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CityPass has been a valuable travel resource for more than 20 years, allowing travelers to take advantage of discounted admissions to iconic attractions in 14 North American destinations.
Because families on the go need tickets that they can access on the go, CityPass introduced a new mobile attraction selection program in 2018 for Denver, San Francisco and Philadelphia. It allows CityPass users to select any three, four or five attractions from a list of the city’s top sights — called a C3, C4 or C5 pass.
Plus, mobile CityPass tickets are now available in Chicago, Denver, New York, Philadelphia, Toronto and Tampa Bay, Fla., and the company’s goal is to launch mobile ticketing for the remaining CityPass destinations in 2019.
This year, CityPass has also introduced a brand-new Orlando, Fla., pass and added Universal Studios Hollywood to the existing Southern California pass. Both allow clients to save money on customizable theme park ticket packages at Disney, Universal, SeaWorld and Legoland parks in California and Florida. Plus, the Southern California pass also includes the world-famous San Diego Zoo.
(Janelle McKinsey, account director for CityPass, points out that since the theme park tickets are e-tickets rather than vouchers; clients don’t have to wait on line to get their tickets, then wait on line again to enter the park.)
I spoke to Deborah Wakefield, vice president of communications and public relations for CityPass, to learn more about the new programs.
How do the C3, C4 and C5 mobile passes work?For Philadelphia and Denver, clients can pick any three, four or five attractions from the list of 12 attractions in Philadelphia and eight in Denver. In New York and San Francisco, we noticed that many people felt the full pass had too many attractions for a short trip, so in those cities, we introduced the C3 option in addition to the full pass for a longer vacation.
Once mobile tickets are activated, travelers have nine days to use them (seven for Denver), and once they’ve used up their selections, the ticket automatically expires. Each person will have their own electronic ticket, so everyone in the group doesn’t have to choose the same attractions. The only thing that can be confusing is keeping track of what attractions have been scanned on each mobile ticket, so I recommend assigning a name to each one. I also suggest printing a copy to keep with you, so you can still use your tickets if your phone battery dies or if you lose your phone.
Have the CityPass ticket booklets been eliminated?In some cities, we still have both options, but for Philadelphia, Denver, Orlando and Southern California, it’s only mobile. We’re trying to go to mobile for all our destinations, because people prefer that, and it’s easier for them to use. Atlanta and Seattle will be the next for mobile ticketing, and the rest of the cities will have it by the end of the year. The only exception will be San Francisco, which will have the San Francisco C3 as a mobile ticket, but we’ll keep the booklet for travelers who want the muni and cable car passport because that requires a hard ticket.
Will the discount coupons in the printed ticket booklets translate to the mobile tickets?Some of the coupons will. For example, with the New York CityPass ticket, if clients have used the Top of the Rock/Guggenheim Museum option ticket (meaning they can choose one attraction or the other) to visit Top of the Rock, they receive a special offer for $3 off admission to the Guggenheim Museum — or, vice versa, $2 off admission to Top of the Rock. Similarly, if they’ve used the 9/11 Memorial/Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum option ticket to visit 9/11, they get a special offer for $7 off general admission to the Intrepid Museum.
Booking theme park tickets can be overwhelming, because there are so many options. How do the Orlando and Southern California CityPass make that process easier?Disney and Universal parks have variable pricing, so the cost fluctuates depending on the day of the week, demand and the time of year. On the CityPass website, when you click on each theme park, it will show all the ticket options available, as well as the savings for each ticket. So clients can make the best decision — and see if the parks are offering special pricing, and CityPass will automatically apply that savings to your purchase. Another convenient feature is that you can add as many or as few tickets to your cart as you want, and then all your tickets will come bundled together in one email from CityPass.
To test out the new Orlando CityPass, I went on a pretend theme park ticket-shopping spree on the CityPass website. For a three-day Walt Disney World park hopper, the CityPass website showed a savings of $34.91 per ticket, and for a two-day Universal Orlando Park-to-Park ticket, it showed a savings of $28.99 per ticket. Plus, because CityPass offers any available special pricing, I was able to take advantage of a Universal promo that upped my savings to $70.99 per ticket for the dates I selected.