One of Walt Disney's (NYSE:DIS) most popular and longstanding customer programs is coming to an abrupt end... at least for now. The company announced Thursday that in the face of the shutdowns that have been mandated for its signature Disneyland theme park and the neighboring California Adventure Park, it is ending its Annual Passport program.

Under the program, Disneyland devotees had a range of passes to choose from that granted them wide access to Disneyland and/or California adventure over the course of a year, subject to certain restrictions and the occasional blackout date. This was a popular option for many of the theme parks' aficionados in Southern California, as it saved money on frequent visits to those regional attractions. 

A blurry lit-up ferris wheel at night.

Image source: Getty Images.

Disney promised that it will be issuing pro rata refunds for eligible pass holders, depending on the expiry date of their passes. It added that customers holding active passports as of March 14, 2020, will continue to be provided the discounts entitled to them for merchandise, food, and beverages in the Downtown Disney District and Buena Vista Street shops.

The company said it will replace the Annual Passport program with a new type of membership, presumably with similar levels of access and comparable purchase discounts. Once it devises these, it promises that current Annual Passport holders will be the first to know the details.

It is not yet clear whether it will introduce a new annual access product or products.

"We plan to use this time while we remain closed to develop new membership offerings that will utilize consumer insights to deliver choice, flexibility and value for our biggest fans," the president of Disneyland Resort, Ken Potrock, wrote in a letter to pass holders.

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