TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Two Walt Disney World passholders have filed a federal lawsuit against the theme park giant over its park reservation system and how it affects their premium level annual passes, as well as Disney World’s park hopping restrictions.
The lawsuit was filed Tuesday in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida.
The plaintiffs, known as “E.K.” and “M.P.” have been annual passholders for years, according to the lawsuit, owning what Disney previously called the “Platinum Pass,” prior to the theme park’s closure due to the coronavirus pandemic. The lawsuit states they both purchased the level of pass because it had no block out dates, unlike other passes sold by Disney World.
Disney World closed the doors to all four of its parks in March 2020 due to the pandemic and reopened in July 2020 with a Park Reservation System. All guests with tickets or annual passes wanting to visit a park still need a reservation for whatever park they planned to visit.
“It was believed by the Plaintiffs and other members of the class that this reservation system would only be temporary and would end once the threat of the pandemic lessened because they had not been subjected to this system pre-pandemic,” the lawsuit states.
The lawsuit states that the plaintiffs believe that Disney has broken its contract with passholders, as it is restricting higher-tiered pass members from its parks on days reservations may not be available to those with the higher level of pass.
Disney World’s limit on “park hopping,” or the ability to visit multiple parks in one day, is also mentioned in the lawsuit as another breach of contract, according to the plaintiffs.
Previously, those with a Disney World annual pass were free to visit as many parks as they chose in one visit. Since the pandemic, park hopping has been limited until after 2 p.m.
The lawsuit implies that Disney World “has seemingly implemented” a system where only a certain number of higher-tiered passholders can make a park reservation, compared to other types of single-day and multi-day tickets sold by Disney.
Officials from Disney World issued a statement to Florida reporter Gabrielle Russon, saying:
“Annual Passholders continue to be some of our biggest fans and most loyal guests. We’ve been upfront with Passholders about the updates we’ve made, and we offered them the flexibility to opt-in or opt-out of the program early in the pandemic, including refunds if they desired. This lawsuit mischaracterizes the program and its history, and we will respond further in court.”Walt Disney World Resort
The plaintiffs are demanding a jury trial and class-action status for the lawsuit.