Disneyland to End Annual Passes After Nearly Year-Long Closure Due to COVID
"We want to thank our Annual Passholders for their understanding during this closure period," Disneyland president Ken Potrock said in a statement.
"Due to the 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," Potrock said.
Potrock continued to say that they are "developing new membership offerings that will utilize consumer insights to deliver choice, flexibility and value for our biggest fans."
A Disneyland spokesperson did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.
In an email sent to passholders, Potrock said that while it is "disappointing" that the program is ending, "we are also very excited about what's ahead."
Those who held an active annual passport as of March 14, 2020, will receive a pro rata refund. The discounts offered to passholders will remain in effect at Downtown Disney and Buena Vista Street locations until new membership offerings are announced, Potrock said in the email.
And from January 18 through February 25, passholders will receive a 30 percent discount on "on select merchandise at select locations in Downtown Disney District and Buena Vista Street, Monday through Thursday."
Theme parks have been closed in California since March 2020, and there has been friction between the companies and authorities about reopening — Disneyland had hoped to reopen in July, but wasn't given approval by state officials. Meanwhile, the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida reopened in July with new COVID-19 protocols.
California Governor Gavin Newsom said back in October that he wasn't in a rush to get theme parks up and running.
"I understand the friction, the frustration that many business leaders have, they want to move forward to reopen, but we are going to be led by a health-first framework and we're going to be stubborn about it," he said in a news conference at the time. "That's our commitment, that's our resolve. While we feel there is no hurry in putting out guidelines, we continue to work with the industry."
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"We don't anticipate in the immediate term any of these larger theme parks opening until we see more stability in terms of the data," he added.
Disneyland is set to see some visitors in the coming weeks, however, as it will be used as a mass point-of-dispensing (POD) site for COVID-19 vaccinations.
Southern California remains in an intense surge of COVID-19 cases after the holiday season.
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