The Shanghai Disney Resort has finally responded to a lawsuit filed by an angry law student earlier this year regarding a ban on outside food. The case comes after the student was forced to throw away her food before entering the park, in line with a rule imposed last November.
“Regarding the ban on outside food and beverages, Shanghai Disney Resort is consistent with most theme parks in China, as well as other Disney parks in Asia,” the resort said in a statement to China Central Television. “If visitors bring their own food and beverages, they may enjoy them in the rest area outside the park.”
In January, Wang, a third year student at the East China University of Political Science and Law, was refused entry to the theme park because she had bought food from outside the premises. A staff member told her she could throw away her snacks, totaling RMB40 (USD6), finish them outside the park or store them in a rental locker. Wang decided to throw the snacks away because her ticket could not be refunded.
In March, the student filed a lawsuit against Shanghai International Theme Park Co. Ltd. over the incident, calling for the ban on outside food to be removed and for compensation totaling RMB46.3 for her lost snacks. The case held its first hearing in April, but is still ongoing.
In an earlier attempt at justice, Wang had sent complaints to two government hotlines, but to no avail. She conducted a survey at her university on the ban of outside food by the theme park. While many respondents were unhappy with the ban, she was alone in pursuing further legal action.
Although theme park rules are often seen as standard, lawyer Xu Wanhui of Dentons Law Firm in Shanghai insists that rules often place unfair restrictions on parkgoers.
“Because customers are mainly paying for the entertainment value of the rides at Disney resorts when buying their tickets, and not directly for any food, it is not within Disney’s authority to prohibit visitors from bringing in food from outside,” Xu told Sixth Tone. “Consumers have the right to disagree with a company’s rules, as purchasing tickets does not indicate consenting to all of its regulations.”
[Cover image by That’s]