Knott's Berry Farm is extending them.Disneyland might be canceling annual passes, but neighbor
Jon Storbeck, the Vice President & General Manager of the Buena Park, Calif. theme park, updated fans today with a message noting that not only will all 2020 and 2021 season passes be honored for 2021, the park will extend those passes into 2022 for as many days as Knott's Berry Farm is closed in 2021.
The timing of today's message is no doubt meant to capture the attention of local theme park fans, who have been buzzing about Disney's announcement yesterday that it will "sunset" its AP program. Universal Studios Hollywood also threw a little shade today, too.
Hey Pass Members. Yeah, you. We just want to let you know that we ?? you.— Universal Studios Hollywood (@UniStudios) January 15, 2021
Neither Knott's nor Universal have had the same usage by passholders as Disneyland, which drew twice as many visitors as Universal and more than four times as many as Knott's in 2019. And that's not including attendance at California Adventure, which slightly outdrew Universal by itself. That frees Knott's, Universal, and other local parks from the level of pressure that Disneyland was anticipating in having to accommodate its estimated million-plus passholders when parks were allowed to reopen at reduced capacities in California.
Disneyland officials said they would be developing a replacement for its current annual pass program, so the time between now and whenever Disneyland unveils that new program is prime time for Knott's to boost its relationship with and sell season passes to local fans who now find themselves without a Disneyland pass. That's why Storbeck posted today.
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All California theme parks are playing this by ear. Knott's has taken a different path than Disneyland.
Both are reacting to unprecedented situations. One reaction with regards to passes may be better than the other (and the difference in demographics may also enter into it).
Only time will tell which, if either, reacted correctly.
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I see on social media that a majority of current Knott's season passholders are relieved and grateful to Knott's for this news. Some people are wondering what the extension will mean for their passes in 2022, since Knott's typically sells passes for the calendar year and not for one year from first use.
It might be a relief for passholders to have their passes and add-ons like parking and dining extended for a few months, but a lot of people don't seem to realize that it's in any theme park's interest to have a large number of passholders who come regularly to the park (instead of other amusement venues) and spend money on merchandise, food, drinks, photos, parking, and front-of-the line passes.
The all-year dining pass might seem like a great deal, but if you want a second meal on the same day, you have to wait 4 hours in the park, and most people will end up spending money while they are there. In their financial reports, Cedar Fair is proud of how many dining passes they are able to sell and how much profit it adds to their bottom line.