Disneyland Cancels Its Annual Passholder Program Due To The Pandemic

Disneyland's annual passholder program is no more.

According to Ken Potrock, the president of Disneyland, the California theme park has decided to "sunset" the annual passholder program, which should have significant ramifications on how Disney lovers spend their time in the park. (You know, when it eventually opens again.)

Potrock sent a letter to Disneyland annual passholders informing them that after nearly forty years, the program is being canceled "due to the continued uncertainty of the pandemic and limitations and expected restrictions around the reopening of our theme parks." Over the next several days, his team will begin the process of doling out partial refunds for folks who had pre-paid for a full year or had an unused balance on a monthly plan, although it's unclear exactly how long that process will take.

"Annual Passholders who held active Passports as of March 14, 2020 will continue to receive applicable discounts, based on their Passport type, on merchandise and food & beverages at select Downtown Disney District and Buena Vista Street locations, until new membership offerings are announced," Potrock said. Those new membership offerings are still in the early development stages, but they're intended to "utilize consumer insights to deliver choice, flexibility and value for our biggest fans."

Disneyland has been closed for months due to the pandemic, and with cases in the Los Angeles area continuing to reach out of control and incredibly dangerous numbers, it doesn't seem like the park will be opening its gates again any time soon. That lengthy closure has hit Disney where it hurts the most – its bottom line – and it's clear that executives are looking to recoup as much money as possible once the park does eventually reopen. And what better way to do that than to take away a big discount for people who, in a pre-pandemic world, made a visiting the park a regular part of their lives? Disneyland is much different than Walt Disney World in that regard: Disneyland's SoCal-based regulars basically used the park as a social space. Now that they'll have to pay full price to enter every time, one imagines a significant portion of them will not be frequenting the park nearly as often as they once did – especially given that the pandemic has negatively impacted so many folks financially.

According to LaughingPlace, the Premier Passport will be canceled after March 31, 2021, but Premier Passholders will be able to renew their passes as a Walt Disney World Resort Annual Pass through April 30, 2021.