Britt Kennerly, Florida Today
Published 7:23 p.m. ET April 4, 2020 | Updated 7:25 p.m. ET April 4, 2020
The coronavirus wasn’t stopping this Texas family from feeling the Disney magic from their own home.
The parks, which shut their gates March 15, are closed indefinitely as the virus plays out across the U.S.. The Walt Disney World website and app now state that people who are on monthly payment plans will see refunds for payments made March 14 through April 4.
Disney will stop charging monthly payments for passholders effective Sunday, April 5. Payments will resume on customers’ regularly scheduled billing dates once the parks reopen.
Alternately, passholders on the monthly payment plan can elect to have their payments postponed beginning April 5 and resume on their billing date once the parks reopen. Postponed payments will be collected after the currently scheduled payment term is up.
Customers who paid for a year in advance can choose a partial refund or extend how long their pass is valid. New expiration dates will be updated on passholder accounts before the parks reopen, officials said.
The same rules apply to customers who hold annual passes to Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California.
Additional information on obtaining refunds will be provided soon.
A statement on the Disney World website says, in part: “Our Annual Passholders are some of our most loyal guests, and we are available to help them during this incredibly uncertain time.”
A canceled trip to Disney World didn’t stop this fan from keeping the magic alive.
In addition, Disney will furlough its non-union park employees starting April 19.
“Disney employees have received full pay and benefits during this time, and we’ve committed to paying them through April 18, for a total of five additional weeks of compensation,” an April 2 statement said.
“However, with no clear indication of when we can restart our businesses, we’re forced to make the difficult decision to take the next step and furlough employees whose jobs aren’t necessary at this time.”
Disney fans on several Facebook pages dedicated to passholders and other social media have questioned their payment status for weeks, many expressing anger over having no word until now about their status.
That’s not the case for Carolyn Perrine of Melbourne, Florida, a passholder for most of the past 18 years. She’s just looking forward to the reopening. She, her daughter and her daughter’s boyfriend are frequent park visitors, and are gauging their response to the park’s move so that all will, down the road, have passes that are good at the same time.
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She’s moved by Disney’s donation of 150,000 rain ponchos to MedShare, a humanitarian aid organization, for distribution to hospitals in need, according to the Disney Parks Blog. Disney also recently donated 100,000 N95 masks in New York, California and Florida.
And Perrine, who goes to the parks at least once or twice a week and gets in about 25,000 steps, is still getting a sort of Disney fix during the downtime.
“I’m using the elliptical now while watching videos from Disney,” she said, laughing.
For information on annual pass status and refunds, call 407-939-7277.