Disneyland is ending its annual pass program after being closed for nearly a year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the resort announced Thursday.
With Southern California experiencing the worst surge yet in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, and with no clear idea of when the theme park will be able to finally reopen, Ken Potrock, president of the Disneyland Resort, said in a statement that the resort will be "sunsetting" the popular annual passes and issuing refunds for eligible members.
"We want to thank our Annual Passholders for their understanding during this closure period," Potrock said. "We are currently developing new membership offerings that will utilize consumer insights to deliver choice, flexibility and value for our biggest fans."
The Walt Disney Company closed the Anaheim resort and several other major parks in March 2020 as much of the world shut down. Resort officials had planned to reopen Disneyland in mid-July at limited capacity, but those plans were scrapped due to a spike in COVID-19 cases across California.
Despite increasing prices in recent years, the annual pass program continued to be a popular option for Southern California families and other diehard Disney fans who spent their free time riding Splash Mountain, roaming around Fantasyland, and strolling down Main Street with an ice cream cone in hand.
"As a years-long annual passholder at Disneyland, I'm pretty heartbroken about this news," tweeted Lauren J. Mapp, a reporter for the San Diego Union-Tribune. "I was so looking forward to going back there again once it was safe to do so, but not sure if it will make financial sense anymore."