A lawsuit initially filed against Walt Disney Parks and Resorts in 2021 over alleged false advertising of the Magic Key program at Disneyland reached a settlement in July, and the terms of that settlement have been revealed; each settlement class member will receive “approximately” $67.41 from a settlement fund totaling $9.5 million, should the proposed terms ultimately be approved.
Magic Key Lawsuit Settlement Terms Released
The terms were highlighted in a 32-page motion filed by plaintiff Jenale Nielsen on September 7. The listed plaintiffs are Nielsen “individually and on behalf of others similarly situated,” in this case, holders of the now-discontinued Dream Key. The over 100,000 people impacted will electronically receive payment from the lawsuit and do not need to submit a claim in order to receive funds.
Under the Settlement, all Settlement Class Members who do not submit valid and timely Requests for Exclusion will automatically receive an equal payment from the $9,500,000.00 Settlement Fund, approximately $67.41, without having to fill out a claim form. Further, after the initial distribution of payments, if the amount remaining in the Settlement Fund . . . is greater than $10.00 per Settlement Class Member, each Settlement Class Member will receive a second pro rata payment.Proposed Settlement in Jenale Nielsen v. Walt Disney Parks and Resorts
Magic Key Lawsuit
Disneyland introduced the “Magic Key” program as its new “frequent visitor” offering in August 2021. The tiered system included four different passes, ranging from the Imagine Key at $399 to the Dream Key, with an annual price tag of $1,399. Advertised as a major selling point of the Dream Key was “no blackout dates,” which is the element that serves as the crux of this lawsuit.
When Nielsen filed the lawsuit in December 2021, she alleged that Disneyland treated Magic Key holders as “second class,” indicating that she and other Dream Key holders actually were prevented from visiting the park on certain days due to Disneyland artificially limiting Magic Key reservations and the number of key holders that can visit on any given day.
Initially filed as a civil lawsuit, the case was moved from state court to a United States District Court after Disney filed a notice of removal in December 2021.
Disney and Nielsen agreed to settle the lawsuit in July 2023 following an in-person mediation. The two parties had until August 31 to finalize the terms of the settlement, but that date was delayed. The terms were ultimately agreed upon and released on September 7.
Disney has already taken action to prevent similar litigation from occurring in the future. There is no mention of “no blackout dates” in any current Key description, and a clause that requires any Key Holder to waive the right to file a class action lawsuit has been added to the terms and conditions of pass ownership. Additionally, the Dream Key is no longer offered, ostensibly replaced by the Inspire Key.
How do you feel about the proposed settlement in the Magic Key lawsuit? Let us know in the comments.