At Disneyland Christmas may be extra

Written by MiceAge. Posted in Cars Land, Disney News, Disneyland Resort, MiceAge Update

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Published on October 16, 2012 at 4:57 am with 160 Comments

October began a new fiscal year for Disney, and the Team Disney Anaheim (TDA) suits are rushing quickly to kick off projects big and small over the next twelve months to help capitalize on the stunning popularity of Cars Land and the successfully re-launched Disney California Adventure (DCA). The new fiscal year ahead will be the launching point for several big changes to come to the Disneyland Resort and its changing demographics.

In this update we’ll fill you in on some of those new projects about to be launched, just how strong the numbers are for the Resort, and why it’s not too early to be making your Christmas plans now so you can say goodbye to some of what may be your favorite Disneyland traditions this year. We even have some info on what the next E-Ticket in Tomorrowland might be. (And that should help you understand why they are keeping such a tight lid on it.)

Since the Christmas coffee isn’t available yet at the local java joint, we’ll have to settle for the pumpkin spice variety instead this morning. (But we’ll still avoid the fruitcake okay?) As always special thanks to Andy Castro and Fishbulb for all their help in putting this all together. On Dasher, on Dancer… um, sorry, I forgot they are gone now… not a creature was stirring… well there was one Mouse… – Al

(Cash register) bells are ringing, can you hear them?

Since June we’ve been detailing the huge jumps in attendance for DCA and the monumental changes to the ways both tourists and locals alike are now using the Resort property. Those trends have continued into the busy HalloweenTime season this fall, and the numbers have strengthened nicely from last year’s already healthy autumn attendance.

DCA continues to pull in 40,000 per day on weekends, and Saturday’s are now seeing a surge in one-day tickets being purchased for DCA by locals or day-tripping tourists who don’t have Annual Passes, which is a ticket demographic that DCA has never been able to capture. As the word spreads on Cars Land, the Disney and local area hotels are seeing occupancy rates at 95% or higher most days now, and the rush is on every morning as the hotel guests scurry to Cars Land as soon as Disney will crack the gates open.

As usual, the numbers tell this story the best. As a reminder, Disney counts attendance based on a “first click” turnstile policy, which counts daily visitors only once at whichever park they enter first. A visitor bouncing between both parks will only be counted once per day and at only the first park they entered. Below are the attendance figures for this past Saturday, compared against the year-ago figures;

Saturday, October 13, 2012                                        Saturday, October 15, 2011

Disneyland – 55,000                                                       Disneyland – 57,000

DCA – 40,000                                                                      DCA – 18,000

2012 Daily Total – 95,000                                              2011 Daily Total – 75,000

As you can see, that’s 20,000 additional visitors to the Resort, which pushes the numbers from an already healthy Saturday in 2011 into figures in 2012 that were once only seen in Anaheim during the hyper-busy week between Christmas and New Year’s. And that extra 20,000 is weighted heavily towards domestic and international tourists staying in hotels. Disney California Adventure is driving all of that attendance gain, obviously, and yet the results are crowds that seem evenly balanced across both parks and that can be accommodated inside the revitalized DCA with amazing smoothness.

Cars Strand

That’s not to say those swelling attendance numbers aren’t causing cracks in the foundation beyond the parks. Parking is a problem that we’ve been telling you about since the first warning flags went up on the issue back in 2008. With those types of daily attendance figures, and with the Resort’s Cast Member population now swelling past 23,000, the parking situation is at a breaking point. Cast Members working on recent weekends have again been forced to park at the Honda Center and be bussed in, while Disney’s parking team commandeers Cast Member parking lots for visitor use. Even then, some satellite employee parking lots like the Pumbaa lot across from GardenWalk are filling up by mid-morning and unceremoniously being shut down to CM’s without warning, sending CM’s to circle the Resort area looking for an open Cast Member parking facility and then run to their shifts to avoid being marked late.

Those CM’s being forced to park at the Honda Center on certain days are at least given a few days’ notice, but the free lunch vouchers are no longer handed out like they were back in June. The new expectation is that on any busy day when the Honda Center trigger is pulled, CM’s will simply park there without any extra perks being doled out. And this November and December, with the extremely popular Christmas season arriving, the parking problems will only increase.

Scrooge you!

It’s the Christmas season that TDA is now most intently focused on, as they try to ignore the fallout from cancelling the employee Christmas party and tinker with a new plan to offer the Candlelight ceremony for 20 consecutive nights in December. Regular readers will remember that a year ago we told you of the plans being considered by TDA to begin offering extra-cost private parties in December that would bundle a few of the popular holiday entertainment offerings into one event, and leave regular day visitors without the Christmas parade and fireworks and festivities that TDA has been offering to everyone since the late 1990’s.

