The Disney Annual Pass has officially been canceled for all Disney Parks.
Yes, the Disney annual pass has been canceled. Yes, Disney Parks will be and will begin issuing Disney annual pass refunds immediately.
Disney’s Anaheim resort has essentially been shut down since March 2020. After nearly reopening July 17 and fighting with California’s governor throughout the fall, Disney has had to adapt its strategy. The decision for Disneyland to cancel the Disney Annual Pass could not have been an easy one. Passholders (yours truly and all the Nerdlings included) are dedicated Disney Park fans! And what do fans do? They visit the parks!
So what happens when park capacity is likely to start around 20% or 25%?
Disneyland cancels easy park access to the group that visits the most and spends the least.
But is this a pure cash grab?
Is this corporate greed?
The Nerd doesn’t think this is the case. To be sure, Disney is a publicly traded company and revenue and cash are crucial. But Disneyland is a business that has been decimated by COVID-19. Thousands of Cast Members have been laid off and the hotels, restaurants and retail establishments in Anaheim have been a ghost town for nearly 10 months.
Disney needs guests who will stay in hotels, buy food, purchase souvenirs and pay for expensive daily tickets. And let’s face it, these are not typically Annual Passholders. This is the group more likely to come for a day, an evening or just a couple of hours. To be sure, this dedicated and loyal group is critical to Disneyland and its future and Disney’s release highlights this:
The Nerd feels Disneyland is also looking out for its Passholders. Undoubtedly, Disneyland will introduce a park reservation system similar to the one developed for Disney World. Because of limited capacity, many Annual Passholders in Florida were only able to visit parks once or twice a month, if at all, because they could not secure a reservation.
This resulted in backlash from this loyal group of Disney fans (Disney Park Nerds?) and dissatisfaction with their Disney Annual Pass experience.
So Disney finds itself between a rock and a hard place and the idea to have Disneyland cancel the Disney Annual Pass program makes sense. Although Passholders will be able to visit less frequently, they will be able to visit as scheduled. And maybe, with the limited ability to travel and due to pent up demand, they will stay at hotels, dine at restaurants and make a vacation of the experience instead of a day.
It may be that some will only be able to visit Disneyland for a couple of days and stay over night instead of visiting dozens of time throughout the year – and this sucks. But we can hope the trip will be special and memorable and that this will help ease that frustration.
In a way, the Nerds are also excited about this.
Of course we want the ability to visit Disneyland and Disney California Adventure at our leisure and of course we don’t want to see Disneyland cancel the AP program.
But in this new reality, we have to shift our focus. This could be the Disneyland trip of a lifetime for SoCal residents!
This could be a nostalgic return to the Magic Kingdom!
Without a doubt, this gets the Nerd excited about a Mickey Pretzel and the updated Snow White’s Enchanted Wish in Fantasyland! We like the idea of fewer crowds and a more “present” Disneyland experience. Walking around Buena Vista Street at DCA has reminded us what a Disney park vacation can feel like when guests are not constantly jockeying for position.
And yet, we cannot wait to wake up, throw off the covers, grab a snack and arrive early for a day at Disneyland – it cannot come soon enough.