Walt Disney World Resort is now offering Annual Passes to members who cancelled, a huge course correction.
Disney Implemented Changes Due to COVID-19
Along with health and safety guidelines as well as capacity controls, Disney was forced to adjust the guest experience. In addition to state-issued guidelines and best practices, Disney also ended their park hopper option for Annual Passholders, removed Fast Passes, and released limited availability to Passholders as opposed to the general public.
Disneyland in California has yet to reopen for business.
Disney Parks Have Been Struggling
Disney management commented at the end of Q3 2020 that they intended to swap local customers for those who come less frequently but spend more on a per-day basis. That plan backfired and Disney began releasing space to Annual Passholders once again.
While capacity controls stimied business, anecdotal reports from the parks show they are now consistently meeting their new capacity limitations. Despite this, Disney announced this week that they were laying off 28,000 personnel. Some cast members shared that Disney Parks management was on-site to share the regretful news.
Disney Has Re-Opened Passes to Former Passholders
Last week, some Disney World former Annual Passholders were able to reinstate their passes. This could be welcome news for Annual Passholders who may have cancelled due to a lack of availability or the new park protocols and restrictions. Florida has also announced that it is easing capacity requirements, allowing Disney to scale as the company feels comfortable. I have no doubt Disney intends to do so in a safe and responsible manner.
As a former Passholder, it’s nice to see a welcome back to the Happiest Place on Earth. That said, some of the restrictions that caused me to cancel my passes remain in effect. For us, the ability to Park Hop, access Fast Passes, and attend as is convenient to my family’s travel schedule os too important to make the financial commitment an Annual Pass requires.
What do you think? Is this a sign of returning to normal for Disney Parks? Does it reflect a policy change? Is it simply a gesture to welcome back previous guests?