Disney World AP Update: Charges, Reservations, Extensions & Refunds
Walt Disney World has released more info for Annual Passholders about reopening, including AP reservations, extensions, payment options, and more. In this post, we’ll share details of the announcement and offer additional commentary. (Updated July 5, 2020.)
As previously covered, Annual Passholders are now able to make Disney Park Pass theme park reservations. As covered in our Park Pass Update: AP Availability & Fresh Frustrations, many dates have already filled up–including almost every date in July and many weekends in August.
Additionally, eligible Annual Passholders were eligible to register for preview days prior to the official opening of Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom. Unfortunately, the AP Reopening Preview filled within minutes of going live earlier this week. We have some more bad news…
On July 3, many Annual Passholders on the monthly payment plan noticed that their credit cards were hit with a lump-sum charge from Disney, reflecting four months worth of monthly payments. In fact, reports from disgruntled APs have flooded social media, with many understandably upset at being charged hundreds of dollars by Disney with zero notice prior to the parks even reopening.
It’s difficult to say how many APs are impacted by this–it should only be those who opted-in to the monthly payment plan extension. Walt Disney World’s default course of action for APs on the payment plans was to automatically stop and waive monthly payments while the theme parks are closed. Payments would then resume on their regularly scheduled dates once the parks reopen–without any expiration extension. Guests who chose the default (or did nothing) should not be seeing the huge charges on their credit cards.
In an update from Walt Disney World, this was caused by a glitch in a third party vendor’s processing, and the charges were incorrect. Walt Disney World indicated that it’s in the process of reversing the charges (which will occur automatically without action by impacted Annual Passholders), and apologized for the inconvenience.
Park Pass Reservation Policies for APs
A number of questions have remained concerning refunds, AP extensions, limits on the number of simultaneous Disney Park Pass reservations that Annual Passholders could make, and registration for AP preview days. Thanks to the latest AP update from Walt Disney World, via the Annual Passes: Know Before You Go page, we now have answers to most of those questions.
All Annual Passholders are eligible to make Disney Park Pass reservations for up to 3 days at a time. This is a rolling number, meaning that once one day is used, another reservation can be made, and so on. As before, Annual Passholders could visit as many days as they’d like, subject to availability and applicable pass blockout dates. (So it really becomes an issue of demand.)
Annual Passholders staying at select Walt Disney World resort hotels or other select partner hotels (e.g. Disney Springs Resort Area Hotels, Bonnet Creek Resorts, Swan & Dolphin, and Shades of Green Resort) with valid theme park admission are eligible to make advance theme park reservations for their entire length of stay–up to a total of 14 days with reservations. Likewise, all reservations are subject to availability and applicable pass blockout dates.
Some pass benefits and features will not be available during periods of limited capacity. Also, park experiences and offerings will be modified and subject to limited availability or even closure. If you have any questions, please contact V.I.PASSHOLDER Support at (407) 939-7277. Options to manage your annual pass continue to be available during the closure period.
Reopening Policy Options
As the theme parks prepare to reopen, Walt Disney World recognizes that the Disney Park Pass reservations system will change the way that many Annual Passholders prefer to enjoy visiting the theme parks. With that in mind, Disney is offering these alternative options to manage your pass.
If you are an Annual Passholder that has paid in full, your options include:
- You will receive a one month extension to your pass (unless you choose one of the alternative options below). This additional month will automatically be processed and visible in your My Disney Experience account in October 2020.
- Alternatively, and in lieu of the one month extension, Passholders who have paid in full may choose to cancel their annual pass and receive a partial refund.
- As another alternative, and also in lieu of an extension of their passes, Annual Passholders who have paid in full may choose to receive a partial refund for the park closure period.
If you are an Annual Passholder on the monthly payment plan, your options include:
- You will receive an additional one month extension to your pass. This additional month will automatically be processed and visible in your My Disney Experience account in October 2020. Please note that monthly payments are scheduled to resume with park opening on July 11, 2020.
- Alternatively, and in lieu of the additional month extension, Passholders on the monthly payment plan may choose to cancel their annual pass and waive their monthly payments due after August 11, 2020. Any payments made between July 11, 2020 and August 11, 2020 will be retroactively refunded for those that select this option and all future payments would be stopped.
Walt Disney World will send information in early July 2020 with details on how to take action on these options.
