Disney cartoon characters interact with visitors at the Shanghai Disney Resort. (Photo: Yin Liqin for China Daily)
Shanghai Disney Resort was brought to court for asking a 10-year-old to buy an adult ticket, the Beijing News reported on Tuesday.
Liu Chao, an alias, bought a parent-child ticket package online for 499 yuan ($75) before taking his 10-year-old daughter to the resort in January 2017. However, he was asked by Disneyland workers to buy an adult ticket for the girl at the ticketing window on the grounds she was taller than 1.4 meters. Liu bought an adult ticket and visited the park anyway, he said.
After the visit, Liu brought Shanghai Disney Resort to court, asking the resort to refund his adult ticket and revise its ticketing standards for children to conform with Hong Kong Disneyland, which gives preferential children’s tickets to those aged between the ages of 3 and 11 inclusively, and free entry to children under 3.
“Our tickets are priced based on our positioning in the market, which doesn't violate any laws or regulations,” Shanghai Disney Resort argued at Monday's trial.
According to Shanghai Disney Resort's records, Liu used his parent-child ticket for his visit in January in 2017, and couldn't provide evidence for his purchase of an adult ticket. Liu was informed 1.4 meters is the ceiling for children tickets when he bought the parent-child ticket on ctrip.com, as stated in the online purchase notice provided by ctrip.com, according to the resort’s claims at trial.
Using height as a standard for children’s tickets actually deprives the rights of taller minors to enjoy preferential tickets — a violation of the law on the protection of minors — according to Di Shiqing and Li Junmin, Liu’s lawyers. Liu himself was absent from the trial.
Shanghai Disney Resort's official website sells three types of tickets: standard, children’s and senior tickets. Those who stand above 1.4 meters are required to buy a standard ticket at 575 yuan, those who stand between 1.0 and 1.4 meters are entitled to a children’s ticket at 431 yuan, and those above the age of 65 are entitled to a senior ticket, also 431 yuan.
An average 11-year-old Chinese boy stands between 1.321 meters and 1.521 meters, and an average 11-year-old Chinese girl stands between 1.334 meters and 1.533 meters, according to recent statistics.
This means according to the Shanghai Disney ticketing standards, many 11-year-old Chinese children may need to buy a standard ticket just because they stand taller than 1.4 meters.
With Shanghai excepted, all other Disney resorts give preferential tickets to children based on age. For example, in Tokyo Disneyland, children under 4 are entitled to free entry, children between 4 and 11 are entitled to discounted tickets, 12- to 17-year-olds are entitled to student tickets, and those 18 and above must buy adult tickets. Disney parks in Paris, Hong Kong and California also use age as a standard for preferential children tickets.
In China, many transportation companies give preferential tickets to children based on their height. However, taking into account the rising height of Chinese children, railway authorities revised the height range for children’s tickets, going from 1.1 and 1.4 meters to the current standard, between 1.2 and 1.5 meters.