Disneyland Resort reopened on April 30, 2021. Please note that articles on this site may not reflect changes to the resort upon reopening, including but not limited to: extra hours programs, fastpass, and more. For more information visit my Disneyland Reopening Guide page.

Disneyland’s New Annual Pass – Magic Key

We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post.

Sharing is caring!

Disneyland has announced its new Magic Key Pass, the replacement for the canceled Annual Passholder program. Is the Magick Key Pass a good fit for you? What are the perks of having a Magic Key Pass? Keep reading to learn everything you need to know before making this (expensive) investment.

Disneyland Introduces the Magic Key Pass

Disneyland has announced the Magic Key Pass, which they have very carefully called a loyalty pass program, not an annual pass. Though most of us would consider this an “Annual Pass” Disney is wanting to make sure there is no confusion. With this pass, you will not have the same access to the parks that you had as an Annual Passholder.

In order to let you see how it differs, for the time being, I am leaving my old Annual Passholder article information at the bottom of this article so you can compare and contrast.

Disneyland’s Magic key Pass – prices, benefits, and more

Disneyland has released information on the new Magic Key Pass – a revamped annual passholder program. There were a lot of rumors circulating on what this new program would entail, and many of them were wrong. So today I am here to give you all of the information on the Magic Key Pass, and help you decide which one is right for you.

When Will Disneyland Sell the new Annual Pass – Magic Key?

Sales for the new Magic Key Pass will begin on August 25, 2021 no earlier than 10 am. But don’t feel you need to rush to purchase this. Read this guide and my tips for saving money on your pass before you purchase.

Perks for purchasing the New Magic Key Pass ASAP

Guests who purchase the new Magic Key Pass within the first 66 days (to celebrate Disneyland’s 66th Birthday) will receive a unique welcome package with a limited edition pin, magnate and more.

Early purchasers will also have access to a special experience in September located in the Starcade in Tomorrowland.

The pass will include other perks like a limited access dining Terrace in California Adventure, special photo ops, and more. Much like we saw with the previous Disneyland Annual Pass program.

Magic Keys pass- what’s old is new…

With the new Magic Key Pass, Disneyland has revamped its annual passholder program and the tiers available. There are 4 levels of membership for the Magic Key Pass. Each one has different perks.

In all honesty, some of the perks are close (or better) to what we had before. Some are different. So let’s start there because I think that is where all the rumors were.

What is different about magic key pass from the legacy annual pass program

There are a few differences between the new Magic Key and our old Annual Passes. But not many. Especially if you are comparing to the FlexPass introduced about a year before the closure.

Reservations Required

It only makes sense with Disneyland using a park reservation system for all guests, that we see a reservation system added to all Magic Key Annual Pass options. The different tiers will be allowed a different number of reservations on a rolling basis. (Details on this in the breakdown.)

This is a screen shot of the park reservation system

You can book reservations up to 90 days in advance. Take note that ticket holders can make reservations up to 120 days in advance. Showing that Disney wants to make sure families who will come and spend thousands on their vacation are able to get reservations. If this has you down, be sure to keep reading for my “tips before buying a Magic Key Pass” section.

Reservations can be canceled up to the night before.

Payment Plans

Another thing that was rumored is that there would be no payment plan option on the Magic Key Pass. Thankfully this was FALSE!

Payment plans are back, and once again limited to California Residents.

what is the same about the magic key and the legacy annual pass

There are a lot of similarities between the old Annual Pass program and the new Magic Key Pass for Disneyland. I think Legacy Passholders may be pleasantly surprised.

Blackout Calendars

Similar to before, the tier you are in determines how many days are “blocked out” from visiting the parks. The highest tier again has no black-out dates. The difference here is the reservation system and how many reservations are available.

Perks

Similar perks are available for Magic Key holders (passholders? Not sure what term they will use.)

Merch and Dining Discounts

Based on your Magic Key level, you will still have discounts for merchandise and food. Again, the highest tier will have a larger discount.

Parking

Again, based on your tier, you may receive free parking with your Magic Key Pass. A difference is that some passes will get a discount on parking rather than just free parking.

