It’s been about six months since Walt Disney World paused the sale of most new annual passes. While existing annual passholders are still able to renew, Disney has showed no indication of resuming sales for three of its four passes at Walt Disney World. What’s going on?
Walt Disney World suspended most of its annual passes back in November 2021. At that time, guests could no longer purchase the Pirate, Sorcerer and Incredi-Pass. The lone pass still available is the Pixie Dust pass that’s exclusive to Florida residents.
When Disney announced the new annual pass system at Walt Disney World in August 2021, they noted that passes “may be unavailable for purchase” at any given time.
At the time, we believed Disney was halting the sales of new passes in an effort to control attendance ahead of the busy 2021 holiday season. Park reservations were regularly filling up and adding more passholders to the pool might make securing a park reservation even more difficult. That leads to a sticky situation where Disney might not be able to uphold what passholders are purchasing.
Now, it’s six months later and park reservations continue to be a talking point at Walt Disney World. Guest demand remains high and is showing no signs of slowing ahead of the peak summer season. Disney is still dealing with guests who are unhappy with the park reservation system and the confusion that a park ticket does not guarantee admittance. The same pain points that we believe caused the pause in the first place are just as present as ever.
An educated guess says Disney won’t bring back new annual passes to Walt Disney World until early 2023. Rolling out a new annual pass system during the busiest months might not make the most sense. However, Disney has surprised us before.
Disney will eventually bring back new annual pass sales at Walt Disney World. But, we think whatever returns might look different and carry a higher price than what Disney rolled out in 2021.