In recent weeks, LEGOLAND California has gone through another price structure change. This time, removing discounts from "Sale" and "Hard to Find" items that are carried in their shops.
In year's past, annual passholders would expect to find LEGO sets priced at RRP. With a LEGOLAND California Annual Pass, a 10% discount was applied to all orders. During the years of "no discounts on exclusives," this made purchasing exclusives, such as modular buildings, a little more desirable at LEGOLAND.
Late last year, LEGOLAND California started raising prices on certain items, to "balance" the Annual Pass discount. Items such as the Disney Castle, which has an RRP of $349.99, has been priced at $384.99 at LEGOLAND California. With the increase in price, the discount works out to less than a $5 savings with an Annual Pass. This price increase is not limited to just "Hard to Find" items, though. Even items like polybags, minifigures, and Brickheadz have seen a $1 increase over RRP.
With this new policy, comes the pledge to reduce pricing back to RRP. "You should notice we've reduced prices on the Hard to Find items," said one employee this past weekend. (Although, the Disney Castle is still listed in store at the higher price).
In my own analysis, LEGOLAND California was most likely losing sales on the Hard to Find items to the non-Annual Passholders. Without a discount, there's not much need to buy a $385 Castle when you can order it from Shop At Home while you're standing there, and have it waiting for you when you come home from vacation.
Keep in mind that state tax rates at LEGOLAND California are 7.75%.
Whether this policy remains in effect during the usual Christmas season passholder double discount sale (20% instead of the usual 10%) remains to be seen. No word yet on whether this will affect any other promotions that periodically go out to Passholders as well. For the time being, though, one of the extra special "perks" that were granted to Annual Passholders has been taken away. Investors that were using that perk as a means to leverage a little extra out of their Annual Pass will have to rethink that purchase when it comes to renew their passes.
At this point in time, LEGOLAND Florida does not mirror this policy, although they do have a policy of restricting purchases as they see fit.