Disneyland Halts Pass Sales With New Park Soon to Open
Concerned that the highly anticipated opening of its neighboring park may lead to overcrowding, Disneyland cut off sales of its yearlong “passports” for the first time in park history Saturday.
The move, which park officials called temporary, came five days before the opening of the California Adventure theme park and follows three rare Disneyland sellouts in December.
Passports, the Disneyland equivalent of a season pass, allowed guests park access for a year. Prices depended on whether guests were willing to accept blackout dates when their passes would not be honored. A premium passport good at both parks, 365 days a year, sold for $299.
Guests who already own passports to Disneyland and California Adventure will be able to renew them when they expire, said Disneyland spokesman Ray Gomez.
He said the passports will go on sale again, but when is unknown.
With a limit of 30,000 guests at California Adventure, Disney officials were concerned that so many passport holders might show up at the park that it would prohibit others from buying tickets at the gate, Gomez said.
Disneyland has heavily promoted its annual passport for several years in hopes of filling the park on less popular days. By mid-January, 35,000 Disneyland passport owners had paid an additional fee to add California Adventure to their passports, a park manager said.
Overcrowding has been a serious concern at the new park, which has 23 attractions--a third as many as Disneyland. Each park charges $43 admission.
Disneyland took the rare step of cutting off gate sales three times in December, the first time it did so since the final days of the popular Main Street Electrical Parade in 1996.
A trade magazine put Disneyland attendance at nearly 14 million guests last year. Officials expect 7 million guests at California Adventure in its first year, Gomez said.
The passport suspension comes as Disney officials prepare for a crowd of up to 24,000 expected to line up overnight to get into the new park on its first day.
The same day Disney cut off passport sales, the company evacuated about 90 people from a theater simulation ride after an amplifier started to smoke during previews in the California Adventure park.
Anaheim firefighters cleared the smoke from the “Soarin’ Over California” ride shortly after 7 p.m. and determined there was no fire. Park officials replaced the amplifier and the ride was reopened two hours later, Gomez said. No one was hurt, authorities said.
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