or sell dated tickets that prevent the parks from exceeding their limits.
Disney also sent surveys to thousands of passholders asking all sorts of questions on a lengthy 50+ page survey. It took us over 45 minutes to go through everything, and the questions and layout were confusing at times. To simplify, we recreated some questions and summarized others and asked our readers to take the poll for themselves in last week’s Disneyland Update. Today, we’ll share the interesting, and somewhat surprising, results with you.
The End of Monthly Payments
One of the early questions Disneyland asked was about the end of Monthly Payments and how that would impact the decision to buy a pass. More than 10,000 of you answered the question in our poll and we were shocked to see that 42% said that they would give up their pass if there wasn’t a payment plan. A nearly equal 42% said they would keep their pass at the same level. And just under 16% said that they would trade down to a less expensive pass. 42% would take a lot of pressure off of the resort . . . but would that be a big enough reduction to allow Disneyland to relaunch the Pass Program sooner rather than later? Still not enough, likely.
Dozens of pages in Disney’s survey asked about all sorts of features. Some new, some familiar. Here’s the full list of items surveyed:
We broke these up into multiple questions asking what’s the most restrictive selection you’d be willing to settle for (assuming that less restrictive options would be more expensive, and more restrictive options would be less expensive). Here’s what you said you need in a pass and what you don’t. We’ll start with Discounts:
A 30% merchandise discount sure is enticing. But you aren’t a greedy group. Most of you were willing to settle for 20%, 10%, or even no discount at all. Only 22% held out for the offered 30%.
Similarly, Food and Beverage discounts were in the range previously offered by the old pass program. However, there was a slight uptick in interest in higher discounts for food:
Far more of you were willing to go with lower or no discounts for special event tickets. We do think that Disneyland will need to offer these sorts of events more frequently to allow more folks access to the parks in the early days of lowest capacity.
Now, onto the big pass interest items. And the first one listed is one of the most important to you . . . parking! A huge 62% of you can’t do without it.
We were surprised so many of you selected MaxPass as a must-have since regular FastPass has remained free. But you might be onto something. We don’t expect FastPass to remain free forever, and it likely won’t return with the parks when they reopen anyway. Walt Disney World reopened without FastPass+ in July and still hasn’t added it back into the mix.
You were much more mixed on the inclusion of PhotoPass, with just over half of you saying it’s important to you.
The next two items were NOT part of Disneyland’s old Annual Pass Program. Disney dangled the idea of a dedicated park entrance for passholders. A little more than 51% of you said that was a good idea. We agree. Since day ticket holders frequently clog up the lines in the mornings as their photos are taken, it would be much quicker to let passholders simply scan and enter through their own gates. And, since Disney can quickly move staff or open/close gates as needed, it doesn’t really cost Disney anything to add this feature.
Starbucks and others have successfully kept their best customers coming back and even spending more because of their robust rewards programs. Disneyland is testing that concept in their latest survey. Would you want to earn points for special experiences and perks? Over 53% of you said yes.
Here’s where it gets complicated. Ticketing options are important. Do you need full park availability? Could you do with a few blockouts? Or is a highly restricted calendar OK if it means a low cost ticket? Disney asks those questions and more. We’ve got our own version:
More than 60% of you are willing to deal with a low level of blockouts. 36% of you would be fine with the 25 most in-demand days of the year being blocked and another 25% say blocking the busy Christmas weeks is OK (like the old Signature Pass did). About a fifth of you were willing to pay for no-blockouts and another fifth were fine with major blockout days for a cheaper pass.
Of course, if all visits require a reservation, blockouts aren’t everything to be concerned about. How early will you be able to book your visit (reservation window) and how many reservations will you be able to hold at one time? Here’s what you had to say about that.
It’s no surprise that you don’t mind being more spontaneous. Most Disneyland passholders are locals. You likely don’t want to have to plan your visit months in advance. But on the subject of how many days you want to be able to schedule at one time, you are nearly evenly split between 2, 4, or 6 reservations. (Is anyone else hungry for pie right now?)
