Disneyland Resort has recently announced the official cancellation of its popular Annual Passholder program. The question on everyone’s mind is… why!

Obviously, tension has been sky-high surrounding the reopening of (or lack thereof) California’s Disneyland Resort. Disney claims that due to the ongoing pandemic and the ambiguity of the constraints revolving around the California theme parks, they will be “sunsetting” their Annual Passholder program and issuing refunds for qualified Disneyland Resort Annual Passports.

In a message to Annual Passholders, Ken Potrock, President of Disneyland, issued the following statement:

“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. 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.”

Why Would Disney Get Rid Of Annual Passes?

Right or wrong, it is most likely a numbers game that goes beyond dollars and cents. Disneyland’s Annual Passport program is no doubt profitable, in its own right. However, Annual Passholders are comprised of mostly locals who visit on a fairly regular basis. In fact, some make it a part of their weekend ritual. Take a moment to put yourself in Disney’s shows and ask yourself whether this is a good thing or a bad thing. Sure, Disney loves their diehard fans and their fanatical affair with the pearls helps boost pass sales. However, you can imagine that they’re spending much less on food (given the opportunity to eat breakfast at home, pack a lunch, be home by dinner, etc.) and merch (less to commemorate here) while at the parks than tourists. With parks often reaching max capacity, you have to imagine Disney wants to fill their parks and pockets with big spenders, especially given the assumed low capacity at which they will have to reopen.

What Is Next For Disneyland’s Annual Passholder Program?

While we certainly do not have the data or analytics that Disney has at their disposal, we predict Disney will continue to use “dynamic pricing” to incentivise locals to visit on slower park days, not too dissimilar to the Disney Vacation Club point system. In short, the more popular booking windows (weekends, spring break, holidays) require more points. While this may sound a bit tedious to the pass holders, it would help assist in spreading out the crowds and offer a more affordable option for locals with less availability who still wish to attend the parks on a semi-regular basis. In addition, thinning out the crows would make for a more pleasant trip down Mainstreet, U.S.A., and assumedly bring down attraction Wait Times.

When Will Disney Launch The New Program?

If this past year has been any indication of what is to come, it is safe to say that we do not have a clue! That being said, it is likely that the parks will be open for a year before it is implemented. After all, there are too many unknowns to factor in, including international travel restrictions, etc.

Surely, this will leave locals in a bit of a tailspin throughout, however, one would assume that at this point locals would be happy just to see the park open at all.

Disneyland Annual Passport Discounts and Refunds

Annual Passholders who had active passes as of March 14, 2020, will 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.

Does This Affect Walt Disney World?

Well, not directly… but it does affect Premier Passport Holders, as Premier Passports offer guests the option to have annual passes to both Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort.

The Premier Passport will continue to work at Walt Disney World theme parks until March 31st. After that, guests will need to renew the Walt Disney World portion of the annual pass by calling V.I.PASSHOLDER support. If a call is not made by that date, the Walt Disney World side of the pass will be discontinued as well.

There is a 15% off renewal rate for those who wish to renew their Premier Passport. If you are affected by the discontinuation of the Disneyland Premier Passports, you can call V.I.PASSHOLDER support at (407) 939-7277 to renew your Walt Disney World Premier Pass.