August 2021 marks a new chapter in Disneyland history with the announcement of the Magic Key program, the reimagined version of Disneyland’s previous Annual Pass program. The four keys, their costs, and their benefits can be overwhelming, so we’ve broken down all the information and formulated an essential guide to the Magic Key program.
In this article, we’ll be breaking down the keys, benefits included in each tier, the costs, pros and cons, and the new reservation/blockout system in place for the new Magic Key program at the Disneyland Resort in Southern California.
What is the Magic Key Program?
According to the official Disneyland website:
This new Magic Key program provides reservation-based admission to one or both Disneyland Resort theme parks where you’ll make memories visit after visit. There are 4 Magic Key types featuring a variety of admission days, pricing options, experiences, and savings on food & beverages and merchandise. You can select the Magic Key pass that’s of most value to you.
The Magic Key Pass a reimagined version of the Disneyland Resort Annual Passport program. It is Disneyland’s brand new program that allows Guests to visit the Disneyland Resort multiple days a year and receive up to 15% off select dining and 20% off select merchandise (depending on your level of key).
The Magic Key is for everyone, not just for existing Disneyland Legacy Passholders (the name for former Disneyland Resort Annual Passholders). There’s no information if Legacy Passholders will get an early access purchase time to grab the new keys, and this is not something that Disney has ever confirmed.
The Magic Key Pass will officially go on sale starting August 25th, 2021, at 10 a.m. PST. Head over to Disneyland’s official website the morning of and join the online queue as early as you can — as mentioned, it will open no earlier than 10 a.m.!
Magic Key Pass Types
There are four tiers to Disneyland’s Magic Key Pass: Dream Key ($1399), Believe Key ($949), Enchant Key ($649), and Imagine Key ($399).
You can check out the various pass types on the Disneyland website here, and check out their included benefits below:
The Imagine Key is only available for Southern California residents, much like the previous SoCal Pass in Disneyland’s retired Annual Pass program. So, only Guests who are residents in Southern California can purchase the Imagine Key. However, the three other keys are available to Guests across the globe.
There’s so much to each key, including exclusive discounts on food, merchandise, and dining. The Dream Key features the best discounts, with 20% off select merchandise and 15% off select food and beverage.
The three remaining passes feature 10% off merchandise, food, and beverage, but the Dream Key is the only pass that offers complimentary parking, with the Believe Key including 50% off theme park parking. The Enchant and Imagine Keys do not offer any complimentary or discounted parking.
It’s important to note that there are no monthly payment plans for out-of-state Key Holders, only for California Residents. However, there were never previous monthly payment options for out-of-state Annual Passholders, so this is nothing new.
If you are a California resident, after making a $179 downpayment for your Magic Key, your monthly payment plans vary from $19 per month to $102, depending on the pass you get.
Park Reservations and Park Hopping
According to Disneyland’s official website:
To enter a theme park, each Magic Key holder must have a theme park reservation in addition to a valid Magic Key pass. Park reservations are limited, and subject to availability, public health orders, and applicable pass blockout dates, and are not guaranteed for any specific dates or park. Magic Key pass blockout dates and admission dates that can be visited with a park reservation will vary by pass type and theme park. Additionally, park reservations may not be available on select holidays for certain theme parks. Park reservations for select dates and parks may be made available on a rolling basis. Check for updated availability. A Magic Key pass does not guarantee admission or access to any experience, attraction or offering or to park entry.
Magic Key holders who have a park reservation for both theme parks may cross over and switch between parks on the same day beginning at 1:00 PM. Please check the Park Hours calendar and the Disneyland app for the most up-to-date Park Hopper hours, as they could start earlier at a later date, depending on the day and park. Magic Key holders who have a park reservation for both parks must enter the first park as designated in their park reservation prior to visiting the other park. At this time, a park reservation is not required after visiting the first park; however, reservation requirements are subject to change. Please note that the ability to visit the other park will be subject to that park’s capacity limitations.
New Reservation Holds
Remember the 6-6-4-2 rule: Dream Key and Believe Key holders can make 6 park reservation holds at a time, Enchant Key holders can make up to 4 park reservation holds at time, and Imagine Key holders can make up to 2 park reservation holds at a time.
So, depending on which key you choose, your park reservation holds span from 2 to 6!
A very important piece of information that you need to know about is the new “reservation hold” program with the Magic Key Pass.
Looking at the Believe Key, these key holders can make up to six park reservation holds in a three month (90 day) period.