Then Disney gets a bit more confusing, adding new features such as “Anytime Reservations” into the mix. If you aren’t blocked out, but can’t get a regular reservation, you could use an “Anytime Reservation,” if that feature ever makes it off the starting block. Unlike the number of reservations you want to be able to hold at one time, on this one, you want the max:
We think Disney is just testing against similar offerings from the San Diego Zoo’s pass program on this next one. How important are Friends & Family Tickets to you (either included or discounted)?
Which Disneyland Ticket or Pass is Right For You?
OK . . . the big question. Now that we’ve determined how much each potential pass feature is to you, let’s bundle some of those items together and put a price on it.
We asked our readers to select from three different types of ticket categories: Day Tickets, Promotional Multi-Visit Tickets, or Passes (which are similar to the old Annual Pass program but with a new online reservation process). The Annual Passes start out at a low annual fee, but have many blockout days and restrictions. They ramp up to an expensive pass with fewer restrictions and more benefits. All the prices below came from the Disney survey, but don’t necessarily mean that these will be the final prices Disney will stick with.
These were the specific ticket options we offered in our survey:
- – 1 Day Ticket ($104 – $209) No Blockouts
- – 2 Day Ticket ($235 – $290) No Blockouts
- – 3 Day Ticket ($310 – $365) No Blockouts
- – 3 Day Multi-Visit Ticket $199 (SoCal Locals Only)
- – 5 Day Multi-Visit Ticket $334 (SoCal Locals Only).
- – 12 Day Multi-Visit Ticket $799 (SoCal Locals Only)
- – YELLOW PASS $399/yr – Many blockout days (Most Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, holidays & summer), no parking included, no discounts, 30 day reservation window, 2 reservations held at a time, dedicated park entrance
- – RED PASS $599/yr – Many blockout days (Saturdays, holidays, peak days), 20% parking discount, 10% discounts (merchandise, food & beverage, special events), 30 day reservation window, 2 reservations held at a time, dedicated park entrance
- – BLUE PASS $799/yr – Some blockout days (holidays, peak days, some DCA-only days), 20% parking discount, 10% discounts (merchandise, food & beverage, special events), 60 day reservation window, 2 reservations held at a time, 2 anytime reservations per year, dedicated park entrance, rewards program
- -SILVER PASS $999/yr – Some blockout days (holidays, peak days but no blockouts at DCA), 1 blockout ticket, 50% parking discount, 20% discounts (merchandise, food & beverage, special events, up to 2 Friends and family tickets), 60 day reservation window, 4 reservations held at a time, 4 anytime reservations per year, dedicated park entrance, rewards program
- – GOLD PASS $1199/yr – Few blockout days (Some Christmas blockouts at Disneyland, no DCA blockouts), 2 blockout ticket, parking included, 20% discounts (merchandise, food & beverage, special events) up to 2 Friends and family tickets 50% off, 90 day reservation window, 4 reservations held at a time, 4 anytime reservations per year, dedicated park entrance, rewards program, MaxPass included, Unlimited Photopass
- – DIAMOND PASS $1399/yr – No blockout days, parking included, 30% discounts (merchandise, food & beverage, special events), 2 Friends and family tickets included, 120 day reservation window, 6 reservations held at a time, 6 anytime reservations per year, dedicated park entrance, rewards program, MaxPass included, Unlimited Photopass
This was a hard question to answer. Would a switch to day tickets offer you the freedom of no blockouts and the opportunity to pay as you go? Would you benefit from a bundle of tickets at a relatively low cost? Or do you want to stick to a pass-type program?
We created the following graphs to help break down the results. only 5% of you opted for 3-day tickets. Another 4% thought the 3-day multi-visit ticket was interesting (and at a $44 savings over the regular 3-day ticket, it should be). But the bulk of you, nearly 50%, selected one of the pass options in the $1000+ range. That surprised us.
What will ultimately happen is still a mystery. But Disney now has hundreds of data points to examine and possibly refine and poll again. In the next round, we are likely to see a more streamlined set of ticket options with a specific mention of whether monthly payments will or won’t be offered. We do think that if the annual pass questions had said that monthly payments would not be offered, far fewer people would have selected those $1,000+ passes. We’ll be revisiting this topic again soon as the dust settles and we start hearing about which direction Disney is moving.
But it’s a pretty safe bet to assume that you’ll be booking your future visits online, and in the early days of reopening at least, day-tickets (or multi-day tickets) may be the only option. This is especially likely since nearly 60% of you would keep some level of pass, even if monthly payments were no longer available. There’s just not going to be enough park capacity to satisfy all those people early on.
