Disneyland has announced it is pausing sales of its Magic Key annual passes completely, with no word of if or when they might be available again.
Magic Key holders can continue to use their passes to make park reservations, subject to blockout dates for their pass, as well as use other pass benefits like discounts on food and merchandise.
Disney also says guests who currently hold Magic Key passes will be able to renew their pass, though details on renewals will be announced at a later date.
The Magic Key program was originally rolled out last August to replace its previous annual pass program, with four price tiers and corresponding benefits.
The $1,399 Dream Key sold out in late October 2021, and the $949 Believe Key sold out in late November. And now the remaining two tiers, the $649 Enchant Key and the $399 Imagine Key, are also unavailable.
No reason was given for the halt in Magic Key sales.
The problem Disneyland faces
Disneyland recently returned the fan favorite Main Street Electrical Parade and an updated Fantasmic! to their nighttime entertainment lineup. The resort is also entering a busy summer season where park pass reservations are expected to completely sell out on multiple days.
It’s likely a combination of increased crowd levels, travel forecasts, and a difficult employment market contributed to this decision to halt the sale of any annual passes. There is also another contributing factor — lack of capacity.
It’s been 21 years since Disneyland added a second gate along with a new hotel. Since that time, only a few new DVC rooms have been added to the resort and no new theme parks or entertainment zones.
The resort is facing a huge opportunity cost, leading to lost potential profits, in the form of dollars missed from locals and vacationing families who want to travel to Disneyland, but now can’t get an annual pass or find a reasonably priced hotel room on property.
Disneyland recently presented a proposal to Anaheim they’re calling Disneyland Forward. This expansion would add almost an entire new theme park work of attractions to the resort, but by expanding the borders of Disneyland and DCA instead of adding a third gate.
This is what I call the ‘better than nothing’ option. Anytime a new attraction opens, that doesn’t replace a closed attraction, that adds capacity to the resort allowing Disneyland to sell more tickets and book more hotels rooms. Potentially families would even add another night stay to their plans, a great way for Disney to increase the coffers.
There have been other options on the table for an entirely separate third theme park near the existing resort. I would encourage Disneyland to partner with local cities and counties to get creative about where they can find the footprint needed for such an expansion.
Whatever the final plan is, Disneyland has clearly not kept up with demand. Now they’re in the tough spot of having to lock out their most loyal customers from showing their support with an annual pass purchase. They need to act swiftly to add more capacity somewhere, anywhere and start selling magical dreams to their local fans again.
Disney throws residents a crumb
In the meantime, Disneyland is offering a new limited-time ticket offer for California residents that includes a special three-day ticket valid from June 13 to Sept. 15.
Prices vary. CA resident tickets that are only valid Monday through Thursday are $249, and tickets that include weekends are $299.
These tickets are 1 park per day – neither offers park hopping, though the tickets can be upgraded to park hoppers for an additional cost. Park reservations for each day are also required, along with valid California resident I.D.
Visit Disneyland.com for all the details.
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