If you are or ever have been a Disneyland Passholder, the old convenient days are gone and the “Disney Magic Key” nightmare is here. Previously with the Annual Pass Program, when you paid the maximum fee you could get into Disneyland with free parking and zero blockout dates. Now, with the Dream Key Pass, you can pay even more money with the promise of no blocked dates. However, getting a reservation during any busy time is nearly impossible. That is the complaint filed by Disneyland Magic Key annual pass holder, Jenale Nielsen. This complaint has been working its way through the courts since November 2021.
WHAT IS THIS DREAM KEY LAWSUIT?
The lawsuit filed against Disney alleges that Nielsen purchased a $1,399 Disneyland Dream Key annual pass with no blockout dates in September of 2021. However, they were unable to make any theme park reservations for certain dates in November 2021.
“[The] Plaintiff alleges that the term ‘no blockout dates’ is not defined in the advertisement, but that she understood the term to mean that Dream Key Pass holders would not be blocked from making theme park reservations ‘whenever Disney was offering park reservations for entrance to the theme parks. She also understood the advertisement’s statement that ‘park reservations are subject to availability and are not guaranteed for any specific dates or park’ to mean that ‘if park reservations were available and being offered to the public, Dream Key holders could use their passes to make reservations for entry to the parks.”
The $5 million suit filed against Walt Disney Parks and Resorts on behalf of all Magic Key annual pass holders alleges Disneyland relegated them to “second class” ticket holders. How so? By artificially limiting Magic Key reservations and the number of passholders that can visit on any given day.
HOW TRUE ARE THESE ALLEGATIONS?
Well, Disney agrees that the phrase “blockout date” is not defined. However, they deny the phrase “‘no blockout’ dates can be reasonably understood to mean Dream Key passholders can make reservations whenever Disneyland or Disney California Adventure offers theme park reservations.”
Disney also admits it promised there would be no blockout dates for Dream Key pass holders. However, they deny that they blocked out dates to Dream Key pass holders. However, if you’ve read anything from Disney Parks about Dream Key passes, they have said that this new program helps with crowd control. They have said Disneyland has the power to artificially limit theme park reservations for Passholders and single ticket holders alike. However, saying they can and actually doing it are two different things.
Disneyland is obviously aware of the Magic Key Reservation issue, even if they don’t want to fully admit it. Currently, the Dream Key and Believe Key passes are sold out. Which, to my knowledge, has never happened with any incarnation of a Disneyland Annual Pass.
If you’re a current Dream Keyholder (like me) I’m sure you can agree with the statement above. I currently own the 2nd tier Dream Key and can rarely use it on the weekends I pay for. You must make reservations months out or hope someone cancels the night before you were hoping to go. Previously, I’ve had multiple tiered Disneyland Annual Passes, including the original reservation pass, Flex-Pass. I never had these issues before Dream Key. So, I understand Nielsen’s frustration. The feeling of being treated as “second class” ticket holders, as the complaint states, is a true statement. Disney Parks has the power to limit Magic Key reservations for pass holders on any given day. They are not tiered off depending on your pass. We are all fighting for days out of the same pool.
WHERE DOES THE LAWSUIT STAND?
Currently, United States District Court Judge David Carter has denied Disney’s motion to dismiss the Dream Key case. He is allowing it to proceed. And it seems that Nielsen’s attorneys are seeking to have the case certified as a class action by the U.S. District Court. So, if this $5million dollar lawsuit becomes a class action you can bet your bippy I’ll be signing up.
Judge Carter is allowing this case to move forward because it falls under breach of contract. It also falls under the California consumer protection act. However, Judge Carter has granted Disney’s dismissal motions relating to claims of false advertising, negligent misrepresentation, legal disclosure, as well as unfair competition.
“The court finds that plaintiff has adequately pled facts supporting how a reasonable consumer may be deceived by the advertisement, which states ‘no blockout dates.’” Carter wrote in his ruling. “Plaintiff argues that ordinary consumers generally understand blockout dates to be ‘dates when tickets, credits, passes or rewards cannot be used.’”
So, what do you think? Are the Dream Key allegations without merit? Do you believe the lawsuit should become a class action? Comment and let us know!