Disney quietly has been under fire for its new policy at its theme parks for how it accommodates children with disabilities at Disneyland and Walt Disney World. Under its previous policy, parents with disabled children could skip ahead in lines at attractions. However, in a broad change to its policy last fall, line skipping was significantly curtailed. Instead, disabled children could obtain a card that would allow them to return at a later time so that they would not have to wait in such long lines. According to Disney officials, the change was prompted by “widespread” abuse of the previous policy.
However, the new policy appears to be fraught with problems.
In fact, the parents of 16 disabled children brought suit against Disney, claiming that the new policy violated their (and their children’s) rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The suit cited a number of accounts where children experienced traumatic meltdowns because they could not stand the long waits, ostensibly even after they were given a specific time to return.
Disney has staunchly defended its actions. It recently filed a 93-page motion asking a federal court judge to dismiss the parents’ claim, presumably for failing to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Disney insists that it works with guests who have disabled children on an individual basis and that each guest is given the proper level of accommodation required by law. At the same time, it believes that it was not required to give “unlimited, repeated, immediate access” to rides and attractions as the only means of accommodation.
It remains to be seen whether the suit will be dismissed.
Source: Disabilityscoop.com “Disney wants disability access lawsuit thrown out,” Michelle Diament, July 11, 2014