That plan for extra-cost Christmas parties is no longer a matter of if, but now just a matter of when. This year will likely be the last that a regular visitor will be able to experience the full menu of holiday offerings at Disneyland by simply buying a ticket and walking through the gates anytime in November and December. The 2012 Holiday Season will be the end of an era, as Disneyland takes yet another step to becoming more like Disney World.

While the exact offerings and dates for 2013 have yet to be worked out, the most popular concept now kicking around TDA’s executive offices is a calendar where two or three parties per week would be offered from late November through the third week in December, and they would feature the exclusive performance of the Christmas Fantasy parade, the Believe In Holiday Magic fireworks, and the snowfall shows on Main Street and the digital projection snow shows at the Small World Mall. The upcharge to the private party cost would be the dinner packages, and it’s those folks who purchase both a party ticket and a dinner package who would get seats for the nightly Candlelight performance also performed during the party.

The logistics on all of these major entertainment offerings that are focused on and around the Main Street USA and Hub area will be tricky, but TDA is working under the assumption that they will need to bundle all of that entertainment together to make the party marketable. TDA would love to have the new back alley behind the east side of Main Street we told you about in the last update already built, but that’s still a few years away. So for the holiday season of 2013 when these private parties will likely kick off, expect that the crowd control for the party on Main Street will be rough.

The parkwide decorations and two holiday attraction overlays at It’s A Small World and Haunted Mansion will still be on offer to non-party guests, obviously, so it’s the entertainment and little extras that will be heavily leveraged to set the extra-cost parties apart. During non-party days in December the Soundsational parade will perform instead of the Christmas Fantasy parade, and on non-party weekend nights the regular fireworks and Fantasmic! will be shown instead of Believe fireworks and the snow shows.

Knowing that private Christmas parties are coming in 2013, TDA has apparently let lapse a few of the smaller offerings this year to try and condense the menu of things that anyone can do without extra charge. One of those casualties is the live reindeer they’d been shipping down from the Pacific Northwest for display at Santa’s Reindeer Roundup in Frontierland. Those reindeer won’t be coming to Disneyland this year, and the two remaining Presidential pardoned turkeys will be yanked backstage permanently as well. TDA will instead be focusing on beefing up the entertainment offerings in the Festival Arena beyond the petting zoo.

If they can create a package of holiday offerings back there that people enjoy, it would be an easy thing to add it to the extra-cost parties. Those big wooden gates at the Arena make it easy to shut off that area from the park during normal hours, so then they can swing them back open for the evening to offer yet another special activity and reason to buy a ticket to the Christmas party. (And for those of you grumbling out there about those greedy TDA suits, remember where the blame should really go – all those Halloween party ticket sales.)

While the extra-cost parties have TDA salivating over the numbers they could pull in for November through mid-December, Disneyland would revert to its usual offerings during the two weeks in late December and early January that frame Christmas and New Year’s. During those two extremely busy weeks, when all but Premium Annual Passholders are blocked out, they would perform the Christmas parade and fireworks daily for regular paying visitors.

But there could be a ticketing catch there, as well…

Crowd control in your pocket

Don’t forget, TDA is still toying with the idea of expanding its peak-season price increases from restaurants to the ticket booths. They’ve been cooking up those plans for seasonal pricing levels for about two years already, an idea already used at Hong Kong Disneyland. It is not inconceivable that 2013 launches that ticketing concept, where visitors arriving during the two weeks around Christmas and New Year’s would pay higher prices to enter the parks.

This temporary ticket increase would help limit attendance a bit while raking in more money, and could be explained by the predictable PR release from Disney that those visiting during the busy upcharge weeks would also get the Christmas entertainment people had to pay extra for at the private parties earlier in the month. There would be lots of marketing and logistical work to do around that still, especially with park tickets being sold off property at Costco or the Disney Store.

All chips, no Dale

To help with all these new party plans that depend heavily on special ticketing and processing, the main entrance turnstiles of both Disneyland and DCA are in the final stages of planning for a major refurbishment. Gone would be the same basic turnstile setup the park has had since 1955, and that has been repeated at most Disney parks around the world. In its place, the new technology that ties in directly with the coming NextGen concepts would be installed. The churning, clicking turnstiles all manned by an army of CM’s would be ripped out entirely, and instead there would be wide open lanes interspersed with digital RFID readers on short podiums, all staffed with a much smaller CM presence.

