The Annual Pass program is extremely popular program in Southern California with an estimated one to one half million pass holders the exact number isn’t released by Disney.
Because of the large population in close proximity to Disneyland and California Adventure the Annual Pass program is popular because pass holders are able to visit the park often; This is unlike at Walt Disney World in Florida were there isn’t a large population immediately around the park.
When Disneyland or California Adventure are finally able to reopen after the pandemic there is likely still to be social distancing and limited capacity restrictions. After the parks do reopen there is likely to be a lot of pent up demand so with limit capacity the reservation system to visit the park is likely to fill up quick.
The capacity most likely will be limited so Disney will want to get the highest price for those spots and, having the spots filled by Annual Pass holders wouldn’t be good for them. Alternatively if Annual Pass holders couldn’t get the reservations they wanted they would not be happy paying when they couldn’t get in the parks when they wanted.
Under normal times if Disney had said they were going to discontinue their Annual Pass programs in California their would have been a huge backlash but I think most pass holders understand these are not normal times.
Especially Disneyland but also the California Adventure before the pandemic were dealing with huge demand that put strains on the parks especially on weekends and, holidays with the parks hitting capacity limits. Even when the parks didn’t hit capacity if you are a tourist visiting from out of state or another country crowds and, long lines don’t make a good experience for the customer.
The Annual Pass holders did help fill the parks during the slow times during the week but they also spend far less than the tourists on food and, merchandise. I think for a while Disney has wanted to change their Annual Pass program especially limiting how many pass holders in the park during busy days.
By ending the Annual Pass program during the pandemic I think a revamped version of it will return sometime in the future although maybe not until 2022 at the earliest. The program which Disney said in the future will be some kind of membership program could have things such as weekday only passes or passes with limited entries per month or most passes requiring reservations so they can limit the number of pass holders in the park at the busier times.
(Courtesy Pirates And Mice.com)