On October 19, two Walt Disney World Annual Passholders filed a lawsuit against Disney, claiming “predatory business practice” when it comes to making theme park reservations. Since reopening after the forced COVID-19 closure, both Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort have required all Guests — Passholders included — to have reservations to whichever Park they would like to visit. The Annual Passholders claim that the Passes they purchased were not supposed to have blackout dates. However, the reservation system created blackout dates.
While Disney has claimed that the reservation system is vital to helping them control crowds, Annual Passholders are finding the reservation system keeps them from making reservations when traditional ticket-holders did not have that problem. Florida Politics shared more on the lawsuit — filed anonymously with the Orange County Circuit Court:
Annual passholders must make advance reservations, even if their passes have no blockout dates. But the lawsuit filed anonymously by an Orange County resident “M.P.” and Palm Beach County resident “E.K.” says on some days, reservation slots are full for passholders while Disney continues to sell single-day tickets to welcome in other guests.
“Disney’s conduct is a predatory business practice, aimed at exploiting the customers who support it the most, its annual pass holders. Disney abused a global pandemic to take advantage of its own loyal customers and increase its revenue,” said the lawsuit filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court’s Orlando division.
According to the lawsuit, M.P. paid $633 per pass for her and her family, while E.K.’s pass was on a monthly installment plan of about $68 per month. Both had been going to Disney World for years and bought their passes with the expectation they could get access 365 days a year and not have to plan their trips in advance.
At about 7 p.m. tonight, #Disney issued this statement in response to the lawsuit I wrote about.
— Gabrielle Russon (@GabrielleRusson) October 19, 2022
Disney’s official statement reads:
“Annual Passholders continue to be some of our biggest fans and most loyal guests. We’ve been upfront with Passholders about the updates we’ve made, and we offered them the flexibility to opt-in or opt-out of the program early in the pandemic, including refunds if they desired. This lawsuit mischaracterizes the program and its history, and we will respond further in court.”
This is not the only lawsuit that Disney is facing with regard to its Annual Pass Program. In late 2021, a Disneyland Magic Key Holder — Magic Keys are the new name for Disneyland Annual Passes — filed a $5 million lawsuit against the company. The woman claimed that Disney was deceptive while selling Magic Keys.
Like Walt Disney World Annual Passes, the highest tier Magic Key — the Dream Key — claimed to have no blackout dates. However, the lawsuit claims that Disney created artificial blackout dates by only allowing a certain number of Key Holders to make reservations each day. Disney attempted to have the lawsuit dismissed, but the motion was denied by a judge and the lawsuit is moving forward.