Didn't get a Magic Key? Here are other ways into Disneyland

January 11, 2024, 4:29 PM · Disneyland's Magic Key annual pass sale came and went yesterday, with the top three tiers of Magic Keys selling out just before 6pm on Wednesday.

The sale began at 9am yesterday morning and saw some fans waiting up to eight hours for the opportunity to buy a Magic Key, which is Disneyland's post-lockdown branding for its annual pass program. Since Disneyland passes continue to require advance reservations to use, the resort limits sales of Magic Key passes to a few times a year, in an effort to minimize disappointment among Magic Key holders when they go to make park reservations.

But that just means the disappointment shifts to Disneyland fans who are not able to buy the passes. Such as... me, who waited four hours in the online queue yesterday, only to have my sale caught in an apparent server error.

Magic Key fail
Yelling 'Andy's coming' did not get Woody to go away this time.

But the time I gave up on the page and tried to reenter the queue (from the very back, of course), the pass levels that I wanted had sold out. Based on social media posts, I was far from alone in not being allowed to complete my purchase after waiting through the queue.

The alternative for cheaper Disneyland tickets

Fortunately, there are alternatives for Disneyland fans who want to go to the parks without having to pay Disney's daily admission prices. Kids ages 9 and under can get into Disneyland and Disney California Adventure for as low as $50 a day with a Kids Special Offer now available, through March 10. And Southern California residents can buy three-day tickets to the park starting at $212 - that's just about $70 a day.

These deals, as well as other ticket packages, are available now through our partner's Disneyland tickets page. A small portion of each ticket goes to support Theme Park Insider, and this is the service I have been using to buy discounted Disneyland tickets during my run of abysmal luck in failing to buy a Magic Key.

Again, here is the link for Disneyland ticket discounts.

Disney's current Southern California resident ticket deal runs through May 30, but Disneyland has been offering similar deals at other times of the year, as well. And our ticket partner has them, usually for even less than you can get these tickets on Disneyland's own website. You can get notified of those and other available theme park admission discounts by signing up for Theme Park Insider's free weekly newsletter.

And if you want to see what's available for other parks around the world, please visit our Theme Park visitors guides.

Replies (6)

January 11, 2024 at 5:00 PM

I don't understand why they just don't do a wait list instead of doing this every so often. When they have some available to sell they just contact the next person on the list and give them 24 hours to pay or give up your spot.

January 11, 2024 at 10:55 PM

The artificial scarcity here is just insane. You know the higher ups get a kick when people are struggling to get a Magic Key.

January 12, 2024 at 2:15 AM

The way Disneyland runs the Magic Keys is so frustrating and makes me actively uninterested in buying one even if they were at a price I considered reasonable. I know I'm just one customer, but whereas Disney would have probably got ~$1,200 from me in an average year under the old AP system, these days they get ~$200-300 from my one visit per year (or, in a year like 2023 where I didn't visit at all, $0). Personally, I wish Disneyland would do something similar to what Tokyo Disney did...eliminate passes completely and drop day tickets by 20-30% to compensate. While people would hate it at first, it would make it more affordable to take the family two or three times a year, would discourage frequent visiting (more than once per month) or short visits (less than four hours) that Disney considers undesirable, and would probably increase revenue even if it resulted in an attendance drop.

January 12, 2024 at 9:51 AM

I'm totally with Francis. I simply don't understand why Disney puts on this charade, which does nothing but sour people on ever wanting to visit the parks. There is absolutely no reason they cannot establish a Magic Key waiting list, which would be a profitable venture in itself if they collected and held deposits from everyone who wants to be on it. Not only that, but it would reduce the reliance on technology and the frustration that comes with thousands of people all trying to cram into a virtual queue at the same time.

The fact that Disney has now done this 3 times, I believe, with the same results indicates to me that they refuse to do anything to improve the purchasing technology for these products. The problem is that Disney knows that Magic Keys are essentially a commodity, and can put whatever obstacles and hinderances between prospective buyers and the product and people will still jump through hoops and move heaven and earth to try to score one. That's why I don't understand why Disney doesn't just create a waiting list that requires people to put down a non-refundable deposit because they will pay it.

January 13, 2024 at 8:45 AM

It’s a lose-lose situation for Disney. People want the park the parks to stop being so crowded, but they don’t want prices to increase. So now Disney limits how many tickets get sold, and that still doesn’t satisfy.

January 14, 2024 at 2:56 AM

It makes zero sense to me why DLR has not been expanded yet when there is such a massive demand, we're talking about 40 million people just in that state, it's by far the richest state, and those parks are tiny and Disneyland can barely hold like 40,000 people.
I know the area is developed (I used to live in Anaheim and work at DLR) but I also know the city would drool over the tax revenue of another Disney theme park and would move heaven and earth to make it happen. What they should do is tear down that stupid old decrepit MLB stadium, build a new hotel and theme park there, and move the Angels next to the Pond (errr...Honda Center). The only thing next to the Pond is that office building/car dealership that could easily be bought by the city and torn down. The current situation is just corporate apathy at its finest.

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