Disneyland is rescinding the annual passes of ticket holders who scoop up exclusive collectibles and limited-time merchandise to resell for a profit, the OC Register reports.
The Happiest Place on Earth frequently offers souvenirs available exclusively for AP holders — such as a popcorn bucket celebrating Mickey Mouse's 90th birthday, or a character bucket molded after the Little Green Men from the Toy Story franchise — which quickly prove sought after treasures by park guests and collectors alike.
Past merchandise available only to AP holders includes a line of Haunted Mansion-inspired goodies, such as mugs, clothing, and plush dolls, as well as Pixar Fest t-shirts and pin sets.
Such items have sparked a rise of "personal shoppers" and resellers who make a trek to the park specifically to purchase the limited merchandise, either to sell to individual clients or to put for sale — with a significant price increase — on digital stores like eBay.
Disney is reportedly "aggressively" targeting such resellers and revoking their annual passes as punishment because the practice of utilizing an AP discount to resell exclusive items is prohibited in the passholder contract.
The agreement states that "benefits and discounts are for personal use only and may not be used for any commercial purpose including, without limitation, to obtain or purchase items or services with the intent to resell such items or services."
Despite being in clear violation of the terms, some flippers say they were surprised to receive a letter informing them of a one-year pass annulment given with "no warning."
"They took away my pass right before the holidays. … I had several people tell me that other people had been hit too," said San Diego resident Samantha Cudnohufsky, who noted she still has to make her monthly payments on the pass until May.
"They're not stopping the payments," Cudnohufsky said. "I still have to make my payments or they will send me to collection. It's about $71 a month."
In a written statement shared by the OC Register, Disneyland said that "Park Rules and Annual Pass Terms and Conditions are in place to help protect the experience for all of our Guests."
The passes, which act on a tier system and currently cost between $549 to $1,149 per year, entitles holders to repeat admission except on select blockout dates as well as discounts on merchandise and food items.
Some items, such as the special AP-branded popcorn buckets, have a limit of one bucket per guest per transaction — but guests are free to re-enter the line or join another line, sometimes hours-long, to get their hands on the exclusive march typically offered in limited quantities.
It's not personal shoppers who are the problem when fetching specific items, said Northridge, California resident Rose Keiser, but flippers, who make it hard for regular park guests to obtain special items they don't intend to resell elsewhere.
"I think Disney is looking at the wrong group of people," Keiser said. "Personal shoppers are not the problem. Flippers are the problem. A flipper is going to go to the park and walk out with 10 (collectible popcorn) buckets."
Keiser has spotted flippers that have returned to the line in progress "to sell to people who are at the back of the line."
Some fans have speculated the crackdown comes as Disney aims to encourage customers to make purchases through its Shop Disney Parks app and website.
Reseller Shaun McClure said he earns an average $200-$300 per month reselling merchandise like limited-quantity pins, but his "side business" was halted by Disney, who McClure said tracked him through a social media page linked to his account.
"I called the number on the back of my pass and they explained my account had been linked to a social media page selling Disney merchandise, so we were blocked," McClure said. "They told me after a 12-month period, I could be reinstated. To be frank, I'd never read any of the terms and conditions on the pass."
Like McClure, Cudnohufsky said she started reselling "as a little side business to help people get stuff."1comments
"It was just a little bit to help out. I knew Disney was greedy," Cudnohufsky said, "but I didn't know how greedy."
Disney "reserves the right to cancel, suspend or revoke any Passport or deny Theme Park admission to any Passholder at any time for any reason," as stated in the annual passholder contract.