PSA: No Gift Cards for Magic Key Renewals

Just putting it out there in case anyone does what I tried to do last weekend and get gift cards for their DLR Magic Key Renewal.

The only way to use gift cards for Magic Keys at DLR is in person at the ticket booths and we learned this the hard way when got them for our renewal that happened this last weekend. So unless you can renew your pass in person, don’t get any gift cards for it.

DH & I have decided to let it go & we do have other plans that those gift card funds can be allocated to (albeit not immediate so we will have to float $5K in Disney gift cards for 60 days) but luckily we have several options with minimal interest to float them and still get the annual passes as planned, but it was a bit of headache and even with the low interest, because it’s any interest at all it almost wipes away most of the 5% savings. So just wanting to save anyone else the headache.

I even called into the Magic Key line thinking it was a Disney IT error masking a gift card payment option because after the CC payment section, I could see a section of other payment options with images that didn’t load but couldn’t see what they were so I assumed gift card was somewhere in there invisible to me.

I asked to escalate to a lead to see if there was some way they could connect us through the booths remotely and they point blank refused, wouldn’t escalate the call any more and told us we were basically SOL with $5k gift cards. So yea, don’t do like I did & make sure you only get gift cards if you can renew in person.

This concludes this PSA.


That’s madness.

If it’s an accepted form of payment in person, it should be an accepted form of payment online or on the phone. The system clearly can use that as payment. There’s no reason why they shouldn’t even when you’re not standing there in front of them. How foolish.

I’m sorry that happened to you.


I pretty much said almost exactly this to both the front CM and her lead that I talked to. And I re-iterated that I know we have used GC for previous renewals. The lead who was very much a no-go you won’t get your way on this, actually took the time to look up last year’s renewal (all she had access to since she didn’t have previously AP program details) and she made sure I knew that we renewed on an Amex card last year. And I said ok, maybe it was the previous program but I know I have used online gift cards for a renewal of a pass at one point. But anyway, yea, like I’ve said we’ve decided to do an Elsa and let it go, but just wanting to save anyone else the headache.


I have run into this before. But I was there and was able to go out to the ticket booth. It’s crazy!


So crazy!!!

It’s new with the Magic Key stuff, right??? Tell me I’m not crazy and that APs could renew online with a gift card before the program was Legacy???

I was trying to remember. I’m pretty sure it was post pandemic.

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I just read through the Magic Key terms and conditions and saw nothing that would limit how you can pay for it. But…not sure they would. Still, when you buy gift cards it is clearly to pay for Disney products, whether in person or not. If they can start to reject it as a valid payment for things, what’s to say they couldn’t start preventing you from using them for things like paying for DVC dues or mobile orders, etc?

I am doubtful I would take it lying down, as it were.

But I feel like Disney is likely trying to shift gift card usage to be more like that of Universal. This could be the beginning of signs of things to come.

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what does this mean?

While that’s all possible, I chalked it more up to they just don’t want to increase or sustain an annual pass program for California any more than they absolutely have to and are willing, even happy to shift that consumer spend as much as they can from how they’ve traditionally spent their Disney dollars.

This is far from the first time I’ve felt that way and it just reinforces even more that I’m gonna dig in my heels and for as long as we know we’ll get to DLR 3 or more times a year, we’re renewing the pass, damnit. We’ve yet to find a year (outside of 2020) where that wasn’t the case so we’re here until they evict us basically.

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I did get the sense from what you experienced that they are making it intentionally more difficult and less appealing.

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Meaning…no longer selling gift cards. Universal, you can’t buy gift cards I don’t believe.

Disney sells gift card through places that allow discounts, so it cuts into profits. They don’t really need the gift card sales any longer to drive spending or guests to come, so I could see them eventually eliminating them.

Just a guess.

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You may be right. Forcing you to buy them in person is more likely going to make it that you would actually be a local, and not just someone traveling from further away.

Isn’t it that you have to renew before it expires? Or at least within a very short window of time?

ETA: Although…if you can buy them using a credit card, that doesn’t really make sense.

