Guide to Disneyland Magic Key Pass: 2023 Prices, Perks, Blockout Dates & Discounts
Magic Key is the reservations-based Annual Passholder program at Disneyland & Disney California Adventure. This guide covers pricing, blockout dates, renewals, discounts, and perks. Plus, comparisons to APs and everything you need to know! (Updated April 24, 2023.)
With a Magic Key Pass, you can make theme park reservations for ongoing visits and hold more than one theme park reservation at a time for different dates. Passholders also save up to 15% on select dining, save up to 20% on select merchandise, and 20% off purchases of the Genie+ Lightning Lane service (paid FastPass). Throughout the year, there are also special offerings just for Magic Key holders, exclusive photo ops, special venues, and more.
The Magic Key Pass program at Disneyland offers 4 types of passes featuring a variety of admission days and blockout dates, price points, reservation limits, parking, and discounts. You can select the Magic Key Annual Pass of most value to you. Let’s start with an update on availability followed by an overview of what each tier of Magic Key Annual Passes offers along with 2023 pricing for those who are debating which to buy.
All tiers of Magic Keys are now sold out except for the Inspire Key Pass. The others are now “available for renewal only” according to Disneyland Resort. This occurred in late January, a couple of weeks after new sales of the Inspire, Believe, and Imagine tiers of APs resumed in advance of the Disney100 Celebration.
It’s an interesting development that only the Inspire Key is currently being sold, as Disney indicated back when Magic Keys first debuted that the top tier was the most popular pass–now it’s the only one that hasn’t sold out. It’s possible that purchases have slowed of the top tier, or that Disney has allocated more inventory to these and less to the lower tiers for whatever reason.
In the last year, Magic Key sales have resumed several times. Briefly last November, followed by several weeks this winter, and again for a few days in Spring 2023. Disneyland has now resumed Annual Pass sales on several occasions and reservation availability has been much better thus far in 2023, so it’s likely that there’s less pent-up demand than previously.
Here’s everything else you need before buying a Magic Key Annual Pass in 2023…
Imagine Magic Key – $449 (Previously $399) RENEWAL ONLY
(Only available for Southern California Residents living in zip codes 90000 to 93599)
- 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
- 25% off select parking
Enchant Magic Key – $699 (Previously $649) RENEWAL ONLY
- 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
- 25% off select parking
Believe Magic Key – $1099 (Previously $949) RENEWAL ONLY
- 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)
Inspire Magic Key – $1599 (Previously Dream Key $1,399)
- Reservation-based admission to one or both theme parks except December 21 through January 1
- Hold up to 6 theme park reservations at a time for different dates
- Includes PhotoPass
- Up to 20% off select merchandise
- Up to 15% off select dining
- Standard theme park parking included (excluding blockout days)
Some additional noteworthy details: A monthly payment plan is available exclusively for California Residents living in ZIP Codes 90000—96199. Twelve monthly payments based on remaining balance after one-time down payment on date of Magic Key pass purchase.
Current Magic Key holders have the opportunity during their renewal window to renew into one of several passes that are being made available for the 2023 Magic Key program. The quantity of passes and pass types available for renewal or purchase may be limited and passes or a pass type may not be available from time to time or at any given time.
The biggest consideration when choosing which Magic Key is right for you is the blockout dates. One thing you’ll definitely want to consult is Disneyland’s Magic Key Access Calendar. This shows blockout dates and dynamic reservation availability all in one handy location, for each tier of Annual Pass.
You’ll note blockouts across all three passes on weekends and high visitation holidays, such as Easter and Christmas. The two lower tiers also have most of the summer blocked out and more dates blocked out.
Once you’ve purchased a Magic Key, it’s time to start using it! The graphic above illustrates the process for making theme park reservations once you’ve already purchased a Magic Key Annual Pass. It’s a pretty easy process, but we have a guide here if you need it.
We’ve been following this since Magic Key Passes went on sale–and have visited Disneyland and Disney California Adventure countless times. Typically, weekends book up in advance, whereas weekdays have not. However, this dynamic is changing a bit as Disney is staffing differently for weekdays v. weekends. We’d expect this trend to continue in the months to come.
Park Hopping is also an option for Magic Keymasters. It’s possible to make a single reservation for each individual park or both parks, with either option counting as one reservation towards your total reservation count. Reservations for both parks are subject to availability and are not guaranteed. Obviously, the “both parks” reservations are going to be in higher demand (who would choose just one park if they have the option for both?), so you might not have that option if you’re booking reservations at the last minute.
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 pm. 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.
When it comes to using your Magic Key, one thing to know is that holders who are a “no show” for 3 reservations in a 90-day window will be unable to make new park reservations for 30 days. This probably is not a major detail as we don’t anticipate many Annual Passholders making “land grab” reservations given the limits on each, but it’s still worth knowing.
Existing park reservations at that time will not be cancelled. A Magic Key holder who enters the designated park any time before closing on the day of the reservation is not considered a “no-show.” Magic Key holders who timely cancel a reservation are also not considered a “no-show.” Cancellation of a reservation must be done on the day before the reserved date.
Finally, there will be Magic Keyholder benefits, including:
- Magic Key Terrace: a re-imagined lounge just for Magic Key holders plus their friends and family
- Magic Key Holder Month: a month-long celebration of Magic Key holders
- Special Experiences & Collectibles: access exciting, unique experiences and collectible keepsakes designed with you in mind–including special offerings during festivals!
- First Access Opportunities: be among the first to have the opportunity to access exciting new offerings at the Disneyland Resort throughout the year, including select new merchandise collections
- Downtown Disney District: discounts at participating locations
- Magic Key Merchandise, Novelties, Menu Items and More: Show your Magic Key pride! Opportunity to purchase Magic Key holder-themed popcorn buckets, sippers and menu items throughout the year.
- Magic Key Disney PhotoPass Opportunities: enjoy special photo spots and other opportunities sprinkled in throughout the year.
- Magic Key embroidery: special options available for Magic Key holders at select locations in the parks
Check out our Magic Key Terrace Restaurant Review if you want more info and our thoughts on that first perk. (Spoiler: it’s table service quality food at counter service prices!)
On a fun note, the name “Magic Key” is a nice nod to the past. Back in the E through A ticket book days, the Magic Key Coupon was valid at any attraction. You could use it on a bona-fide E Ticket like Country Bear Jamboree in Bear Country, an A Ticket like 20,000 Leagues, or anything in between.
We appreciate this deep-cut blast from the past and will use Disneyland’s new verbiage when necessary for drawing distinctions below. But most of the time, we’ll probably continue to call these Annual Passes. Disney is fighting decades of history, inertia, and common vernacular with this name change. I’ll be surprised if Disney itself doesn’t use the old terminology here and there.
Anyway, on with the commentary on why Disneyland is resurrecting its Annual Pass program with some new twists, our favorite Magic Key Pass option, why reservations are a good thing, and much more…
None of this is particularly surprising. Back at the beginning of the year when Disneyland ended the AP program and cancelled all outstanding passes, we offered the “reassuring prediction” that Annual Passes were not gone for good. In that, we stated our expectation was that Annual Passes would be back in some form as soon as Disneyland and DCA can operate at full capacity.
That might not sound like a much of a bold prediction now, since Disney has been teasing a “membership program” for months. However, there were widespread fears that Disneyland was killing off its AP program permanently at the time.
From that post: “In normal times, Disneyland is dependent upon locals during the off-season—the SoCal resident ticket deal is insufficient on its own. Although Disney has tried to make Disneyland Resort a standalone vacation destination (and moved it in that direction since the debut of Cars Land), it is still reliant upon Californians and not tourists for most of the year. While those same locals cause attendance problems, Disneyland cannot subsist on travelers like Walt Disney World.”
“It’s likely that significant ‘reforms’ will be instituted with the relaunch of Disneyland’s Annual Passholder program. Having the chance to reboot the entire program in the image of the Disney Flex Pass (which is essentially the framework for the Park Pass reservation system at Walt Disney World) should help address the crowd woes that have arisen at Disneyland in the last several years.” Nailed it? Nailed it.
As for the tiers and pricing, there are clear comparisons between past Disneyland Annual Passes and the Magic Key program. The Imagine Pass is most comparable to the Southern California Select AP. That pass offered 170 days of access (no weekends or peak season dates) nor did it have parking. One month before the park closure, Annual Pass prices increased and the Southern California Select Annual Pass jumped to $419.
This comparison is pretty apples to apples, with the Imagine Magic Key offering over 100 additional days of theoretical access. The drawback is 2 simultaneous reservations for those days, instead of open access as before. The big wildcard is availability, which is something we’ll address below.
Next, there’s the Enchant Magic Key, which seemingly replaces the Deluxe and Flex Passes (the Flex itself seemed poised to phase out the Deluxe pre-closure). The Flex Pass was $649 and the Deluxe Pass was $829. Neither included parking.
The Enchant Magic Key is directly aligned with the Flex Pass. The key distinction is that the Flex Pass had a calendar of both reservation-only and open admission days. However, Flex Passholders could make up to two reservations at a time up to 30 days in advance, whereas it’s 4 in a 90 day window for the Enchant Magic Key.
