Does Disney own enough land for a third gate? Are there any older businesses that they could buy up and redevelop (tear down) to expand their footprint?
Opening a third gate is definitely the ideal long-term solution (as it is with Universal Orlando Resort), but the cost of more land just seems too high.
They should consider Downtown Disney and Resort Hotel expansion off the Downtown Disney flat surface parking lots. Build a second parking structure adjacent to the existing Mickey and Friends parking structure.
DCA still has expansion space left over in the remnants of the Disneyland parking lots. Why not build another land adjacent to Carsland?
Disney should consider other ticket options for locals to spread out the crowds. The AP's should not be the only way to buy the ticket for locals. Expand the existing 2 day or 3 day SoCal tickets to a 4 day summer pass. They done this in the past like at Costco. The difference with a regular 4 day pass is it can be used beyond the 14 day window since locals must still work around their weekly schedule.
The SoCAl select pass was still more than a 5 day pass, so you can still get at least one 5 day pass and go on 2 consecutive weekends with no restrictions and it would be less money than you spent before. Yes, you don't get as much value for your money, but that is what everyone in NorCal and the rest of the country face, but the SoCal residents don't face as many travel and lodging expenses. I don't think this was a money making plan where the SoCal pass is concerned as much as a crowd control measure. Since Disneyland reaches capacity on some days then in some sense you are spreading the Disney availability to more people by reducing the number of spots across many days that a relatively small number of people are taking up.
As far as the third gate suggestion, they are a for profit company so they can't really build another gate to increase capacity for annual pass holders to get more value for their money. If they build a popular third gate they'll probably charge even more for annual passes and be more restrictive with the dates because there will be more demand since it will take longer to do everything and Star Wars/Marvel have very dedicated fans (many who probably aren't Disney super fans and didn't previously hold an annual pass) who will pay a lot to be able to visit those themed worlds often. Just like they've done now that DCA is a park people actually want to go to now. They'll definitely charge more than for WDW because there are so many more people that live close enough to Disneyland to drive there vs WDW.
Far from the "1%" who "deserve" a Disney vacation I would venture to suggest that the percentage of vacation visitors to local visitors is nearer the opposite way around. Certainly the vast majority of guests to Disney parks tend to be tourists - those people who save their hard-earned money for a special vacation and keep vast numbers of American citizens in a job by bringing their money to the USA and spending it. If AP holders have become so numerous that they negatively affect the experience of tourists then Disney is absolutely right to move to control those numbers. There is no magic entitlement to cheap access to a Disney park just because you happen to live close by and Disney knows that the majority of its income comes from occasional or even once-in-a-lifetime visitors. They need to keep that market happy and they are moving to do just that.
I pay more than OT to visit a Disney park and experience the same attractions so why should my experience be diminished in order that OT can continue to enjoy the parks at a fraction of the cost?
@OT. The sarcasm(?) was confusing. Care to clarify the situation? I can't figure out if I agree with you or disagree with you.