Some customers frustrated by lack of refunds for 2020 Canada Wonderland season

Canada's Wonderland is seen in this undated photograph posted on the amusement park's website. (canadaswonderland.com)

As Canada’s Wonderland begins to reopen after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, some customers say they are frustrated that they haven’t been able to get a refund for the passes and tickets purchased years earlier.

Dina Alexander, a resident of Curtis, Ont., said that she purchased two season passes to the amusement park in December of 2019 as a birthday present for her son. As a long-time fan of Canada’s Wonderland, she was thrilled to get the early bird pricing.

“I have been going to Canada's Wonderland every year since I was 19 years old, and I'm like 41,” she told CTV News Toronto. “It's been like a family thing where we've been taking our kids there since they were little. I have pictures of them there when they were babies.”

But now, two years later, she says she has no desire to go back to the park.

Alexander is a cancer survivor and is immune compromised. Her son suffers from asthma. While she loves amusement parks, she said there is no way she can go until the variants are under control.

“I would love to go back …. but health-wise, we can't. We absolutely can't,” she said.

“I'm sitting here with no refund, no tickets. The park is open, and I can't use it.”

Canada’s Wonderland closed for the season in December 2019 and remained shuttered for the next 19 months as Ontario grappled with three waves of the COVID-19 pandemic. They had hoped to reopen in the summer of 2020 and put a series of protocols in place in order to adhere to public safety regulations—but were eventually told they had to remain closed.

The park finally opened its gates to the general public on July 7.

Season passes and daily tickets are typically non-refundable and non-exchangeable, according to the park’s website.

However, due to the pandemic, Canada’s Wonderland has said that they will extend season passes to include the next season through to Labour Day 2022.

Any day ticket purchased prior to this season is valid until Oct. 31.

“We will issue refunds for guests with extenuating circumstances like health issues, or for guests who have moved out of provinces,” Director of Communications Grace Peacock said in a statement. “Guests should contact our Guest Services team who will review each case on an individual basis.”

Alexander said that she has exchanged more than a dozen back-and-forth emails with various customer service representatives—and each time she asks for a refund they tell her the season passes worth just under $200 are still valid for this summer and there are protocols in place to keep people safe.

“I was getting the same type of email, it almost felt like they were copying and pasting the answers,” she said, adding that her last email was in mid-May and that she asked for a supervisor to call her.

“That was the last I've heard from anybody. There was no response to that email, there was no phone call, there was nothing.”

“I want my money back, and I have absolutely no desire to step foot inside Canada’s Wonderland.”

Another Toronto resident, who only wanted to be identified by her first name, purchased seven day tickets in 2020, worth about $350, for family members travelling from Europe for a visit. She said she didn’t anticipate the border closures and travel restrictions that would follow.

“With family members not being able to travel, we would not have been able to use the tickets,” Céline said. “Since then, we've reached out multiple times by email as well as by phone—by email is sort of fairly sluggish and the responses are like, standard responses, and then by phone, it's basically impossible to get through customer service.”

Céline said she felt like the customer service agent was “stalling” and ignoring her direct request for a refund. She has emailed the park four to five times and called the park three times, waiting between 30 to 45 minutes before being forced to hang up.

“I'm finding that it's kind of dishonest from this company, that they're not providing their service and they're expecting to hold my money basically, and the solution they're providing is not acceptable. They did not provide the service in 2020, which is when I bought the tickets for, so at this point I should be refunded.”

“I'm sure I'm not the only person in situation.”

There have been numerous posts on social media by individuals frustrated with the refund process. One person said in May that she has been a loyal Canada’s Wonderland season pass holder for 20 years and questioned why she couldn’t get her money back for 2020.

“You can't charge and then not provide a service,” they said.

Another user posted in June that they moved to Vancouver and were still waiting for a refund for his 2020 season pass.

It is not clear if those refund requests have been resolved.

After being notified of Alexander and Celine’s individual claims, Peacock said their circumstances “do seem to qualify” for a refund and that there may have been a “miscommunication.” She also said a guest service manager will look further into their cases.

As part of the amusement park’s COVID-19 safety protocols, anyone who wants to visit Canada’s Wonderland must book a reservation and adhere to physical distancing. Masks must be worn on most rides, indoors, and in areas where physical distancing cannot be maintained.