Hi everyone! Today I have some interesting news about the annual passes at the Disneyland resort. So, let’s get started, shall we?! So, it appears that the annual pass holder program is coming to an end. Passholders will be contacted today and informed that they will be refunded the unused portion of their annual pass contract automatically. Back in October of 2020, we shared information that Tokyo Disneyland was ending its Passholder program due to limited park capacity and the difficulty of guaranteeing park reservations for passholders. At the time, we speculated that the same situation may need to happen at Disneyland as well. Today, that suspicion was confirmed.
Ken Potrock, Disneyland Resort President, is in the process of sharing the following letter with all current passholders. The letter explains the reason for the sudden change, addresses what a huge impact this will be for many, and hints that more information is yet to come. The truth is that Disneyland really wouldn’t have been able to uphold their end of the annual pass contract for an unknown number of months after the parks reopen due to expected drastic park capacity limitations. And while Disneyland hasn’t created their new ticket structure yet (they are busy sending surveys right now to figure out what guests want), they know that folks would rather have the guarantee of buying a ticket and gaining access than paying top dollar for an annual pass and not being guaranteed access for something they already paid for. As a result of the high number of passholders and the low amount of expected park capacity, something drastic had to be done. But don’t despair just yet. Disneyland knows that many of you identify with the parks. It’s an important part of your lifestyle and the thought of not having access is probably causing some tears (or even anger) by those of you reading this. So Disneyland hopes to embrace the fans, continue to offer perks and opportunities, but have a new flexible ticketing structure that will allow Disneyland to control park access, and better serve guests in these difficult times. What the exact ticketing structure will be isn’t finalized yet. But it will likely be incorporated into the new park reservation system.
What Current Annual Passholders Need to Know
First, and most importantly, you will automatically receive a prorated refund for the number of unused days on your annual pass. If you are curious how much that amount is, you’ll be able to visit Disneyland’s Passport Refund Page which will calculate your refund due.
But even with all Disneyland passes canceled, if you had an active park pass as of March 14th 2020, when the Disneyland Resort shut down, you will continue to receive some benefits. Passholder discounts will continue for the time being at Downtown Disney and Buena Vista Street. AND from January 18th through February 25th passholders will receive 30% off at select locations in Downtown Disney and Buena Vista Street Mondays through Thursdays (regular discounts still apply Friday through Sunday).
Disney promises to make sure passholders are the first to hear about the new ticket program as soon as it has been finalized. We’ll be sure to break it down for you and explain the changes right here on Mice Chat as well.
That Disneyland Feeling
They had a few moments to chat with Disneyland Resort President Ken Potrock about these changes. It was quite clear that he both understood and was concerned about how these changes would make passholders feel. On the one hand, Disney has done everything it could to grow the program over the decades and make passholders feel special, but current business demands would make delivering the same level of access impossible in an age of social distancing and extreme park capacity limitations.
Ken is committed to creating new ways to engage Disneyland’s best fans and make sure they continue to feel connected. Nothing is off the table right now as they try to figure out exactly what fans want, and how Disneyland can deliver it under very challenging circumstances. If you have ideas about things Disney can do to help you feel the Magic once the parks reopen, please be sure to share in the comments below. Wanting a Passholders program just isn’t possible at the moment, but there are surely things Disney can offer, clubs, special ticketed events, fan merchandise, etc. that will help keep that sense of connection with Walt’s original Disneyland.
In October 2020, we ran a poll asking if the Passholders program should be ended as it has been in Tokyo to allow Disneyland to better control park capacity. We were shocked by not only the number of votes and views, but also by the results.
At the time, over 72% of you voted for some version of ending the program. Only 19% said the program should not be ended or changed.
Annual Passholders will be refunded and future membership offerings are in the works. Any Annual Passholders who had active passes as of March 14, 2020 will still be able to receive discounts on merchandise, food, and beverages at open locations in Downtown Disney District and Buena Vista Street. Annual Passholders receiving a refund will get a separate confirmation email. Guests who have the Premier Passport with access to both Disneyland and Walt Disney World will receive a refund for the Disneyland portion as the pass is discontinued. Disneyland will continue to offer annual passholder discounts throughout the Disneyland Resort. The Premier Passport will be canceled after March 31st, 2021, which is the pass type that offered access to both Disneyland and Walt Disney World theme parks.
Premier Passholders will be able to renew their passes as a Walt Disney World Resort Annual Pass through April 30th, 2021. Orange County opened their first Super POD mass vaccination facility at Disneyland’s Toy Story parking lot earlier this week and plans to vaccinate all residents in the county by July 4th.
Disneyland has not shared any additional information about the new membership program that will replace the Annual Pass in the future. Disneyland President Ken Potrock has sent a letter to Annual Passholders by email, which has been included below:
Dear Annual Passholder,
For nearly four decades, our Annual Passport program has been an important part of connecting with some of our most valued Guests. We are incredibly honored and grateful for that legacy, and the memories and magical moments you have helped us create over the years.
It’s because you’ve played such an important part in the history of the Disneyland Resort that I personally wanted to share this news with you. In the next several days, we will begin the process of issuing appropriate refunds for eligible Disneyland Resort Annual Passports and sunsetting the current Annual Passport program due to the continued uncertainty of the pandemic and limitations and expected restrictions around the reopening of our theme parks.
I know that sunsetting the Annual Passport program will be disappointing to many of our Passholders who are just as anxious as we are to reopen our gates and welcome Guests back when the time is right. But we are also very excited about what’s ahead. We plan to use this time while we remain closed to develop new membership offerings that will utilize consumer insights to deliver choice, flexibility and value for our biggest fans. Once we have more information to share about future membership offerings, our Passholders will be the first to hear from us as we embark on this next chapter.
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. As an added benefit, starting January 18 through February 25, 2021, these Passholders will receive a 30% discount on select merchandise at select locations in Downtown Disney District and Buena Vista Street, Monday through Thursday. For more details, visit Disneyland.com/APSpecialOffers. We also encourage you to stay connected with the Disneyland Annual Passholders Facebook page as we plan to continue our Annual Passport communication and digital content with more special opportunities to come, until new membership offerings are announced.
A pro rata refund will be issued for your Passport, if you are entitled to one. We are committed to processing refunds as diligently and as quickly as possible. A separate confirmation email will be sent once any applicable pro rata refund has been processed. Please visit Disneyland.com/PassportRefund for more information.
While I have not had the chance to engage with many of you since assuming my Disneyland role in May of last year, I do want to thank you for your understanding during this challenging and unprecedented time. We are incredibly optimistic about our bright future – and look forward to you being part of it.
Again, thank you for your loyalty over the years and your continued support.
Some people think that it is very good news and bad news. I think this is actually pretty good to me because I think it could affect people who want to come to Disneyland have to pay tickets and it could possibly be less crowded and not too many people. I know that annual pass holders are not happy about this news, but like the president said, its exciting of what is ahead going forward. I also noted last time that Disneyland has opened up the vaccination site to give people some covid-19 vaccines which is also good news.
All of this annual pass holder news just came today!
So, what do you guys think about this news about Disneyland?!
I would like to hear some comments, opinions, thoughts, or concerns down below!
Feel free to ask me questions if you have any questions!
Stay tuned for more Disney updates.