Disneyland increases the cost of Magic Key annual passes and introduces unexpected benefits.

It has recently been very difficult for Disneyland Magic Key annual passholders to renew their passes that are due to expire. The park’s most frequent visitors have been deeply concerned that Disneyland’s current annual pass programme will completely end, just as the company ended the previous annual pass programme during the park’s pandemic closure because there haven’t been any new passes available in months — at some levels, since last year.

However, things changed on Tuesday after Disney unveiled a new Magic Key programme. An email from Disneyland to current Magic Keyholders said, “We are thrilled to introduce new perks developed for you, inspired by you.” Three of the four current tiers of passes will be available for renewal, even if there are no new passes available right now. Blackout days were not available at the previous top tier, the Dream Key, yet a woman from the Bay Area sued Disney for $5 million because there were not enough available bookings. The legal action is still pending.

Instead of the Dream Key, Disneyland now offers a new, top-tier Inspire Pass, which has blackout days for the busiest holiday weeks but still includes many of the Dream Key amenities, such free parking.

The new passes also come with a startling amount of benefits, some of which are brand-new. Pre-sale access to events, a parking discount, and limitless PhotoPass downloads for Believe and Inspire keys are now included with all tiers.

But the cost of all of this is higher. The price of the two top-tier passes will go up by $150 apiece, while the price of the two lower-tier passes—which have substantial blackout dates—will go up by $50.

The most significant change, though, is to Genie Plus, which is possibly the most divisive recent Disney creation. Fast passes, which were previously free at Disneyland, have been replaced with a daily $20 fee for line-skipping access. All owners of Magic Keys can now access Genie Plus for $16 per person per day, or 20% discount.

According to Disney CEO Bob Chapek, “approximately 50% of the customers who walk through the gate” purchase Genie Plus, “which I think you can see the consequence of in our yields,” during the third-quarter results call on August 10.

During that conference call, Disney announced record-breaking revenues at its theme parks but also voiced concerns about a “unfavourable attendance mix” — too many passholders — at Disneyland.