The slim RFID readers and the elimination of swinging gates and turnstiles will turn the appearance of the Disneyland entrance into a much more open facility, where strollers and wheelchairs can enter and exit unimpeded and some unscrupulous visitors might be tempted to sneak in amongst the crowds without a proper scan. The ultimate goal of the new entrance concept is not just to implement the use of RFID technology as part of the massive NextGen initiative, but also to speed the entry and exit of crowds through the area.

This would be put to the test most strenuously at the Disneyland Resort, which is the only Disney property that has two successful theme parks sitting directly across from each other bordering a small plaza. With DCA now proving it can pull in huge crowds and keep them entertained for a day or more, the ebb and flow of those crowds between the two parks will put the new RFID NextGen technology to a unique test.

Use it or lose it…

Another required piece of the coming NextGen program will roll out next month at both Disneyland and DCA. That’s when Cast Members at attractions will insist that anyone using Fastpass must return during their assigned one hour window, and they will stop letting people show up hours late for their Fastpass time. This change has already occurred at Disney World, and after a decade of ignoring the rules it was a tough message to deliver even though most of their visitors are tourists.

Extra signage and as much communication as possible will be used to try and get the word out at Disneyland and DCA, but the goal is to roll this out by Thanksgiving and then end the grace period of bending the rules by this Christmas. Wish those CM’s luck! As if they didn’t have enough problems with parking and cancelled Christmas parties and trying to carve out a little respect from TDA suits, they’ll be forced to play the role of Grinch this year and not let anyone show up late for their Fastpass appointment.

Yule honk

Meanwhile, there are smaller changes coming to both parks through this fall and winter. Although Disney has yet to formally admit it and we’ve been talking about it for months, they’ll be going big with Christmas decorations in Cars Land this year. A dozen extra telephone poles were added down the side of Route 66 solely for the purpose of helping string up garland and lights along the most popular street in Anaheim. Cars Land will also be featured this holiday season as Disneyland returns to the iconic Rose Parade after a six year absence with a massive float dedicated to the new DCA and Cars Land. Stephanie Edwards should love it.

The Pixar team has weighed in heavily on all of these Cars Land Christmas decorations as Disneyland’s talented decorating team cooked them up, down to the smallest detail. For example, the statue of Stanley near the Courthouse will soon be transformed into a new version of the statue called Santa Stanley, with a Santa hat and beard and bag full of toys slung over his rear axle. The original concept had a small Woody doll sticking out of the bag, as a sly nod to other Pixar successes. But John Lasseter and Pixar nixed that idea, not wanting to let other stories and characters creep into the Cars Land environment.

DCA’s Christmas tree will be going up just outside Elias & Co. in the plaza currently filled with ficus trees, and Buena Vista Street’s tasteful 1930’s holiday décor will offer TDA a chance to redeem itself after the clueless merchandising group in TDA trashed its charm this fall with tacky window displays. The Mad T Party will also get its first holiday overlay in November, with decorations and new holiday music added to the nighttime dance party.

Iron will…

Tomorrowland won’t get any Christmas decorations, as the last holdout of a land that ignores the holidays. But the plans to shutter Innoventions and begin work on an Iron Man themed E Ticket thrill ride in that space continue to move through the approval process in both Burbank and Glendale. If you are one of those few fans of Innoventions, or simply want to get a look at what’s left of the revolving theater ride system there since 1967, stop by and pay your respects before February.

Bob Iger can’t wait to get the Marvel characters added to the theme park environment, and WDI is running with this one since the budget is healthy and Cars Land has emboldened them to push for higher quality in these big headliner projects. The question remains whether they can keep this quickly approaching project under wraps until the 2013 D23 Expo in Anaheim next August, or if they at least announce the E Ticket this winter but hold back on the details publicly until the D23 Expo.

So what are your thoughts? Are you thinking about changing your Disneyland Christmas plans after this year? And what about Tomorrowland, should its future be Marvel or should they put that franchise in its own separate Park down the street? Our new format allows you to comment on this article directly below. By the way thank you again for your patience as we continue to improve the site and how it functions for you.




Oh-kay – that should do it for today. Remember your support is vital, your donations to PayPal help keep the bills paid. We’ve also added this link to an Amazon wish list if you would prefer using it instead. As always we wouldn’t be here without your kind contributions that help us pay all the bills each month.

Keep in mind updates only get posted when there is something to report on, and not before. It takes time to confirm things, and even then we can only offer a snapshot of a continually evolving story. (People do change their minds you know.) Just like the happiest place on earth, patience is a virtue; the queue may take a while before you can enjoy the attraction. ;)

See you at Disneyland!

