Disney announced this morning that they were increasing the price of annual passes – and some of the increases are the largest in recent memory. For a complete look at the price changes, click here
Of course, DVC members are affected by this as well – the new ‘DVC’ price for Annual Passes is roughly what the ‘regular’ price was yesterday.
Non DVC Price
That being said, it’s still a savings of about $200 over prevailing rates if you’re a DVC member. That’s little consolation to most though.
Just yesterday, Disney announced that they would be giving early access to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge for Platinum, Platinum Plus and Premier pass holders. Those of us that have been following Disney for more than 20 minutes knows that they often give with one hand, while taking away with the other, and this is a classic example.
I have some theories on why this massive increase all of a sudden, so hear me out.
1 – Disney is under the impression that SW:GE is going to be a financial ‘game-changer’ for them. In the long term, I believe they are correct, it will have a huge impact on the parks and the value of what we pay. In the short term, however – that’s not panning out to be the case. Sales of Disney resort packages in the fall PLUMMETED after the announcement that SW:GE would open on August 29th. The often-discussed narrative about the crowds this would draw have a lot of people saying “maybe next year”. It didn’t help that all discounts in the fall were pulled right after the announcement was made that SW:GE would open on Aug 29th. They were so certain it would drive bookings, this is the first year in more than a decade where a free dining offer was not extended in September.
2 – Disney is going to have to offer a promotion to boost sales in the fall, and I expect that will happen in the next 2-3 weeks, and I’m guessing annual pass discounts will play a major role in that. Raising the price now will blunt any financial impact from having to do what they swore they wouldn’t – offer discounts post-SW:GE.
3 – The last time we saw a jaw-dropping increase in the price of annual passes was in 2015 when Disneyland did basically the same thing. The reason: to discourage Annual Passes. Why you ask? Disneyland is a ‘local’s park’ with the vast majority of its visitors living in Southern California. They needed to try anything they could to thin the crowds, and spiking the price of AP’s had the desired effect. The number of Disneyland AP holders dropped as a result. I’m not entirely sure that is not the intended effect of what we’re seeing here.
Of course, this is all speculation on my part and I could be completely off base, but I don’t think I am. This is consistent with the things they’ve done in the past. The question is – will it work? This is designed to discourage annual passes. Did it work? How will this increase impact your plans for buying / renewing an annual pass? Let us know in the comments below.