Disneyland settles Magic Key lawsuit

September 9, 2023, 2:03 AM · The Disneyland Resort has settled a lawsuit over its Magic Key annual pass program.

According to the proposed settlement for the case that was filed in U.S. federal court, Disneyland will pay a total of $9.5 million to plaintiffs and their attorneys. That will work out to a payment of $67.41 to each of the estimated 103,000-plus former Dream Key passholders represented in the case.

A Dream Key passholder filed the lawsuit, claiming that Disney falsely promoted the Dream Key as having "no blockout" access to Disneyland and Disney California Adventure. While Disneyland promoted the top level of Magic Key as having no blockout dates, it also consistently stated that advance reservations were required to use a Magic Key pass to enter the parks and that those reservations were limited. [See Here's the Scoop on Disneyland's New Annual Pass Program for our coverage of Disneyland's original Magic Key announcement.]

Ultimately, rather than asking a jury to decide whether "no blockout dates" meant a level of undelivered access to the parks or not, the parties decide to settle.

Disneyland withdrew the Dream Key when it began allowing Magic Key holders to renew their passes in August 2022, replacing it with the Inspire Key, which is blocked out around the Christmas and New Year's holidays. The Disneyland Resort currently is not selling any levels of its Magic Key passes to new customers. Existing Magic Key holders may continue to renew their passes starting 30 days before their expiration, however.

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Replies (4)

September 10, 2023 at 4:51 PM

So that is like, what, 5% the cost of an AP (and no guarantee that you can use it)? Disney may be paying, but they definitely won this case.

September 10, 2023 at 8:18 PM

It's not even one free day at the parks, using the best locals' discount available.

This was going to be a tough case for the plaintiffs to win (IMHO - I would have voted for them to pound sand if I were on the jury), but defending it in court could have cost Disney more in legal staff time and preparation than they ultimately paid to settle.

September 11, 2023 at 7:58 AM

As with most class action lawsuits, the only winners are the lawyers.

I do think one interesting tidbit here is the number of members of the class (103,000+), which not only means that Disney was making in excess of $150 million off this one admission product (probably closer to $200 million if you assume not everyone joined the class), but it means they could completely fill both California parks 2 times over just with this one level of pass holder. It further illustrates the issues Disney was dealing with in terms of crowd control and still trying to give guests a decent value. The fact that over a 100k people were willing to shell out $1,600 per year for the top level pass demonstrates how difficult it has been for Disney to revamp the AP program while still keeping everyone happy.

September 13, 2023 at 4:20 PM

I saw that within a day or two of the settlement, Disney stopped all sales of Magic Keys again. Whaddaya think - is Disney putting the sales on hold until they can come up with mice-type (no pun intended) that will make the corporate attorneys happy, or are they trying to prevent a spike in Magic Key sales by folks looking to give or get them as holiday gifts?

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