After a year of speculation, the unthinkable has just been confirmed, Disneyland is ENDING its Annual Passholder Program effective immediately. Passholders will be contacted today and informed that they will be refunded the unused portion of their annual pass contract automatically.
A shock, as the Annual Passholder program has been a staple of the Resort for years, but also kind of expected. Even prior to COVID, the program was becoming unsustainable to both Disney and Passholders.
The Parks were more crowded than ever in recent years, and the “off season” was a thing of the past. At times it felt like Disneyland had sold Annual Passes to every SoCal resident.
To counter the popularity of the passes, Disney was raising prices annually, and the highest priced pass — with no blackouts and free parking — was almost $1500. A steal, if you ask me — $120 per month? Many people’s cable bills cost more than that — and you get better exercise at Disneyland.
I’m certain a Pass-like system will return to Disneyland when the “old normal” returns and we’ve eradicated COVID-19 in a couple of years. The biggest question is how the passes will return.
(My crazy idea: Seasons. So you choose a season when you buy your pass, and for three months out of the year you get unlimited visits for that season. But for the rest of the year you get, I don’t know, 10 flex days for each other season, where you can visit ten times during the season but maybe excluding weekends and holidays. Personally, I’d pick Fall; I liked the cooler weather, and the Castle wasn’t covered in fake snow yet. I suspect everyone has a favorite time of year at the Resort, but even then you still get X days of every other season to visit. I see this as a compromise to make everyone’s Disneyland visit — be it a family’s annual vacation from out of town or the weekly passholder’s daily routine — a little better. It’s not perfect, but let’s be honest: the old Passholder program wasn’t perfect, was overly expensive, and wasn’t sustainable. Look back a decade ago at the Annual Pass prices, and then project out a decade — assuming COVID never occurred — and you can see something was going to break. But like with everything else, COVID is just helping to speed things along.)