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Disneyland has announced its new Magic Key Pass, the replacement for the canceled Disneyland Annual Passholder program. Is the Magick Key Pass a good fit for you? What are the perks of having a Magic Key? Keep reading to learn everything you need to know before making this (expensive) investment.
Disneyland Introduces the Magic Key Pass – The New Annual Pass
Disneyland’s Magic Key Pass program is available now. 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.
Disneyland’s Magic key Pass – prices, benefits, and more
Disneyland released the new Magic Key Pass – a revamped annual pass program for the Disneyland Resort – in late August 2021. There were a lot of rumors circulating about what this new program would entail, and many of them were wrong. Here is all of the information on the Magic Key Pass, and info to help you decide which one is right for you.
Can I Buy Disneyland’s new Annual Pass – Magic Key?
Sales for the new Magic Key Pass began on August 25, 2021. In early 2022 Disneyland halted all sales of new Magic Keys. As of August 18th, 2022, current Magic Key Holders may renew to one of the offered Magic Keys. New purchases are not available at this time.
Perks for purchasing A Magic Key Pass
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.
Not only is the above perk over… I never received my welcome package…
The pass includes other perks like limited access dining at Magic Key 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.
I hope Disneyland changes one difference: Magic Keys do not get physical cards. It is only available in the app. This is annoying when using the dining discount at some locations as you have to either write out your pass number or give your phone to a cast member and trust them with it.
I do not know why Disneyland won’t give Magic Key holders a physical card when they have physical cards at Walt Disney World, but I really think this needs to be fixed ASAP!
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.)
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 before key holders. 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. If you do not cancel and miss your park reservations, you will begin a 3 strikes policy that looks at a rolling 90 days.
If you miss 3 reservations, you will not be able to make reservations for 30 days. Current reservations will not be canceled though… so not sure how much of a penalty this really is.
Another thing that was rumored is that there would be no payment plan option on the Magic Key Pass. 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.
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. NEW BEGINNING WITH AUGUST 2022 RENEWALS: Even the highest key (formerly Believe, now Inspire) has black-out dates. The Inspire Key blackout dates are the 2(ish) weeks around Christmas and New Years.
Similar perks are available for Magic Keyholders (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.
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.
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.
Disneyland Magic Key Annual Pass Comparison
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.
With the Renewals and new Keys in 2022, Disneyland has added some perks, including discounts on Disney Genie+, and the top 2 tiers include Photopass Digital Downloads.
|# of reservations|
at one time
(California Residents only)
|Number of Reservations|
at One Time
|Blockout Days||Discounts||Parking||Photopass||Genie+ Discount||SoCal|
|Inspire Key Pass||$1599||$133.25||6||12 – Around Christmas||20% Merch|
|Believe Key Pass||$1099||$91.59||6||Most Days Not Blocked||10% on|
|Enchant Key Pass||$699||$58.25||4||Select||10%||25%|
|Imagine Key Pass||$449||$37.42||2||Select||10%||25%|
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 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 $30 day (at the 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.
Of course, budget should play a massive 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. Are you ready for it? This only works on new pass purchases, so hopefully Disneyland will open those up soon.
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?