Replacing the Signature Annual Pass is the Believe Magic Key. The Signature Pass had minimal blockouts–essentially only starting the week of Christmas and running through New Year’s–and also included parking. It had increased to $1199.
Blockout dates are similar for the Believe Magic Key. The big drawbacks here are 50% off parking rather than it being included, and needing to make reservations (6 simultaneous ones in a 90 day window) rather than having open access. The big upside is that it’s cheaper–but the cost of even half-off parking adds up quickly for Disneyland locals!
Finally, there’s the Inspire Magic Key. (This was previously called the Dream Magic Key, but that has been replaced for 2023.) This is the top-tier pass; it’s roughly equivalent to the Signature Plus, which had no blockouts, included MaxPass and PhotoPass, as well as parking for $1449.
The Inspire Magic Key still requires reservations (6 simultaneous ones in a 90 day window), doesn’t have MaxPass, and blocks out the weeks of Christmas and New Year’s. It’s an unequivocal downgrade, and one that costs more money.
Some Disneyland fans will view these prices as too high, but not anyone who bought an AP last year. These coming in at lower price points than their predecessors–even with the reservation requirements–is undoubtedly the biggest trick pulled by the Magic Keys. (Sorry, illusion. A trick is something a–can’t finish that reference on a family-friendly blog!)
Having to make reservations definitely lowers the value of the Magic Keys, we’re not trying to spin this and pretend that it doesn’t. However, existing Walt Disney World APs have been dealing with park reservations for the last year and never saw a price reduction due to them. Given that and Disney’s pricing trajectory, I think most fans probably expected these to cost more or offer less. Color us pleasantly surprised.
The clearest takeaway from all of this is that Disneyland very much values the ability the manage capacity and Annual Passholder attendance. This much should be clear based upon the price points and blockouts, especially for the Imagine, Enchant, and Believe Magic Keys. That plus the paid parking on most passes further suggests they want to limit the after work or school “drop in” visits that contribute to crowds but less guest spending.
Diehard former Annual Passholders are likely to disagree, but we think the Magic Key program sounds fantastic. In addition to being good for Disney, it’s good for regular ticket-buying guests as well as the overall “health” of the parks. On busy days, Disneyland could buckle under the weight of Annual Passholders, and their colossal numbers could make for nightmarish conditions. (I still have flashbacks to crushing crowds in the winter “off-season” a few years ago when Main Street Electrical Parade returned.)
Disneyland has a totally different vibe from Walt Disney World, and in many ways, that’s for the better. One way it’s not so great is in the sense that many Disneyland locals treat the parks as leisurely hangout spots. A laidback locals’ culture is great, but Disneyland should be special—not an alternative to visiting Irvine Spectrum or the Grove.
Limiting locals reservations will not just throttle and redistribute crowds. It’ll also create a greater sense of urgency and appreciation when visiting Disneyland, which is a good thing. This means less camping out for hours to see Fantasmic, monopolizing tables in restaurants, and just generally less loitering. (And I say all of this as someone who has been guilty of treating Disneyland and Disney California Adventure as hangout spots no different than a local mall.)
With the Magic Key program, there are some easily identifiable winners and losers. The clear-cut biggest winner is non-local Disneyland fans who do several long weekend or multi-day trips to Disneyland per year.
I suspect there are going to be a lot of fans from Northern California, Nevada, and Utah salivating at the Enchant Magic Key. The lack of parking is not a big problem for visitors who stay in nearby hotels, and moving from 2 to 4 simultaneous reservations will also be huge and make this a better option than the Flex Pass.
Ultimately, the biggest losers of Disneyland’s Magic Key Pass program will be locals who loved having the flexibility drop in for a few hours without any advance planning. Same-day reservations might be possible in the first few months or even year, but those will eventually dry up as more people purchase Magic Keys.
When we were Disneyland locals, there were so many times we’d spontaneously visit with zero advance notice simply because we had nothing better to do–or for some limited purpose, like a weird new culinary concoction debuting at Pizza Port. That era is effectively over, and it’s going to be an adjustment for many locals, even if it is a net positive for the guest experience at Disneyland.
Planning a Southern California vacation? For park admission deals, read Tips for Saving Money on Disneyland Tickets. Learn about on-site and off-site hotels in our Anaheim Hotel Reviews & Rankings. For where to eat, check out our Disneyland Restaurant Reviews. For unique ideas of things that’ll improve your trip, check out What to Pack for Disney. For comprehensive advice, consult our Disneyland Vacation Planning Guide. Finally, for guides beyond Disney, check out our Southern California Itineraries for day trips to Los Angeles, Laguna Beach, and tons of other places!
