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Student takes Disney to court over food ban

    A student  of East China University of Political Science and Law has taken Shanghai Disney Resort to court over the theme park’s ban on visitors bringing their own food and some beverages.

    According to the Pudong New Area People’s Court, the case had its hearing but no verdict has been passed yet.

    The student has also filed a report with the public interest litigation department of the Songjiang District People’s Procuratorate and their materials have been transferred to prosecutors in Pudong.

    The college student, surnamed Wang, claimed that she carried some snacks to the resort in January this year. When she was entering the theme park, her bag was checked by gate staff, who then prevented her from getting in.

    Resort rules state that visitors cannot bring food, alcoholic beverages and non-alcoholic drinks over 600 milliliters.

    Believing the “illegal” rules had infringed on her rights, Wang decide to sue the resort.

    She earlier told media that on January 28, she booked a Disney ticket online for January 30 but there was no notification posted on it about the food ban.

    She then bought some snacks worth more than 40 yuan (US$5.6), and tried to take them in. But she was stopped at the entrance. The staffer first told her to throw the snacks; when she refused, he told her to eat them or store them in a locker at the cost of 80 yuan a day.

    Candy floss

    The argument escalated, forcing Wang to call the police. She also made complaints with the Shanghai public service hotline 12345 and consumer complaint hotline 12315 but was told that the Disney rules are legal. So, Wang had to eat some of the food and leave the rest behind before getting entry.

    In the park, she bought candy floss for 30 yuan, a much higher price than that sold in the market. Other food items were similarly costly.

    On March 5, she filed a suit at the Pudong New Area People’s Court, demanding the park cancel the food-ban rule and compensate her the cost of her food — 46.3 yuan. A trial was held on April 23.

    Wang’s lawyer Yuan Li said there were three points of dispute in the case.

    According to Yuan, the resort insisted that it never forces visitors to have meals inside. They can always go outside the park for some food and then come back without being charged extra.

    It also said that allowing outside food brings risks on aspects of food security and causes littering. Moreover, since Wang had visited the park, the service contract between them was sealed.

    Yuan refuted the claims and said based on consumer rights protection law, the business operator couldn’t use rules, announcements or notifications to eliminate or limit consumers’ rights. If consumers choose to eat outside the park, they have to go a long way out and then line up again to get in, which means they have less time for entertainment.

    She said the park shouldn’t ban outside food over some hidden risks while those having food inside can also cause litter. Li added the contract had defects.

    The resort has yet to comment.

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