Ever since the recent changes and elimination of lower cost levels of Disneyland Annual Passes were announced I for one didn't buy their "story" that this was being done to help contain crowd levels. I still don't believe it. Upon hearing the news I immediately said - this was being done to transition AP'rs to higher priced brackets because crowd levels were actually going to be trending down.
Full disclosure - I'm a film industry marketing exec (not for disney or any affiliate) and I pay for a premium pass myself.
Meanwhile back at the ranch so to speak....I call the whole "excuse" for changing the pass tier levels along with price increases to the existing ones all planned for increases in revenues and not to "help" ensure better "guest experiences".
Case in point... In the Los Angeles market - Disneyland Promotions has launched many many marketing tie-in's and cross promotions with local radio, television, and print "hyping" the annual pass programs via free giveaways of yearly passes to lucky contestants. These at the HEIGHT of the theme park attendance season! Yea I know what I'm talking about here. This is highly irregular and a bit ominous given it's "timing".
I don't want to argue with those who will stick by whatever Disney Parks does "for the sake of guest experiences" but I'm telling you that the elimination of lower priced AP programs had more to do with concerns over dropping renewals and a lack of interest due to the "after glow burn out" of Carsland and an overall lack of anything else new - nearly two years in -- which I know many here will claim till their death - has turned the entire resort around.
All I will say is that OUTSIDE marketing data and opinions about the "new" DCA are not as great as even some reporters on this site have said citing satisfaction surveys were "100% positive", as one famous reporter likes to exclaim - Oh-Kay! The Little Mermaid has not had nearly 3 "makeovers" because it's a 100% positive hit ? Yes DCA is better, but outside market research show that the public is still grossly disappointed with it's "Billion Dollar" makeover as am I. What is with the monstrosity of metal in the "lagoon" for World of Color? You mean for all that money they could not come up with a system that preserves it's aesthetics and appearance. How un-disney like! Ya really.
Outside of Disneyland pulling together a miracle attraction before Harry Potter opens at Universal and the continuing re-positioning of Knott's as a family value attraction - you can bet Disney "suits" are going to continue to "squeeze" more out of AP'rs and maybe "really" offer them incentives to keep them re-upping.