Disney World & Disneyland Offer Annual Pass Refunds & Pause AP Payments

Walt Disney World and Disneyland will be pausing payments for Annual Passes, and will also allow passholders to receive partial refunds on APs in some cases. In this post, we’ll cover eligibility and what’s prompting the move.

As background in case you’re somehow unaware, Disneyland and Walt Disney World announced last week that the parks and resorts in both Florida and California would remain closed until further notice.

Although WDW and DLR both began accepting dining and resort reservations starting June 1, there is no guarantee that the parks and hotels will reopen on this date. Rather, this is Disney’s internal target date and remains subject to change based upon what’s happening out in the real world.

Since the original closure, there has been a lot of frustration among Annual Passholders who have continued to be charged their monthly AP payments. There have been stories in both hometown newspapers for Anaheim and Orlando about infuriated Annual Passholders who were laid off from their jobs yet still have to make their AP payments, as Disney previously was not allowing any cancellations.

We refrained from weighing in on this topic when the news blew up because it has been a heated and emotionally-charged conversation–but we can see both sides. Unlike Disney+ or a candle of the month club, Annual Passes on payment plans are not a monthly subscription service. It’s more like an interest-free car loan.

As is clear in the terms and conditions to which Annual Passholders agree before purchasing, you are agreeing to purchase an AP at full face value the day you buy it. You are then entering a credit agreement with Disney to pay off the amount you paid for the pass over the course of 12 months at 0% interest. Whether you only ever use the AP that day one day, the week that follows, or every day for the next year is immaterial.

With a car loan, you don’t have to stop paying if the vehicle stays parked in your garage for the entire month. The obvious difference is choice. You could drive that car if you so desired; you couldn’t use an Annual Pass right now even if you wanted to. Although Disney is fulfilling its contractual obligation by extending the validity period, this understandably hasn’t sat well with many people. It just doesn’t feel right.

It’s possible to be technically or legally correct, but practically or morally wrong. Disney has the basis for continuing to charge monthly AP payments under any circumstances, but is it the right thing to do? In normal times, we’d respond “yes.” When so many people are squeezed for money through no fault of their own, need funds for essentials, and economic anxiety is running rampant, it’s impossible to maintain that position right now.

It’s entirely possible that some people will opportunistically act in bad faith to get out of financial obligations they agreed to of their own volition and could continue to pay without undue burden. This is something that’s happening more and more right now with regard to Disney, and also far beyond that realm. It’s nevertheless the smarter and more compassionate route for Disney to err on the side of empathy.

Suffice to say, it’s a more complicated issue than it may appear on the surface. Who is in the right or wrong depends upon perspective. Times like these help reveal the true character of people and companies. Unfortunately, due to heightened tensions, many people are unwilling to attempt seeing things from any vantage other than their own.

The only reason I’m even offering this commentary now is because it doesn’t matter anymore, so I don’t expect the same level of impassioned comments. Disney has backed down, which was the right decision two weeks ago from a PR perspective. It remains the savvy move in maintaining goodwill among locals and fans that the parks will absolutely need in the future months and years.

Anyway, just some food for thought that (hopefully) can be considered when it comes to topics beyond Annual Pass payments. We’d again stress having empathy and a dash of humility for people who may feel differently than you–and whose circumstances may likewise differ from your own.

Here’s are the official policies for Annual Pass modifications, cancellations, and refunds. We’ll start with Disneyland–scroll to the second header for Walt Disney World AP info…

Disneyland AP Modifications, Cancelations & Refunds

If you are an Annual Passholder who has paid in full:

As previously announced, all active Disneyland Resort Annual Passholders who have paid for their Passports in full will automatically have their Passport expiration date extended due to theme park closures to provide additional access opportunities at the end of the Passport term. The new expiration date will be reflected on the Annual Passholder’s Passport account prior to the reopening of the theme parks.

