Disney World Just Made A Big Change To Annual Passes And Some Fans Are Not Happy

Partners Statue at Magic Kingdom
(Image credit: Walt Disney World)

The holiday season is an incredibly popular time to go on vacation and of course, the vacation kingdom, Walt Disney World, is a popular destination during that period. The parks always get a little crowded at Christmas time, but it seems that Disney World has the expectation that this season is going to be even bigger than most, as the resort has “paused” sales of nearly all Annual Passes. As one might expect, this is not going over well.

Last night, the Walt Disney World website unexpectedly stopped selling all Annual Passes with the exception of the Pixie Dust Pass, a pass available only to Florida residents with significant blackout dates. This decision follows an announcement from Disney World that it expected park reservations to be “limited” for the rest of the year. Needless to say, fans are voicing displeasure about the move. 

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Clearly, Walt Disney World is expecting to be busy over the next several weeks, and while a specific reason for the pause in annual pass sales has not been given, one has to assume that the resort doesn’t want to see people buy passes they are then unable to use because the parks are full. That certainly would not be great PR.  

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Of course, if you’re one of the people who was planning a trip to Walt Disney World for the holidays, who was maybe looking at buying an Annual Pass, this makes for a bit of a problem. Even if you weren’t looking to visit the parks over the next month or so, and were just looking to buy passes for the family as a Christmas present, that’s not looking like it will be an option. 

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At the moment park reservations for Annual Passes aren’t even that hard to get. While some parks are full on some dates in November and December, The Incredi-Pass, with no blackout dates, is valid someplace on every remaining day of the year with the exception of today, November 22, and tomorrow.  

Certainly, if you haven't spent the money on an AP yet, it may not be that big a deal that you can't spend the money now, and those that already have passes can still use them. However, one of the passes that is not currently available is limited to members of the Disney Vacation Club, and if you just dropped some cash on that with plans to start visiting Disney World a lot, this recent development is a more significant issue.

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The exact reason why things are getting so crowded aren’t entirely clear. While we don’t really know where the Disney World parks’ capacity stands right now compared to what used to be normal, it’s certainly possible we’re not at 100% yet. It’s also likely that the recent lifting of travel restrictions, allowing foreign visitors to go to Disney World for the first time in over a year, might mean Disney World is seeing a massive influx of guests. 

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Walt Disney World pausing AP sales follows a similar move at Disneyland Resort where the most expensive, and blackout free, Magic Key, the Disneyland version of the Annual Pass, saw its status change to “sold out.” Getting a reservation with a Magic Key is still a crap shoot at Disneyland Resort. There are currently no available dates for Magic Key holders until January, and no weekends available until February. 

There's no telling when sales of APs will resume. This likely isn't something that's just going to happen for a few days, so I would not expect passes to be back for sale until 2022. 

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.