Disneyland News: ‘Sold Out’ Magic Key Reservations, Holiday Costumes & Store

It’s time for a Disneyland weekend update! In this roundup of recent news from the California parks, we’ll cover the latest on ‘sold out’ Magic Key reservations for the remainder of 2021, Halloween and Christmas character costumes, transportation hits & misses, and more.

Let’s start with Magic Key reservation availability. As you can see above, the options are incredibly limited, even for the top tier pass. For practical purposes, those higher passes might as well be lower tier ones, as they all offer the same availability. To that point, there’s literally nothing available on Fridays, Saturdays, or Sundays–the days most locals have off work.

Weekday availability also isn’t great, with almost nothing left in October before options open up in early November. Then there’s nothing for Thanksgiving week, followed by mostly just Disney California Adventure as the starting park throughout December. Probably not what locals had in mind when buying Magic Key passes, many of whom are now quite vocal on social media about how they’re feeling cheated…

One of the big criticisms when Magic Key launched was that it required a huge leap of faith, with passholders forking over huge sums of money without any guarantees of access. Unlike all prior Annual Passes, the new system offered no open access dates–every date is either blocked out or requires reservations. Those concerns have been validated, with Disney dropping the ball less than two months into the new system’s existence.

With that said, this was not our criticism. We often quote ourselves when getting things right, so it’s only fair to do the same when we get things very wrong: “The first few months these passes are on sale will almost certainly have the greatest ease of making reservations on short notice and with the lowest local crowds.”

“It’s impossible to say how long those phenomenons will last, but if we were on the fence about buying a Magic Key, our approach wouldn’t be ‘wait and see.’ It would be ‘buy now, don’t renew later’ (if you don’t like it). Because what you see while waiting–and what you’re missing out on–might be the optimal version of the Magic Key.”

If this is the optimal version of Magic Keys, then…big yikes. We feared this might happen down the road, but only a couple months into it? No way.

The good news is there’s the possibility that things could improve. First, as Walt Disney World APs learned the hard way last year, there’s still availability for regular ticket holders, and some of that capacity could be reallocated to Magic Keys.

Second, it’s not clear at what capacity Disneyland is operating. The parks are not limited by the state or county, and the company has stopped releasing updates on percentages. Judging by how much entertainment is still missing and other operational woes, we can safely say Disneyland Resort is not at 100%.

However, unlike the situation in Florida last fall, the solution here is not as simple as redistributing reservation availability. Disneyland is fairly busy most days, and demand is only likely to increase in November and December. The company is thus unlikely to shift reservations from regular tickets; even if they did, it would only be a temporary fix before reservations quickly filled up again.

A better solution would be improving operational capacity by bringing back shows, parades, and other entertainment. Opening more dining locations and extending hours would likewise help the parks to better absorb crowds and thus accommodate more reservations. However, it’s unclear to what degree that’s even feasible in the near term given staffing shortages and the turnaround time on bringing back entertainment.

Another potential long-term solution is relieving the pressure from weekends by making weekday visits more attractive. One of the things we praised about the Magic Key system was that it would create a greater sense of urgency and appreciation when visiting Disneyland. That’s true–but it’s also a double edged sword.

Charging most Magic Key tiers for parking pushes even more locals to weekends, cutting down on the weeknight “drop-ins” that otherwise could be a release valve for the crowds. With no end in sight to the strong weekend demand, perhaps incentivizing weeknight visits would be a good move. (One way to accomplish that would be by creating a parking add-on.)

In the immediate future, this problem is only likely to get worse as more Magic Keys are sold in the coming weeks and months before solutions can realistically be rolled out. (Hopefully, pent-up demand levels off and operations scale up by early 2022, but that’s still months away.)

One way or another, Disneyland needs to find a solution. From the company’s perspective, this might seem like a good problem to have, but that’s only true in the near-term. In the long run, Disneyland needs locals to fill the parks during slower times of year, and the current situation isn’t exactly great for goodwill or renewals.

Next, here’s a sneak peek at the new Christmas costumes for Minnie and Mickey Mouse. This year, they’re swapping out the red and green casual sweater look for puffer jackets and matching scarfs. When the holiday season begins on November 12, Mickey and Minnie will be decked out in these sporty new holiday looks around Town Square in Disneyland.

Before the Christmas season begins, Magic Key passholders will be able to find Minnie and Mickey Mouse in Starcade lounge in Tomorrowland. That location is just for Magic Key holders, and runs through October 30, 2021.

