The Walt Disney Company is reportedly fighting to keep 30 lawsuits out of court. The lawsuits come from park guests with autism who claim the Disney parks did not properly accommodate them, according to Orlando Sentinel.
- Disney filed a petition to combat an August court decision allowing the guests to bring their lawsuits to court.
- These cases involve guests with severe autism who allege that Disney’s policies are in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act .
- While Disney has a program in place for guest with disabilities, ABC News reports that plaintiffs have claimed not enough was being done to accommodate them when visiting Disney Parks, such as avoiding waits that would allow them to keep to their established routines.
- Guests with disabilities visiting Disney Parks can get a special card — a Disability Access Service card — that allows them to make “appointment times” at attractions with wait times longer than 15 minutes. They are able to make unlimited appointments throughout the day.
- Cast Members will give the guest a time to come back to attraction (an “appointment”) and get on the ride with little to no wait. If wait times are 15 minutes or less, guests with disabilities can ride immediately.
- In the past, the program allowed for guests with disabilities to get on all attractions without the need for reservations, however after abuse of the program by guests without disabilities, Disney changed their rules in 2013.
What they’re saying:
- Plaintiffs’ lawsuit: “It is the nature of the neurological disability that makes waiting an impossibility.”
- Disney on the court’s ruling, via court documents: “[The ruling] assumes that Disney somehow has the ability, let alone legal obligation, to prevent meltdowns with instant and unrestricted ride entry. To impose such a standard on Disney and — inevitably — the many other places customers have to wait — sports arenas, restaurants, grocery stores, malls, doctors’ offices, movie theatres, and other theme parks — is thus not only untenable but also incompatible with the way places of public accommodation have operated for decades.”
- A Disney Spokeswoman: “Disney Parks have an unwavering commitment to providing an inclusive and accessible environment for all our guests.”