Skip to content

Disneyland ends its annual pass program after 40 years, citing pandemic uncertainty

Jan. 15, 2021
4 min read
Disneyland Sleeping Beauty Castle in California
Disneyland ends its annual pass program after 40 years, citing pandemic uncertainty
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has claimed yet another Disney experience: After nearly four decades, Disneyland has terminated its annual pass program.

For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

The announcement is effective immediately, given that Disneyland theme parks are still closed, and affects all four tiers of passholders: Signature Plus, Signature, Deluxe and Southern California Select. All current passholders will be issued prorated refunds for the duration of time remaining on their passes.

"Due to the continued 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," Disneyland Resort president Ken Potrock said in a statement on the company's website.

Related: 11 Disney World attractions coming in 2021 — and what to expect this year

"Annual Passholders have been among our most loyal and valued guests, and we want to thank them for their understanding during this closure period," Potrock said.

(Photo by Mark Downey/Getty Images)

The Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California, encompasses two parks: Disneyland and the Disney California Adventure Park.

The Annual Passport was particularly popular with Disney fans who lived in the Southern California region and could best take advantage of the unlimited park visits, exclusive discounts and extended hours pre-sale tickets and slew of other privileges, depending on the pass tier purchased. Although Disney has never confirmed exact numbers, the program termination may affect as many as 1 million guests, according to the Los Angeles Times.

It's likely that Disneyland, when it reopens, will use an advance-reservations approach similar to what Disney World introduced, which would be a logistical challenge with such a large contingent of drive-in annual passholders who are accustomed to visiting as often as they like.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Related: Best credit cards for theme park expenses

Annual Passholders who hold active Passports as of March 14, 2020, will be able to enjoy applicable discounts for merchandise, food and drinks at select Downtown Disney District and Buena Vista Street locations, and will be able to take advantage of an additional 30% discount on select merchandise Mondays through Thursdays between Jan. 18 through Feb. 25.

The theme park statement indicates there will be future membership offerings, though does not yet offer details on what those new options may entail.

Annual Passholders are encouraged to join the Disneyland Passholders Facebook group and stay tuned for information on new options as they become available.

Disneyland (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Related: Guide to visiting Walt Disney World

The California-based properties aren't the only beloved Disney experiences that have been affected by the COVID-19 crisis. Just this week, Walt Disney World, which reopened in July of 2020, announced that the Magical Express bus and Extra Magic Hours benefits will be sunsetting, too. These two services allowed guests who booked lodging with Disney-owned resorts to enjoy complimentary transportation between their hotels and the Orlando International Airport (MCO); enter the theme parks before regular guests; and stay late after hours.

While Walt Disney World in Florida has not ended its annual pass program and is permitting pass renewals, it has not sold annual passes to new passholders since the July reopening. Disney has said in previous earnings calls that it makes more money per visit from those visiting on single or multiday tickets than from those using annual passes.


FOR NO COST ASSISTANCE WITH PLANNING AND BOOKING YOUR NEXT DISNEY VACATION, CHECK OUT TPG’S DISNEY BOOKING PARTNER, MOUSE COUNSELORS


For now, Disneyland guests will still be able to enjoy a tiny taste of the magic at the Downtown Disney District, which has been in a phased reopening. However, dine-in restaurants and locations that don't offer takeout are still closed at this time, and only certain retail locations remain open.

Related: 5 changes Disney World made in 2020 that I hope will stick around forever

Both Disney California theme parks, as well as Disneyland resort hotels, remain closed at this time with no announced reopening date.

Featured image by Joshua Sudock/Disneyland Resort
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Top offers from our partners

How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
See all best card offers

TPG featured card

Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

2 - 10X points
10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day

Intro offer

75,000 bonus miles
Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

Annual Fee

$395

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023