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Disney Dream Key Blockout Dates Prompt Federal Class Action Lawsuit

Disney has moved a class action lawsuit filed against it over Dream Key pass blockout dates from California state court to federal court.

Disgruntled Disneyland Dream Key passholders who believe they were the victims of a blockout of reservations for the Anaheim, Calif., theme park will take their putative class action lawsuit to federal court.

Plaintiff Jenale Nielsen of Santa Clara County, Calif., who originally filed the lawsuit on Nov. 15 in California Superior Court, said in court papers that she seeks to represent "thousands" of Disneyland Dream Key passholders who Disney allegedly blocked out from reservations in November on at least 17 dates, despite the company asserting in advertisements that the Dream Key program had no blockout dates.

Disney has over 3,600 Dream Key passholders who pay $1,399 for the annual pass, which advertisements stated had "No Blockout dates," according to court papers.

Dream Key is a part of Disneyland's Magic Key annual pass program that also includes the Believe Key for $949, Enchant Key for $649, and Imagine Key, which is for Southern California residents only at $399 for select days of the year. 

The complaint asserts claims for breach of contract, negligent misrepresentation, concealment/nondisclosure and violations of the California Consumer Legal Remedies Act, California False Advertising Law and California Unfair Competition Law.

The plaintiffs seek damages, attorneys' fees and costs and equitable relief. 

Walt Disney Co.  (DIS) - Get Walt Disney Company Report on Wednesday filed a notice of removal to move Nielsen's lawsuit from California Superior Court to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California in Los Angeles.

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Disney in court papers said it "disputes the allegations in the complaint and disputes that Nielsen is entitled to any relief." The company said it "denies that it is liable to Nielsen or the putative class in any way whatsoever."

However, Disney also said its time to respond to the complaint and summons has not expired, and it has not served or filed an answer.

Lake Buena Vista, Fla.-based Walt Disney Parks and Resorts US is allowed to move the case to federal court, since it is a class action, members of the class number not less than 100, any member of the class is a citizen of a state different from any defendant, and the value of the case exceeds $5 million.

Nielsen said in court papers that she was interested in the Dream Key pass because, according to Disney, it was not subject to "blockout dates" and would provide her the most opportunities to visit the theme park.

The plaintiff purchased the Dream Key pass on Sept. 23 and on Oct. 19 attempted to obtain admission to Disneyland in November, but the Disney reservation website informed her that 17 dates in November, including all weekend days, were unavailable for Dream Key passholders. 

After further investigation on Oct. 19, Nielsen alleged that neither Disneyland nor California Adventure had sold all of their tickets for any day in November. However, Disney had blocked out reservations so that they were only available for new purchases and not available for Dream Key passholders.

Nielsen still obtained admission to Disneyland in November by purchasing a ticket despite having a Dream Key annual pass, which couldn't get her a ticket.