Magic Key pass holder files lawsuit alleging dates for Disnelyand daily passes were available when she couldn’t visit the park.
A $5 million lawsuit filed against Walt Disney Parks and Resorts contends the Disneyland theme park deceived frequent visitors by “artificially limiting theme park capacity and blocking pass holders with ‘no blockout’ annual passes from making reservations.” The complaint was originally filed on November 9 in Orange County Superior Court by ‘Magic Key’ pass holder Jenale Nielsen of Santa Clara County. It is seeking class certification, which hasn’t been finalized yet. As of Wednesday December 15, the case was being heard in the United States District Court because the “matter in controversy exceeds the sum or value of $5 million and Walt Disney Parks and Resorts is based in Florida while the plaintiff lives in California,” according to the court filing.
Disneyland ended its 40-year annual pass holder program in January 2021 due to extended coronavirus closures and subsequently a new program, making Magic Key annual passes available for on sale in August. The top-tiered pass, The Dream Key, cost $1,399 and advertised ‘no blockout dates.’ Disney sold out of these in October. It subsequently sold out of its $949 Believe Key in November. The $649 Enchant Key and $399 Imagine Key are still available.
At issue is that Magic Key pass holders are having trouble booking dates to visit in advance, while, at the same time, the daily admission ticket calendar shows availability on nearly all weekdays, weekends, and holidays. When Magic Key pass holders try to book their visits on the same dates, they’re allegedly being denied entry. According to the suit, Nielsen purchased the $1,399 Disneyland Dream Key annual pass with no blockout dates in September but was unable, in October, to make theme park reservations for dates in November.
“When Nielsen tried to make reservations in October, she was disappointed to learn Disneyland had already blocked out Dream Key pass holders on many days and all weekends in November,” the suit alleges. “Given that Disney advertised and promised that there would be no ‘blockouts’ for Dream Keyholders, Ms. Nielsen was surprised.” Neilsen couldn’t believe there would be so many dates sold out in November, so she checked the reservation calendar for single-day visitors and discovered that both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure were still available for the same days.
“The problem was not that Disney had reached its capacity and therefore could not provide reservations to its Dream Key pass holders,” according to the lawsuit. “The problem was that Disney had decided to block out reservations so that they were only available to new purchases and were not available to Dream Key pass holders.”
It states further, “Disney appears to be limiting the number of reservations available to Dream Key pass holders on any given day in order to maximize the number of single day and other passes that Disney can sell. Ms. Nielsen did not know, and had no way of knowing, that the Dream Key was, essentially, a ‘second-class’ ticket with limited availability because Disney had reserved an unknown majority of the available reservations for single-day or other full price ticket purchases.”