Disneyland is bringing the annual pass program back. Fans are pleasantly surprised by the Magic Keys.



On Monday, an email was sent to the estimated 1,000,000 “Legacy Pass Holders” who previously held Disneyland Annual Passes before the company canceled them last year. “Introducing the Magic Key program!” Said the email. “We are excited about this upcoming announcement and encourage you to stay tuned as all the details will be announced tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. PST at the earliest!”

Since then, the internet has been (to put it mildly) full of speculation about what the replacement will be. Now we know – and the fans are pleasantly surprised. In a year when Disney had limited deals but still asking for premium prices, the new Magic Key program – which puts annual pass prices roughly at pre-pandemic levels – is a welcome development.

“The new #MagicKey program is nowhere near as bad as feared or rumored,” says Disney blogger Leslie Harvey tweeted. “And the prices are not as high as predicted either. If the Flex Pass worked for you (it worked for me), this new program will work too. “

The Magic Key program – as Disneyland now calls its annual pass program – begins on August 25th. As with previous annual passes, there will be four tiers ranging from $ 1,399 for the most expensive Dream Key, which offers the greatest discounts, and the fewest blackout days, to the cheapest Imagine Key, which is only open to residents of Southern California mainly on weekdays is, for $ 399 a year. All tiers must still make park reservations in advance to guarantee their day in the park. (To see the full overview of prices and available dates for each tier, Check the Disney Parks blog.)

Not only are these prices comparable to the cost of pre-pandemic annual passes, but they can also be paid in installments, an option that many feared would not return. Monthly payment plans are available to all California residents at all levels.

“I’m (in a positive sense) totally shocked by the pricing structure of the new @disneyland #magickey program,” Carly Caramanna tweeted after the announcement. “EXCITED”, Twitter user M. Dickson responded. “I expected very differently.”

Disneyland ended its annual pass program in January 2021 before reopening in April 2021, in part to reduce demand for reservations in the early days of the park’s resumption when it allowed limited guest capacity under state guidelines.

“Due to the ongoing uncertainty of the pandemic and the restrictions on our California theme parks reopening, we will issue reasonable refunds for eligible Disneyland Resort Annual Passes and discontinue the current program,” said Disneyland President Ken Potrock in a statement shared with SFGATE. “We are currently developing new membership offerings that use consumer information to provide choice, flexibility and value for our biggest fans.”

But the decision to end the program, Disney CEO Bob Chapek revealed on a conference call in February, should allow the company to rethink its annual pass program – including how expensive those cards should be.

“We are now able to essentially readjust many parts of our business, both the cost and the income side of the business, to say, ‘If we had a blank sheet of paper, how would we build our parking business and be? “a little more aggressive than we could normally be without the impulse of a year-long shutdown,” said Chapek. “We had a lot of time to think about what could be, especially in Disneyland.”

Since then, the more “aggressive” approach has been to charge peak prices for tickets and parking, but with amenities significantly reduced compared to before the pandemic. A day at Disneyland can cost more than $ 200 for a one-day ticket to two parks for an adult, just like it did before it closed in 2020, but shows and parades have not returned, nor are there any rides and restaurants. Parking is still $ 25 in the Mickey and Friends garage, but now requires a three-quarter mile walk instead of a tram ride to the park.

Recently, Disneyland is offering a three-day California Resident Pass that equates to $ 83 for a one-day ticket to one park or $ 100 per day for a ticket to two parks. But it has also introduced unprecedented add-ons to the parking experience, like a $ 60 toy to use on the new Spider-Man ride on Avengers Campus, the new land that opened in Disney California Adventure in June to get a higher score.

These changes are not exclusive to Disneyland, California. Disneyland Paris is currently experimenting with charging a per-trip Fast Pass fee for access to a shorter line. The fee is between $ 9 and $ 18, depending on the journey.

Despite the welcome change in Magic Key offerings, some fans are unhappy that they only spent money on these resident tickets when a new pass holder program – which costs about half of one of these resident tickets but is valid for a full year – at the beginning of the month. “I love the Magic Key options!” Twitter users eat at Disneyland wrote. “Only complaint – I’ve just spent hundreds of dollars on non-refundable / eligible SoCal 3-day tickets.”

Another big concern is how limited the blackout dates will be. “The gut reaction to the new Disneyland Magic Key annual passes is that I hesitate to turn over $ 1,399 (or $ 949 or $ 649) without realizing how difficult it might actually be to make those theme park reservations to book, ”said theme park podcaster Carlye Wisel tweeted.

“THESE MAGIC KEY RUMORS ARE BETTER ACCURATE. SUCH A ‘W’ INEXPENSIVE EVEN IF THE BLOCKOUT DATA IS EXTENSIVE, ”says Twitter user Shaun, assessing the MAGIC KEYS called. “Most of the time, I’m just excited to see the negativity of #DisTwitter finally shut up.”

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