CALIFORNIA (KTLA) — With Disneyland having been closed for 10 months due to the COVID-19 pandemic — and no hint as to when the theme park will be allowed to reopen — Disney Parks on Thursday announced it will be ending its popular annual passport program.
“Appropriate” refunds will be issued for “eligible” passholders, Disneyland Resort President Ken Potrock said in a statement posted on the Disney Parks Twitter account.
Disneyland is “sunsetting” the current program and “developing new membership offerings” for the future that will “deliver choices, flexibility and value,” the statement read. No further details were immediately provided.
An email was sent out to passport holders in the afternoon notifying them of the impending changes.
“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,” the email from Potrock read in part. “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.”
For those entitled to a refund, Disney will be initiating the process in the next several days, according to the email.
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In the meantime, passholders who had annual passports active as of March 14, 2020, will still get applicable discounts — at least until new membership options are announced — at select stores and eateries in the Downtown Disney District, which has been expanded to include Buena Vista Street in Disney California Adventure.
Between Jan. 18 and Feb. 25, 2021, those annual passholders will also receive a 30% discount on select merchandise at certain locations in Downtown Disney, according to the resort’s website.
The Anaheim theme parks have been shut down since mid-March, when they closed due to the burgeoning pandemic.
Some passholders already received refunds after what was supposed to be a temporary closure turned into an indefinite one as strict measures to mitigate the spread of coronavirus were put in place. Others had their passport end dates extended.
But with Orange County, as well as all of the Southern California region, currently under a state-mandated stay-at-home order, it’s unclear when theme parks will be allowed to reopen; however, at this point the closure will last for months longer.
Under California’s reopening plan that was unveiled back in October, larger theme parks in the state like Disneyland and the Disneyland Resort wouldn’t be able to welcome back guests until their county is in the state’s least-restrictive “yellow” tier.
Since then, California has imposed a tougher set of regional restrictions that have forced many sectors to close or limit operations due to a spike in coronavirus cases that has overwhelmed the state’s health care system.
As of Jan. 14, Orange County has had 202,753 COVID-19 cases and 2,195 coronavirus-related deaths during the pandemic. On Thursday, the Orange County Health Care Agency reported 3,221 new cases and 16 deaths in the past 24 hours.
More than 2,100 COVID-19 patients are hospitalized in the county, including 544 currently being treated in intensive care units, according to the public health agency.