After Disneyland phased out its Annual Passholder program during its closure due to the pandemic, there was much speculation as to what would replace the popular AP program. Disneyland fans got their answer today: Magic Key.

What is Magic Key?

Basically, it’s an annual pass to Disneyland that requires you to make a park pass reservation. The good news is Magic Key is not too different from the Annual Passholder tickets it’s replacing: a wide variety of price points that vary blackout dates and discounts, and the price is comparable to what was offered at the beginning of 2020 (and in some cases cheaper!). But the big wrinkle is the reservation system, which is now part of every tier of Disneyland’s Magic Key. In order to enter the park, you must have a park reservation.

When does Magic Key go on sale?

Magic Key will become available to purchase August 25.

How much does Magic Key cost?

Magic Key ranges from $399 to $1399, depending on what level you purchase. The more expensive tickets give you less blackout days, bigger discounts, and the ability to hold more reservations at one time.

What are the different tiers of Magic Key?

Dream Key – $1399

  • Reservation-based admission to one or both theme parks every day of the year.
  • Hold up to 6 theme park reservations at a time for different dates
  • Up to 20% off select merchandise
  • Up to 15% off select dining
  • Standard theme park parking included

Believe Key – $949

  • Reservation-based admission to one or both theme parks most days of the year.
  • Hold up to 6 theme park reservations at a time
  • 10% off select merchandise
  • 10% off select dining
  • 50% off standard theme park parking (excluding blockout days, and available for purchase at Mickey & Friends Parking Structure, Pixar Pals Parking Structure and the Toy Story Parking Area)

Enchant Key – $649

  • Reservation-based admission to one or both theme parks select days of the year.
  • Hold up to 4 theme park reservations at a time
  • 10% off select merchandise
  • 10% off select dining

Imagine Key – $399 (Only available for Southern California Residents)

  • Reservation-based admission to one or both theme parks select days of the year.
  • Hold up to 2 theme park reservations at a time
  • 10% off select merchandise
  • 10% off select dining

How many blackout days does each Magic Key level have?

  • Dream Key: 0 blackout days
  • Believe Key: 48 blackout days
  • Enchant Key: 151 blackout days
  • Imagine Key: 235 blackout days

Thanks to Scott Gustin for tweeting the breakdown. You can see the full Magic Key blackout calendar for Disneyland here.

Is Magic Key more expensive than an Annual Pass at Disneyland?

Surprisingly, no! Disneyland’s Annual Passes ranged from $419-$1449. However, the real question should be “Is Magic Key a better value than Disneyland’s Annual Pass?” And it’s very unclear right now. For example, the 2nd tier Annual Pass (Disney Signature Passport) used to be $1199. If you just compare prices, Disney knocked $250 off of the price. However, the Disney Signature Passport included parking, only had 15 blackout days, had a full 20% merchandise discount, and you didn’t need to make a theme park reservation. The Believe Key is $949, but it has half priced parking, 48 blackout days, only 10% off of merchandise, and you need to make reservations. For some people, that tradeoff is worth $250. For others, the new pricing might convince them to go to the higher tier. So if you used to have that level of Annual Pass, this might be a price drop or a price hike.

The ultimate value really depends on the availability of theme park reservations. If they’re reasonably easy to get (especially ahead of time), then this new system looks like it will be a comparable value to the Annual Passholder program. However, if reservations become hard to come by, then the value of a Magic Key goes way down.

How does the reservation system work?

It’s basically how the Park Pass system at Disneyland and Disney World works right now. In order to go into the park on a certain day, you need to reserve a theme park reservation. The availability of theme park reservations is limited, and it may be made available on a rolling basis.

Magic Key Reservation System Explained

Reservations can be made 90 days ahead of time. How many reservations you can hold depends on your Key tier: Dream and Believe get 6 at one time, Enchant gets 4 at one time, and Imagine gets 2 at one time. Once you use one of your reservations, you can make a new reservation, so how many days you could visit the parks just depends on reservation availability and blackout days.

Can I park hop with Magic Key?

Yes! Well… kinda. You need a reservation for both parks in order to park hop on a single day. So if you have a reservation just for Disneyland Park on one day, then you can’t go into California Adventure, and vice versa. Park hopping rules will stay the same as they are now, which is that you can switch parks starting at 1:00 PM.

According to Disney:

“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.”

Is there anything else I should know about Magic Key?

Disney is offering a special promotion for the first 66 days (as Disneyland just reached its 66th anniversary). Guests purchasing Magic Key during this time will “receive a special welcome package that will include unique items such as a premium branded pin, celebratory button, magnet, and more! Plus, Magic Key holders who enter Disneyland park will also be celebrated with access to a limited-time experience at Starcade in Tomorrowland (which begins on Sept. 1), where they can enjoy charging stations, a special photo opportunity, and other fun surprises.”

What do you think about Magic Key? Is it better than you were hoping? Worse? Let me know in the comments, as I am very curious to see what everyone thinks!

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James

James is a lifelong Disney Parks fan. While at the parks, he loves finding new details, learning more about Disney World history, and taking pictures. His favorite WDW attractions include Spaceship Earth, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours.
James is a filmmaker and writer based in Los Angeles.

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