After a year of speculation, the just unimaginable has been confirmed, Disneyland is in the process of ending its annual Passholder program immediately. Passengers will be contacted today and informed that the unused portion of their annual traffic contract will be automatically recovered.
The Disneyland passport program has ended
Back in October of 2020, we shared the information Tokyo Disneyland has been ending its Passholder Program Because of the park’s limited capacity and the difficulty in ensuring park reservations for traffic-holders. At the time, we speculated that the same situation might happen in Disneyland as well. Today, this suspicion has been confirmed.
Ken Potrock, President of Disneyland Resort, is in the process of sharing the following message with all current passport holders. The letter explains the cause of the sudden change, addresses the enormous impact that many will have, and hints that more information is yet to come.
Disneyland’s chief message to travelers who are now discharging:
The truth is, Disneyland would not really have been able to fulfill the end of its annual pass for an unknown number of months after the parks reopened due to the expected severe restrictions on park capacity. And although Disneyland hasn’t created its new ticket structure yet (they are busy sending out surveys now to find out what guests want), they know that people would rather buy a ticket and gain access than pay the top dollar for a ticket. Annual pass and no guarantee of arrival for something they have already paid.
Due to the large number of traffic carriers and the low amount of expected park capacity, something drastic had to be done. But don’t give up now. Disneyland knows that many of you identify with amusement parks. It’s an important part of your lifestyle, and the thought of not hitting some tears (or even anger) is probably caused by those reading this. So Disneyland hopes to embrace the fans, continue to offer perks and opportunities, but has a flexible new ticketing structure that allows Disneyland to control access to the park, and better serve guests in these challenging times. Unless the exact ticket structure has been finalized yet. But it will likely be integrated into the new park reservation system.
What current Annual Pass holders need to know
First, and most importantly, you’ll automatically receive a proportional refund for the number of unused days on your annual pass. If you are interested in knowing how much that amount you will be able to visit Disneyland passport retrieval page Which will calculate the amount owed.
But even with all Disneyland passes revoked, if you have an active park pass as of March 14, 2020, when the Disneyland resort closes, you will still receive some benefits. Traveler discounts will continue for the time being at Downtown Disney and Buena Vista Street. From January 18th to February 25th, card holders will receive a 30% discount at select locations in Downtown Disney and Buena Vista Street from Monday to Thursday (regular discounts still apply from Friday to Sunday).
Disney pledges to make sure passport holders are the first to hear about the new ticket program once it’s completed. We’ll be sure to break it down for you and explain the changes here on MiceChat as well.
This Disneyland feeling
We had a few moments chatting with Disneyland Resort President Ken Potrock about these changes. It was quite evident that he understood and worried about how these changes would make passport holders feel. On the one hand, Disney has done everything in its power to grow the program over decades and make passport holders feel special, but current business requirements make offering the same level of access impossible in an era of social distancing and severe restrictions on park capacity.
Kane is committed to finding new ways to engage the best Disneyland fans and making sure they continue to feel connected. Nothing is off the table at the moment as they try to figure out exactly what fans want, and how Disneyland can deliver it under very tough conditions.
If you have thoughts on things Disney can do to help you feel the magic once the parks reopen, please make sure to share them in the comments below. The desire to have Passholders is not possible at the moment, but there are definitely things Disney can offer, clubs, ticket events, fan merchandise, etc. that will help maintain that sense of connection with the original Disneyland.
In October 2020, we conducted a survey asking us whether the Passholders’ program should be terminated as it is in Tokyo to allow Disneyland to better control the park’s capacity. We were shocked not only by the number of votes and opinions, but also by the results.
At that time, more than 72% of you voted for a version to end the program. Only 19% said the program should not be terminated or changed.
The question now is how do you want to deal with park tickets when Disneyland reopens? Should dated tickets simply be offered with a sliding price that is measured on demand? Would you like to be able to purchase discount coupons with the number you purchased (which will later need to be scheduled in the parks reservation system)? Should the park be at the same price every day or do you like a sliding scale? Should movement be permitted in the park, or should the parks require separate admission for the time being? Tell us what you think at the bottom of the screen.
Let us hear from you
As a carrier of nearly a lifetime, this news personally made me deeply emotional. While I’ve been anticipating this exact news for several months, Disneyland is still a very important part of my life (the fact that I run this blog is testament to this), but I understand the very difficult situation Disneyland is in. I like to believe that this reset will allow Disneyland to address the conditions that caused the park’s oppressive overcrowding whenever anything new is introduced (everything from a new popcorn bucket to the opening of a new attraction that may cause the park to stop at times). Regular guests increasingly found the park unpleasant to visit because it was so crowded. There is a possibility here for Disney to fix this with a limited number of tickets available on any given day.
The rapid rise in the cost of annual permits was making the decision to renew even more difficult for many. $ 1,450 for a pass without power outages only last year. Therefore, many of you have already given up your passes and switched to taking advantage of the special ticket offers instead.
Will I be willing to buy tickets only when I need them? Yeah. But I want to see some kind of discount for people who visit more than once a year, or maybe just discount ticket offers for locals at times of low attendance. I would eventually like to see Disney bring back a version of FlexPass, which still allows the park to limit traffic through scheduling.
Let’s hear from you folks. How do you feel about this news? What can Disney do to keep you busy? How would you like to deal with tickets in the near future?