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DH & I sat down to look at the benefits & blockouts before renewing and we were like, not only have they taken/reduced so many benefits they have substantially increased the price and keep adding in more & more blockouts. We did look at the next level down to find out if we could stomach those blockouts and save a whole lot more but that pass had zero Saturdays and was blocked June 5-August 5ish. We go most in summer and over quick weekends so it would mean missing a lot of school which as the older kids are now in 5th & 7th is not so feasible.

So we’ll just play their games of which Saturdays we can go on our current level. We do get Saturdays in September, January, most of Feb, half of March, most of April, all of May & June, all of August give us just enough to work with. And July while we are blocked out Saturdays we’re not at all blocked out the rest of the week and with school being out, it’s a lot easier to plan a long trip that excludes Saturday.

But just last year we had all Saturdays but Thanksgiving weekend in November, Saturdays at the start of October. But this year we get no October or November Saturdays and some of those weekends we are also blocked out Friday’s AND Sundays (that were previously unblocked).


I believe right now at DL you have to renew before expiration & if you don’t, you just have to wait until they decide to put passes on sale again and play the 9AM PT lottery of will this be a 15 min process or 10 hour process to get a pass? And if I lose that lottery will I even get a pass before they sell out?

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You also cannot apply unused DL tickets to your renewal, not even at a ticket booth. I have a 2 day ticket that I was going to use to help offset the cost of renewal but saw in the MK contracts it specifically says you can’t use them.


Having been in the Disney gift card game, I know that they are really struggling with significant amounts of fraud. People who work in the supply chain copying codes off of the back of the card and more. I suspect this might be about not letting people flip illegal gift cards into annual passes?

I have a massive spread sheet of every card I have ever had. Because if there is one fraudulent number (or number that is questioned because someone else stole it first) then every dollar put on that card can be called into question.

I know to pick up my AP I have to have the gift card I used to purchase it (which reminds me I need to look that up).

So perhaps its more about that challenge?

Still sorry you are stuck with that much in gift cards! It does wipe out the savings once you pay interest.


At least it says so in the legalease.

Like @ryan1 mentioned upthread, I also skimmed through the T&C’s and so no mention of restricting gift cards. And one of my questions the Lead CM couldn’t answer that I wanted to know was when did it change? She was more interested in looking up my most recent renewal and proving me wrong that I didn’t renew on GC. We are still team let it go, but if I had any kind of line to someone who cared at Disney, I’d be sure to be dropping them an earful of my thoughts on the ridiculousness of this for a consumer.

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Fraud is another reason that makes sense but there are ways (probably that Disney doesn’t want to pony up for) to still allow legitimately purchased gift cards be used online for legitimate transactions. I hate that the small % of fraudsters ruin it for everyone else though.

I think my biggest annoyance with Disney was that I’d been able to in the past use GC but now ‘all of a sudden’ (to me) one of the biggest purchases we make with Disney (renewals for all but one of our family who isn’t up until December) was off limits with our MO payment method. Without any notice or previous warning. And that they were then so nonchalant about me being stuck with the $5k.

But DH has wisely pointed out that we have uses for them so we’ll figure it out. Namely a quick 3 day weekend at DL planned this month and might go for part of the kids’ fall break in October & for either/both can use partial of the $5k for food & merch. We’ll also be shopping on shopDisney more now with Christmas coming up (and have a cart half-built anyway for some things we know we want soon & hoping for a sale to finalize), and then whatever’s left after those things will go towards full payment of our next cruise which is due November.


I am extremely sympathetic, and even if it is fraud reasons, they have not handled this well.

This is what is most absurd.

Just require you to show ID and one of the cards to purchase!

It is a lot of money to have tied up in Disney. I bought $1000 in cards from BJs for my AP and would have been very unhaply if I couldnt use them!


If we didn’t have a final payment for our next cruise coming up in the next couple of months it would be an exorbitant amount for sure and much harder. Luckily (?) we are crazy and are doing yet another cruise in February. So the $5k will go to half of that full payment due. If that hadn’t been the case then Christmas for DSIL’s family would’ve been Disney gift cards to help fund their DLR family trip next year that they are planning :laughing: :laughing: :laughing:

(We were already considering doing this for her family because she talks about how much she wants to be able to go but needs to save which is not her strong suit).