Disneyland Paris accused over 'higher charges' for UK holidaymakers
British holidaymakers are being charged more to go to Disneyland Paris than their French counterparts, the European Commission has said.
EC sources say complaints against the theme park are just the tip of the iceberg, with claims of discrimination on the basis of nationality also being made against Spanish hotels, Austrian ski lift firms and the city of Venice.
Disneyland Paris is facing a pricing probe after it was found that Britons can be charged up to 15% more than French nationals.
EU rules allow for price differences between member countries but state that all citizens, regardless of nationality, should have the opportunity to purchase the cheaper tickets.
A spokeswoman for the EC said consumers were "often prevented from getting the best price" and confirmed the Commission were "scrutinising a number of complaints, including several against Disneyland Paris".
She added: "D iscrimination can take place in several ways. Sometimes service providers automatically re-direct consumers to their country-specific website, often with less attractive prices and offers. Sometimes they simply refuse delivery to the consumer's country of residence."
According to the theme park's UK website, disneylandParis.co.uk, a family of two adults and two children would pay £232 for a one-day park ticket whereas a family of the same size booking on the French version, disneylandparis.fr, are offered the same ticket for £199.
A spokesman for Disneyland Paris said the company offers EU citizens different deals throughout the year by offering "market-specific promotions" but denied that customers had the opportunity to take advantage of the prices from other countries.
He said: "Promotions take into consideration factors specific to people in the local market, such as their school holiday calendar and booking patterns. Anyone aware of a promotion running in a market not local to them, can contact the central reservations office and request to make that specific booking."
However the Press Association encountered difficulties when attempting to book the cheaper French tickets through the central reservations office, constantly being referred back to the British office.
French authorities now have the responsibility to ensure that Disneyland Paris is complying with the EU rules, said an EC source.
Christophe Murphy, vice president of Disneyland Paris said offers should be able to be purchased from a different country through the reservations office, as it has been protocol for "many years".
He added: "It has always been the case that our offers from every country are available through the call centre."
Though Disney would not comment on the EC investigation, Mr Murphy said the way promotions were handled is "something we will have to look at".
Disney superfan Adam Goodger said he had been aware of the price differences for some time.
Mr Goodger, 34, runs an unofficial Disney fan website, britdisney.com. He said: "I'm surprised because it doesn't fit in with their ethos and I would be very surprised if it was something they tried to get away with. It might be that it wasn't deliberate and they didn't purposefully set out to offer some people cheaper tickets."