After closing its doors to visitors almost a year ago, Disneyland announced it will be canceling annual passes. As COVID-19 numbers continue rise in California, the park has become a vaccination "super site" in recent days.
Disneyland Resort President Ken Potrock explained in a statement on Twitter that the park would stop offering annual passes as of Jan. 14 because of the coronavirus pandemic. "Due to the continued uncertainty of the pandemic and limitations around the reopening of our California theme parks, we will be issuing appropriate refunds for eligible Disneyland Resort Annual Passports and sunsetting the current program,” Potrock said.
The annual pass program, which offers guests the opportunity to pay one fee and go as many times in a year as they like, was initially started in the 1980s, according to The New York Times. The passes have remained a popular option for Disney fans who want to visit several times a year and can afford the $419 to $1,449 the passes cost depending on level of perks and access.
Of course, 2020 changed all of that. Disneyland first closed its doors in March to help stop the spread of the coronavirus and has not reopened since. So what does all this mean for annual pass holders?
Can I Get A Refund?
Anyone who already owns a Disneyland annual pass can expect a refund, as Potrock's statement noted that the park "will be issuing appropriate refunds for eligible Disneyland Resort Annual Passports and sunsetting the current Annual Passport program" in the next few days. According to the park, pass holders will be issued a pro rata refund, if they are eligible for one.
The park's site also noted that customers who had active annual passes as of Mar. 14, 2020 will continue to receive discounts (based on their Passport type) at Downtown Disney and Buena Vista street locations from Jan. 18 to Feb. 25, Monday through Thursday.
Will There Be New Membership Plans?
While the annual pass program is ending, Disneyland is working on some new membership offerings that will "utilize consumer insights to deliver choice, flexibility, and value for our biggest fans," according to Disneyland's website. No information was shared about what these new membership offerings might look like as of yet.
What's The Status On Reopening?
While Disney World in Orlando, Florida reopened in July and is currently running at a 35% capacity, Disneyland remains closed. The theme park reopened a portion of California Adventure to allow shopping and dining in November, but had to close again after a few weeks due to COVID-19 concerns. Potrock did not give an update on when Disneyland might reopen to guests as southern California continues to see daily increases in COVID-19 cases.
As fans wait for Disneyland to reopen, it is heartening to see it used as a vaccination center. Hopefully soon it will return to the Happiest Place On Earth.