As part of its 45th Anniversary, Walt Disney World offered its Annual Passholders a gift of a 20% discount at dozens of restaurants across the theme parks and resorts. The discounts were supposed to expire when the resort turned 46 this Sunday, but Disney has now said that the dining deals will be extended through December 23rd.
When I lived in California, Disneyland often extended 20% discounts at certain restaurants as a way to get annual passholders to visit the park during the off season. It worked for me then. Of course now, Disneyland has about as many passholders as it can handle. Disney World, on the other hand, doesn’t have the entire Southern California population to draw from. They need their passholders more.
This is more than just a nice gesture. It’s part of Disney World’s plan to keep annual passholders returning to the resort at a time when other travel (international travel mostly) may be a bit slow. Add to that some lost revenue from Hurricane Irma and a lower hotel occupancy rate this year (still very healthy, but lower than last year), and things will be a bit slow.
But the slowness won’t last long. Disney World is building new resorts, more entertainment, improving the roads and transportation offerings, and opening many new attractions. Of course, this includes Toy Story Land and Star Wars: Galaxy Land over the next two years. If the crowds aren’t coming by then, then there are larger economic issues at play.
I love dining discounts (the extra month on the AP was a nice gift too), the parks blog events are great too. I’d like to see a few AP only parties like they do for DVC members. If you’re a Disney World annual passholder, what additional benefits would you like to see?