Here's my thoughts, not that anyone has asked. Over the past two years we have been seeing major construction happening over the resort. The DVC expansions will be paying for themselves with the new and returning DVC members, the park's expansions will be majority payed for by the park tickets and merchandise sold in the parks. What about all the work at and around Disney Springs, and the recently announced fly over for the monorail resorts at Magic Kingdom, where does that come from?
I'm by no means saying that I am saying that this is completely correct, this is an amateur's look at this. Even though Disney is a huge company with money to spend anywhere, it does come down to how they budget the money. The production side of Disney isn't going to spend their money on hotel expansions at the parks. So Disney has to look at the number. With x amount of annual passes we can charge y amount more for each pass and have these expansions paid for in z years.
Disney Springs is becoming a great, non ticketed, place to spend your first, middle or last day of your vacation. But when the expansions had started, tenants for the new area hadn't been completed, and with stores closing to make way for the expansion, they weren't really pulling in a lot of revenue like they had in the past. Add that they are building 2 pedestrian bridges, 2 huge parking garages, and expanding the roads around the area. Yes there are grants that can help with this, but Disney takes a risk on how the money is spent (Do you really want to have to almost shut down an area for 5 years to overhaul because of misjudgment again?).
On top of the price increase, I am hearing a lot of grumble about the inclusion of Photopass now. Once again, this is personal but I believe others may share my opinion. Beth and I take full advantage of the Photopass photographers and the services they offer. We have bought at least one disc a year on the major trip for that year. While this is only the downloads, it's still a huge help for us. I do believe that even though they actually cost nothing for Disney to do, besides server space and cost of labor, it's a great incentive for your family pictures and the scrapbookers out there.
What are your thoughts on the annual pass changes? Will it hinder you from getting or renewing your annual pass?