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5 Steps of Disney’s (Not So) Secret Strategy To Axe Passholders

The Southern California annual passport is no longer sold at Disneyland, but if you're careful, you can still renew it.

Is the Disney Annual Passport under attack?

The days of deciding to throw up a theme park one day and start construction the next are over at the Walt Disney Company. Like me, they are logical and methodical, with their decisions reasoned out and planned weeks, months, and decades in advance.

So let me share with you their ‘secret’ formula to thin out the Disney AP population, including those Southern California Annual Passholders they no longer need or want. I’ve also included a bonus 6th step from October 2015 that will affect all park guests, but especially those with Premium passes. Keep on reading!

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Monday Mapday: An Introduction to Every Disney Resort

DLR Overview & Parks & Sub Areas 4-16-13

Does your bucket list include something like, “visit all Disney resorts in the world”? Well you’re in luck, because on that’s exactly where we’re going on this voyage called Monday MapDay.

Before you get friendly with a place, it helps to be introduced first, so here’s a quick primer on all six resorts in the Disney empire.

Disneyland Resort (DLR)

DLR Overview & Parks & Sub Areas 4-16-13
The original Disneyland Resort (red), hosting Disneyland (yellow-top) and Disney California Adventure (yellow-bottom).
  • Location: Anaheim, California, USA
  • Opened: 7/17/1955
  • Size: 505.4 acres (0.79 square miles)
  • Number of Theme Parks: 2

Located in the heart of Orange County, the Disneyland Resort is home to the first Disney theme park, Disneyland (DL), and Disney California Adventure (DCA). Though it’s been called a resort since the Disneyland Hotel (DLH) was built in 1956, the DLR didn’t really become a full-fledged resort until the construction of DCA and the addition of two themed hotels in 2001.

Walt Disney World Resort (WDW)

Walt Disney World Overview
Walt Disney World (red), along with the Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney Hollywood Studios, & Disney Animal Kingdom (all yellow)
  • Location: Orlando, Florida, USA
  • Opened: 10/1/1971
  • Size: 18,817.2 acres (29.4 square miles)
  • Number of Theme Parks: 4

The crown jewel in the Disney resort pantheon, Walt Disney World is home to four theme parks, twenty-one hotels, two water parks, seven golf courses, and a ton of other attractions. Enough said.

Tokyo Disneyland Resort (TDLR)

Tokyo Disneyland Resort (red) and it's two parks, Tokyo Disneyland (yellow-top) and Tokyo DisneySea (yellow-bottom).
Tokyo Disneyland Resort (red) and it’s two parks, Tokyo Disneyland (yellow-top) and Tokyo DisneySea (yellow-bottom).
  • Location: Urayasu, Chiba, Japan
  • Opened: 4/15/1983
  • Size: 474.8 acres (0.74 square miles)
  • Number of Theme Parks: 2

The first Disney resort built outside of the United States, Tokyo Disneyland Resort (TDLR) became a true resort destination in late 2001 with the addition of Tokyo DisneySea (TDS), a wholly original park in the Disney universe. Three resort hotels and a shopping complex call Ikspiari round out the offering. An interesting fact about TDLR: it’s actually owned and operated by the Oriental Land Company (OLC), not the Walt Disney Company (WDC) itself.

Disneyland Resort Paris (DLRP)

Disneyland Resort Paris Overview
Disneyland Resort Paris (red), home to Disneyland Paris (yellow-top) and Walt Disney Studios (yellow-bottom).
  • Location: Marne-la-Vallée, Île-de-France, France
  • Opened: 4/12/1992
  • Size: 2302.8 acres (3.59 square miles)
  • Number of Theme Parks: 2

Located just outside Paris, Disneyland Resort Paris (DLRP), better remembered by many as ‘Euro Disney,’ has two theme parks, six resort hotels, and a Downtown Disney shopping center called Disney Village, not to mention the golf course, campground, and their own Imagineered town.

Hong Kong Disneyland Resort (HKDLR)

Hong Kong Disneyland Resort Overview
Hong Kong Disneyland (yellow) surrounded by the HKDL Resort (red).
  • Location: Lantau Island, Hong Kong, China
  • Opened: 9/12/2005
  • Size: 775.3 acres (1.21 square miles)
  • Number of Theme Parks: 1

Hong Kong Disneyland Resort (HKDLR) was the first theme park venture into the Chinese market for the WDC and home to Hong Kong Disneyland (HKDL), two resort hotels, and a lakefront recreation area. Though it started off small, Disney has added a lot to HKDL over the past couple of years, and there are rumors of a second Disney park being built next door, along with two more hotels, and a Disney shopping complex.

Shanghai Disney Resort (SDR)

Shanghai Disneyland (yellow) sitting in the middle of the SDL Resort (red).
Shanghai Disneyland (yellow) sitting in the middle of the SDL Resort (red).
  • Location: Pudong, Shanghai, China
  • Projected Opening: 12/15/2015
  • Size: 1728.6 acres (2.7 square miles)
  • Number of Theme Parks: 1

The Shanghai Disney Resort (SDR) is the latest and newest Disney resort. Projected to be complete in late 2015-early 2016, SDLR will host Shanghai Disneyland (SDL), two themed resort hotels, and a Disney shopping complex named Disney Town.

As you can see, Disney has a fairly loose definition of what makes up a ‘resort.’ Essentially, if they build a theme park and a hotel, you’re now in a resort. It makes me wonder if resorts get more attention in marketing studies. Maybe you feel like you’re getting more bang for your buck or a higher class experience if you visit a ‘resort’ instead of just ‘some theme park.’

That’s it for this edition of Monday MapDay and our quick introduction to the Disney resorts worldwide. There will be more updates on everything in all of these resorts in the weeks ahead, as we drill deeper and deeper into the world of Disney theme parks.

Have you been to any international Disney resorts? Let me know in the comments below and make sure to sign up for our free weekly newsletter so you won’t miss future Monday MapDay posts (or any of our other great content). See ya’ real soon!

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