Disney World has announced that it will stop selling new annual passes to the Florida theme park. According to Click Orlando, new customers will not be able to purchase annual passes, but current annual pass holders will be allowed to renew theirs. Notably, the Disneyland theme park, in California, also recently announced that it too was no longer selling annual passes.
The news comes as the nation is approaching a full year in the fight against COVID-19. In March 2020, state and local lockdowns led to mass business closings, with both Disney World and Disneyland shutting their gates for a period of time. Disney CEO Bob Iger spoke with Barron's, in the wake of the initial closings, and shared some insight on what measures the company was considering for keeping attendees safe once they reopened the parks. "One of the things that we're discussing already is that in order to return to some semblance of normal, people will have to feel comfortable that they're safe," he said.
"Some of that could come in the form ultimately of a vaccine, but in the absence of that, it could come from basically, more scrutiny, more restrictions," Iger continued. "Just as we now do bag checks for everybody that goes into our parks, it could be that at some point we add a component of that that takes people's temperatures, as a for-instance." The CEO also said, "We're studying very carefully what China has been trying to do in terms of their return to normalcy. And one of the things that's obvious is they've conscripted a large segment of their population to monitor others in terms of their health. You can't get on a bus or a subway or a train or enter a high-rise building there—and I'm sure this will be the case when their schools reopen—without having your temperature taken."
Iger later add, "So we've asked ourselves the question, let's prepare for a world where our customers demand that we scrutinize everybody. Even if it creates a little bit of hardship, like it takes a little bit longer for people to get in. Just as the case after 9/11 where people ultimately lived with the notion that in order for them to enter a building, if you're in an office building you have to show a picture ID or get your picture taken and be screened. Or in order to enter a park you have to put your bags out there to be checked and you go through some kind of metal detector. Or certainly what's going on in airports with the TSA."