Will you be purchasing a Magic Key pass for Disneyland? Which tier do you anticipate buying? Excited to go from Passholder to Keyholder? Thoughts on the reservation limits, pricing, or anything else? How will these changes impact you personally? Setting that aside, do you think this will be a net positive or negative for Disneyland? Do you agree with our assessment of Disneyland’s Magic Key v. Annual Pass programs? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments
Update from the same account I linked to earlier:
Apparently the upgrade button appears in the app when you use your ticket that day. Which would seem to contradict Disney’s assertion that “Wholly unused” tickets can upgrade to a Magic Key “at any time.” At least for now. Remains to be seen if the button appears in the app for everyone at some point today. Maybe when the people currently looking at the impossible Space Mountain track are all cycled through?
Just scrolling through Twitter, I am seeing all sorts of random and sporadic problems. But it wouldn’t be a Disney drop day without that, right?
On the off chance anyone else is trying to upgrade a ticket, they are apparently handing out specific instructions at the parking booths:
However, it’s still not working on the app. You can follow all those steps above, but there is no “Upgrade to a Magic Key pass” button or function. Yet.
It’s just a 1-Day, so doesn’t expire yet. I’m wondering if they’re going to make me go to the park, use it, THEN an upgrade will be available. REALLY don’t want to chance that though. (Disney already indicated that Magic Keys will not be sold at the ticket booths at this time)
Here’s my biggest gripe right now. Disney said:
“Eligible Disneyland Resort theme park tickets may be upgraded by following these simple steps via the Disneyland app:
Visit the Tickets and Passes screen
One-day tickets — link your ticket to your Disney account and upgrade by midnight on the day of your visit to the Disneyland Resort.
Multi-day tickets — upgrade on or before the last valid day of your ticket.”
I look on the app and there’s no indication that it’s possible to upgrade a ticket via the app. I don’t see any button for it, does anyone else?
I’m in the queue now (no more dinosaur bones laughing at me, but now there’s three snotty kids on Space Mountain stopping mid-ride to look at me in bewilderment), so I’ll see if the upgrade can happen from there, but something tells me it won’t be possible.
“…but something tells me it won’t be possible.”
Hope the last day of your ticket isn’t today!
Tom! No pre-launch queue but I STILL have to look at the laughing dinosaur bones! I feel cheated!
Was Country Bear Jamboree really an E-ticket back in the day?
It would be lucky to earn a C-ticket today.
But then again, it’s very lucky (and kind of unjustified) to even still exist.
@ Mike and Charity. This is my exact issue too! How much of a value will this truly be? I am really worried the dates will all be sold out out and you will be lucky to score or a visit or two in a year. It will be like trying to get Yosemite camping reservations lol! Those are all gone in 7 seconds and those with the top notch computers and fast internet get the gold lol! I bet too key members will get first priority with the lowest key getting the leftovers. This reservation system is unfair to those of us who want the ability to get in a visit when a class is canceled or your day off is approved. Now you will be gambling with possible nothing in return. Sucks!!
Great post as always Tom. As a So Cal who did spend LOTS of money, I don’t agree that we shouldn’t be able to just hang out there. Disneyland is not just a place for out of towners, but provides a lot of comfort to the quick visitors as well. It was this special magic of calling the wife and saying let’s hit the land tonight! That will be so missed. I wish it were true that AP holders were the only reason large crowds were present, but In reality, it was the visitors during the summers that packed the park. The reality is Disneyland is not big enough to accommodate the large crowds that are seen today. I am not a fan of the reservation at all, but I agree Tom it will manage the crowds better. But I do see this as an opportunity for higher key passes to get dates quicker than the lower passes. I have a few “insider management development member friends” and they have highly hinted at this. This does become the factor of the higher wage earners having better access. Tom, do you feel the reservation system is here to stay? Or will this be lifted in time? Would love your thoughts on this.
Yes, agree with @Elisa. The enchant key doesn’t hold a candle to the flex! The flex was priced the same but only had 15 true blackout dates between Christmas and New Years. Even if I buy the believe key for $300 more, I can go less dates (No Saturdays in December is the biggest hit for us) ……we are thinking about just buying 2 day park hoppers in December, the socal ticket offer in Spring, and a Halloween ticket in October to come out ahead.
Big fat bummer for passholders from Nevada and Utah that have long weekends in October, but are now blacked out on Saturdays. Anyone that is not in SoCal is going to need to really study those calendars of pay up for the big daddy.
