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Disney Annual Pass Holders Sued Company, Said It 'Abused' Pandemic to Add Unfair Visiting Rules Two people filed a class action lawsuit in late October accusing the company of deceptive business practices for its rule changes around annual pass holders post-pandemic.

By Gabrielle Bienasz

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

BRYAN R. SMITH I Getty Images
The Magic Kingdom in Orlando, Florida.

Disney may not be the most wonderful place on earth if your annual pass doesn't allow you to visit freely.

That's at least according to a class action lawsuit that accuses Walt Disney Parks and Resorts of breach of implied contract, among other things, for changing the rules on annual pass holders after the pandemic hit.

It was filed on October 18, according to Insider.

"Disney has abused a global pandemic to take advantage of its Platinum Pass holders and Platinum Plus pass holders even after the threat of the pandemic has subsided," the lawsuit said.

Related: 'You Have No Human Decency': Disney Issues Apology After Internet Goes Wild Over A Disneyland Employee Who Ruined a Couple's Proposal

Disney consumers of late have also expressed anger with price increases at Victoria & Albert's restaurant and in the park as a whole. But these customers are fighting back with more than angry words on social media.

The crux of the issue is around Disney's old system of annual passes, which allowed people entrance to the park all year, generally speaking. Two of those types of passes, Platinum and Platinum Plus Pass did not have "blackout dates."

These dates, which affected the cheaper Gold and Silver annual passes, tended to correspond with high attendance at the park, it adds.

The two customers purchased Platinum Plus passes. One of the plaintiffs said she bought one for herself and each member of their family, for $633 each. The other one, whose pass is set to expire in 2030, paid $67.75 a month.

"Prior to March 15, 2020, Platinum Pass and Platinum Plus Pass holders were permitted to go to all four Florida Disney parks 365 days a year without any Blockout Dates or restrictions," the lawsuit wrote.

Then, after the coronavirus hit, Disney "effectively" introduced blackout dates, as well as other restrictions, presumably for crowd control. The lawsuit claims the company has acted unfairly in not lifting them as the pandemic became less of an issue, in their estimation.

Now, Disney has a reservation system for all visitors, including annual passes. The lawsuit contends only a certain number of Platinum Passholders are only allowed a day, ruling some days out.

The group also used to be able to "park hop" to more than one Florida park in one day, which the company only now allows after 2 p.m., per Insider.

Further, the group was not allowed to make more than five (it was three) days of reservations at a time, and you couldn't book days again until the trip had passed.

"This meant that in order for Plaintiffs to make a reservation for the month of November, while currently in the month of May, they would be unable to use their Platinum Pass for nearly six months," the lawsuit said.

It contends that none of these restrictions were in the original agreements of the passes purchased and that thus the company is engaging in things like unjust enrichment and in violation of the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.

Disney now offers a different set of passes, Insider noted. The plaintiffs said their passes were switched "unilaterally" to a new one, the Incredi-Pass, which has more restrictions and fewer benefits than the platinum one purchased, they argued.

Disney did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But the company pushed back against the lawsuit to News 6.

"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," the company wrote.

Gabrielle Bienasz is a staff writer at Entrepreneur. She previously worked at Insider and Inc. Magazine. 

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