Disneyland cancels annual passholder program due to overcrowding concerns

Disneyland has canceled its annual passholder program out of concern that demand by fans using the popular membership program could overwhelm Disney’s capacity-constrained Anaheim theme parks once an extended coronavirus closure eventually comes to an end.

Disneyland will start issuing prorated refunds to annual passholders starting Thursday, Jan. 14, according to Disney officials. Disneyland officials won’t say how many people have annual passes, but theme park industry observers have estimated the number to be 1 million.

A new Disneyland membership program will be unveiled at a later date — presumably after Disneyland and Disney California Adventure reopen.

“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,” Disneyland resort president Ken Potrock said in a statement. “We are currently developing new membership offerings that will utilize consumer insights to deliver choice, flexibility and value for our biggest fans.”

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Rose Keiser, who runs the popular Gothic Rosie’s Disneyland page on Facebook, applauded the move.

“The uncertainty of the path of the virus, the long time period from research to effective vaccine and people’s overall fears drove a large group of APs to just want to step away until everything is safe,” said Keiser, of Northridge. “That is also why we let ours expire (in July 2020).”

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Others were heartbroken by the decision.

“This is a big blow to the local passholder community,” said Donna Collins of Valencia, who redecorated her husband’s home office to look like the Hanted Mansion. “My family and I have been passholders for over 20 years. … It’s a shame that Disneyland is forced to make this decision when (Walt Disney World in Florida) has been open since July. Getting into our happy place is moving farther and farther away.”Disneyland, DCA and Disney’s three Anaheim hotels closed in mid-March and remain closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Downtown Disney reopened in July and DCA’s Buena Vista Street returned for shopping in November.

California theme parks are unlikely to return to full operation until spring or summer under COVID-19 health and safety reopening guidelines issued by the state. Large parks like Disneyland will be restricted to 25% capacity with advance reservations once they reopen under state guidelines.

Disneyland annual passholders don’t need to do anything to receive the prorated refunds.

“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,” Potrock said in a letter to passholders.

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Disneyland has launched a website (Disneyland.com/PassportRefund) that will allow passholders to calculate their refunds. Disneyland’s phone banks are expected to be …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment

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