The Disneyland Resort has cut off sales of its last two Magic Key annual passes as it introduces a new summer discount offer on theme park tickets.
Disneyland started the Magic Key program last August, after "sunsetting" its old annual pass program while its parks were closed during the pandemic. The most expensive pass, the no-blockout Dream Key, sold out in October, and Disney stopped selling the next-most-expensive pass, the Believe Key, in November 2021.
Now Disneyland is no longer selling its Enchant Key and the Southern California resident-only Imagine Key, meaning that no Magic Key passes remain available for purchase by would-be pass holders. And that means no more increased competition for current Magic Key holders when trying to get daily reservations to visit the parks.
A Disneyland spokesperson said that existing Magic Key holders would be given a renewal opportunity when their passes expire, starting later this summer. But the spokesperson said that details on those renewals were not yet available.
As for the ticket discount, that will allow California residents to visit Disneyland or Disney California Adventure for three days on Mondays through Thursdays for $249, but our ticket partner has the deal available for $232, plus a $2 service charge. A Park Hopper version of that ticket will cost $309 through Disney and $289 plus the service charge through our partner. If guests wish to visit on weekends, the cost is $299 through Disney and $280 through our partner for the three-day resident pass and $359 through Disney and $336 through our partner for the Park Hopper version.
Here is the link to our partner's Disneyland tickets page, which includes other discounts, including those for non-residents.
The California resident discount tickets are eligible for use from June 13 through September 15, and are subject to park reservation availability.
If you wanted further proof that summer is no longer the busiest season of the year at the Disneyland Resort, there you go. The Halloween Time and Holidays months, from September through December, are the new prime time at Disneyland these days. (On the east coast, the spring has become the high season for the Walt Disney World theme parks, along with the year-end Christmas and New Year's holidays.)
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Do. Not. Give. Them. Ideas!
The way I read this, it sounds like Disney knows that the Magic Key program failed and is going to attempt a major overhaul of the way ticketing is done at the Disneyland Resort, but is likely trying to do it in the way that will cause the least damage to their customer base. Clearly they either underestimated the demand for Magic Keys or overestimated the attendance level the park would be able to support, which has resulted in a situation where keyholders are having difficulty getting the use out of their key to justify the expense. I wouldn't be surprised if many are on the fence about renewing, so it seems like Disney is attempting to strongarm current keyholders into doing so with the threat that if they don't renew they may never again be able to get one. The flipside of this is that as Disney is continuing to offer admission discounts even during a peak season, they clearly aren't meeting their revenue target despite the large keyholder base, which means that demand outside of those most loyal to the brand has fallen off significantly.
What comes next? Personally, I wouldn't be surprised if the Disneyland Resort ditched any sort of new AP completely in favor of discounted multi-visit tickets for locals that allowed a set number of visits over a certain timeframe. In theory, that would prevent reservation hogging as nobody could hold more reservations than they're actually able to use, and it would still allow locals to visit at a discount while increasing the income per visit for Disney. For non-locals, I doubt there'd be any qualms about forcing them to pay full price if they want to visit the resort. That said, if Disneyland wants to be a premium vacation destination and price themselves like one, they need to start offering the quality of experience that such a price demands. Sadly, that hasn't been there for the past several years.
It seems as though AP’s are the new Club 33*
*Access to actual Club 33 not available to AP Holders at this time, nor in the near, distant or foreseeable future.
Too bad someone already beat me to making the Club 33 joke.
And made it well I might add.
AJ has the right idea. Disney should eliminate the AP program, offer discounted multi-visit tickets for locals (with no monthly payment plan) - and axe the reservation system. That would solve a lot of problems.
...or actually price APs where you have to visit 10+ times throughout the year to actually make them valuable. That's the problem. Disney priced the Magic Keys comparably to the old AP program, which made it pretty easy to get your money's worth in 5 or 6 visits over the course of the year. When you throw in the difficulty of securing Park Pass reservations, it complicates the value calculation because even non-blackout dates are nearly impossible to visit on unless you book those dates far in advance (and/or get lucky).
If Disney priced the Magic Keys at a point where you had to visit far more to offset the course of the pass, they wouldn't sell nearly as many, and there would be more reservation availability, essentially opening up the system for everyone. The way I look at it, APs should be reserved for the most dedicated fans of the parks, not guests who are looking to save a few bucks on their few visits per year, like it is at SF where APs/Memberships are priced the same as 2 single day admissions.
This is staggeringly similar to how season tickets to professional sports teams works in, ah, cold weather cities. My girlfriend and I have the third-tier Magic Key and are likely to renew in December (we’re in Orange County for one more year) but I’ll be honest, I have no idea what this means or what this is a sign of.
The place has been open for nearly 70 years and in every regard management seems to have been born yesterday. They can't figure out how to manage lines, they can't figure out to offer hassle free food, they can't figure out how to price and sell annual passes or even one day tickets.
When the boss is a MAGA bro, the business suffers.
I'm not sure political affiliation has necessarily had an impact on Disneyland's operations, but it's clear park management and operations have lost their way. The K.I.S.S. principle has been thrown out the window lately (across all of Disney, not just California operations), and the increased levels of complexity have not brought any measurable benefits to the customer. At least some of the new programs and policies Disney introduced in the 90's and 00's improved quality and guest perception - now it's all about the $$$.
I'd gladly pay $50 on top of the regular ticket price if they'd just keep everything as it was. I mean, take the money, just bring back the service!
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So APs at Disneyland are essentially like a membership in a Private Club. The riff raff GP aren't welcome, and if you happened to have moved to California recently, you're SOL unless an existing member gives up their spot.
I guess what's next for Disney is to start an "AP Waiting List" where they can profit from guests who want to have APs, and are willing to pay while they wait for a spot to open up. I can see it now, $15/month as you watch your waiting list number slowly climb over the months while APs move out of the region or die.