About MiceAge

The MiceAge crew was started by Al Lutz in 2003, and is committed to bringing you the inside Disney story that you just can't get anywhere else. As much as we'd all like to see more frequent rumor updates on the site, we only publish when reliable news and rumors are available to share. Generally, you'll find a new MiceAge news update from Al and crew once or twice a month on Tuesdays. The MiceAge news Editor can be reached at: [email protected]

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160 Comments

Comments for At Disneyland Christmas may be extra are now closed.

  1. I was checking my calendar, to make sure this wasn’t the April Fools Day update! Dang.

  2. Disney keeps asking people to pay more to get less. I’m glad that we have a couple memories of Christmas visits to look back on because there is no way we will pay for evening offerings that should be included in the price of the already incredibly expensive ticket we bought for the day (or the week/or year). Those offerings are part of why we are willing to buy a ticket in the first place. They keep making choices that solidify our decision to not return once our passes expire.

    It will be very interesting to see what happens once the newness of Carsland dies off, ticket/food/merchandise prices continue to rise, and the park implements more of these exclusive parties, shortening the regular visitor’s day and offering them less bang for more bucks. Where will the breaking point be?

    • I don’t think Disney has a breaking point and they’ve got a couple of years to let the newness of Cars Land die off. By then, you may have the next big thing i.e. New Tomorrowland which will keep the resort hype going. They continued to raise prices, even when they had less to offer, and people kept paying. They’ve made it very easy to “buy in” via monthly payments but have also thinned the herd a bit by losing families like ours. For us, it just became a value proposition. Instead of 10+ trips a year, we made maybe 5 trips. The payout is no longer there nor does my family have the desire to go as much…one of the dangers of getting too much of a good thing (yes, you can have too much Disneyland in your life).

  3. Sorry Disney, you lost another long time annual passholder. Greed will be your undoing.

  4. I would perfer a Tron themed E-Ticket over Iron Man, just love the look of the new tron!

    • And thematically it would fit very easily. But, it wasn’t a blockbuster and it won’t drive merch sales the way Iron Man or the Avengers will, even though the latter doesn’t truly belong in TL. The game changed a long time ago and some people are just getting it. The parks aren’t just about creating immersive environments or else they could have very easily built Car Land without a tie in to Cars. Would they have sold as much merch…no way. I wouldn’t expect them to build any new attractions that don’t tie in to an existing franchise. That doesn’t mean the attractions will be bad (Cars Land is amazing), it’s just the new normal.

  5. Tomorrowland:

    Star Wars may be in a galaxy far far away and a long time ago, but Star TOURS is from a spaceport on earth on a star ship equipped with a flux capacitor to take you to that place.

    No excuses for Buzz Lightyear. Fun ride, but it shouldn’t be there.

    As for Marvel, specifically Iron Man, no Disney property could fit better in the vision of tomorrow than a man who portrays the son of Disney-esque Howard Stark. To those complaining in regards to his demeanor please see Captain Jack Sparrow. For those of you who despise the Captain, please see the original Pirates of the Caribbean and their demeanor towards women and booze which WERE sanctioned by Walt.

    To those complaining about the inclusion of JUST Iron man, please read the whole article, specifically this: “Bob Iger can’t wait to get the Marvel characters added..” and “..since the budget is healthy and Cars Land has emboldened them to push for higher quality in these big headliner projects..” This is not just Innoventions, this sounds to me like (my personal name for this project, maybe I’m right, who knows) — Tony Stark and Marvel present Walt Disney’s New Tomorrow — also known as the New Tomorrow. They’ve been looking at the whole east end, this is not just the one building.

    Who knows, maybe you’ll even get Dr Henry Pym’s Journey through Innerspace.

    • Apparently my html tags suck, only characters was supposed to be bold.

  6. I am appreciative of the update, as it has interesting information. However, there is not a single thing to become excited about. Special ticketing to enjoy the Christmas events that have always been included with the price of admission? The reindeer being removed? Higher regular day ticket costs? A redo of the ticketing system? Fastpasses being enforced (this is actually quite understandable)? Iron Man in Tomorrowland? Wow. Sounds like nothing short of good old fashioned greed at TDA and Burbank. I’m truly scared for the future of the Disneyland Resort. I feel like it is becoming a shadow of it’s former, true and glorious self.

  7. I have no problem with any of this. Am I the only one?

    First, Christmas. They’re not getting rid of Christmas. And only for a few weeks BEFORE Christmas are they starting the private parties. If you want to see all the Christmas perks, go during the last part of December and the beginning of January and you can see everything.

    Second, Iron Man. I think this is great! I’ve been hoping they would do a Marvel or Tron ride and getting rid of Innoventions is the best idea. Now, don’t get me wrong. I walk through Innoventions every time I go to DL (which is 3-5 times a year). It’s nice when it’s really hot, and the CMs showing the displays in each room are great. I just think it’s about time to do something new. If only they’d bring back the people movers…..

