I was living in Southern California when the Disneyland Annual Passholder membership went from the mid-ten’s of thousands to the high hundreds of thousands. While Disney doesn’t release the official count of annual pass holders, the belief among fans is that there are over 1 million at the moment. When the park experienced some rough patches Annual Passholders were there to provide a financial safety net. Later on, the resort really pushed to increase the number of passes that were sold to Southern Californians happy to have cash in hand and hoping to benefit from increased in park expenditures overall (even if APs do spend less on a per visit basis, their year long spending is more than the average family’s contribution). During that time the Disneyland Resort transitioned from a vacation destination that families would experience once every few years if they were lucky, to multiple visits every year for locals.
No one is claiming that Walt Disney World is going through the same sort of rough patch that Disneyland was in the early-90s. There are some similarities however. The economy is threatening the ability of Disney World’s typical vacationer to visit as frequent as before. That means they either need to attract new customers (expensive) or encourage existing customers to visit more frequently (very low cost). I’ve suggested on this blog that Disney World needs to become more of a locals park if it is going to get through this recession, and the new realities of the world economy, in good shape. It appears that there are people in high places that agree with me.
A campaign to attract more annual pass holders from among Florida residents has been gearing up. The latest entry is this new television ad that advocates the monthly billing option available to Florida residents:
Of course, as soon as this was posted, there were shriek cries that too many annual passholders would result in the same sort of hyper-crowded conditions Disneyland experiences throughout the year. I think that would make Disney World executives very happy. However, I don’t see that happening. There just isn’t the sort of population within 1 hour driving distance to support daily attendance numbers like that. More APs will mean that more value hotel rooms are filled on and around Walt Disney World and busier 3-day and holiday weekends. And that’s good for all of Florida’s economy. So please, pick up a Disney World AP.
It’s funny. My family has a condo outside Tampa that we visit roughly 3-5 times per year. I would go to Disney pretty much every time I was there if I could buy the Florida resident AP but since Florida isn’t my permanent residence, Pennsylvania is, I don’t qualify. Sorry Disney, you’re stuck with getting me just once a year if we’re both lucky.
You are not entirely correct. If you own the property in Florida (not like a timeshare, but you are the sole owner) you CAN get a Florida ID card. You cannot have driver’s licenses from 2 states, but you can get an ID card from the DL office if you have something like a utility bill with your name on it and the Florida address. Think about it, you pay taxes on that property even if you are not there all the time. We live in Dallas but own a house in Pensacola Beach and my husband and I have Florida ID cards. The problem is that we have a 20 year old daughter, who is married, and an 18 year old daughter and we cannot get Disney Florida resident tickets for them (they would have to have their own IDs) but we HAVE gotten tickets with the Florida discount for ourselves and our 2 younger children when staying off-site. We have not gotten the APs though, we only go about once a year, and we get better deals with our military discount or free food than we do being Florida residents.
We just bought ours last week! We are 3hrs away, and plan to visit often. Withthe monthly payment option, it is very affordable.
I have not bought a new AP this year. One of the major reasons is the parks are just too damn crowded all the time now.
We try and visit every year & if we were Fla. residents it would be a great perk. Crowds that is the beauty of Diz, all races, ages and children filling up the parks. Life is complicated enough so when in Diz just go with the flow.
I have had an AP for nearly a decade now. It is my annual treat for myself out of my tax return. Over the past 9+ years, I have learned how to predict the crowd levels by day & season per park. Sure, some days are more crowded than others but there are just as many days that I can do every attraction I wish to in Magic Kingdom in about 6 hours with nothing longer than a 20-minute wait. (There are some great apps for your phone or iPod as well that will tell you crowd level per park & wait times for each attraction!) If you ask the cast member who is doing your AP renewal, they will tell you how many times you used your AP over the last year. On my 2010-2011 pass, I went 29 times. The best part? If I go over to WDW & it’s too crowded or starts to rain? I just go home & try again another day. i would say I have more than gotten a return on my investment of entertainment funds!
I’ve had my AP for a number of years now. I encourage anyone who visits more than twice a year to get one Florida Resident or not. It just saves money. And on the odd chance that you have a few hours to kill you don’t feel like your wasting a ticket. There is still plenty of times to visit the parks without the crowds like right now.
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