Lightning McQueen greets park guests in Cars Land at Disney California Adventure park in Anaheim, Calif. The land features immersive family attractions showcasing characters and settings from Disney and PixarÕs “Cars,” including one of the largest and most elaborate themed environments ever created for a Disney park. (Christian Thompson/Disneyland Resort)

A Tier Only Available to SoCal Residents

SoCal Residents rejoice! You have a pass only for you, that is much less expensive. I know when you look at the details you may feel a bit down at first, but I will explain in my breakdown why this is a great option in my opinion.

Magic Key Annual Pass Options At A Glance

Below is the Magic Key Annual Pass options being released at a glance. I will break down more information and what to think about before purchasing further down, but for those just wanting a quick comparison chart, here it is.

Please note, once the block out calendars are live, I will update how many days are blocked out for each pass.

# of reservations
at one time
Annual CostMonthly
Payment
(California Residents only)
After $179 Down Payment
Number of Reservations
at One Time
Blockout DaysDiscountsParkingSoCal
Residency Required
Dream Key Pass$1399$1026None20% Merch
15%
Dining
FreeNo
Believe Key Pass$949$656Most Days Not Blocked10% on
Merch &
Dining
50% OffNo
Enchant Key Pass$649$404Select10%NoNo
Imagine Key Pass$399$192Select10%NoYES

Tips for choosing your Disneyland Magic Key Pass Level

If you are trying to decide which pass is best for you, it is time to break out your calendar and your calculator. Each pass will fit a different type of person, and you will have to figure out what is best for your Disneyland plans.

Here are some tips to help you figure out which pass level is right for you.

Figure out when you normally visit Disneyland

This is the first, and hardest step. Spend time looking over the blackout calendars. Do you normally visit Disneyland during winter break? Are all except the top pass blacked out then?

Or maybe you only visit Disneyland during times that the lowest level pass would work?

Deciding when you will need to visit the parks will play a huge role in which pass level you choose.

How long and how far you’ll go

If you are a local, you may find the lower level passes work out well for you, but for someone that travels to Disneyland and can spend between 3 and 5 days in the parks, I know that I need to be able to make reservations for more than 4 days at times.

While a semi-local may be willing to chance getting that 5th-day reservation once day 1 rolls off (remember this is a rolling reservation so you use one, you can add one) I am not always willing to do that.

The ability to ensure you can get all of your days, 90 days in advance, may drive you to purchase a higher pass option. Especially if it also allows you more freedom in what days you visit.

Parking

Parking may influence your pass type. I think this is what might push more locals to buy a higher pass. Honestly, if Disney wanted to encourage locals to take the lower pass, it would include free parking…

At $25 day (at time of this article publishing) parking is a large expense. Unless you have a way to get free parking at Disneyland, after so many visits, an upgrade just for the parking will pay for itself.

Budget

Of course budget should play a huge role in deciding which pass you get. I always urge my followers to be responsible with their vacation budgets. But I also want you to get the best value for your money, so be sure to really think about what Magic Key Pass is best for you.

If you purchase the lower tier, but end up going so much you are spending hundreds on parking every month… then that won’t be a good value.

How to Save Money On Your Magic Key Pass

I have a secret way to save money on Annual Passes. You ready for it?

First, purchase your Disneyland tickets at a discount. The best place I have found to do this is through Get Away Today. You can even buy these tickets as part of a vacation package and use code CrazyAdventure to save an extra $10 (on qualifying packages).

When you get to Disneyland, you can upgrade your tickets to Annual Passports. You can do this anytime during your vacation up until the last day you enter the park. The great thing is, they will credit you the cost of the ticket at the gate (based on the ticket’s bar code/expiration date). So even if Get Away Today has the ticket at $10 off, you will still get the full face value applied to your upgrade. (This is just the beginning of the savings.)

The Disneyland Annual Pass will be good for one year from the first use of your ticket, even if you upgrade on the last day. So for this reason, unless you have black-out dates during your visit, I suggest just upgrading the first day, so you can take advantage of discounts.

BUT WAIT…. you can save more!

So, you will be offered the chance to upgrade through the app. I am not sure if you will be able to do this next part on the Disneyland app, but if you go to the ticket booths, you definitely can.