As an alternative, in lieu of an extension of their Passports, Annual Passholders who have paid in full may choose to receive a partial refund for the theme park closure period. Information will be provided soon on how to choose this option.

If you are an Annual Passholder on the Monthly Payment Plan:

Effective April 5, 2020, Disneyland will automatically stop and waive all upcoming monthly payments while the theme parks are closed. Disney will also retroactively refund payments made between March 14 through April 4, 2020. Payments will resume on the Passholder’s regularly scheduled payment dates once the parks reopen. Please note, Passport expiration dates will not be extended and Passports will expire upon their originally scheduled expiration dates.

As an alternative, Guests who are paying for Disneyland Resort Annual Passes using the monthly payment program may choose to have their monthly payments postponed starting with payments due April 5 through the park closure period, and then resumed on the Passholder’s regularly scheduled payment date once the parks reopen.

Postponed payments will be collected in the months following the end of the Passholder’s currently scheduled payment term. The Passport expiration date will be extended due to the theme park closures to provide additional access opportunities at the end of the Passport term.

The new expiration date will be reflected on the Annual Passholder’s Passport account prior to the reopening of the theme parks. Information will be provided soon on how to choose this option.

Annual Passholders are some of Disneyland’s most loyal Guests, and they stand ready to help during this incredibly uncertain time. If you have any questions, please contact Annual Passholder Member Services at (714) 781-7277. Heavy call volume is anticipated, so please be patient. (Or wait a few days to call.)

Walt Disney World AP Modifications, Cancelations & Refunds

If you are an Annual Passholder who has paid in full:

As previously announced, all active Walt Disney World Resort Annual Passes will be extended for the number of days the parks are closed. The new expiration date will be reflected on the Annual Passholder’s account prior to the reopening of the theme parks.

As an alternative, in lieu of an extension of their passes, Passholders who have paid in full may choose to receive a partial refund for the theme park closure period. Information will be provided soon on how to choose this option.

If you are an Annual Passholder on the monthly payment plan:

Effective April 5, 2020, Walt Disney World will automatically stop and waive all upcoming monthly payments while the theme parks are closed. Disney will also retroactively refund payments made between March 14 through April 4, 2020. Payments will resume on the Passholder’s regularly scheduled payment dates once the parks reopen. Please note, pass expiration dates will not be extended and passes will expire upon their originally scheduled expiration dates.

As an alternative, Guests who are paying for Walt Disney World Annual Passes using the monthly payment program may choose to have their monthly payments postponed starting with payments due April 5 through the park closure period, and then resumed on the Passholder’s regularly scheduled payment date once the parks reopen.

Postponed payments will be collected in the months following the end of the Passholder’s currently scheduled payment term. The pass will be extended the number of days the parks are closed. The new expiration date will be reflected on the Annual Passholder’s account prior to the reopening of the theme parks. Information will be provided soon on how to choose this option.

Annual Passholders are some of Disney’s most loyal Guests, and they stand ready to help during this incredibly uncertain time. If you have any questions, please contact V.I.PASSHOLDER Support at (407) 939-7277. Heavy call volume is anticipated, so please be patient. (Or wait a few days to call.)

Need Disney trip planning tips and comprehensive advice? Make sure to read Disney Parks Vacation Planning Guides, where you can find comprehensive guides to Walt Disney World, Disneyland, and beyond! For Disney updates, discount information, a free download of our Money-Saving Tips for Walt Disney World eBook, and much more, sign up for our free monthly newsletter!

YOUR THOUGHTS

What do you think of the Walt Disney Company giving Annual Passholders the option to receive a partial refund or temporarily pause their monthly payments? Do you think this is the right thing to do? Are you concerned that this suggests a longer closure of the parks is likely? Think this is the right or wrong move for guests and/or Disney? Any questions? We love hearing from readers, so please share any other thoughts or questions you have in the comments below!


53 Responses to “Disney World & Disneyland Offer Annual Pass Refunds & Pause AP Payments”
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