V.I.PASSHOLDER Days Coming to Disney World!

Walt Disney World has introduced new perks coming for Annual Passholders in Summer time 2023 and past. This publish shares the main points that had been introduced within the newest AP Buzz e-newsletter kinda factor within the My Disney Expertise app, plus our commentary about why that is taking place. Let’s begin with the official announcement beneath.

As one in all our most valued company, we’re excited to introduce V.I.PASSHOLDER Days, that includes limited-time choices only for Passholders coming to Walt Disney World Resort. It’s our means of claiming ‘thanks’ for being a Walt Disney World Annual Passholder!
V.I.PASSHOLDER Days will start for a limited-time in June with extra particulars to be introduced quickly, however only for our Passholders, we’re excited to offer this primary have a look at what’s coming:

  • No, it’s not your creativeness—a brand new Passholder magnet is coming! Take a look at the particular sneak peek video and see if it sparks any guesses as to who can be featured.
  • Passholders can have a limited-time, unique house to relaxation and funky off with devoted seating (topic to availability).
  • Passholders can get pleasure from elevated reductions on choose merchandise and eating places throughout Walt Disney World Resort, together with choose EPCOT Worldwide Flower and Backyard Out of doors Kitchens.
  • New Passholder unique treats can be obtainable for buy.
  • Passholders can even get an opportunity to seize recollections of their newest park go to with two limited-time picture ops.

When it comes to commentary, it’s value beginning by saying that we’re happy to see Walt Disney World doing extra to acknowledge and present its appreciation for Annual Passholders. The previous few years have been a tough time to be a Walt Disney World AP, and many people haven’t precisely felt “valued” over that point.

The problems started with how month-to-month funds had been processed through the closure, and continued with reservation availability and renewals shortly post-reopening. In fact, many followers weren’t capable of purchase Annual Passes in any respect, as new AP gross sales had two prolonged pauses.

A few of that is forgivable, as pent-up demand and capability constraints had been enormous points that really had no simple options that made everybody blissful. It additionally could also be robust to listen to, however many Annual Passholders have a sure sense of entitlement or anticipated issues to go precisely as they did over the course of the prior decade, at the same time as the whole world confronted comparable issues.

From our perspective, a number of the points with Annual Passes had been comprehensible; Walt Disney World needed to make robust decisions and there was actually no technique to make everybody blissful. Others had been unforced errors, reflecting a sure conceitedness or presumptuousness as Walt Disney World took its most loyal followers as a right. As with so many issues, the satan is within the particulars–there have been methods to make robust or unpopular choices with out wanting contemptuous or disdainful in the direction of diehard followers. That’s one of many massive distinctions between the Bob Chapek versus Bob Iger regimes

To that time, it was fairly clear upon returning that Bob Iger wasn’t wild about how issues had gone below Chapek and the diploma to which there was disillusionment amongst followers. A bit of over a month after returning, Iger began transferring on that sentiment by asserting 3 BIG Adjustments at Walt Disney World to Enhance Visitor Expertise & Worth. A kind of was that Walt Disney World Annual Passholders would have the ability to go to the theme parks after 2 pm with no need a reservation, besides on weekends at Magic Kingdom.

Final week, Walt Disney World indicated that it’s persevering with to hearken to company, and introduced ‘5 thrilling updates’ coming in 2024 to enhance the visitor expertise. Once more, a kind of issues focuses on APs, which is the introduction of “good-to-go days” for Annual Passholders, which can be choose days that Annual Passholders might go to the theme parks with no need a park reservation in any respect.

Introducing V.I.PASSHOLDER Days is one other a kind of “little issues” that Walt Disney World is doing to show that it cares and desires to win again the diehard followers.

To not be debbie downers, nevertheless it’s additionally in all probability truthful to level out that Disney doesn’t do a lot of something out of company benevolence. It’s nice that we’re seeing Walt Disney World being attentive to visitor suggestions and fan complaints. As we’ve been mentioning for some time, visitor satisfaction began dropping precipitously at Walt Disney World in Fall 2021.

There have been inner considerations and a want on-the-ground in Florida to make modifications to enhance that, however their arms had been tied. The highest-level management change is nearly definitely what has allowed that to occur.

Nonetheless, the circumstances have additionally modified. Pent-up demand is lastly exhausting itself and there are indicators of softness on the horizon for Walt Disney World. For one factor, as we’ve talked about repeatedly, Walt Disney World already has launched 14 completely different reductions for 2023, which is greater than had been obtainable for everything of final 12 months.

Simply final week on the corporate’s earnings name, CFO Christine McCarthy warned of a slowdown at Walt Disney World within the coming quarters to melt the blow to traders. This wasn’t information to us–it’s already taking place! We’ve been discussing the upper than regular post-spring break attendance drops in Sharp Shoulder Season Slowdown at Walt Disney World and Low Pre-Summer time Crowds at Walt Disney World.

With a decline in vacationer customer numbers and spending, there’s now extra extra capability for Annual Passholders. It thus is sensible that Walt Disney World desires to lure them again, giving extra causes to really feel valued, go to, and spend cash within the parks. These new perks are designed to do all of that.

What’s most attention-grabbing to us is the aggressiveness of the V.I.PASSHOLDER Days. You realize Walt Disney World is pulling out the large weapons once they’re that includes Figment on a freebie (secure assumption he’s the character on the magnet) and likewise introducing a free lounge.

Talking of which, I’m going to guess that the lounge finally ends up being a nice shock. Calling it a “house to relaxation and funky off with devoted seating” means that it’ll be indoors, which eliminates the plain and boring places like Tomorrowland Terrace and the River of Lights seating space.

