Disneyland introduces a new type of Annual Pass

May 9, 2019, 6:00 PM · The Disneyland Resort has made another change to its annual pass program, adding a new "Disney Flex Pass" that changes the very concept of a "blockout date."

This new pass does not replace any of Disneyland's current annual pass options, which remain on sale. The Disney Flex Pass will go on sale May 21 for $599 — hitting the same price point as the Southern California annual pass, which currently is available only for renewals and not for new sales.

Under Disneyland's current annual passes, days are either open or blocked at Disneyland or Disney California Adventure, depending upon your pass type. Like all but Disneyland's top-level Signature Plus pass, the new Disney Flex Pass also will be hard blocked out for the two weeks around Christmas and New Year's Day. And like the lowest-priced Southern California Select pass, the Disney Flex Pass will allow passholders to visit without restriction on most weekdays during the school year.

But it's the other days that make this new pass interesting. During weekends throughout the year, the summer, and spring break week — days that are blocked on many Disneyland annual passes — the Disney Flex Pass will allow its passholders to visit the park on a limited number of those days... provided you make a reservation to visit first.

That's the "Flex" in the new Flex Pass.

The Disney Flex Pass includes 142 "Good to Go" days at Disneyland and 157 "Good to Go" days at Disney California Adventure over the 12 months starting May 21 that do not require an advance reservation — just show up and get into the parks. The pass cannot be used for admission to either park between December 21, 2019 and January 4, 2020. For all other days, Disney Flex Pass holders can reserve up to two days to visit within a 30-day period. Reservations are available on a first-come, first-served basis and can "sell out," leaving passholders unable to use their pass if they did not book early enough to claim a specific date.

Daily reservations are available on a rolling basis starting at 7am Pacific time and may be booked through Disneyland.com or the Disneyland app. You can hold up to two reservations at a time, but Disney reserves the right to penalize you by taking away reservations and barring you from making new ones if you "no show" on reserved days three times or more. So if you have a reservation and will not be able to use it, you must cancel it by 11:59pm the day before the date of the reservation to avoid a no-show strike.

The Disney Flex Pass brings Disney World's Fastpass+-style strategy to the Disneyland Resort. If you book your reservations 30 days out, as soon as a new day becomes available, you maximize your chances that you will be able to get those dates, as you are booking early.

But if you wait to book days until the last minute, you might be able to maximize the number of days that you can use the pass... assuming that the days do not "sell out" first, making them unavailable. Remember, you can hold only two reservations at a time, but if you are able to churn those quickly instead of holding reservation days weeks in advance, you might get more days of use overall. The number of available reservations for Disney Flex Pass holders will vary daily, Disneyland officials said, so we're about to enter unchartered territory of use maximization for savvy fans.

It's possible that a requested reservation date might be available for Disney California Adventure only and not for Disneyland, though the Disney Flex Pass does include Park Hopping, should you be able to get into both parks on a particular date. When making a reservation, you can specify if you want one or both parks (if available), and you can book the date for up to eight other Disney Flex Pass holders in your party.

The Disney Flex Pass includes 10% discounts on food and merchandise, but does not include parking. You can upgrade a SoCal Select AP to the Disney Flex Pass, but you cannot downgrade another AP to this pass.

Again, the Disney Flex Pass will go sale on Disneyland.com on May 21.

Replies (5)

May 10, 2019 at 9:43 AM

So, I live in Denver, and when they decided to separate the blockout dates by park I decided not to renew my AP. This, however, may just cause me to reconsider. Well-played, Disney... well-played...

May 10, 2019 at 10:07 AM

This new pass might be the death-knell for the SoCal Pass, which has supposedly been on the chopping block for the past couple of years. There are clear advantages of this pass for Disney in that they can better gauge guest levels and adjust staffing levels as appropriate. By allowing guests to seemingly skirt the blackout calendar, so long as they plan their visit in advance, this pass represents a significant advantage. There is no reason for Disney to continue to offer the lower tiered passes, and simply offer the Flex Pass along with the Signature and Signature-Plus Passes (eliminating the non-SoCal Deluxe Pass as well)

May 11, 2019 at 12:12 AM

Cool! I like flexibility. And that's cheaper than the $799 that is currently the lowest priced AP ticket.

May 11, 2019 at 2:25 AM

Obviously we won't know for sure until it happens, but I've got a very strong feeling that renewals on the SoCal pass are probably going to be cut off in the near future, with this as the replacement. In my opinion, that is a very good thing. While you're not guaranteed access on as many days with the Flex Pass, there are many more days where someone could potentially visit, making this work for almost anyone. Yes, visiting spur of the moment won't be a viable option anymore (at least on weekends), but that's exactly the sort of visitor Disney is trying to eliminate. If this is successful, I foresee a complete pass overhaul in the next couple years with three levels: Flex, Flex Deluxe (more good to go dates and priority on reservations), and Flex Signature (essentially the current Signature pass with the ability to visit by reservation during the holiday blockout).

May 13, 2019 at 6:09 PM

When Disney announced price increases in January, they said that more changes were coming to the AP program, so I guess this is it. Sounds like a good deal. Besides holidays, Saturdays and Sundays are probably the days that will fill up the most often, Fridays and summer weekdays may be next. If you could get reservations for those days one to two weeks in advance, it would probably be worth it. If those mid-high demand days sell out 30 days in advance, it would be a problem. But my guess would be that the first year will probably be ok, it's when the number of Flex APs grow that there will be greater competition for popular days.

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