Disneyland has unveiled a replacement for the popular annual passholder program used by one million fans that requires advance reservations as part of a new system designed to reduce crowds and smooth demand throughout the year. Will be
Disneyland announced on Tuesday, August 3, that the new Magic Key program will replace the annual Passport that has been in use at the Anaheim theme park for nearly four decades.
Magic Key Annual Passes go on sale August 25 before 10 a.m. Keyholders — the new name for passholders — can visit Disneyland and Disney California Adventure starting August 25, provided they have reservations available for the type.
The new annual pass will be available at four price points: $1,399 Dream Key, $949 Believe Key, $649 Enchant Key and $399 Imagine. Monthly payments for California residents will only be available for each pass level. Daily visitors can convert their ticket into a Magic Key pass.
The $399 to $1,399 Magic’s price range is in line with 2019 prices for the Disneyland Annual Pass. In 2020, the Southern California Select Pass increased to $419, while the Signature Plus Pass climbed to $1,449.
Higher priced passes will offer fewer blockout days on the reservation access calendar. Keyholders should expect the reservation to be sold out in a few days. The fine print notes that reservations are limited, subject to availability and are not guaranteed for any specific dates or parks.
The $1,399 Dream Key offers access every day of the year with free parking at both parks.
$949 of Believe is good for 317 days per year and offers 50% off parking. Believe Pass is blocked on certain weekend days around Christmas, New Year’s Day and Easter, and in February, March, April, May, and July.
The $649 Enchantment Key provides 216 days of annual access to the parks. Enchant Pass is closed for most of June and July, and large parts of April, May and August, around Christmas, New Year’s and Easter.
The $399 Imagine Key is only available to residents of Southern California and is good for 147 days per year. The Imagine Pass is good Monday through Thursday with essentially a few Fridays and is blocked for most of June, July and August and for the bulk of November, December, January and April.
Dream and Believe key-holders can make up to six reservations at a time. Enchant keyholders can have up to four reservations and Imagine keyholders can have two reservations.
Dream keyholders get 20% off on merchandise and 15% on food, while Believe, Enchant and Imagine keyholders get 10% off on merchandise and food.
The new Magic Key Pass will be similar to the earlier Flex Pass launched in May 2019 which required advance reservations. Disneyland described the Flex Pass as the most highly rated and sought-after pass under the former AP program.
Keyholders will be able to make reservations up to 90 days in advance and can cancel their reservations up to one night before leaving the park. Keyholders can make reservations on the day of their travel provided the reservation is still available.
Magic Key privileges of three no-show keyholders in a 90-day period will be forfeited for 30 days, with no new reservations allowed during that period.
Martin Levison, a professor at Farmingdale State College in New York who studies Disneyland pricing, said Magic’s program satisfies fans’ desire to visit the parks frequently without paying for daily admission each time. .
“They found that people wanted their schedule back, so they gave it to them as much as possible,” he said, “but they withdrew the last card, which is potential, because you have to make a reservation.”
Michelle Karganian, a former Yorba Linda annual passholder, said the reservation requirement would probably keep her from buying the Magic Key.
“The near beauty was in its flexibility and ease,” she said. “Jockeying for a reservation at a higher price with thousands of pass holders doesn’t equate to ‘better’ in my humble opinion.”
Sherrill Herchenroeder of Fontana, who previously had the lowest-cost pass, said she would be willing to buy a $399 pass for California residents. She doesn’t mind the high number of blockout dates, because she doesn’t want to go when the park is too crowded, and she doesn’t shy away from requiring reservations.
“The reservation system is really not a big deal,” she said. “It looks like you can get same day or next day/short notice reservations for all parks. I don’t think it will change much for us spontaneous Disneyland trips.
Parkhopping will be allowed for key holders at 1 p.m. – the same as daily visitors. Advance reservations for keyholders and daily visitors are expected to continue in the near future.
Disneyland surveyed thousands of passholders with 80% about their opinions and preferences saying they want to continue with the new Magic Key program.
Magic Key Passes come with a host of perks including PhotoPass offers, exclusive experiences, special events and limited edition merchandise.
The alfresco tasting terrace that was exclusive to annual passholders will become the Magic Key Terrace. Tomorrowland StarCade will have a keyholder lounge at the Magic Key event starting September 1. Magic’s Celebration Month will be announced later.
All magic information will be relayed to keyholders through a new portal in the Disneyland mobile app.
Charter members who sign up during the first 66 days to commemorate Disneyland’s 66th anniversary will receive a Magic Key swag box that includes a pin, button, magnet, lanyard, and a map of the park.
Fans have been waiting for months to announce a replacement for Disneyland’s popular Passholder program.
The cancellation of the AP event in January sent shockwaves through the loyal fan base — which Disneyland called “legacy passholders.”
Disneyland officials would not say how many people have annual passes, but theme park industry observers have estimated the number at 1 million. According to financial analysts at UBS, annual passholders comprise an estimated 50% of Disneyland resort attendance.
Disneyland and Disney California Adventure reopened on April 30 after a 412-day pandemic shutdown with attendance capacity constraints and other state-mandated COVID-19 health and safety measures. Most restrictions were lifted on June 15, though Disneyland and DCA once again require visitors to wear masks indoors amid a spike in COVID-19 cases and hospital stays tied to the Delta version.
Staff writer Marla Jo Fisher contributed to this report.