Disneyland Claims Abuse as Termination of Club 33 Membership Draws Lawsuit
What's the secret word?
The 84-year-old author of a Disney fan book and 47-year member of Club 33 alleges in a lawsuit against the Burbank-based entertainment giant that his lifetime membership in Disneyland's exclusive private restaurant was wrongfully terminated.
The suit filed Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court states that Walt Dreamers Me is a "must read for every fan of Disney" and that strolling through the Anaheim theme park with author/plaintiff Joseph Cosgrove "and seeing every single employee say 'Hi' is like walking with a universally loved member of royalty."
But His Highness was ready to say "off with their heads" after his Club 33 privileges were cancelled due, the complaint alleges, to someone misusing his membership. The Lake Forest resident had provided unaccompanied guest access tickets to a woman who, unbeknownst to him, auctioned them at a charity, according to the suit.
Disney found out and immediately nixed the Club 33 membership that "was a lifetime of hard-earned respect and friendships as well as the very continuity itself in Joseph Cosgrove's life," the complaint states.
That was an overreaction, according to the suit that suggests Mouseketeers could have at most placed the membership on hold. Cosgrove alleges breach of contract, fraud, negligence and defamation and is seeking a court order to reinstate his membership. But what about unspecified compensatory and punitive damages? Yep, he wants those to.
He doesn't deserve them, to hear Disneyland spokeswoman Suzi Brown tell it. She reportedly told the Orange County Register that Cosgrove and his wife frequently misused their membership and that the unauthorized auction was the last straw.
"Over the years, the Cosgroves repeatedly transferred and sold their membership privileges, which was a clear violation of membership," Brown said. "We, unfortunately, were left with no other choice, in order to preserve the integrity of membership."
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