    Third, rising prices. I have no problem with this either. My husband and I already renewed our APs 2 weeks ago, and we’re out of state. A few trips ago we were talking to some CMs about the increase. Apparently there are a lot of people in SoCal that have APs. Not an issue at all. But when those people are going everyday, and spending NO MONEY in the park, Disney has to do something to control the insane crowds while still making a profit. I know all of us would like there to never be a price increase, but let’s face it. They have to increase the prices. They are constantly updating the park, adding new attractions, and making the experience awesome and memorable for everyone. If they didn’t increase the prices every now and again, there would be no Disneyland to go to. So you know what? If you all want to complain about the changes and never go to DL again, that’s fine with me! That just leaves less people in the park when I’m there. :)

    • I completely agree with you. Great points.

    • Yes, you can experience the whole thing under the most crowded conditions. It’s already expensive enough for a ticket. And I think the rising ticket prices are more often than “every now and again”. Also, are you not totally embarrassed for the poor CM who has to demo some outdated futuristic display?

  8. After reading all the comments on here from people I see quite a trend in people’s responses and attitudes which in my opinion is selfishness. Most people who are angry about some of these changes are AP holders and are saying they won’t be renewing their pass to Disneyland because they are upset and don’t want to visit anymore. I’ve been going to Disneyland since I was 3 years old. One week long vacation every year and there is a great nostalgia to it but there is also an excitement to see the upgrades or the new attractions or the maybe just the new treat on the menu. For me there is always something new at Disneyland and I embrace it. However those with passes that are now saying you will not renew and will go get a pass at Knotts or Legoland or Universal, I have to ask you, why did you get a pass to Disneyland in the first place. Was it simply because Disneyland is there and a place to go “hang out” or does it hold a more personal and special place in your heart? Because if it is simply a place to just hang out or go see the holiday fireworks after work then these above mentioned changes will probably make you mad. I on the other hand look at it from all angles. Perhaps Disney is trying to get a little more control and order in a park that has become a little overrun by selfish (and I don’t mean all) but a large group of AP holders that want, demand, the park to be how they want it, when they want it and if they don’t get that “then fine I’ll go to this place every week instead.” Sounds a little childish to me.

    We don’t know any details about the Ironman concept. It could actually be really well done and I am really excited to hear what the plans may entail. Perhaps it could be a Stark Industries theme and not just IronMan. After what looks like a phenomenal job they did in Carsland (my trip isn’t until April) I have no doubt they will do wonders in Tomorrowland once they break ground on any projects.

    • We are not local AP holders. We are from out of state and usually only visit once every 1-5 yrs. and usually get multi-day (3-4 day) passes when we visit. We hadn’t been to Disneyland for 2 years when we heard last spring about the large price hike that was coming. We decided then to purchase AP’s at the current price to avoid the price hike and be able to afford a couple of trips while our kids are still kids. It was an investment. We will not be renewing. It is not because Disney is common to us or that we will be buying annual passes to some other park. A trip to Disney is a big deal to us and a special treat. We just can’t justify spending the increased asking prices, and especially not when they keep taking away the special entertainment and closing earlier.

    • I’ve been going to Disneyland regularly for 41 years so Disneyland obviously holds a very special place in my heart. It’s not about selfishness that’s driving our decision to not renew, it’s about not getting the same value we used to since we can’t visit as much as we used to. I’m not losing any sleep over it though as life outside of the berm is far more important to me than it was 10-15 years ago.

      There are a large number of APers that have a sense of entitlement, who live and breathe Disneyland (sometimes in a rather unhealthy way) and those people can give the AP community a bad name. I don’t think Disney owes me anything other than continuing to provide a clean, safe, well run environment. As for ticket increases, they’ve invested heavily in DCA and that comes with a price for the consumer. I don’t like that Disney has increased their prices significantly every year, especially during an economic downturn, but Disney knows what it’s doing and there is no way they are going to make decisions that will significantly hurt their business.

      Again, for us it’s just about value. I will always prefer Disneyland over Knott’s but the latter has just become a better value for us. We enjoy our time there and it costs us significantly less to do so.

    • I don’t think the anger is coming from change. Change is good and necessary in a theme park. EVERYONE wants Innoventions to go. The anger comes from an apparent lack of concern for the creative environments of Disneyland by the current CEO and crop of Imagineers – Iron Man isn’t coming because the Imagineers think it is the best concept, it is coming because Bob Iger wants his Marvel investment to pay off.