Jungle Cruise News
We should have seen this one coming, and many of you did! Both Disneyland’s Jungle Cruise, and the one at the Magic Kingdom, will be creating a new storyline (the ride never really had one before) that focuses on a lost safari. New scenes, which replace ones of natives, will explore what happened to the travelers in a humorous way. There’s more coming soon about which scenes will be updated or replaced, but expect offensive material to sail away.
Read more about the upcoming changes to the classic attraction in the article below.
Disneyland Legacy Passholders
It’s been two weeks since Disneyland canceled its Annual Passport program, but this past week a new honorary title has been granted to a select group of APs: anyone with a valid pass as of March 14, 2020, is now considered a “Disneyland Legacy Passholder.” Disneyland’s social media accounts for APs have all changed over to the Legacy Passholder handle to solidify the new title.
Welcome, Disneyland Resort Legacy Passholders! Thank you for having been a Disneyland Resort Annual Passholder as of March 14, 2020, the date of our Parks’ closure. Get ready to be delighted with magical extras that celebrate you.
— Disneyland Legacy Passholders (@DisneylandAP) January 27, 2021
Along with this fancy-sounding title, there are a few perks: until February 25 the AP discount has been increased from the regular 10-20% up to 30% (Monday through Thursday). Additionally, passholders who had active APs as of March 14, 2020, will continue to receive applicable discounts based on their pass-level at select locations in Downtown Disney and Buena Vista Street on the weekends when the offer isn’t active and after the promotion has ended. Well… that is until new membership offerings are announced.
There’s some tricky language used regarding the Legacy Passholder status. Throughout the Disney Parks Blog post explaining the program’s name, it’s mentioned throughout that the reason Disneyland decided to create the Legacy AP program is an effort to “celebrate” its fanbase.
Legacy Passholders can still enjoy some of those ever-so-magical extras that celebrate you. Like when you get the chance to scoop up some special merchandise or enjoy some food and beverage offerings. Or those special surprise and delight moments. And of course, there are those fantastic Passport discounts that have been extended for a limited time—from food and beverage offerings to shopping at select locations all around Downtown Disney District and Buena Vista Street…
So, get ready to be surprised…delighted…and, most of all, celebrated—because that’s what being a Disneyland Resort Legacy Passholder is all about!
Does a “Legacy Passholder” program make you feel “Celebrated.” We’re curious what your thoughts are on all this.
Update 2/1 10:30am:
The first of the Legacy Passholder exclusive opportunities has just been announced. On February 5, Legacy Passholders can take a picture at the new WandaVision-inspired photo-op near the Backlot Premiere Shop.
On Feb. 5, Legacy Passholders will be among the first to access a retro WandaVision-inspired photo op located near the Disneyland Resort Backlot Premiere Shop in Buena Vista Street. Subject to availability and capacity. For more details visit https://t.co/5yi8cbfrwG https://t.co/PndfGdvyiE
— Disneyland Legacy Passholders (@DisneylandAP) February 1, 2021
Star Wars, Nothin’ But Star Wars
A few weeks ago we told you that the Star Wars Trading Post would be moving out of the Wonderground Gallery space in Downtown Disney and that we believed it was heading to larger and more detailed digs in the old Rainforest Cafe spot. That was confirmed this week when new Star Wars fixtures were added to the Rainforest facade. We now know that Star Wars Trading Post will officially open on February 19th. But it’s certainly possible that this location could soft open sooner.
Control panels, equipment, and satellite dishes have been scattered about the building from top to bottom. But just a little bit goes a long way. This was a surprisingly easy and effective conversion.
The sign for the shop has already been installed and is covered for the big reveal, which shouldn’t be too much longer now.
As we suspected, the project takes a Yavin-4 inspired look. Not too hard to convert Rainforest’s jungle ruins theme to a very similar Star Wars jungle ruins theme.
If the store is a big success, and we think it will be, would you like to see Disney open a Cantina upstairs? Think Tiki Room meets Star Wars.