AP Refunds & Extensions
As previously covered in our last Annual Passholder update, the new restrictions on visiting and park hopping are arguably a unilateral contract modification that goes beyond what’s contemplated by any reasonable change of terms provision or disclaimer. (There’s fine print language that restrictions apply including, but not limited to, capacity constraints and other closures. However, this is fundamentally different than a standard capacity closure. Again, arguably.)
Accordingly, our expectation was that Walt Disney World would not restart the clock until after the reservation period has ended. That’d be the prudent and guest-friendly course of action, but that does not appear to be what Walt Disney World is going to do.
In our view, these options are adequate alternatives for many Annual Passholders. It’s nice to see Walt Disney World proactively providing these options, rather than waiting for more Annual Passholder backlash (as happened when the closure begin and Walt Disney World was not going to offer refunds or pause monthly payments).
Of course, this isn’t going to be a “perfect” solution for everyone, but there is literally no way to make everyone happy right now. This is an unprecedented time, and Walt Disney World is attempting to make lemonade out of lemons.
Personally, my expectation is that most dates will be pretty easy to book via the Disney Park Pass on short notice, so I’ll happily take the 30 day extension, which will likely be a windfall. While many Walt Disney World fans are worried about the difficulty of booking Disney Park Pass reservations, one key thing to remember is that even though park attendance will be limited to ~30% of normal numbers, most tourists won’t be returning anytime soon.
Understandably, the equation is very different for out of state Annual Passholders and others. Without the certainty of knowing they’ll definitely be able to reserve access to the parks, it’s difficult for a non-local AP to book a trip right now and risk being shut out. Of course, the solutions for that are booking a hotel stay or waiting to see data points emerge that indicate how difficult it’ll likely be to reserve park visits on short notice.
For other Annual Passholders, the lack of certain entertainment or the ability to Park Hop may be a non-starter. Or, you may simply not feel safe visiting a theme park at any point in the foreseeable future. All totally valid perspectives, and if any of these are the case for you, it’s probably most sensible to cancel your Annual Pass, as saddening as that might be.
Overall, a good amount of info concerning the future of the Annual Passholder program at Walt Disney World. Basically, we have all of the key info at this point, and are just waiting on the refund/recovery processes to be rolled out, and the registration for Annual Passholder preview days to open. (If Universal is any indication, the preview days will be busier than the days that follow–theme park fans love the perception of exclusivity and being first!)
All in all, a pretty big day for Walt Disney World news! Hopefully, this latest update to the Annual Passholder page answers most of the big questions you had. We’ll keep you posted should there be further developments.
Planning a Walt Disney World trip? Learn about hotels on our Walt Disney World Hotels Reviews page. For where to eat, read our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews. To save money on tickets or determine which type to buy, read our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post. Our What to Pack for Disney Trips post takes a unique look at clever items to take. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Ride Guides will help. For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide for everything you need to know!
Are you an Annual Passholder? Think these policies seem fair? Satisfied with the 30 day extension or will you be requesting a refund? Will you be attempting to visit Walt Disney World during the AP preview period? Do you expect reservations to visit the parks being competitive or easy to score? Do you agree or disagree with our advice? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!
I think the AP’s should be for Florida residents.. We live here , work here and deal with all the tousits and their drama that Disney brings in. Back in March /April of 2020 we were the worst state in the country, now you all want to flock back to Disney in the midst of the pandemic…and complain about masks to boot.The fact that they allow out of state people and internationals to even have AP’s shocks me beyond belief.Just be grateful to even have a park to go to, and please remember, the cast members are here risking catching whatever is out there, covid and beyond,be respectful and maybe THANK them once in a while.
In all fairness, those same tourists is what Orlando thrives on economically. Without them, the city and many areas of the state would not be nearly as developed as they are.
Your generalization about how people viewed Florida is also more of a characterization pushed by the mainstream media. There are many people, myself included, that think Florida is a model for how much of the country SHOULD have handled the economic recovery from COVID. My family and I travelled to Florida twice after Florida reopened from the pandemic and we were appreciative that the parks were open and were happy to wear masks. Of course, we are ALWAYS appreciative of the Cast Members and give Cast Compliments and thank them all the time, especially now.
You’re kidding, right?
Out of state APHs pay one-third more, and can only get the Platinum/Plus passes. They have to be paid in full – no monthly payments, and the lower, cheaper tiers are not available. I know in our case, because we have APs, we come to Disney far more often than if we had to buy tickets each time. When we come, we spend far more per day at Disney than local APs do. We stay in the hotels, eat at restaurants, and buy more souvenirs – IOW, contribute far more to CM pay than the locals, who might buy a soft drink, then go home and cook dinner – to the tune of several hundred dollars a day, for several days at a time.
