Disneyland Magic Key Program Continues To Lose Memberships, Guests Jump Ship Amid Worsening Park Experiences

in Disneyland Resort

Entrance of Disneyland

Credit: Miranda Jones / Flickr

Perhaps one of the most controversial things in the Disney community this year has been the Disneyland Magic Key program.

Disneyland’s Magic Keys are their updated version of the Annual Pass program. The program was first rolled out in 2021, after the devastating upset of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. Initially, sales were only open to guests who had already had an Annual Pass or Magic Key, and guests were only allowed to renew or cancel their pass. Sales of new Magic Keys have been intermittent since 2021, with new sales consistently paused due to demand. At the time of this writing, new sales for Magic Key passes have been paused once again.

magic key vs annual pass
Credit: ITM

It was also recently announced that the cost of each tier would be increasing anywhere from $50 to $150. The Key offerings are as follows:

  • Imagine Key: (only available to Southern California Residents) $499 (previously $449)
  • Enchant Key: $849 (previously $699)
  • Believe Key: $1249 (previously $1,099)
  • Inspire Key: $1649 (previously $1,599)

The increased prices of the Magic Keys and the Walt Disney World Annual Passes follow what many are calling an upsetting trend for the Disney parks over the last couple of years. Despite newly reinstated CEO Bob Iger addressing the outrageous prices of Disney admission earlier this year, stating that he believed the prices had gone too high and he would be working on ensuring that prices were attainable for families and the average guest, many have claimed he has done nothing to follow through on his comments. The price of a daily ticket, Magic Key pass, Disney World Annual Passes, hotel stays, and in-park purchases like food, merchandise, and Lightning Lanes have all increased drastically.

lightning lane web slingers
Credit: Disney Parks Blog

With the increase in prices, many guests have shared their complaints on social media, saying that the increase in price does not match the current Disney parks experience. It’s led to many debates about whether a Disney vacation is worth it anymore, as well as many people debating whether or not to renew their Annual Passes and Magic Keys. One such debate recently took place on Reddit, with u/WhiskeySales making a post stating that they just don’t see the value in reinstating their Magic Key Pass despite having had some version of a Disneyland Annual Pass for several years. Although the initial post was deleted, the comments are still available, with many agreeing with the original poster.

“Same, I’m out in February,” agreed u/HOTDOGWEHAVEAWIENER. “I simply don’t want to give Disney my money anymore, the quality isn’t there. Their greed is out of control and them continually raising food & parking prices while the rides and lands are falling apart or boarded up near constantly has made the value comically not worth it. Iger and this whole management team sucks.”

space mountain at disneyland
Credit: Disney

“I’m also not going to renew. The large crowds and price hikes ruins the experience. The best time I had at Disneyland was during the hurricane. The park was empty and wait times were low,” commented u/MrKazador. Bro you are not wrong. Disneyland is now just an always crowded money milking machine. The guest experience is not valued by them and it is frustrating having to be on your phone a lot securing you place in line or ordering food annoying. Not to mention the wait times on rides with the LL. So lame,” u/Bsizzle18 replied.

“Believe Key expired last Sunday. Did not renew,” shared u/SpaceXMonkeys. “The value is not there at all. From the numerous ride breakdowns, to receiving MEPs from a LL attraction that can’t even be used on another LL attraction (like wtf, why???), to Genie+ increasing price 3 times within one year, and parking increasing as well.”

Mickey's Fun Wheel and Incredicoaster on Pixar Pier at Disneyland Resort's California Adventure
Credit: Brandi Alexandra via Unsplash

Unfortunately, as the cost of living across the nation has skyrocketed, so have experiences like a Disney vacation. What was once a magical escape for families looking to create memories with their children has become a once in a lifetime opportunity that not many can afford anymore. Despite Walt Disney’s assurance that the Disney parks were a place for everyone of all ages to make memories and experience the magic, that seems to no longer be the case.

In addition to the increase in costs, many people have noticed that things that were once the standard at Disney are now the exception. Many have pointed out issues like decreased upkeep and maintenance routines on attractions, pointing out broken animatronics, dirty ride vehicles, and increased attraction down times. Others have pointed out things like disruptive guest behavior and attitude, stressed and rude cast members, and even a decrease in cleanliness standards across the parks, citing issues like rats and poop.

A wide shot of the front of Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland Park in California.
Credit: Inside The Magic

Several of the comments, like one from u/smakusdod, speculated that Disney doesn’t “want you to renew. They want you to come one or two days a year and spend $1000 each time.” As these complaints fill the Disney community spaces on social media platforms, it is clear that there seems to be a collective opinion that the Disney parks need a drastic overhaul and update if they want to keep their current Magic Key and Annual Pass holders.

Do you or have you previously had a Magic Key or Annual Pass? Is it still worth it, or will you not be renewing? Share your thoughts and opinions with us in the comments below!

Please note that the experiences discussed in this article are based on personal and unique situations. No two Disney guest experiences are alike, and these do not indicate a typical experience. The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily representative of Inside the Magic.

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