I know you’re all sitting on pins and needles awaiting my appraisal of these new outfits. After all, my keen eye for fashion knows no bounds–assuming UNIQLO is the height of style and couture. My view is that the old outfits were like “A Christmas Fantasy” parade itself–tired and a bit too 1990s.

With that said, this isn’t much better and is fairly generic. Minnie and Mickey could just as easily wear these looks to Trader Joe’s on a crisp January morning. Personally, I prefer the dapper or Dickensian Christmas costumes at Disneyland Paris, Hong Kong Disneyland, or Tokyo DisneySea. Leave the casual looks for other seasons–Christmas should be elaborate and elegant, especially after so many years of laid back looks.

Sticking with Christmas, an all-new holiday store called Plaza Point is coming to the corner of Main Street and East Plaza Street, replacing the former Photo Supply Co. This Victorian-era space will highlight the holidays with a warm, wood-paneled space decorated with garlands, nutcrackers, and festive décor.

In addition to Christmas, Plaza Point will feature merchandise and decor for Hanukkah, Lunar New Year, Spring, Easter, Fall, and Halloween. Of course, there will be Christmas-themed merchandise year-round, including ornaments, housewares, clothing, linens, and accessories.

Backtracking to Halloween, Disney Parks announced that Zombie Captain America from Marvel’s What If…? will be added to the lineup of characters at Oogie Boogie Bash – A Disney Halloween Party. This continues the trend of using recent characters from Disney+ in Avengers Campus. Different versions of Loki appeared during that series, and Agatha Harkness from WandaVision has appeared in the Marvel land.

While synergy is often derided, we think this is the best feature of Avengers Campus, and hope it continues to be a lived in–and living–land that evolves along with the Marvel Cinematic Universe. An all-zombie takeover of the land could only enhance Avengers Campus. Now that would be a good use of the ‘repurposed’ conceit!

Here’s hoping Zombie Captain America also makes daytime appearances in Avengers Campus closer to Halloween. All remaining Oogie Boogie Bash dates are sold out, but you can read about the event and start planning for 2022 in our Guide to Oogie Boogie Bash – A Disney Halloween Party.)

Some good news: the Disneyland Monorail has returned, with both the Downtown Disney and Tomorrowland stations now operating.

Some bad news: the parking lot trams are still not operating. This is really lame. While we personally prefer walking from Mickey & Friends, not everyone is us. It’s a fairly long walk–especially at the end of a long day–and there’s no good excuse to not operate the trams. It’s a cost-savings, plain and simple.

Finally, a quick housekeeping update and half-hearted apology (the best kind!). I haven’t been doing the best job with Disneyland content over the last few months, and am cognizant of that. I’ve barely touched the photos from our Halloween trip to California, haven’t updated a lot of resources, and am a half-dozen hotel reviews behind. Heck, I haven’t even reviewed Avengers Campus or Spider-Man Mania–but in the interest of “positivity,” perhaps I shouldn’t. (On an actual positive note, the Pumpkin Spice Monkey Bread at River Belle Terrace is glorious.)

Unfortunately, Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary and other updates have consumed an inordinate amount of my time. It’s not just Disneyland that has been neglected–I also have a huge backlog of Universal Orlando posts from our visits and hotel stays there over the last few months. Hopefully, once Genie+ launches at Walt Disney World, things will slow down there and I’ll be able to focus on other updates. For what it’s worth, we had an exceptional time at Disneyland during Halloween and are really looking forward to Christmas!

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!

Your Thoughts

What do you think of the ‘sold out’ Magic Key reservations between and early January 2022? Any other potential ways Disneyland can resolve this problem? Do you agree or disagree with our assessment? Thoughts on any other DLR news covered here? Any questions? 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!

16 Responses to “Disneyland News: ‘Sold Out’ Magic Key Reservations, Holiday Costumes & Store”
  1. Christopher Brigham November 13, 2021
  2. Becky November 3, 2021
  3. Dakota Pilcher October 20, 2021
  4. Elisa October 18, 2021
  5. Abbey October 18, 2021
  6. frank l buchanan October 18, 2021
  7. Karyl October 18, 2021
  8. Chris D October 18, 2021
    • Tom Bricker October 18, 2021
  9. Robert Shannon October 17, 2021
  10. BChicago October 17, 2021
  11. BChicago October 17, 2021
  12. Darren October 17, 2021
    • Tom Bricker October 17, 2021
  13. Leandra October 17, 2021
    • Tom Bricker October 17, 2021

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *