Reduced Access for Disney Annual Passholders to the Parks: Lawsuit

  • Two Disney World Annual Passholders have sued Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.
  • They claim that Disney has changed the conditions of its Platinum Pass and restricted the days of visitation.
  • The passes “don’t even look like the original deal,” the lawsuit claims.

Disney World annual passholders cannot visit the park as freely as they could before the pandemic, according to a class action lawsuit.

Two Disney World Passholders sued Walt Disney Parks and Resorts on Oct. 18, claiming that Disney changed the terms of its annual passes during the pandemic and no longer gave them enough access to the parks, including apparently limiting the days they could visit.

Disney changed Disney World’s park admission system in Florida to control capacity at the start of the pandemic. As well as having a valid ticket to enter, visitors also had to reserve a seat, with owners of the more expensive passes – Platinum Pass and Platinum Plus – being limited to three days of reservations at a time, which has since been ported at five.

The lawsuit claims this resulted in a ‘strict restriction’ on when they could visit the parks and was a ‘totally different deal’ from their original contract. For example, if someone were to book five days at Disney World next spring, they wouldn’t be able to visit by then.

Passholders thought the reservation system would only be temporary “because they had not been subject to this system before the pandemic,” the lawsuit states.

Park skipping was also restricted after the closures ended. Whereas before the pandemic, annual passholders could swap between Disney World’s four Florida parks “without restrictions,” the option was removed entirely between May and December 2020 within capacity limits.

A tourist looks at a map of the park during the Flower and Garden Festival at Epcot at Walt Disney World in Orange County, Florida on May 30, 2022.

A tourist looks at a map of the park during the Flower and Garden Festival at Epcot at Walt Disney World in Orange County, Florida on May 30, 2022.

Joseph Prezioso/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

As of 2021, visitors can now only park after 2 p.m. each day.

The lawsuit also claims that Disney apparently introduced restrictions on the number of Platinum and Platinum Plus Pass holders who can visit the parks on certain days. Unlike the two cheaper annual pass tiers – Gold and Silver Passes – Platinum and Platinum Plus Passes come with no “blackout dates,” which are busy days when you cannot enter with your pass.

On some days, Platinum and Platinum Plus Pass holders cannot reserve time slots, even though there are day passes available, per the trial.

“Disney effectively subjected Platinum Plus Passes and Platinum Passes to blackout dates because passholders are subject to days and times when their passes cannot be used,” the lawsuit alleges. Disney “unfairly favors” single and multi-day ticket holders “to achieve a greater profit,” according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit accuses Disney of breach of implied contract, breach of implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, and unfair and deceptive trade practices.

“Disney abused a global pandemic to take advantage of its Platinum and Platinum Plus passholders even after the threat of the pandemic subsided,” the lawsuit alleges, claiming the passes “don’t even look like the original agreement”.

“Disney’s behavior is a predatory business practice, aimed at exploiting its most supportive customers, its annual passholders,” he adds.

Disney told Orlando News outlet 6 that it had been “candid” with passholders about changes to their tickets and “offered them the option to opt-in or opt-out of the program at the start. of the pandemic, including refunds if they wished”.

“This lawsuit misrepresents the program and its history, and we will respond further in court,” he added.

Disney retired the Platinum Plus, Platinum, Gold, and Silver passes in September 2021, replacing them with four new pass tiers. Sales of new passes are currently suspended, although existing pass holders can renew their tickets.

Disney World has also increased prices and removed or started charging guests for certain services that were once free, such as airport pickups and parking for resort guests.

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