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Mark Twain Riverboat at Disneyland

Update: Walt Disney World and Disneyland have now updated their plans regarding annual passes. New language on both resort websites as of today states that, as of April 5, automatic charges will no longer be made for annual passes for the duration of the park closure. In addition, any payments made between the closure date and April 5, will be refunded to the customer. Guests will have a choice of either keeping their original expiration date, and simply not paying for the period of the closure or they may postpone payments until the parks reopen, and have their expiration date extended. In a statement, Disney officials said...

Our Annual Passholders are some of our most loyal guests, and we are available to help them during this incredibly uncertain time. Information on annual pass payments and extension dates are available on our website.

The original story continues below:

People who booked Disneyland or Walt Disney World vacations during the period when the parks are closed can get their trips refunded or rescheduled. However, one group of Disney park fans are still paying for their park experience, even though they can't get in the gates. Disney's Annual Passholders, who are paying monthly for their year long pass, are continuing to pay despite the parks extended closure.

When Disneyland and Walt Disney World announced their closure in mid-March, the expectation at the time was that the parks would only be closed for two weeks. At the time, Disney announced that, while they weren't suspending payments of Annual Passports, the number of days the park was closed would be tacked on to the end of the guests' pass, meaning those days would not be lost.

When the park was only going to be closed for two weeks, that was perhaps acceptable, but with not only the parks, but a lot of other places shut down for the foreseeable future, there's a renewed call by many asking Disney to freeze payments as well as extend dates. With so many people losing work, or at least out of work until stay-at-home orders are lifted, the monthly cost of the AP is an expense many are no longer in a position to be able to afford.

Not everybody is upset about the situation, according to the OC Register, the fine print in the AP agreement states Disney is not liable for park closures, but as some on social media point out, it also doesn't state Disney will automatically extend AP dates due to park closures, so the company is taking a positive step to remedy the situation for guests.

The Disney decision is the opposite of competitor Universal Studios. Universal Orlando Resort announced at the end of March that it was freezing payments on its FlexPay program, so the users of that annual pass won't need to pay until the park is open once again. They will also be extending the passes by however many days the park is closed as well.

Disneyland Annual Passports range from just over $400 a year, with numerous blackout dates, to nearly $1,500 per year with no blackout dates. Prices were just increased in February.

It's certainly a tough call for Disney. At the end of the day, the company is still giving annual passholders the number of days they're paying for, in exchange for the payment. And that's certainly a good thing. And the company as a whole, and the theme park division specifically, is hurting right now, and likely will be for a long time to come. While the company is doing a lot to try and help those that are hurt by the closure, like continuing to pay their own cast members during the closure, even Disney doesn't have endless amount of money to spend when there's nothing coming in.

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