Animal Kingdom or EPCOT would take advantage of sense for a lounge, as these are the parks to which Walt Disney World desires to funnel AP attendance. World Showcase has no shortages of unused or underutilized areas that might function a lounge, with World ShowPlace being an excellent (and massive) possibility if no particular occasions are scheduled (and it’s actually going to be ‘restricted time’), however my wager is that we see a revival of the Florida Blue Lounge in Morocco, however this time for all APs.

As for the reductions on the EPCOT Flower & Backyard Pageant, these additionally make sense and we’ve seen comparable affords up to now few years. It is a good transfer provided that demand is presumably dropping off amongst locals for this occasion by its third month, as Flower & Backyard limps in the direction of the end line. (It might’ve been savvy to do an analogous push for the fiftieth Grand Finale, pushing merchandise that means somewhat than sending it to the shops.)

On a tangential notice, I ponder if for this reason Walt Disney World is making the unprecedented transfer of shortening the 2023 EPCOT Meals & Wine Pageant by 2 weeks. That is the primary time ever that we’ve seen Walt Disney World materially cut back the length of an occasion, and about the one means that is sensible is that if they’re seeing diminishing returns. If that’s the case, I’d anticipate to additionally see the 2024 EPCOT Flower & Backyard Pageant shortened by not less than per week–and as much as a month. (The good transfer could be considerably shortening it and introducing a brand new summer time pageant for June by means of August.)

One factor we’d like to see introduced again is the Free V.I.Passholder Nights that had been held at Walt Disney World. The largest problem with these, identical to the TRON Lightcycle Run or Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind previews, was that registration lasted lower than an hour earlier than all slots crammed up. Like new attraction previews, the invite emails additionally solely went out to a fraction of all eligible Annual Passholders. (I’ve all the time puzzled whether or not the ‘satisfaction fee’ on stuff like this can be a web constructive–does the happiness of the APs who get in outweigh those that are shut out?)

It could look like an eternity in the past, however these Free V.I.Passholder Nights had been held in 2018-2019, and had been fairly just like the paid After Hours occasions. There have been truly many AP and DVC perks supplied in 2015-2019 that really feel like issues Walt Disney World would by no means do right this moment. (The dynamic is arguably worse at Disneyland, the place we went from free AP nights themed to Indiana Jones or Dixieland to paid ones that aren’t even pretty much as good.)

Lastly, the one factor we haven’t actually mentioned in any respect right here–that presumably is enjoying some position in these choices or maybe is a symptom of the issue–is the resumption of Annual Cross gross sales. The constructive information right here is that every one tiers of APs are nonetheless obtainable on the market, which is nice for many who are nonetheless on the fence or not fairly able to buy for no matter motive.

The attention-grabbing angle is that Walt Disney World had a multi-hour digital queue on the primary morning with so many simultaneous guests on the web site that the gross sales course of truly crashed. That led to Disney including a ‘warning’ that they “anticipate a cross or choose passes might develop into unavailable for buy later right this moment.” That was virtually a month in the past!

The cynical clarification is that Walt Disney World was attempting to juice gross sales by making a false sense of urgency. Loads of you in all probability imagine that, which is okay–none of those theories are provable or disprovable. Nonetheless, that was added at a time when the web site might barely deal with the site visitors it was getting–why deliberately exacerbate that? The message might’ve been added that evening if it had been about including the phantasm of shortage. Furthermore, we additionally noticed comparable messages with Magic Key gross sales at Disneyland, and people passes did promote out shortly thereafter.

Accordingly, our greatest guess is that Walt Disney World misjudged demand. That there have been far more followers on-line vibrant and early to buy passes than anticipated, but additionally, that some (many?) of these had been the identical individuals on a number of units. Disney additionally may need overestimated ongoing demand for AP gross sales. I do know we had been a bit stunned by how rapidly the digital queue went from a number of hours to completely nonexistent!

Anyway, all of that’s attention-grabbing right here because it pertains to attendance, attempting to win again alienated ex-Annual Passholders, and extra. After just a few years of Walt Disney World with the ability to ‘get away’ with just about something and nonetheless see report visitor spending and insatiable demand, customers now seem to as soon as once more have extra leverage. This normalization isn’t just a very good factor for followers, it’s additionally more healthy for Walt Disney World within the long-term.

This needs to be an attention-grabbing saga to comply with, and it’s virtually sure that we haven’t seen the tip of Walt Disney World’s efforts to woo again former followers and pull “levers” to incentivize extra demand and visitor spending. Keep tuned–there’s absolutely extra to return within the days, weeks, and months forward!

Planning a Walt Disney World journey? Find out about resorts on our Walt Disney World Accommodations Evaluations web page. For the place to eat, learn our Walt Disney World Restaurant Evaluations. To economize on tickets or decide which kind to purchase, learn our Suggestions for Saving Cash on Walt Disney World Tickets publish. Our What to Pack for Disney Journeys publish takes a novel have a look at intelligent objects to take. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Experience Guides will assist. For complete recommendation, one of the best place to start out is our Walt Disney World Journey Planning Information for all the pieces it’s essential to know!


Are you an Annual Passholder? Ideas on the V.I.Passholder Days, or the most recent merchandise and resort reductions? Will you be making the most of any of this? In case you cancelled your Walt Disney World AP, have any of the latest modifications made you revisit that call? Hopeful that extra perks, reductions, and so forth. are on the horizon as pent-up demand exhausts itself and there’s a slowdown at Walt Disney World? Do you agree or disagree with our commentary? Any questions we may help you reply? Listening to your suggestions–even if you disagree with us–is each attention-grabbing to us and useful to different readers, so please share your ideas beneath within the feedback!

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