This does not mean you can only visit Disneyland Park six times in a three month span. Actually, it’s quite the opposite. You can make theme park reservations on a rolling basis, and once you use a reservation, you can make another. For example, say it’s the first week of September. You can make six park reservations to visit the theme parks every day for six days, and then, as you use each reservation, make an additional theme park reservation after that.
Or, if you have a pass that only allows for two reservations at a time, you can make a reservation for this week and the following week, for example. Then, once you use this week’s reservation, you can make a new reservation, while still keeping the existing reservation you have not yet used.
Once you visit either Disney theme park on your reserved day, you can immediately begin making more reservation holds. Essentially, there are no limits on the amount of times you can visit the parks, other than the blockout dates.
Making a Reservation
To make a resevartion, Disneyland states:
Be sure to sign in to your existing Disney account—or create a new one—via Disneyland.com. If you haven’t done so already, link your Magic Key ID—the 18 digit number you receive upon purchase. Then, visit Park Reservations to start the theme park reservation process.
Select the date and theme park that you wish to visit from the available theme park reservations. You can make reservations for one park only or both parks, pending availability.
Magic Key holders, choosing both parks, can select which theme park to start their day at and may cross over and switch between parks on the same day beginning at 1:00 PM, subject to capacity.
Each Key tier includes admission to both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure Park and can park hop between each park on the same day of their reservation beginning at 1:00 PM.
The 1:00 PM park hopping option is a new practice at Disneyland Resort theme parks, and it looks like it’s going to stay for quite some time. Of course, this is to help Disney control the number of Guests in their parks and ensure that they can continue making the most magical experiences for their Guests.
Much like the Annual Pass program, Disneyland’s new Magic Key Pass includes blockout dates for the various tiers of Passes. Blockout dates prohibit Key holders to make a reservation on that day as Disney controls the number of Guests visiting their parks on each particular day.
You can check out the blockout dates for each Key on Disneyland’s official wesbite here.
Once on the Magic Key Pass page of the Disneyland Webiste, you can view the Access Calendar for each individual Key.
You can make a same-day reservation for the Disneyland Resort if a reservation is available. So, after a long day’s work you can hop over to the official Disneyland app, check to see if there’s any reservations available that night, grab an available spot, and make your way over to Tommorowland or Mickey’s ToonTown that same night!
This, of course, all depends on Disneyland Resort’s theme park capacity. There’s no official confirmation on the exact percentage of capacity that either Disney theme parks are running at, but it’s likely that Disneyland will continue to gradually increase their capacity with the release of the new Magic Key Pass and updated health and safety protocols.
The Dream Key ($1399), however, allows Guests to visit the Disneyland Resort every day of the year without blockout dates — as long as they can grab a reservation. So, essentially, Dream Key holders can visit Disneyland on Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, and any other national holiday that are Disneyland’s business days of the year with an official reservation to either Disneyland Park or Disney California Adventure Park.
The Believe Key, Enchant Key, and Imagine Key are all subject to blockout dates. As the prices increase for each pass, there will be fewer blockout dates for those Key holders. However, the lower keys typically have weekends and major holidays blocked out.
If you’re a Disneyland fan and visit the Parks frequently, you know that the Annual Passholder program was a gold mine at the Disneyland Resort. Alas, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and historic one-year shutdown of both Disneyland Park and Disney California Park in Orange County, APs became a thing of the past after Disney sunsetted the AP program in January 2021, while the Parks were still closed.
From March 2021 to August 2021, guests visiting the Disneyland Resort — many of who are previous Annual Passholders from across the globe — purchased “hard tickets,” the paper Disneyland tickets that grant visitors access to either park. Guests had to pay out-of-pocket for each visit, rather than investing in a one-time purchase that allows them to visit the Disneyland Resort all year.
The Annual Passholder program was a steal for hardcore and everyday fans of Disneyland, but not a great deal for Disneyland. But given the thousands of Annual Passholders (and number of pass types) that Disneyland had prior to the end of the program, and the need to control capacity and adapt to the new era when the theme parks reopened, it’s no surprised that Disneyland had to reimagine the AP program.
The return to Disneyland is a welcomed one, and fans around the world are ready to visit the famous Disney Parks once again. While there’s no news on the Disneyland FASTPASS or MaxPass program or Photopass plan coming back to the resort and how they’ll be integrated into the passes, the Magic Key program is here to stay and hopefully provide magical experiences to Guests of all ages.
What are your thoughts on these new passes? Let us know in the comments below!