      The threats of not renewing come from a lack of value. Disney has increased prices to an insane level over the past few years and more insults and increases (in the way of up-charge holiday parties) are in the works. That’s just pure greed. And Disney is getting away with it for now. But when all these locals have seen the new party once, how is Disney going to sustain this? They couldn’t even sell out their special up-charge Cars Land parties before the land opened to the general public. They are reaching (or have already passed) the tipping point. If other parks are offering a higher value (and I think most now are), Disney will eventually be in a difficult position. Paul Pressler sought to raise prices and lower operations costs and it eventually wrung the life out of the parks. The current management is attempting to keep quality high but make up for it with insane pricing, one Disney, and cutbacks on perks to cast and annual passholders. This too will eventually fail. Once you’ve alienated your customer base, it is very hard to recover. It’s marketing 101 and Disneyland is failing at this basic task at the moment.

      All the warning signs are there. Surely someone smart at Disney will yell STOP and put an end to this madness. Let’s hope that sanity returns quickly, before real damage is done to the company and the parks.

      • Dusty Sage wrote:
        >”I don’t think the anger is coming from change. Change is good and necessary in a theme park. EVERYONE wants Innoventions to go. The anger comes from an apparent lack of concern for the creative environments of Disneyland by the current CEO and crop of Imagineers – Iron Man isn’t coming because the Imagineers think it is the best concept, it is coming because Bob Iger wants his Marvel investment to pay off.

        The threats of not renewing come from a lack of value. Disney has increased prices to an insane level over the past few years and more insults and increases (in the way of up-charge holiday parties) are in the works. That’s just pure greed. And Disney is getting away with it for now. But when all these locals have seen the new party once, how is Disney going to sustain this? They couldn’t even sell out their special up-charge Cars Land parties before the land opened to the general public. They are reaching (or have already passed) the tipping point. If other parks are offering a higher value (and I think most now are), Disney will eventually be in a difficult position. Paul Pressler sought to raise prices and lower operations costs and it eventually wrung the life out of the parks. The current management is attempting to keep quality high but make up for it with insane pricing, one Disney, and cutbacks on perks to cast and annual passholders. This too will eventually fail. Once you’ve alienated your customer base, it is very hard to recover. It’s marketing 101 and Disneyland is failing at this basic task at the moment. “<

        Exactly right. The big unknown, though, continues to be the number of cash customers who are hooked on the Disney branded lifestyle. The people who will continue to pay and pay and pay no matter how blatantly greedy Disney gets.

        Disney acts as if there are an unlimited number of those customers. They act as if they believe that every time a legacy customer quits in disgust, two will take his place, eagerly waving their wallets.

        It remains to be seen if they're right. Of course, the outcome is irrelevant to current Disney management. If they're right, they win. If they're wrong and it backfires, they leave with their bonuses and resumes, and they still win. In either case, the only losers are the customers — packed into the park like a mosh pit of sardines, receiving ever-declining customer service from an ever-shrinking staff, and paying ever more for it.

    • Very well put. My family and I agree with you.

  9. I can’t fault them for any of this. People still keep paying. I see tons of ticketed people going through the turn style every day. After going to the Halloween party last night and seeing everyone having a fantastic time… yea this is the next logical step.

    As for people who say this they won’t be renewing, remember that Disney probably doesn’t want you to renew. If they want there annual pass roles to increase they will lower prices, offer more or do what they need to do. If they want less they will do the opposite. Pretty simple.

    Do I like it… no I don’t. But them’s the breaks.

    If you don’t like it try to get everyone to stop buying tickets for the Halloween parties. After you stop your annual pass. Don’t buy day tickets. Refuse to go. Only buy reducing the attendance levels will you get your wish. But good luck to you I think people now are willing to pay that premium for entertainment right now.

  10. It has been 5 years since the last time I visited Disneyland at Christmas. I been trying to scrape together money to go this year and it has been a tough road. Now I need to scrape harder so I dont missout a final Christmas experience. If they do an upcharge for what was already part of your admission, I will never be going at Christmas time. It is just getting to freaking expensive.

  11. The lack of respect for the front line cast members is gross. Not unexpected from a large, for- profit company, but gross nonetheless.

    I, actually, don’t mind a Tony Stark themed futuristic expo type attraction. Do I want a simulator ride through New York with Iron Man and the Avengers? No. There is lots of potential here to be a perfect fit for Tomorrowland. Do I have faith Disney will do it right? No. They’ll play up Iron Man himself, and abandon the Stark-Expo themes.

    Fastpass return times being enforced is a good thing. It will be super inconvenient for us MiceChatters who meet up with big groups later in the day. Trying to coordinate fast pass pickups will be inconvenient as will using them all at the same time. But then, shouldn’t we really be waiting in the “stand by” with a group that large anyway? I think no fastpass on Haunted Mansion Holiday was a great start to overhaul the whole fastpass option.