And BTW, Florida was never the worst state in the country for Covid. Not even close.
Sorry I disagree I can agree to it being for us citizens. But I don’t live in Florida. An annual pass is better for me since I spend my winters in Florida and go to the parks every day fro three months sometime a little over that when I’m there. The annual pass is cheaper for that amount of time.
hello ivebeen trying to get help to finalize my extenions . I have bee transfered 3 times all on holds and no one can help me . my ph is 352232 0116 ty elaine
We are so disappointed with Disney! They have totally dropped the ball with Annual Passholders. Without the entertainment, the food we are used to, no park hopper, etc. we opted out, but did try to get a reservation in before the cancellation of the 12 of August: IMPOSSIBLE! We called about that and they said we had to make a reservation at a hotel to get in! The nerve! And if you look at their new reservation system, there is nothing available for annual passholders, but there is for those buying new tickets and those with a Disney Resort reservation. They could care less about Annual Passholders! This leaves a bad taste about spending on an annual pass for 4 in the near future. Universal here we come!
i have an annual pass and ended up buying a ticket for one day so i could go with my family who was in town. And because I bought it through My Disney Experience it still wouldn’t let me make a park reservation! I paid $135 for one day and I HAVE AN ANNUAL PASS. I was on hold for 2 hours and 13 minutes and the first person I spoke to said she couldn’t help me. 25 minutes and 2 cast members later i finally goa a supervisor who worked it out for me. BTW I am only a Florida Resident for 3 months out of the year and because of my annual pass I have also become a DVC member. So sorry friend, we out of towners pay more than our fair share, stay at hotels, eat at WDW restaurants, etc.
My family renewed our Annual Passes in June 2019. At the time, we renewed Disney World Platinum passes which were a base cost of $1119.00 plus tax each. Of course, factoring in the 15% renewal discount and adding on tax, the total came to $1012.97 per person (there are 3 of us). Our annual passes were set to expire on June 21, 2020.
Back in May, I called Disney V.I.Passholder support and opted for the refund for the unused portion of our annual passes. I also requested to receive an alternate form of payment as our renewal was done with a combination of the value of some unused tickets as well as a Disney gift card.
Today, my wife and I received our checks for the refunded portion of our APs. I’m assuming my son’s will come in the next day or so. However, I was surprised to see that the refunded amount was only $215.86 per person…which represents 21.3% of the AP purchase price we paid. The overall closure of WDW was from March 15th through the end of our Annual Pass period, representing 14 weeks or 97 days (26.9% and 26.5% of the year-long Annual Pass period respectively).
Based on that, I’m now trying to get ahold of Walt Disney World to find out why we were not refunded the full unusable portion of our Annual Passes, which would be around $270.00 per person (averaged between the two calculations above). I’ll post what we find out as it will hopefully help others plan for what they may be getting refunded.
Good luck trying to speak with anyone who has a clue as to what to do. All I get is “sorry, as bad as I feel, can’t help you”. Our passes, after having them for 25 years or so, expired April 7th, which means that there were 22 days or so left to add on to July 11th, reopening day. Also stopped at Disney Springs, the “no guest services” building to be told by many staffers aimlessly standing around, that they could do nothing as anything to do with tickets was pulled away from them and we had to call in (and wait 3 hours for someone to pick up). On one of my calls I was told by a staffer that I had to have renewed the passes by May 30 in order to have had any extension. Disney SUSPENDED all ticket sales when the parks closed, who in their right mind would have spent $2000 for 2 renewals with parks closed? They have totally dropped the ball on this one, I cringe when reading those patronizing phrases, “our valued passholders”, “our loyal passholders”, “very special vips”, – it’s really should read…passholders, we don’t need you now, you’re not bringing in any new income and we’re at 25% occupancy. Very, very sad. What is interesting is that with our Universal annuals, the complete opposite treatment was received, how refreshing.
We are Annual Pass Holders, the extension doesn’t help us as it extents us to July.
We are Snowbirds from Maine, We’re in Florida from October thru April. In lieu of extensions how about an option for more park passes while we’re there. I feel as Annual Pass Holders We should get at least 5 days of park passes and an extra 2 for our extensions. We know changes had to be made, However, It’s Obvious there’s extra Park Passes, We deserve more than 3 days out.Our Opinion!!