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Lawsuit Filed Against Disney Alleges Disneyland Resort’s Magic Key Program Deceptively Advertises “No Blockouts” Despite Reservation Difficulties

It’s no secret that the Magic Key program, the replacement for Annual Passes at the Disneyland Resort, has been rather controversial among fans for its notorious difficulty to secure reservations for the two California theme parks. One woman feels that Disney falsely advertised their highest tier Dream Key as having “no blockout dates” despite the very limited bucket of reservations available for Key holders and as such is suing Disney.

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According to the Orange County Register, Jenale Nielsen, a Dream Key holder, has filed a $5 million lawsuit against Disney alleging that Disneyland treats Magic Key holders as “second class” ticket holders by artificially limiting Magic Key reservations and the number of key holders that can visit on any given day.

Nielsen reportedly seeks to have the suit certified as class-action on behalf of all Magic Key holders, although this has not happened yet.

Reservations for Magic Key holders have been notoriously difficult to obtain since the program’s launch in August as a replacement for the former Annual Passes. The new system requires reservations to be booked before visiting the Disneyland Resort, but reservations are frequently unavailable for near-term dates and virtually all available weekends. However, standard tickets have been available for purchase on almost every day, with only a few near-term dates unavailable.

“The problem was not that Disney had reached its capacity and therefore could not provide reservations to its Dream Key passholders. The problem was that Disney had decided to block out reservations so that they were only available to new purchases and were not available to Dream Key passholders. Disney appears to be limiting the number of reservations available to Dream Key passholders on any given day in order to maximize the number of single day and other passes that Disney can sell,” according to the suit. Nielsen says she would not have purchased a Dream Key if she knew so many dates would be unavailable, and claims she purchased the Dream Key believing that she could make reservations as long as capacity was available at Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure. In the end, Nielsen purchased a standard day ticket to visit on her desired dates in November despite holding a Dream Key.

The suit contends that Disney is engaging in unfair, unlawful and deceptive business practices. Disneyland is accused of breach of contract, negligent misrepresentation and false advertising and seeks civil penalties to prevent Disney from engaging in similar unlawful trade practices, restitution based on the harm consumers experienced and repayment of all revenue gained by the practice, according to the Orange County Register. Disney has not yet filed an answer to these claims.

Dream Key-tier Magic Keys have been sold out since October, with the second-highest tier Believe Key selling out late last month.

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Source: Orange County Register

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  1. Hey Bob Chapek, this is why you are seen as a bean counter, because you are. This is all done on your watch. Get used to this kind of PR, you are hemorrhaging loyal Disney followers because of moves exactly like this. Yes, people will still come to the parks, but your return guests are leaving in droves because you no longer care for the guest experience that Disney is no longer delivering, your alienating a large group of people carrying those beans that you so eagerly desire. You are very short sighted, and sad.

  2. While on it’s own I don’t think think this will go anywhere, and really $5 is a ridiculous amount, the point is valid.
    As a Dream Key household what I am hoping for is a class-action suit and that would get attention form both Disney and the media.
    If is was me I would be asking to:

    A. End the reservations for all Magic Key passes (That is the availability, if they still require reservations so they know an accurate guest count, OK. But the No-Blockouts for the Dream Key should be just that!) All other passes should also be able to go whenever their pass is valid. Also extend the pass by at least 2 months to cover this the missed days one could go.

    Or.. offer to the passholder:

    B. Disney should offer a 100% refund, regardless of how many times you went as an option.

  3. PS: Honestly what Disney should have down is just offer the Flex Pass as they had in 2019 for Disneyland if they were going to screw around with this!

  4. This reservation nonsense is the reason I dropped my annual pass that I have had for decades. I could say maybe it was needed during the reduced capacity timeframe, but the gates are wide open now so this is purely for the company’s convenience and planning. it’s a negative effect on customers.

  5. Thank you Jenale! I too have complained that the Dream Key, the highest tier of the Key program, is supposed to provide NO BLOCKOUT DAYS, yet when trying to get a reservation especially on weekends or on short notice,they are rarely available. I live out of state and have had an annual pass for over 20 years because my husband works in LA quite a bit and I like to spend a few hours on the weekends when he works. I also like to go sometimes when just passing through for a few hours. Not everyone nows their work schedule 60 days in advance and has short notice on when they have time off to go. This in tiitself causes the KEY holders to reserve days they MIGHT go and then cancel last minute when they can’t. This ties up days that then can’t be reserved by those who have specific days they could go. Additionally, We can no longer go back and forth between DL and CA. I used to go to CA for a couple hours in the morning then bounce over to DL (or visa versa) but now you must choose the park you want to visit first and can only be admitted into the other park after 1pm. That in itself blocks the key holders, especially the DREAM KEY holders from accessing both parks for just a couple hours each if that is all the time we have that day. And we don’t even get a hard copy pass. So when I left my phone at home, I couldn’t enter the park, or get the discount at the stores. I am so disappointed as a past loyal annual pass holder in the lack of consideration given to those participating in the DREAM Key. We should have just bought a lower KEY with block out days because that is exactly what the reservation system does to the DREAM KEY holders… blocks us out.

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