Disneyland AP Announcement Coming Tomorrow?

August 2, 2021, 1:21 PM · What will Disneyland do to replace its annual pass program? We will find out tomorrow.

The resort's "Legacy Passholders" got an email from Disneyland this morning teasing an announcement tomorrow of the "Magic Key" program. This is expected to be Disneyland's replacement for the annual pass program that it closed earlier this year.

Introducing the Magic Key program!

But until we hear the announcement, we do not know for certain what the new Magic Key program will be. Is it really the replacement for annual passes? Or is it just one replacement for the AP program, with additional programs to come?

We do know that Disneyland officials consistently have talked about implementing some sort of membership or rewards program in lieu of reviving annual passes. And Disneyland has used the term "Magic Key" before, too. Back when Disneyland used A through E coupons for individual attraction admission, a Magic Key coupon was one that could be used on any attraction. Is that a clue to the new program's function?

The thing about the old Magic Key coupon was that, while it could be used for anything, it could be used just once. It was an attraction coupon, after all. Disneyland absolutely wants to avoid the situation that it created with the old annual pass program, when people could visit the park hundreds of times for the cost of just a few days' tickets. So it is not a stretch to imagine that the new Magic Key will come with some limits, as well.

Will Magic Key be an enhanced multi-day ticket? Maybe one with an extended expiration date and more benefits (discounts, parking, etc.) the more days you buy on it?

Will Magic Key be a membership program - one that buys you a certain number of admissions and/or benefits each month for an ongoing monthly payment?

Will Magic Key be a rewards program - one that provides you certain benefits after a designated number of visits on regularly priced tickets? Those benefits could be discounts, admission to special experiences, or even extra days of free admission.

Whatever Disney announces tomorrow - and we will have the full details here on Theme Park Insider's home page at 1pm PT - the program will need to balance the needs of participants with those of others who are not part of the program. Disneyland's old AP program crowded the park to capacity so often that Disneyland became a less attractive destination to other potential visitors.

What would you like to see Disneyland do with its Magic Key program?

Update: (August 3) Disneyland has made its announcement and it's a four-tier Disney Flex pass, essentially. Here's the Scoop on Disneyland's New Annual Pass Program

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Replies (11)

August 2, 2021 at 2:36 PM

"We have hidden a single Magic Key inside Disneyland. Whoever finds it gets their annual pass back." Then Disney sells live video of the ensuing mayhem for $30 a pop on Disney Plus.

August 2, 2021 at 2:11 PM

My wishlist:

- Offer “free parking” as a paid add-on. Like it was nice when it was included for signature and above but not everyone who had it owns a car due to living within walking distance, taking public transportation, or being a kid.

- Limit the amount of levels(We don’t need 6 different APs). If I had a say, I would just do 2: One with no blackout dates and the other with blackout dates for the busiest times of the year.

- Keep it to locals or anyone who lives within a certain radius from the park to keep the number of APs from going out of control.

August 2, 2021 at 2:35 PM

@AgustinMacias - I think whatever Disney announces tomorrow, it will not have any sort of unlimited visitation option (perhaps parking may be included). It would be incredibly disappointing if this ends up being some type of rewards program, and not a membership program. What I'm guessing is that this new system will be more like DVC than an AP program where guests have a certain number of points each month to use on different aspects of a park visit (admission, parking, in-park discounts, MaxPass, etc...) with the points needed for each item being variable based on a demand - you might have enough points each month to visit 3 Tuesdays each month, but just 1 Saturday. There could be ways to buy more points so you can get more visits or other perks, but it would only represent a small discount over buying those items a la carte, and they would be subject to availability.

August 2, 2021 at 2:37 PM

Perhaps annual passes will only be available for those providing proof of vaccination?

August 2, 2021 at 3:40 PM

@Russell Meyer

A reward system will be a huge letdown. I’m not an avid park goer(I mostly do once a month) but if it’s a system where every 10th visit I get a free one I will be really disappointed and will probably limit my visit to the park to once a year.

August 2, 2021 at 5:58 PM

I hope they are eliminating payment plans, that would reduce the crowds !

August 2, 2021 at 6:29 PM

Again, Disneyland officials have made clear that APs are not coming back. Russell is correct - I would be shocked to see any type of system that allows people unlimited visits.

August 2, 2021 at 6:54 PM

It will really suck if WDW gets to keep their AP program but Disneyland(A park that’s more local based) doesn’t get some form of it.

August 2, 2021 at 9:27 PM

What I would like to see is the following...

-Tickets would function more like a multi-day ticket than an AP. Instead of getting unlimited access, you'd have some sort of limitation on how much you can visit the resort.
-Tiers are based on either number of visits or visit frequency. You could either purchase a certain number of admissions and have a full year to use them all, or you could purchase a pass that allowed one visit per month or one visit every x days.
-Blockout dates would be present on all tiers, with more blockouts on the lower tiers. However, all would have more availability than the previous SoCal passes, with blockouts mainly used for holiday periods.
-Reservations required for all visits, with a limit to how many reservations can be held at a time.
-Park hopping, parking, Maxpass, Photopass, etc. would not be included, but would be upcharges at a standard price regardless of tier.
-No SoCal specific tiers, but I'd be okay with a discounted price for SoCal residents.
-Monthly payments remain an option, but there is a discount for paying in full.
-Priced at $50-70 per visit before add-ons are factored in.

If I were solely in charge, this would be my plan:

Silver: 1 visit per month, maximum 10 visits in 12 months, for $~700
Gold: 2 visits per month, no annual maximum, for $~1,200
Platinum: 4 visits per month, no annual maximum, for $~2,000
Park Hopper Upgrade: $~200
Parking Upgrade: $~300

It will be interesting to see if the real thing ends up being anywhere close to that.

August 3, 2021 at 2:00 AM

Whatever it ends up being, expect other SoCal parks try to take advantage of the outcome by marketing harder on unlimited visits to their passes(We saw this earlier in the year with Universal, Knott’s, and Six Flags upon the second Disney cancelled APs).

August 3, 2021 at 3:20 PM

Okay. Not what I expected. It's a four-tier Flex pass: Here's the Scoop on Disneyland's New Annual Pass Program.

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