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Disneyland Article
New Flex Annual Pass Requires Reservations Will Roll Out Ahead Of Star Wars Galaxys Edge Debut

Star Wars Galaxys Edge
ID:
TMS-4328
Source:
Orange County Register
Author:
Brady Macdonald
Dateline:
May 09, 2019
Posted:
May 14, 2019
Status:
Current
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A new Disneyland annual pass will require visitors to make advance reservations on busy days as the Anaheim theme park continues to tweak admissions policies ahead of the crowds expected to descend on the highly anticipated Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.

The $599 Disney Flex annual pass goes on sale May 21 and can be used starting the same day, Disneyland officials announced.

The new Flex pass fills a price gap between the bare-bones $399 SoCal Select, which has the most restrictions, and the pricier $799 Deluxe that has fewer block out dates. None of the existing annual passes — including the grandfathered $599 SoCal, $1,149 Signature, $1,399 Signature Plus and $1,949 Premier — are being eliminated.

The new Flex pass costs the same as the discontinued Southern California pass that is only available for renewal.

Disney hopes the lower priced Flex pass offers visitors more flexibility in planning trips to Disneyland and Disney California Adventure while providing the theme park more control over crowd management. The goal: To smooth demand that varies throughout the year based on school schedules, seasonal events, annual passholder block-out dates and the whims of the calendar.

The Flex pass has the potential to be a double-edged sword. In theory, the Flex annual pass offers visitors access to Disneyland and California Adventure every day of the year but the two weeks around Christmas. In practice, Flex passholders could face more than 200 block-out days a year. It all depends on how good a visitor is at planning ahead, monitoring calendar updates and gaming the system.

Flex passholders will have unlimited access to both parks on off-peak days, generally Monday through Thursday during most of February, March, April, May, September and October. A few “good to go” days fall on Fridays in November, January, February and March.

Flex passholders will need to make an advance reservation using the Disneyland website or app for most of June, July and August as well as the weeks of Spring Break, Thanksgiving and leading into Christmas break and all weekends throughout the year.

The Flex pass calendar will be static rather than dynamic, meaning reservation-required days won’t change based on unexpected variations in anticipated attendance.

Disney will set a cap on the number of Flex reservations that will be available each day. This will be the great unknown for Flex passholders, as Disney won’t disclose that number or the formula used to calculate it.

This is where the roll of the dice comes in. You could be paying $599 for what amounts to a $399 SoCal Select pass or a $1,149 Signature pass. It all depends on variables out of your control — namely other Flex passholders and Disney calendar planners. Flex pass gives Disney the power to block out an entire group of passholders with the flip of a switch without any explanation.

Flex passholders will be able to make up to two reservations at a time up to 30 days in advance. Reservations can be made on the day of your visit if they are still available. Passholders can add up to eight people to their reservation, provided your friends and family are connected to your Disney account.

No shows will be penalized for not canceling their reservations at least a day in advance via the Disneyland website or app. After three no shows, Flex passholders will find their existing reservations canceled and a hold put on new reservations. You’ll have to talk with a Disney agent to get out of the passholder penalty box.

The online passholder calendar will show when reservations are full for individual dates. But cancellations could cause full dates to reopen at any time. Last minute cancellations at 11:59 p.m. the night before could mean night owls will be able to snap up a reservation for the next day. Savvy passholders will be able to scoop up newly-released reservations the moment they are posted.

The Flex pass comes with basic perks such as 10 percent off merchandise and dining as well as monthly payments for California residents.

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge debuts May 31 at Disneyland, which could have a major impact on the crowd levels inside the park.
 
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