Outdoor Dining Returns to Downtown Disney & Buena Vista Street
Following California’s repeal of safer-at-home orders last Monday, many Downtown Disney establishments have reopened. Most of the big Downtown Disney establishments opened for outdoor dining on Saturday. Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen is set to reopen today. But we haven’t heard about plans for Splitsville or La Brea Bakery yet.
Naples, Tortilla Jo’s, and Ballast Point are now accepting reservations. You can make those for participating restaurants at Disneyland.com
And quick serve locations, such as Earl of Sandwich, which never closed, are allowed to let guests dine on their outdoor patios again.
While Splitsville didn’t reopen, Black Tap’s patio was a popular spot to get your CrazyShake on.
Ballast Point has a small-ish outdoor patio upstairs, so they fill up fast. Make a reservation!
While Disney’s restaurants haven’t reopened yet, staff had safety training over the weekend and most expect their Buena Vista Street locations to reopen on the 5th of February. Outdoor dining will return to Carthay Circle Lounge, Smokejumpers Grill and Award Wieners. Reservations will be available for Carthay Circle.
Outdoor vending is slowly returning. While we couldn’t find popcorn, we were able to purchase cotton candy, snacks, and beverages from carts over the weekend.
Tables near Grizzly Peak falls have reopened to pull aside and consume your purchases.
And you can’t beat the view.
Grizzly Peak Airfield remains closed, but should reopen this week when Smokejumpers returns.
Buena Vista Street Updates
The weekends continue to be much busier than weekdays. While the photos below show blissfully uncrowded conditions, that’s because Disney is keeping hundreds of people lined up in the old parking lot behind the AMC Theater until there’s a spot for them to enter Downtown Disney. We highly recommend skipping the weekend journey and visiting Monday through Thursday instead.
On weekdays, Gone Hollywood is closed, but reopens on the weekends. Though, we don’t believe the store carries anything that you can’t find in other locations currently open.
There was a short wait at Trolley Treats, which has transitioned to Valentines-inspired sweets.
A few construction walls on the outskirts of Avengers Campus have come down, allowing for a peek at an area that doesn’t really contain any Avengers stuff. This spot looks like it will be an overflow queue for Spider-Man or perhaps used for meet and greets.
Stage 17 has stuck with the new entry from the DCA side of the building instead of the awkward Esplanade side.
More and more merchandise is making its way onto outdoor displays. It sure does make shopping easier and breezier for those who aren’t comfortable with indoor spaces. We really appreciate the safer options.
There was some Smokey the Bear merchandise out this week (at least we don’t remember seeing it before). In normal times, you could find Smokey merch at Humphrey’s at Grizzly Air Field, one retail location that didn’t reopen with BVS
And we recorded a live video walkthrough of Downtown Disney and Buena Vista Street on Friday to fill you all in on changes on the way. It was a lovely, empty, rainy day. Take a few moments to enjoy the zen of it all:
Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway
It’s been a while since we last took a look at the upcoming Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway construction. Lot’s of progress, But this will be one of the last times we’ll be able to give you much of an update on it as the building is now almost complete on the exterior.
For comparison, here’s an aerial view from December 28th showing that the ventilation system was in place on half the building and the siding just starting to go up.
DCA Turns 20! – MiceChat Reader Photos
Yes, you read that right. Disney(‘s) California Adventure will celebrate its 20th anniversary on February 8. It’s shocking to think two decades have flown by, and the DCA that you can visit today (in a limited capacity, of course) is markedly different than its original incarnation. This week, we asked the MiceChat Facebook group to share their favorite images of the past and the present of a park that’s in a constant state of change. We had over 250 responses, so we selected a handful of favorites. We think you’re going to enjoy seeing DCA and all the changes it’s gone through.
You may recall that the park had a different name when it opened, though a small change, Disney‘s California Adventure became just Disney California Adventure. But back in the “‘s” days, it sure was a different park. We’re trying to think of something in the park which hasn’t changed, but almost everything has either been replace or rethemed in some way.
And the Monorail crossed a theme park sized version of the Golden Gate Bridge.
The central icon of DCA 1.0 wasn’t a castle-like building . . . or any building at all . . . it was a giant hubcap . . . um, I mean Sun sculpture.
Remember the train where Starbucks is now?!
Early DCA had a quirky parade with no Disney characters at all in it…
Hollywood Land has had its fair share of changes over the years as well. Superstar Limo comes to mind. One of the worst attractions Disney ever created.
