Disneyland new “pass” program, Magic Key, successfully gives the illusion of full access to the parks [op-ed]
Disneyland just announced Magic Key, their new annual “pass” program. And while they don’t use the word, it very much is just another iteration of their passes with one exception – you’ll need to make reservations to gain access to the theme parks no matter what pass type you have.
The park reservation system is not new to the Disneyland Resort. Ever since the theme parks reopened back in April, reservations and tickets have been required for numerous reasons, namely to prevent overcrowding of the theme parks given the existing pandemic that mandated physical distancing.
At the same time, the pandemic-distancing presented the platform for Disneyland to continue the reservation system moving forward to further prevent overcrowding of the theme parks, which notoriously get packed by locals instead of the tourists who visit (and spend more money on their visit).
In a lot of ways, Disneyland marketed their new high-affinity offering successfully, giving people the illusion that they have full access to the parks when in reality they have complete control for who gets to come in – even for the most expensive pass offering.
That illusion, however, is not necessarily a bad thing. The hope is that Disneyland will be able to more carefully control the amount of people who enter the parks, making everything about a visit to the original Magic Kingdom and Disney California Adventure more enjoyable (namely through less wait times for attractions and even freedom of movement through walkways) while maximizing the dollars spent inside the parks on merchandise and food (which make up a bulk of their operating revenue).
In any case, the time that Magic Key is coming out is near-perfect with many people having found other interest and hobbies where Disneyland was their only option. Here’s hoping to a better experience for all when the program goes on sale on August 25 on the Disneyland website and app.