Disney Fights Back Against Annual Passholder Lawsuit

Fantasyland, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World
Fantasyland, Magic Kingdom, the Walt Disney World Resort / Credit: Disney

When Walt Disney World Resort reopened after its forced pandemic closure, there were many procedures in place that altered the Disney experience. Most notably, there were strict capacity limits in the Parks, masks were mandatory, and social distancing was enforced. Perhaps the biggest change came in the form of theme park reservations. To enter the Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, EPCOT, or Animal Kingdom, Guests would need not only a valid ticket, but also a reservation. From the beginning, the reservation system was a controversial one, and, three years later, Guests are still upset about it.

Disney's Animal Kingdom

Credit: Disney

In addition to all the health and safety procedures that were in place upon reopening, Disney also paused the sale of Annual Passes. Those who already had an Annual Pass could renew, but those who wanted to purchase a new one would have to wait. Finally, when Annual Passes did go back on sale — as in the past — the top tier Annual Pass came with no blackout dates, at least that’s what it said.

However, according to a lawsuit filed last October, two Annual Passholders claim Disney’s reservation system is a “predatory business”, creating artificial blackout dates. Many Disney World and Disneyland Passholders had issues making reservations, as Disney only allotted a certain amount of reservations for Annual Passholders.

EPCOT Spaceship EarthCredit: Disney

According to Florida Politics, Disney has filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, claiming that the women had the chance to opt out of their Annual Passes, but they chose to keep them, knowing the Park reservation conditions.

As Disney seeks to dismiss the lawsuit, the company argued it had worked with passholders during the pandemic when the rules changed, and online reservations were required.

“Kelly and Paone omitted from their complaint everything that Walt Disney Parks and Resorts did for annual passholders during the transition to the reservation system — including, most notably, giving every passholder the chance to opt-out and be refunded,” Disney said in court documents, noting the two women chose to continue on with their passes.

Walt Disney World Railroad

Credit: Disney

The two women had originally filed the lawsuit anonymously, but the judge told them that he would throw the lawsuit out if they did not put their names on the lawsuit.

When Walt Disney World Resort reopened after the pandemic, Guests who had purchased a Walt Disney World Annual Pass were allowed to walk away from the contracts they had signed. Disney said that they would refund Guests money based on how much time was left on the Pass they no longer wanted.

About Krysten Swensen

A born and bred New England girl living the Disney life in Southern California. I love to read, to watch The Golden Girls, and love everything to do with Disney and Universal. I also love to share daily doses of Disney on my Disney Instagram @BrazzleDazzleDisney!

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