When you go to pay the upgrade fee (the price difference between the ticket value and the Annual Pass) you can save extra by using the Target Red Card Trick, and purchasing Disney Gift Cards at a discount.  Use the gift cards to pay the difference. This can save you close to $30 on your Disneyland Annual Pass depending on your pass level and the value of your ticket.

So what do you think, will you be purchasing a Magic Key Pass?


Below is my previous Annual Pass Article for you to compare and contrast. I will remove this portion of the article at a later date.


BREAKING NEWS, January 14, 2021: Disneyland Resort has cancelled the Annual Passholder program. My friend Dusty from MiceChat.com broke the news as emailed letters began to be sent out to Disneyland Annual Passholders. Keep reading for all the details.

You love Disneyland, and you go a lot. Maybe you are wondering if a Disneyland Annual Pass (Disneyland’s season pass option) is the way to go. Been there! I have been an Annual Passholder at Disneyland for 7 years off and on.

How do you know if you should take the plunge and be an Annual Passholder? And what about all the different Disneyland Annual Pass options? Don’t worry… we have you covered! Plus, I am going to share my super secret way to save money on your Disneyland Annual Pass.

Disneyland Annual Pass is Disneyland's season pass option.

January 2021 update:

Disneyland Resort has discontinued the AP program. A letter is being sent to Annual Passholders explaining the decision. The story broke via MiceChat with a copy of the letter from the Disneyland Resort President, Ken Potrock.

The letter hints at a new membership offering in the future, and offers not only the regular discount, but that discounts will increase to 30% for January 18 – February 25, 2021. 

Passholders will receive a pro-rated refund of their Annual Passport cost.

What do you think the new pass program will look like and when do you think it will be introduced?

Why Should You Get A Disneyland Annual Pass?

Disneyland Annual Passport – It isn’t just for locals!

Before we get into the types of passes, we need to cover if an annual pass to Disneyland is even a smart option for you or your family. A lot of people wonder why I, living in Idaho, have had an annual pass multiple times over the years. Simple… because it saves me money.

But they are so expensive… how does having an annual pass save you money?

I am huge on saving money on Disneyland vacations. In fact, that is one of the reasons I purchased an annual pass. I did the math one year and realized a Disneyland Annual Pass would save me a few hundred dollars over buying Disneyland tickets each trip. That is even with my discount Disneyland tickets secrets.

Disneyland's Mark Twain River Boat. Should you get an Annual PAss
The Mark Twain Riverboat at Disneyland

The money savings is the one and only reason I purchase a Disneyland Annual Pass. That is why I say I have been an Annual Passholder off and on. Some years it is not worth it, other years it is.

With the large Disneyland annual pass price increases the last few years, we decided it was not worth it for my entire family the last 2 years. I purchased an Annual Pass to Disneyland this year, but it still was not worth it for my family. However, the new Disneyland Annual Pass, called the Flex Pass, may change that (I cover this new Disneyland Annual Pass option below).

So how do you know if there is a savings from buying a Disneyland Annual Pass?

When I am deciding if a Disneyland annual pass will save me money on Disneyland trips there are several factors. It isn’t as simple as “is the pass cheaper than tickets for x amount of trips?” Though that is a good start. Because there are multiple levels of passes and different benefits, there is a lot to consider.

For example, in 2017, I was able to purchase Disneyland Annual Pass vouchers online the day before a price increase. Not only did I save the $20 that the prices went up, they were offering a 13th month FREE! Sweet! We had 3 trips planned, so admission alone was a huge savings. But it didn’t end there.

Disneyland tickets or Disneyland Annual Passes?
Disneyland Annual Passes may save you money over buying tickets for vacations

On top of the admissions savings, you need to take into account the Disneyland Annual Passholder Discounts. I will break down the discounts a little further down, but just remember to take discounts into account when doing your math.

When Should You Skip The Disneyland Annual Pass?

So I shared how my family no longer has Disneyland Annual Passes. Wondering why? Because it didn’t make sense for us.

For starters, that huge price increase to annual passes in 2018. Deluxe and Signature passes went up over $100 each. To put it bluntly, this made it so my family could probably purchase two full trips of tickets for about the same price as an Annual Passes to Disneyland. I will need to do the math again to figure out the best deal before our next trip…

BREAKING NEWS: 2020 pricing has a $50 increase to most Annual Pass levels… time to do more math!