    And Christmas. SIGH. I am incredibly disappointed by this. Every year, my husband and I have our “Winter Wonderland Day” at Disneyland. We put on our overcoats, scarves, hats, and go “do” Christmas. We ride Small World and Mansion, stake out a good spot for the parade, eat and drink our bellies full of holiday yummies, watch the tree light on main street and end our day with a kiss under the snowfall after the fireworks. Being that we both live away from our families, this is our holiday tradition.

    As we already own AP’s (husband has deluxe, I have a premium due to our work schedules), I honestly feel like I pay for this experience in the cost of our AP’s. It would be one thing if our annual passes were a lower cost, either older pricing tiers or a lower status AP. But when you are paying premium costs, you expect to have the full experience.

    Once the Halloween parties moved to Disneyland and the prices were raised dramatically, I didn’t buy tickets anymore. The minimal offerings during the Halloween party are not worth the price of admission in my opinion. I always tell my friends, “When they have a headless horseman running down Main Street, I’ll buy a ticket.” What I mean is that Disney needs to beef up the “party only” experiences, like a FULL parade, in order for me to justify the expense.

    However, now that they are going to offer ALL of the Christmas entertainment as a “party only” exclusive, I find that my reaction is much more negative. There is a large difference between adding something new and upcharging then taking away something you’ve had all along. And it’s Christmas. It’s bloody Christmas. Being greedy and corporate at Christmas just has a larger emotional impact on me. It leaves me with a rotten taste in my mouth.

    Will I buy a ticket? I have no idea. I need to sit on it for awhile. Will I ever buy one for Halloween now? Less likely now that, if I WAS going to buy one for Christmas, that would make it harder for me to buy the Halloween tickets two months earlier. Asking people who are already paying $600+ dollars a year to pay an additional $100+ just for the seasonal offerings seems outrageous.

    If I decide that attending the Christmas party is important, I think that I am far more likely to simply stop buying my AP and buy a few single day tickets throughout the year and tickets to the parties. I’ll buy a ticket for one day of Gay Days, Micechat Anniversary, Gumball Rally, one visit during the summer and the Halloween and Christmas Parties. When the monthly AP cost for my husband and I is more expensive than a car payment, I better be getting that premium experience. And when I stop feeling like I’m getting my monies worth, I’ll stop paying that price.

    They’ll lose money on me in the long run as I eat almost all of my meals in park and spend money on expensive merchandise like jewelry, clothing and art. The less opportunity I have to shop and dine, the less I’ll spend. And as I won’t be going as often, I’ll be spending more of my time in line for attractions and less in the eateries, bars and shops.

    It is sad to see Disneyland turn into a place for the financially elite, the ones who don’t have to think about dollar value versus experience value and just think about the convenience. Annual passholders will now only be for the wealthy and it will turn into a status club more then a appropriately priced ticket media.

    • MaryAnn I feel the same about Christmas. My family lives in the MidWest and when I attended Disneyland one Christmas season it felt like my Christmas. My girlfriend and I have made it a tradition to spend one day there and do all the Christmas stuff before I head home for the holidays. Sad Disney will take this road and take what so many have enjoyed during Christmas at Disneyland.

    • We don’t travel to Disneyland during the holidays, we go in the offseason when we plan our annual trip, but if I did I’d be highly offended by your comment: “asking people who already paying 600+ dollars a year to pay an additional $100+ just for the seasonal offerings seems outrageous.”
      For my family $600 pays for just our plane tickets to get to Disneyland. And im sure people who live on the East Coast pay even more then that for plane tickets. That should help put it into perspective for you, when you whine and complain that Disney is increasing pricing in the park. Disney needs to do something to control attendance and this is how they are doing it. I feel the park has been abused by a lot of AP holders. APs should be for people who appreciate the priveledge of going more often and if that means you go 2 to 3 times a year instead of weekly or monthly when you feel like it, then good! Not for people who feel that since they bought a premium pass they should be entitled to some additional premium priveledges. Your priveledge is going as often as you do.

      There are people that shell out thousands of dollars for on or two trips a year and they see the value of paying that for the fun family vacation they know they’ll have. Appreciative and grateful for the time they spend there. No one is entitled to Disneyland, it’s not becoming a status club, it’s trying to get back to its roots: a family destination vacation.

      • Dis… It would be interesting to see how the economics work out if these changes precipitate a down-tick in the number of AP holders who decide the AP cost is no longer worth the expense. I hear you about DLR being a family destination vacation, but I’d wager that DLR gets a larger share of its revenue from regular / local guests than from occasional out-of-towners, kinda the opposite of WDW, and so DL’s economics may be more dependent on visits from local folk (AP holders or not). I wonder sometimes if they should just go back to ticket books and do away with AP’s and fastpasses and park hopper tickets.

