Refunds will be given to current passholders, Disneyland president Ken Potrock said Thursday

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Disneyland California
Disneyland

After nearly a year of remaining closed because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Disneyland announced Thursday that it is ending its annual pass program.

"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.

Disneyland California
Disneyland
| Credit: GC Images

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.

The entrance to Disney California Adventure is deserted as the entire Disneyland Resort shuts down due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in Anaheim, CA, on Monday, Mar 16, 2020
Disney California Adventure Park
| Credit: Jeff Gritchen/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty

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.

A portion of Disney's California Adventure Park that included restaurants and shops opened in November, but operations were forced to roll back just a few weeks later.

Disneyland California
Disney's California Adventure
| Credit: AaronP/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

Disney Parks laid off 28,000 employees in September amid the shutdown. An SEC filing from the company in November suggested that those layoffs would be expanded to 32,000 employees this year.

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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