Disneyland Annual Pass isn't just for locals
Apparently our one twin is sad about no longer having Disneyland Annual Passports. The other seems to have a head ache from doing all that math.

Which is another reason I didn’t purchase Annual Passes again. When our passes expired in April, we were unsure when our next visit to Disneyland would be. What is the point of paying for a Disneyland Annual Pass that you don’t use for 6 months?

We would rather hold off on buying, and making sure we can get in several trips to Disneyland within the 12 month period.

Not to mention… Disneyland took away the discount for renewing your Annual Pass before it expires. What is up with that Disneyland?

That is all fine and dandy, but what about locals?

Okay, I get it… All of this make sense for those that live out of state or too far away to be at Disneyland all the time, but what about you locals? Simply put, Locals have some awesome options and if I were local I would totally have a Disneyland Annual Pass all the time… or would I?

If you love Disneyland and don’t mind the crowds, definitely think about getting an annual pass. But some locals honestly only want to go to Disneyland a few times a year. If that is you, then there are better options out there.

For instance, the spring discount tickets for Southern California residents that is offered most years. Those tickets get locals 2-3 days of entrance at a heavily discounted price. The days do not have to be used consecutively and they are good for most of the first 4-5 months of the year (with a few blockout dates).

Disneyland Annual Passholders flock to the park
Disneyland’s Mainstreet USA on a typical afternoon

Southern California Residents also have special Disneyland Annual Pass options that are much more affordable. I will cover those more later, but they are pass options with several block out dates and are only available to residents within certain zip codes (proof of residency required).

Locals definitely make up the majority of Disneyland Annual Passholders, but I still think those living near Disneyland need to do the math and decide if it is a wise investment.

California Residents Can Make Payments on Disneyland Annual Passes

This is a highly debated topic in many Disney forums, but something I must include for this to be a “complete guide” to Disneyland Annual Passes.

If you are California Resident, you may make payments on your Annual Pass. There is a downpayment required, and from what I understand, the first payment is taken as well (within a day or so), and then you make monthly payments.

Disneyland Annual Pass Blockout Dates

Most Disneyland Annual Passports have a calendar of pre-determined blockout dates (subject to change). As of June 2019, passes may be blocked at each park separately. That means you may be blocked from both parks (like during the week of Christmas) or you may only be blocked at Disneyland or at Disney California Adventure.

This change was in preparation for the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge (Star Wars Land) in 2019 and the new Avengers Campus coming to Disney California Adventure in 2020. Be sure to check out the blockout calendar when deciding which Disneyland Annual Pass is right for you.

Disneyland Annual Pass Discounts

So I mentioned discounts and how they help make the purchase of a Disneyland Annual Passport worth the cost. So what discounts are there for Disneyland Annual Passholders?

Dining

Disneyland Annual Passholders receive discounts on select dining ranging from from a 10-15% discount. These discounts are available at counter service, and sit-down dining options. They are not accepted at carts or a few quick-service locations, including those owned by non-Disney entitities. The discounts are available on character dining.

Disneyland Annual Passholders get dining discounts, including character dining

Merchandise discounts

Seriously, my favorite part about having a Disneyland Annual Pass is that I can save money on merchandise. Every time I go to Disneyland I have a hard time choosing souvenirs. Having a discount means I can pick all the things (okay, maybe not all, but more things). A Disneyland Annual Pass discount for merchandise is 10-20% depending on pass level. That is a good chunk of change when you consider a sweatshirt, souvenir ornament and a pair of Mickey ears will cost you over $100.

Guided Tours

Disneyland has some pretty awesome guided tour options. My favorite would have to be the Walk In Walt’s Disneyland Footsteps Tour. No matter which tour you choose, Disneyland Annual Passholders can receive up to a 15% discount on guided tours.

Oogie Boogie Bash Party

Halloween is one of my favorite times to visit Disneyland, and with a Disneyland Annual Pass you can get a discount on Disneyland’s Halloween Party (Oogie Boogie Bash) tickets on select nights. It does seem that the amount of nights with discounts gets smaller each year, but you also get to purchase your tickets before the general public (usually about one week early).