      • Highly offended, eh? You seem awfully angry. Sorry if I offended you, but I’m not sure how I could have been responsible for that.

        I didn’t complain about the parks being packed. Honestly, it doesn’t bother me. So your argument that I want it both ways is not true.

        Whining? Really? I thought that I was eloquent and decently unemotional in choosing my words.

        Privilege? Um, I have the right to decide if the price I pay for a product is worth the money. I’m stating that without the holiday offerings, I’m not sure it’s worth the money anymore. What is wrong with that logic?

        I DO appreciate the ability to go as often as I do. Don’t assume that because I am analyzing the cost vs. benefits that means I don’t appreciate that I have the opportunity to make that comparison. I count my blessings everyday in ALL aspects of my life.

        I didn’t say DISNEYLAND was becoming a status club; I said that the ANNUAL PASSHOLDER PROGRAM will turn into the status club.

        I am happy to explain my view and consider others’ viewpoints. But when people make assumptions and clearly don’t read posts accurately before attacking viewpoints, it makes me wonder why we even try to have a dialogue.

        If you want the AP program eliminated, that’s your opinion. But I wasn’t arguing about eliminating the AP program. I was sharing my thoughts on asking the AP holders to pay extra for seasonal offerings.

        And, for the record, I think it’s ludicrous that the tourists have to pay extra too. As you say, you spend $600+ just on plane tickets. I’m on your side too.

      • “No one is entitled to Disneyland, it’s not becoming a status club, it’s trying to get back to its roots: a family destination vacation.”

        By making prices so obscene that families can’t actually afford to go there? I’m confused.

    • Good for you. I agree completly. Ever since the roll out of pay events (excluding priviet parties) They parks have been taking away the experince of being AP’s. The days of me bing an AP are becoming numbered and as well is my purchases have almost stop completly. I think once the crowdes calm down over Carsland like they have for WoC and Toy Story Maina (mostly I still don’t understand lines for a 5 year old ride) than TDA will get thier heads on strait.

  12. Geez, why most all you fan boys and girls must get so worked up with Innoventions closing and getting replaced by Iron Man? It makes perfect sense, as it was stated by others who posted earlier; and Dusty, a Tron ride is still a few years would still be ahead, because TDA wants to cash on the upcoming Iron Man 3 (which also makes sense for them to build a copy of MILF from WDW, as Monsters Uni. will be opening next year), and audiences will have more a relational tie with the new attraction with the recent Avengers film and the upcoming third film than say a Sci-Fi film from nearly two years ago, (though if the Tron: Uprising succeeds with viewers, that will be helpful for Disney to make a Third Tron film.) Heck, remember what Al said that the new thrill ride would go over Harbor Blvd? It could either be an Tron or an Iron Man attraction, I guess it will just depend what type of new attraction will open in Shanghai Disneyland’s Tomorrowland.

    But, I do feel your pain on the rumored Dining Packages for the Christmas Parties at Disneyland.

    Boy, my voice might as well get lost in this flurry of angry fans.

    Timekeeper

  13. I think it’s about time WDI brings Carousel Of Progress back to Disneyland from Walt Disney World. They can go through it and update the final scene to show us what Tomorrow holds for us rather than Iron Man. DCA or another 3rd park is the place for Marvel characters such as Iron Man and my favorite Thor and his mighty hammer. Carousel of Progress was the last show that truly fit Tomorrowland and what Walt wanted the lands theme to be about. Make it so Mr Iger.

    • I agree, the Carousel of Progress is pretty amazing, though as a CM for Innoventions, i do believe it is within Walt’s vision. The heart of the CoP is still there, though instead of watching a show about how technology has changed, you go into an immersive experience of how technology will help shape your future. There is so much magic to be made there and I think the guests really do appreciate what we have to offer.

  14. Thanks for the update.

  15. (I’ve never commented on posts like this, but read hundreds, which should show how strongly I feel about this.) I am deeply disappointed in the direction Disneyland is headed. Just as A said, it’s becoming more like WDW. Though great, I feel that WDW lacks that certain charm that Disneyland has (or had). With the decrease in holiday offerings for regular guests, seasonal pricing, Fastpass enforcement (though small), Marvel coming into the parks, and the INSANE prices of tickets/food (and everything else going wrong at the DLR), it’ll probably turn into a “visit every five years” park for thousands, if it millions of people. Even then, most might not ever come back. I fear they’ll lose a lot of visitors through the next decade, possibly including myself……