Why would you ever pay for this service not knowing if you can get into a park whenever you wanted? This seems like another major disappointment for Disney. The list keeps getting longer. For people to accept this as the new norm is disheartening
On Aug 25th Disney Co. is set to receive a flood of cash. High fives, champagne, and no doubt bonuses for execs will be flowing. All without one additional guest crossing the turnstile. They are offering zero guarantees or transparency on fulfillment. And for the most part we are accepting it as a net positive! The difference in $1399 or $399 magic key is basically parking, discounts and the possibility (italics) of park access. Log in and try to reserve a date you could find yourself shut out, same as the lowest key and the rest of the ticketless world. We have no way of knowing if a day in December will have 1 or 10,000 key reservations to start. No idea how many keys are out there at all. It makes sense that Disney would want as many guests in the park as possible spending money, but without one single Green “Go” date on the calendar, fans are ready to hand over the cash, no (or few) questions asked.
I, like the majority of former APs, am relieved to see a workable program for visiting Disneyland again. But to be clear, this is not the same program at the same price as before. This is less value on top of less value. Shorter park hours, less entertainment, less characters, less restaurants, no tram, less seating! No fast pass, no maxxpass, less photopass, no add on parking (was $250 when you renewed).
AND even the good old FlexPass had green good-to-go days that if all else failed, you could play hooky from work and go on a weekday. Today is a good news day, but eyes are definitely wide open.
Thank you for mentioning this! I was researching the very question about use and expiration dates!
There is a higher tier which doesn’t require reservations, and still gets fastpasses: Club 33.
This is generally great news, and we are in that category of non-local frequent visitors. We had the flex pass and loved it, even though we didn’t get to use it for very many months.
The one negative is that the Enchant pass is similarly priced as the flex pass but has WAY more blockout dates. Yes, you get to reserve 4 instead of 2 days, but most of summer and a lot of Saturdays were available for flex and are blocked with Enchant. Enchant is just not apples-to-apples with Flex – some things better but some things worse. We’ll probably go with the Believe pass for summer availability.
We have existing tickets and park reservations for October and fingers crossed we can just roll those tickets into the Key.
I’m wondering if the reason all the new passes require reservations for all days with no “open” days is just to stay in line with the current situation at parks on both coasts requiring all guests to have a park reservation every day. Perhaps in the future these Magic Key passes would have “open” days along with blockout days. Tom, what do you think?
We are DisneyWorld vets and had WDW annual passes for years and have only made two trips to the California parks, but the two times we did go, it was for an extended time and we popped for the Premier (two-coast) pass. It was a BARGAIN in 2015 and 2010. We were in the area for 14 days each time, and popped into the Disney parks 10 of those 14 days. The limited reservations is what kills me. Even with the most expensive pass, I can only make reservations for 6 of those days in advance, and then have to take the chance that I can get the rest of those days in the area once I start using days. We don’t have a lot of daily stamina, but are empty nesters, and remote workers, so can take longer vacations, and spread out our fun between work and relaxing. This type of pass also is a problem for out of towners!
Great news and mostly seems in line with what I had expected. We were huge fans of the Flex Pass, even as locals.
The one thing that surprises me is that they didn’t continue with the “open days” vs. “reservation required” days like the flex pass offered. I would have thought at least one of the mid-tier passes would have offered that.
In any case, looking forward to being able to visit more often again!
I’m surprised there isn’t a further higher tier which doesn’t need reservations. I wouldn’t buy it, but there must be a price point at which that’s worth it to Disney, and there must be people out there willing to pay for unrestricted access. Maybe they don’t want the negative PR of pricing people out of what was formally a widely held product.
Hey Tom – some interesting tidbits I dug up reading the terms on http://disneyland.com/magickeyterms that I didn’t see mentioned here in case its helpful/interesting:
Biggest one being they’re saying The Magic Key passes are limited. (It is wild they don’t mention this up front). They are only going to be selling a certain amount of each tier. In practice maybe this is just legal-ese to cover themselves shoot they hit the theoretical limit on each, but it’s very interesting they don’t say this in the big announcement, even if just to drive up FOMO and demand.
Your pass starts counting down from the day you ENTER a theme park with the pass, not from the day that you buy it. So if you buy the pass today, and don’t enter the park until November, your pass would expire 12 months from November.
You can upgrade regular day tickets (and lower tier passes) into Magic Key passes, but you need to do it DAY OF (no more two week grace period) and you need to pay the difference in full at the booth (no payment plan)
You can’t add on parking as a benefit, if you buy a lower tier without one
Physical passholder cards are a thing of the past, BUT if you still want a physical card you can get one at a ticket booth for $20