Lawsuit alleges Disney abused pandemic to gain revenue, no magic in the kingdom

Disney has been sued by two Disney World annual Platinum Pass and Platinum Plus Pass holders who allege that the policy changes implemented by the company during the COVID pandemic are purposefully screwing over pass holders like themselves.

When Disney reopened its parks after the initial COVID lockdown in early 2020, it instituted a new policy requiring park visitors to make a reservation in advance and banning the practice of visiting multiple parks in a single day, i.e., “park hopping.”

Disney further stated that once the reservations for a park were full for any given day, no more visitors would be allowed entry, including pass holders.

The two pass holders say this new policy is unfair toward pass holders who have paid for unlimited access to the company’s parks.

(Source: Deadline)

“Prior to March 15, 2020, Platinum Pass and Platinum Plus Pass holders were permitted to go to all four Florida Disney parks 365 days a year without any Blockout Dates or restrictions. All annual pass holders, prior to March 15, 2020, were also allowed unfettered Park Hopping between Disney’s Florida parks within the same day,” the suit complains.

Blockout Dates are “pre-designated days Disney closes off the parks to certain annual pass holders due to high park attendance.”

Platinum Pass and Platinum Plus Pass holders were supposed to be free of Blockout Dates. That changed with the new policy implemented in 2020.

“On or about March 15, 2020, the Florida Disney parks were closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Disney parks in the United States began to reopen in July 2020, but with a host of new restrictions. To initially control the Florida parks’ capacity after the COVID-19 pandemic, Disney instituted a new reservation system prior to reopening – the ‘Park Pass System,'” the suit reads.

“Under the Park Pass System, guests are required to have a park reservation in addition to a valid admission ticket to gain entry to a Disney theme park. It was believed by the Plaintiffs and other members of the class that this reservation system would only be temporary and would end once the threat of the pandemic lessened because they had not been subjected to this system pre-pandemic,” the suit continues.

But Disney decided to keep this system in place in perpetuity, and the pass holders say this amounts to a rewriting of their pass holder contracts.

“By restricting access to the park, Disney effectively unilaterally modified all Platinum Pass holders’ and Platinum Plus pass holders’ contracts. These pass holders were forced to reluctantly agree to the terms of this new agreement, having no meaningful alternative,” the suit argues.

Continuing their suit, the two pass holders allege that Disney is purposefully maintaining this new policy — despite the COVID pandemic being effectively over — so it can generate more profit by selling single-day passes.

“In addition to the normal park capacity being artificially restricted, Disney has seemingly implemented a system in which only a certain amount of Platinum Pass and/or Platinum Plus Pass holders can make a reservation per day, despite the park still having availability for other types of reservations (i.e., single day passes, or reservations made by other pass holders),” the suit reads.

“On some days, Platinum Pass holders and Platinum Plus Pass holders cannot make reservations to go to a Disney theme park, even though there are single day passes available for purchase. Disney appears to be unfairly favoring single ticket or multi-day ticket holders, while restricting Platinum Pass holders, in order to make a larger profit,” it continues.

From here, the suit grows far more heated as the two plan holders get to the core of their argument, which is — stunningly — that “Disney has abused a global pandemic to take advantage of its Platinum pass holders and Platinum Plus pass holders even after the threat of the pandemic has subsided.”

“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,” the suit reads.

“A reasonable consumer would not have known that Disney’s use of the Park Pass System and artificial park capacity limitations that they would effectively be subjected to Blockout Dates. This pitfall was only realized once pass holders were strictly limited as to when they could visit Disney’s Florida parks,” it continues.

Disney has responded to the suit by issuing a statement to Florida media claiming that Platinum Pass and Platinum Plus Pass holders were given the option back in 2020 to “opt out of the program early in the pandemic, including refunds if they desired.”

In other words, they were told they could either keep their passes and abide by the new rules or turn in their passes and receive a refund.

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