local news outlets
, Disney recently sent surveys to guests and annual passholders
outlining various possible changes to annual passes. The question attracting the most notice regards blackout dates. While blackout dates (days when a passholder is blocked from visiting the park with their pass) are common for numerous annual pass levels at both Disney and Universal, the blackout dates discussed in the survey aren’t for entire parks but instead for specific rides.
The survey asked specifically about a two-month period after a new attraction first opens. With numerous new attractions planning to open over the next few years at Walt Disney World (most notably a new Star Wars land), new attraction-based blackout dates could dramatically change how many passholders
visit the parks. In recent years some frequent visitors to Disney parks have begun to complain
about the increasing prices and decreasing value of annual passes. Disney World did just unveil a new line of annual passholder discounts
, most notably 20 percent off at 45 Disney World restaurants.
The survey question is by no means a sign that Disney is going to include the new blackout dates for annual passes, but it does mean the thought is there. Disney frequently presents scenarios in surveys that are never realized. According to WFTV
, the survey asked, if such a blackout date did exist, whether the respondent would be more likely to buy a day ticket, upgrade to a pass that doesn’t include the blackout dates, or wait the two months.
Some have speculated
that this might be one way for Disney to crack down on the countless unofficial blogs that cover Disney parks, using annual passes for entry rather than media passes. Some theme-park bloggers pride themselves on being the first to post point-of-view videos of the rides, even when requested not to. Disney security has also approached vloggers
who were livestreaming in the parks, requesting them to stop.
Star Wars land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is expected to open to massive crowds, so the new blackouts,
if used, would likely be seen here. This could mean fewer spoilers online within a matter of hours after the new land opens. Of course, some might opt for the higher-cost passes or for day tickets, so it could be a way of gaining more higher-end passholders.
It would certainly help limit crowds at the opening of new attractions.