Why the Most Expensive New Disney Annual Pass Is the One to Purchase

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The wait is finally over! Annual Passes are BACK at the Disneyland Resort as of this month — and fans are thrilled about it.

Disneyland magic key
Credit: Disney

Disney announced the reimagined passes months after the company made the decision to “sunset” the Disneyland Resort Annual Passport program in January 2021. Now, we know that the new pass program is called the Magic Key program, offering four levels of “keys” that will allow Guests to visit Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park several times in one year, without having to purchase a new theme park ticket every time.

The four levels of Magic Keys — the Dream Key, Believe Key, Enchant Key, and Imagine Key — have different levels of blockout dates, parking perks, and discounts. But after analyzing the benefits that come with each pass, it has become evident that, for a Guest who plans to frequent the Disneyland Resort and park their vehicle on property, there is one Magic Key that is the clear front-runner to purchase.

Magic key
Credit: Disney

The Dream Key, while the most expensive Annual Pass option at $1,399 annually, offers the most benefits.

Many Disneyland fans who plan to visit the Disneyland Resort very often are torn between the Dream Key and the Believe Key, which offer similar perks with a steep price difference.

First, the Dream Key has no blockout dates. Now, the Believe Key has minimal blockout dates and costs over $400 less at $949 annually. That may be worth it to you if you do not mind being blocked out on some Saturdays, a couple of weeks during the holiday season, and a busy week in April. In fact, still having over 300 days to visit the Disneyland Resort could make the Believe Key totally worth it for you, especially since both the Dream Key and the Believe Key allow for up to six theme park reservations to be held at a time.

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However, the true reason why the Dream Key is a cut above is not necessarily in its lack of blockout dates but rather in another huge benefit — free parking.

The Dream Key is the only Magic Key Pass option that offers free parking. Neither the Enchant Key nor the Imagine Key offer any benefits for parking, and the Believe Key offers 50% off parking. However, the Dream Key allows an Annual Passholder (now called a Key holder) to park on property at the Mickey & Friends and Pixar Pals parking structure or the Toy Story lot for no added cost to their visit.

disneyland
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If you are planning to go to Disneyland often and drive to the Parks every time you go, that is huge. The standard parking fee is $25 per vehicle. Want to visit Disneyland once a week for a year, without free parking? That is a whopping $1,300 in parking fees. What about if you visit Disneyland just 30 times annually? That will still cost you $750 to park. Even if you get the Believe Key and utilize the 50% discount on parking, that is still $650 in parking fees for 52 visits in a year, or $375 in parking fees for 30 visits.

So, even if a Guest purchased one of the less expensive passes, like the Enchant Key or the Imagine Key, which still offer plenty of dates to visit the Disneyland Resort in a single year, they could end up paying hundreds in parking fees over time. As in, if you were to purchase the Enchant Key for $649 and you visit Disneyland Resort 30 times in a single year, you would be paying $649 for the Park admission plus $750 for parking, making your total cost $1,399, the same price as the Dream Key.

If you plan to visit Disneyland and Disney California Adventure less than 30 times annually, then, of course, you will likely save money purchasing a lower-tier pass. But if you plan to go frequently — and want to be able to go on weekends — then the benefits of the Dream Key are pretty apparent.

Disney Family
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The fact that the Dream Key costs $1,399 annually, and parking at the Disneyland Resort would cost you $1,300 if you visited once per week and paid full price for parking, effectively means that your Annual Pass pretty much pays for itself.  Throw in 20% off select merchandise and 15% off select dining — the highest levels offered for any Magic Key Pass option — and you’re saving more money in just 52 visits to Disneyland than you could otherwise.

Family at Pym test kitchen at avengers campus at disney California adventure at disneyland resort
Credit: Disney

There is no denying that $1,399 is a lot of money, and if you are not a California resident and therefore ineligible for a payment plan, that price tag can feel quite hefty to pay upfront. But overall, if you plan to frequent the Disneyland Resort and park on property every time, then the Dream Key level of the Disneyland Magic Key Pass is likely your best option.

Magic Key
Credit: Disney

For more information, read our complete guide to Disneyland Magic Keys here or visit the official website here. Remember that Magic Key Passes go on sale on August 25, 2021.

Do you plan to purchase a new Disneyland Resort Annual Pass, now known as a Disney Magic Key, after they go on sale on August 25? Let us know in the comments!

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