Annual passholders at Walt Disney World are some of the most dedicated Disney fans you’ll meet. While many live nearby in the state of Florida, a large number travel in from other states to visit the Most Magical Place On Earth. Unfortunately, the last couple of weeks have been trying for the most passionate fans.
Initially, many annual passholder reported difficulty securing theme park reservations for when Walt Disney World reopens. There was a lot of confusion about how the process worked, specifically for annual passholders who also had resort reservations. Some reported they weren’t able to secure all of their dates for their hotel stays, resulting in long phone calls with lengthy hold times to try and find answers.
The annual passholder preview window was supposed to offer a fun perk for those wanting to return to the magic. The preview times understandably filled up extremely quickly, but the real pain point was many annual passholders never received the email alert saying signups were live. Some received the alert only after the reservations were full. Personally, we never received an email – not even in the Junk folder.
Disney also stated that all annual passholders would have their passes extended by the length of time the theme parks were closed. This too had its own glitches and problems as some saw extensions while others still haven’t. We can see a new extension date in the My Disney Experience app, but our account on the website continues to show an old expiration date.
Finally, annual passholders who pay their dues monthly reported seeing four months of payments all removed from their accounts at once. For some this was a huge issue as it caused overdraft penalties. Disney promised to correct the situation, but annual passholders once again had to call customer service and sit through long waits.
People are understandably very frustrated.
There’s no question that Disney is in a difficult position during an unprecedented time. Disney fans are more than willing to cut the company some slack. But, the mistakes, glitches and confusion over the past few weeks have been trying on even the most dedicated of annual passholders.
Technical problems are bound to happen. Unfortunately, they’ve been happening repeatedly across Disney’s infrastructure from theme park reservations and overcharges to expiration dates and product availability on shopDisney.
Before all of the recent headaches, some annual passholders felt that Disney wasn’t appreciative as perks were slowly altered or removed. The value in being an annual passholder has been under fire as Disney introduced more and more upcharges at the cost of previously included perks for resort and passholder guests.
Now, Disney may have painted themselves into a corner. The annual passholder crowd will be critical to retrain as tourism dwindles. Disney will have to solve their technical issues and come up with new ways to keep their base happy. It may take time before non-dedicated fans spend thousands to visit Walt Disney World under the current climate and with reduced operations.
Annual passholders will be the key to steady income and attendance – assuming Disney doesn’t drive them away.