MaxPass Discount

Disneyland released the new Disney MaxPass system in July 2017. With it came the announcement that it would be included with the Signature Plus Pass, and that other passes could add this feature annually for $125 (no pro-ration for adding mid-year). As long as you visit the park at least 7 days this is a savings from the $20/day purchase option.

Disneyland Annual Pass Hotel Discounts

Disneyland will sometimes offer hotel discounts for annual passholders. These discounts are not huge, and tend to only be available in the slowest seasons, but they can make a stay at the Disneyland Hotel affordable for some.

Where to park at Disneyland Mickey and Friends Parking Structure
Tip: Take a picture of the signs closest to where you parked.

Parking

When we purchased our Annual Passes in 2017, my husband and I chose to get signature passes. One of the main reasons was because Signature and Signature Plus passes include standard Disneyland parking. That is a savings of $25/visit.

Normally I suggest at least one person getting the Signature for this feature (plus the larger discounts) but we both purchased it as we knew we had at least one vacation coming up with friends, so we would have two vehicles to park.

Special Events for Disneyland Annual Passholders

Disney has special events or even merchandise for Annual Passholders. Many of the celebrations like, Disney California Adventure Food and Wine Festival, have a special AP Corner with exclusive merchandise, or other offerings. Sometimes APs have special events or movie screenings as well.

Which Disneyland Annual Pass Should I Get?

Once you have decided that you want to purchase a Disneyland Annual Pass, you need to decide on which pass to buy. There are essentially 7 different Disneyland annual passes you can choose from. Below is information on each pass level.

Good to know: Annual Passports cost the same price for children and adults.

Please note: I try to keep this updated, but you will want to verify prices, blackout info, etc. before purchasing.

Disney Southern California Select Passport

Available to: Southern California Residents
Price: $419 Annually

Disneyland Southern California Select Annual Pass Includes:

  • Entrance into one or both theme parks select days of the year. At last check this was was showing as valid 160 days at Disneyland and 163 days at Disney California Adventure Park. It is important to note that there are NO Saturday or Sunday entrances all year. You will also be blocked most of December and most of June-August of each year.
  • Discounts: 10% off select dining and 10% off merchandise
  • Ability to add MaxPass for $100 annually

Who this Disneyland Annual Pass is good for: Those locals who want to go during “off season” and are able to go during the week. Budget concious Disenyland fans.

Disney Southern California Passport (Not currently being sold)

Available to: Southern California Residents
Price: $??? Annually

Disneyland Southern California Passport Includes:

  • Entrance into one or both theme parks select days of the year. At last check this Disneyland annual pass was showing it is valid 219 days at Disneyland and 239 days at Disney California Adventure Park. It is important to note that there are no Saturday entrances all year and very limited Sunday entrances. You will also be blocked most of December and most of July to Mid-August of each year.
  • Discounts: 10% off select dining and 10% off merchandise
  • Ability to add MaxPass for $125 annually

Who this Disneyland Annual Pass is good for: Those locals who want to go during “off season” and are able to go during the week or on Sundays. Budget concious Disenyland fans.

New!!! Disneyland Flex Annual Pass

 

Available to: Anybody
Price: $649 Annually

Includes:

  • Entrance into one of both theme parks through out the year, with minimal block out dates.
  • Many dates that are “good to go” during the week and off-season.
  • Many dates require a reservation to visit the park and may be made 30 days in advance. You may hold 2 reservation days at the same time.
  • Discounts: 10% off select dining and 10% off merchandise
  • Ability to add MaxPass for $125 annually

Who this Disneyland Annual Pass is good for: This new annual pass could be good for anybody from locals to out-of-state guests who want the value and flexibility of this annual pass.

This pass will take some research and personal application to see if it is a good fit for you. Those that will mostly visit on Good-To-Go days and will visit at least 6 days per year will find this to be a savings. You will need to check these calendars for both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure as the calendars vary by park.

This pass will be a great fit for my family. I take them to the parks mostly during “Good to go” days, and even if we had to buy one 2 day ticket for each of them every year, it would still end up being a savings most of the time.

When this pass was first available, you could usually get reservations last minute. By mid-September we began seeing dates that were “sold out” for reservations several days to weeks in advance.

