Disneyland Magic Key Settlement Money Expected in Spring 2024

Shannen Ace

Disneyland Magic Key Settlement Money Expected in Spring 2024

Shannen Ace

Disneyland Magic Key Settlement Money Expected in Spring 2024

We now know when Disney is expected to pay out the $9.5 million settlement they agreed upon to Disneyland Resort Magic Key holders. Magic Key holder Jenale Nielsen sued Disneyland Resort in 2021 alleging they falsely advertised the new Magic Key program, and the parties reached a settlement in July 2023.

Magic Key Settlement Payment

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Terms of the settlement and how Magic Key holders could receive money were revealed last month. Disney agreed to settle and pay out a total of $9.5 million to those who joined the class action suit. Each of the 103,435 settlement class members is expected to receive “approximately” $67.41 from the settlement fund — which totals out to about five percent of the cost of the Dream Key. Now the Orange County Register has shared more information about the payout’s potential timeline.

This week, U.S. District Court Judge David O. Carter granted preliminary approval of the payout. He set a final approval hearing for February 20, 2024. Payments will then be made within 60 days of the final judgment, so by April 20, 2024.

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The settlement amount will be sent to recipients by email or traditional mail, and Passholders don’t have to do anything in order to receive the money. Dream Key holders will automatically be enrolled in the disbursement fund, and do not have to submit a claim. However, if there are Dream Key holders who don’t want the money or plan to file their own lawsuit, they’ll have to request to be excluded from the settlement.

Dream Key holders should expect an email from a third-party settlement administrator, which will provide instructions on how to be paid electronically. The email will be sent to the address on file attached to their Disneyland Magic Key.

A check will only be sent by traditional mail if the email bounces back or if a Magic Key holder doesn’t have an email on file.

If you’ve moved or changed your address, don’t worry. The settlement administrator plans to set up a website where recipients can update their mailing or email addresses.

A Possible Second Payment

There is also a possibility that Dream Key holders could get more than $67.41. There is a possibility of a second round of payments, but only if the settlement fund has over $1 million left after the first set of payments.

This would depend on how many settlement checks are cashed within 90 days of being sent out, as well as how many emails bounce back or letters go unopened. If there is a second payout, it would be for at least $10 or more.

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

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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.

Are you among the over 100,000 Dream Key holders affected by this class action lawsuit? Will you be accepting the settlement payment when it eventually comes through? Share your thoughts with us in the comments.

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