The lawsuit alleges that people who spent up to $1,399 on “Magic Key” passes were given lesser priority in park bookings than people with one-day tickets.
A federal lawsuit alleges that Walt Disney Co. deceived purchasers of the annual “Magic Key” park pass, who believed they would get “unlimited” access to Disneyland but were accorded less preference than people with day passes.
According to The Los Angeles Times, the lawsuit was filed by Santa Clara, California, resident Jenale Nielsen.
Nielsen—described in the complaint as a “longtime Disney customer”—claims she bought a Walt Disney Parks and Resorts “Dream Key” pass for $1,399.
When Nielsen purchased her “Dream Key,” she was under the impression that she would be able to enter the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, CA, on any date.
The “Dream Key,” notes the Times, is the most expensive “Magic Key”-tier pass.
However, shortly after Nielsen got her new pass, she found that she couldn’t make a reservation to visit Disneyland on any weekend in November.
But when she checked the resort’s website, she saw that reservations were open—but only for people who held single- or multiple-day tickets, who pay up to $224 per visit.
Now, Nielsen is asking a U.S. District Court to certify a class action on behalf of the estimated 3,600 people who bought “Magic Key” passes.
“Mr. Nielsen reasonably believed and relied upon Disney’s advertisement and promise to mean that, if Disney had capacity at its Anaheim parks, Ms. Nielsen and her fellow Dream Key pass holders would be allowed to make reservations and visit the parks,” the lawsuit states.
However, the Disneyland website says that pass buyers are “notified” that they are not guaranteed unconditional access to the park.
“We have been clear about the terms of the Magic Key product and we know that many of our guests are enjoying the experience these passes provide,” Disney spokesperson Liz Jaeger said in a statement. “We will vigorously defend our positions as the case proceeds.”
The Los Angeles Times notes that the “Magic Key” program includes four options, ranging in price from $399 per year to the $1,399 Dream Key.
The Dream Key, says the Times, is supposed to offer the greatest flexibility, with no block-out days.
The resort website through which Magic Key passes are sold says, “Park reservations are subject to availability and are not guaranteed for any specific dates or park.”
Nielsen’s lawsuit, though, says the problem is not that Disneyland was sometimes at capacity.
“The problem was not that Disney had reached its capacity and therefore could not provide reservations to its Dream Key passholders,” the lawsuit states. “The problem was that Disney had decided to block out reservations so they were only available to new purchases and were not available to Dream Key passholders.”
“Disney,” the complaint continues, “appears to be limiting the number of reservations available to Dream Key passholders on any given day in order to maximize the number of single day and other passes that Disney can sell.”
Nielsen is seeking unspecified damages.