MATH DONE FOR YOU: If you only take 2 trips that are 2 days each, this pass may be a savings (versus buying 2 trips with 2 day parkhopper tickets)

Disneyland Deluxe Annual Pass

Available to: Anybody
Price: $829 Annually

Includes:

  • Entrance into one or both theme parks select days of the year. At this time we show it is valid 321 days at Disneyland and 343 days at Disney California Adventure Park between now and June 2019. It is important to note that there Saturday entrances entrances are limited during busy seasons. This pass also is blocked most holiday weekends, as well as during Christmas break.
  • Discounts: 10% off select dining and 10% off merchandise
  • Ability to add MaxPass for $125 annually

Who this Disneyland Annual Pass is good for: Locals who want to be able to enjoy the park year round. Visitors from other states who plan to visit at least 10 days/per year and do not plan on visiting Disneyland during the holidays or busy Saturdays.

Disneyland Signature Annual Pass

Available to: Anybody
Price: $1199 Annually

  • Entrance into one or both theme parks select days of the year. At last check we show it is valid most days at both parks. At this time there are no days showing that the pass is blocked from only one park. This pass is blocked during Christmas break.
  • Includes standard theme park parking
  • Discounts: 15% off select dining and 20% off merchandise
  • Ability to add MaxPass for $125 annually

Who this Disneyland Annual Pass is good for: Locals who want to be able to enjoy the park year round. Visitors from other states who plan to visit at least 12 days/per year, utilize the parking, and want to visit when the Deluxe Pass is blocked.

Disneyland Signature Plus Annual Pass

Available to: Anybody
Price: $1449 Annually

Includes:

  • Entrance into one or both theme parks every day of the year.
  • Includes standard theme park parking
  • Includes Disney MaxPass
  • Discounts: 15% off select dining and 20% off merchandise

Who this Disneyland Annual Pass is good for: Locals who want to be able to enjoy the park year round, including Christmas Break. Visitors from other states who plan to visit at least 12 days/per year, utilize the parking, and want to visit when the Deluxe and Signature Passports are blocked (planning a Christmas vacation visit). This pass is also a good option if you plan on already adding MaxPass to the Signature pass.

But wait that is only six Disneyland Annual Pass types. You said there were seven.

The seventh Annual Pass option is the Disney Premier Annual Passport. This passport has entry to both Disneyland Resort parks and Walt Disney World parks with no black out dates, includes parking, and Photopass/MaxPass options. It includes dining and merchandise discounts on both coasts.

To purchase the Premier Annual Passport, visit a ticket booth at Disneyland or Walt Disney World.

Cost: $2119

Secret Way To Save On Your Disneyland Annual Pass

I mentioned that I had a secret way to save on your Disneyland Annual Pass. What kind of guide would this be without including that information for you?

So how can you save a few bucks on your Disneyland Annual Pass?Here it is…

First, purchase your Disneyland tickets at a discount. The best place I have found to do this is through Get Away Today. You can get some great ticket sales through out the year like Adults at Kids’ Prices or 5th Day free. You can even buy these tickets as part of a vacation package and use code CrazyAdventure to save an extra $10 (on qualifying packages).

When you get to Disneyland, you can upgrade your tickets to Annual Passports. You can do this anytime during your vacation up until the last day you enter the park. The great thing is, they will credit you the cost of the ticket at the gate (based on the ticket’s bar code/expiration date). So even if Get Away Today has the ticket at $15 off, you will still get the full face value applied to your upgrade. (This is just the beginning of the savings.)

The Disneyland Annual Pass will be good for one year from the first use of your ticket, even if you upgrade on the last day. So for this reason, unless you have black out dates during your visit, I suggest just upgrading the first day, so you can take advantage of discounts.

BUT WAIT…. you can save more!

When you go to pay the upgrade fee (the price difference between the ticket value and the Annual Pass) you can save extra by using the Target Red Card Trick, and purchasing Disney Gift Cards at a discount.  Use the gift cards to pay the difference. This can save you close to $30 on your Disneyland Annual Pass depending on your pass level and the value of your ticket.

So will you be buying a Disneyland Annual Pass?

Sharing is caring!

Leave a Comment

Sharing is Caring

Help spread the word. You're awesome for doing it!