The Walt Disney Company announced that they will no longer charge their annual passholders for monthly payments and will refund customers while their parks are closed due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“Effective April 5, 2020, we will automatically stop and waive all upcoming monthly payments while the theme parks are closed. We will also retroactively refund payments made between March 14 through April 4, 2020,” a statement on their website reads. “Payments will resume on the Passholder’s regularly scheduled payment dates once the parks reopen.”
The statement also noted that pass expiration dates would not be extended and that they will “expire upon their originally scheduled expiration dates.”
An exception will be made to passholders who decide to “postpone” their canceled payments instead.
RELATED: Disneyland and Walt Disney World Are Now Closed Indefinitely Due to Coronavirus
For annual passholders who have already paid in full for their passes (versus opting for the monthly payment plan), Disney said that they will extend the passes for the number of days the parks are closed. So far that’s 22 days.
Disney’s policy change comes after some intense backlash on social media when passholders realized they were still being charged despite not being able to visit the theme parks.
Disney really had the audacity to take money out of my bank account for my annual pass when the park is CLOSED…
— Annabelle Roberts (@AnnabelleRR) April 1, 2020
“Disney really had the audacity to take money out of my bank account for my annual pass when the park is CLOSED…” one customer shared on Twitter.
So Disney is closed but made sure to pull their Annual Pass payment causing my account to go negative $90….. no it’s fine I’ve just been laid off for 3 weeks with a baby due any minute now…
— Disney Blondie (@PalmTreeDarling) April 1, 2020
Another added, “So Disney is closed but made sure to pull their Annual Pass payment causing my account to go negative $90….. no it’s fine I’ve just been laid off for 3 weeks with a baby due any minute now…”
Writing on their website, Disney thanked their customers for their “patience” during this “truly unprecedented time” as the company works “through the many details related to the temporary closure of the theme parks.”
On March 27, Disney announced that both Disneyland and Walt Disney World will be closed indefinitely amid the pandemic, after they originally planned to reopen at the end of the that month.
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The company shared the announcement in a statement on their official Twitter, writing, “While there is still much uncertainty with respect to the impacts of COVID-19, the safety and well-being of our guests and employees remains The Walt Disney Company’s top priority.”
Disney has continued to pay their park employees since the parks first closed in mid-March, and they indicated in the statement that they “have made the decision to extend paying hourly parks and resorts cast members through April 18.”
PEOPLE first learned that the parks would close on Thursday, March 12, reporting that they would shut down that weekend.
While Walt Disney World and Disneyland remain closed, the company has made additional efforts to keep their fans engaged and entertained.
On Sunday, their official blog shared a “virtual viewing” of their new Magic Happens parade on YouTube in order to “bring a little joy, a little fun and, yes, a little magic” into the homes of people who can’t currently visit in person.
They also shared an adorable video of one of their cast members, who continued to do her job from home — leading a Kilimanjaro Safari ride through her living room filled with stuffed animals.
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