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Disneyland Article
Does Disneyland Have Too Many Annual Passholders

ID:TMS-3924
Source:Mercury News
Author:Robert Niles
Dateline:June 05, 2018
Posted:June 10, 2018
 
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I suspect that many Disneyland fans have asked that question when backed up behind hundreds of other cars all waiting to get into the Mickey and Friends parking structure on a Friday night. Disneyland has so many annual passholders that it no longer follows the same crowd patterns as every other major park in the country.

At most theme parks, the crowds hit hardest on summer weekends and holidays, when children are out of school and workers take vacations. Not at Disneyland. Thanks to huge number of annual passholders who are blocked out on those days, you actually are more likely to find parking lots filled on Friday nights during the school year, when all of Disney's annual passholders are eligible to visit.

As much as some Disneyland fans would love to have the power of Thanos and make half of the crowd disappear with a snap of their fingers, Disneyland isn't about to give up the money it makes from selling what is reported to be hundreds of thousands of annual passes every year.

To Disneyland, the answer to the question is clear. No, Disneyland does not have too many annual passholders. But even resort managers will concede that Disneyland often does have too many of those annual passholders in the park at once. So the resort must look for creative ways to manage those crowds.

Its latest move was to switch to park-specific blockout calendars, which it announced on June 2. Starting next summer, some annual passholders will be blocked out from Disneyland on days that they can get into Disney California Adventure. The change takes effect the month that window opens for the debut of Disneyland's highly anticipated Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, which the park says will open in the summer of 2019.

In Disney's perfect world, paying customers would fill the park every day of the year, but Disney never would draw so many customers that it would have to turn people away or see customers leave in frustration before buying a full day's worth of food, drinks and souvenirs. Hitting that balance would mean the company truly has maximized its income from the Disneyland Resort, with there never being a lightly attended day at the park again.

But school and work schedules conspire against that goal, so Disney has to do something to shift crowds from popular days to less popular ones. Ultimately, that is the point of its annual pass program. Park-specific calendars that move people from Disneyland to the less-crowded California Adventure will allow the resort to use its blockout days more efficiently, by encouraging some fans to fill up California Adventure on days when they might have been blocked from the entire resort before. And if some fans still insist on visiting Disneyland on now-blocked days, the change encourages them to upgrade to a more permissive, and more expensive pass.

Either way, the company gets what it wants.

More changes will come to Disneyland's annual pass program. Disney's own spokespeople have said that the park-specific blockouts are just "the first step." Eventually, Disney will find a way to get what it wants and to fill both its parks every day of the year, no matter how complicated it needs to make its annual pass program to do that.

And not even Thanos will be able to stop them.
 

 
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