CityPass' new pass has Disney, not agent pay

By Laura Del Rosso

NAPA, Calif. -- CityPass has developed a new regional pass to southern California theme parks that will include Disneyland -- but exclude agents' commission.

CityPass, a firm that bundles attraction tickets for several major U.S. cities and sells them in booklets, offers most of its products to agents on a commissionable basis, with reporting via ARC.

The new Southern California pass, however, will not be commissionable and will only be available at the attractions (beginning Jan. 8) or bundled in international tour packages for the inbound market.

The pass, unveiled to international tour operators at the Pow Wow trade show earlier this year, marks the first time that Disneyland has agreed to be included in a pass program arranged by an outside vendor.

"This takes us into a different league, with having Disney and these attractions that cover an entire region in one pass," said CityPass president Mike Gallagher.

A Disney spokesman said the prime motivation for Disney's involvement with the CityPass is to boost the international market, which is in a slump. The company may "explore" whether to expand CityPass sales to domestic travel agents and operators, based on the results of international sales, he said.

"That's the market that needs the biggest bump," he said. "The greatest opportunity was to grow that market. Also, with the domestic market, we just don't see the length of stay" that is required to use the pass.

He noted that the Walt Disney Travel Co. bundles admission to Disney theme parks, the Universal Studios park and other southern California attractions as part of its packages, an opportunity for travel agents to sell a commissionable product pre-arrival.

Other than to international wholesalers and at the Disney parks' admission gates, the Southern California CityPass will be sold by some local hotels "only on a post arrival basis," the Disney spokesman said.

The Southern California CityPass will feature admission to major attractions in Orange County and San Diego: Disneyland, Disney's California Adventure, Knott's Berry Farm, SeaWorld and the San Diego Zoo.

CityPass admission to Disneyland and California Adventure is a three-day Park Hopper ticket. All other tickets are for one-day admission.

The pass will sell for $166 for adults and $127 for children ages 3 through 9. It will be valid for 14 days from the first date of use.

The prices represent a savings of 30% off standard admission, Gallagher said.

Adult admission to the attractions, if bought separately, would cost $238.

CityPass, launched in 1997, offers similar programs for San Francisco, Seattle, New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago and Hollywood.

Agents can still buy these CityPass products online at www.citypass.com and record the transactions through ARC, deducting commissions in advance.

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