Of course, the Grizzly Peak Airfield/Condor Flats has also transformed. Soarin’ stayed, but got a new ride film.
Pixar Pier (née Paradise Pier) sure has changed considerably since DCA’s inception. But it’s certainly interesting to see how different it looked just a short twenty years ago.
And 10 bonus points if you remember this one . . .
And the transformation . . .
We’ll always have a soft spot in our hearts for A Bug’s Land. It didn’t open with the park. In fact, there was a hasty construction project to build some rides for kids after the park opened because there were complaints that there was nothing for kids to do.
Another quick fix for the park was Tower of Terror. 2004-2017. It lasted just 13 years before being rethemed to Guardians of the Galaxy.
DCA’s most successful expansion was Cars Land, a massive-budget project which recreated the town of Radiator Springs from the Cars films.
DCA 2.0 really comes to life is during the Halloween season. With eerie lights and Oogie Boogie playing host to a spooky good time. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that an Oogie Boogie Bash can happen later this year!
Wow! So many memories. No other Disney park has gone through such a dramatic transformation within such a (relatively) short span of time, though the Disney Studios park in Paris is trying. Thank you to everyone who shared a photo with us this week, there certainly were a lot of you! To continue this walk down memory lane, be sure to join the MiceChat Facebook group!
This & That
And now for a few of the other stories floating around the Disney and theme park worlds this week.
Limited-Time Disney Visa Offer
Through March 31, selected Disney Visa cardholders can input their information at chase.com/mybonus to see if the limited time offer of 5% rewards dollars is available for them. Only purchases made after registration count, and not every cardholder will be targeted. Similar bonuses are happening for many of Chase’s co-branded cards, so those of you with Marriott or Southwest Airlines cards may want to enter those cards’ information as well!
Those who are eligible (and register) will earn 5% total in Disney Rewards Dollars for every $1 you spend, up to $1,500 in combined purchases at grocery stores, gas stations and drugstores from the date of activation through March 31, 2021.
CA Great America Sets Reopening Date for Spring 2021
Up north at CA Great America (a Cedar Fair park, and a sister park to Knott’s Berry Farm), has announced tentative plans to reopen in time for spring 2021. While it’s an exciting thought that a theme park is reopening in the state, it’s also a bold move for the park to anticipate its reopening before revised guidelines for theme parks have been released. So, we’d caution that the opening date could very well be pushed back.
Taste of Knott’s: Boysenberry Edition Coming Soon
Now that SoCal is allowed to resume outdoor dining, we’ve heard some rumblings that Knott’s is getting ready to make an announcement about their next popular outdoor food festival. According to our sources, Knott’s is eyeing February 27th as a possible kickoff to and early spring Boysenberry festival. We’ll keep you updated once more info is available. But we couldn’t be happier if this turns out to be true.
Theme Park Travel Deals!
(Discount Theme Park Tickets and Travel Packages)
It’s time to give the family something to look forward to. Our travel partners at Get Away Today are here to help you with that by planning a future theme park vacation. There are all sorts of new theme park tickets and travel deals, including a 2 free days offer at Walt Disney World, hotel discounts, ticket deals to various theme parks: More details and to get a quote (HERE)
NEW VACATION SAVINGS PLAN WITH PERKS!!! Want to start saving for a big family vacation but aren’t sure where or when you’ll be ready to go? Get Away Today has created a plan which rewards you for saving up for your trip now. Place as little as $200 down and get free travel protection, travel credits, and more! Learn more and start saving now HERE!
Let’s Hear From You
You made it to the end of today’s Disneyland Update! Between the analysis of last week’s survey results and looking back at two decades of DCA, there was a lot of ground to cover. Are you happy to be a Disney Legacy Passholder until new membership options are announced? What changes are you looking forward to seeing in the update to Jungle Cruise and/or the new Star Wars Outpost? Now that outdoor dining is allowed again, do you think that Disney will finally do a food festival of their own in the near future? Share your thoughts in the comments below. And if you enjoyed today’s Update, please be sure to share it!
More Theme Park Reading
We know you can’t help yourself when it comes to theme park news. Here’s some of the highlights from this past week in case you missed them: