Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

Mom Confessions Mom Confessions

New Lawsuit Attacks Disney’s New Disability Access Service

Posted by on Apr. 6, 2014 at 9:25 PM
  • 126 Replies


After months of Facebook chatter, a group of parents and guardians have filed a lawsuit alleging Disney’s Disability Access Service (DAS) discriminates against individuals who have some degree of cognitive impairments.  The lawsuit was filed in California on April 3, 2014.  The complaint is 176 pages and includes over 640 paragraphs alleging that Disneyland and Walt Disney World have violated the Americans with Disability Act and California laws that prohibit disability discrimination.

Seasons Globes Epcot The Land Pavilion

Until October 2013, Disneyland and Walt Disney World provided disabled individuals with “Guest Assistance Cards” (GAC) which, depending on the impairment, permitted guests and others with them to bypass waiting in lines for attractions.   (This isn’t all GACs did, but bear with me.)  Disney scrapped GACs following a widely publicized news article recounted how “one percenters” visited Disney World by “hiring” someone with a GAC to act as a line-bypassing tour guide.  (As a side note, the complaint accuses Disney of influencing this publicity “for the specific purpose of creating cover for the planned rollout of the DAS program.”

The complaint has nothing but praise for the GAC process.

With the Guest Assistance Card, though guests were not always expressly promised immediate access to the attractions, immediate access was precisely what Disney, through its employees, routinely delivered. The disabled Plaintiffs’ caretakers knew they could rely upon immediate access when they visited the Disney Parks. Disney would not make them travel all the way to an attraction only to be told to leave and come back later; Disney did not make them wait in a line for more than a few minutes. Very little risk of over-stimulation or meltdown ever arose.

The complaint, however, portrays Disney as doing an about-face with DAS, calling DAS “so obviously discriminatory and so outrageously contrary to Disney’s own knowledge of such guests’ special needs” that, they conclude, Disney has “come to disfavor the presence” of cognitive impairments in the Parks because other guests perceive Disney to be giving “preferential favoritism” to guests with cognitive impairments.

MK-Crystal-Palace-2013-DSC_1710

The plaintiffs’  primary complaint is that, while GAC delivered immediate access, DAS assigns a return time for each attraction but that returning at this time will not guarantee immediate access.  Even so, the complaint incongruously states that the plaintiffs are not looking for “priority” access but, in the same sentence, says the plaintiffs “have a special need for near-immediate access.”  Otherwise, the complaint does not clearly state what the plaintiffs want Disney to do.  The closest it comes is in asserting that Disney could program “magic bands” to allow the disabled wearer prompt access to all rides, or to specific rides.”  But whatever logic this suggestion might have is defeated by the claim that “Disney refuses to make MagicBands available to persons outside those staying in the Disney resorts.”  The complaint was outdated when it was filed (at least as to Walt Disney World, which recently starting making MagicBands available to all guests).MagicBand at Epcot

The ADA requires Disney to make modifications that will provide disabled guests with the “full and equal enjoyment” given to non-disabled guests. The U.S. Justice Department regulations explain that full and equal enjoyment means “the right to participate and to have an equal opportunity to obtain the same results as others to the extent possible with such accommodations as may be required by the Act and these regulations. It does not mean that an individual with a disability must achieve an identical result or level of achievement as persons without a disability.”  According to one of the Segway court decisions, Disney is not “required to make any and all possible accommodations that would provide full and equal access to disabled patrons; they need only make  accommodations that are reasonable.”

It’s my nature to be skeptical about any lawsuit, especially one which includes sensationalized allegations such as accusing Disney of falsely drumming up adverse publicity so it can scrap GACs.   The difficulty these plaintiffs will face is demonstrating it is reasonable for Disney to provide them with “near-immediate” access to the attractions so that they can have the “full and equal enjoyment” of other patrons who have to wait in the queue.  So, for that reason, I do not agree with the lawsuit that DAS, as it is supposed to work, violates the ADA.   At the same time, there are far too many recent reports which demonstrate that Disney’s execution of DAS leaves something to be desired.

The heart of the ADA is tailoring the modification to the needs of the guest’s impairment.  To be fair, this is not easy to do when federal regulations purport to prohibit Disney from asking a guest meaningful questions about the guest’s impairment.  Still, despite its admirable history of going beyond the ADA requirements, Disney’s cast members need to be trained on what they can and can’t do to accommodate a specific impairment. I’m not suggesting Disney needs an ADA attorney in every ticket booth but the current training does not appear to be adequate.

It will be interesting to see how Disney responds to the lawsuit.

- See more at: http://blog.wdwinfo.com/2014/04/04/new-lawsuit-attacks-disneys-new-disability-access-service/?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter#sthash.tSCJTpXm.dpuf
by on Apr. 6, 2014 at 9:25 PM
Edited by
on
Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Replies (1-10):
snowpeasmom
by on Apr. 6, 2014 at 9:26 PM


Replies (1-1):

snowpeasmom

by Silver Member on Apr. 6, 2014 at 6:17 PM

For me...I will have to say the DAS at Disneyland is different than at WDW and I like it so much better at Disneyland, but I have had more rude cast members not working with me with the new DAS card than I ever had with GAC. (also at Disneyland I have seen more abuse of the card system with the new DAS than before because at Disneyland you see these kisoks all over the park wher people are getting FREE FASTPASSES For any ride just say your a disabled (actually what I hear guest that I feel are abusing the system...they say way worst)


And I have to admit it before my son NEEDED the card, I have been annoyed by the family that looked normal but were using the GAC card and I would see them ride Big Thunder Mountain 3 or 4 times while I had to stand in the NORMAL line and get to ride it ONCE in the same amount of time. Honestly I wish they would have to ask for a doctors note...but I don't see that happening.

Also, I don't know I think maybe a booklet for those with disablitily because one of my biggest issues with Stephen's condition is the unknown. Mommy when will we ride this ride...I don't know sweetie we have to get to the park and see. Or that ride is two hour wait right now sweetie I know you want to go on it but if we want to get everything done we have to do this ride next. Then I get the melt down because that should be next. I would like something like the FastPass + system would work fine with us. If Stephen knows that we will be doing XYZ today or how would you like to do the rides and then I work out the times it will be fine. I also don't mind the wait between as long as there is a logically wait ect...actually I am not sure exactly what to do to fix it but I know I LOVE disneylands DAS way better than Walt Disney WOrld....

peanutsmommy1
by Ruby Member on Apr. 6, 2014 at 9:28 PM
22 moms liked this
Equal access means just that, EQUAL access, which they have
What they got before was preferential treatment
MrsDavidB25
by Stacey on Apr. 6, 2014 at 9:31 PM
5 moms liked this

 I find the lawsuit outrageous. Disney is one of the most disabled friendly places to go. Sorry they don't like the new rules. Don't go then.

Anonymous
by Anonymous 1 on Apr. 6, 2014 at 10:00 PM
11 moms liked this
The ADA requires Disney to make modifications that will provide disabled guests with the “full and equal enjoyment” given to non-disabled guests.
Ummmm so how are they getting the full and equal enjoyment without having to stand in line? Give me a break! People with disabilities scream to be treated equally but yet want all these things to get special treatment.
karrahM
by on Apr. 6, 2014 at 10:12 PM

What we found in January was my mom who is bionic from one knee down could not get a disability pass because she rented a scooter but could have had she not. This meant that she had to drive her scooter through the switch back lines and crowds of people in line on some rides or be transferred to a wheel chair and pushed on other ride lines. Each and every ride had a different policy regarding the scooter and how far it could go and where to park it. It was very stressful and she paid 70 bucks for it! 

Anonymous
by Anonymous 2 on Apr. 6, 2014 at 10:21 PM
This sounds like a giant pain. At least make everything the same and tell you going in so you know. Out $70 and the stress of figuring out how to get to each ride is a pain.

Quoting karrahM:

What we found in January was my mom who is bionic from one knee down could not get a disability pass because she rented a scooter but could have had she not. This meant that she had to drive her scooter through the switch back lines and crowds of people in line on some rides or be transferred to a wheel chair and pushed on other ride lines. Each and every ride had a different policy regarding the scooter and how far it could go and where to park it. It was very stressful and she paid 70 bucks for it! 

snowpeasmom
by on Apr. 6, 2014 at 10:24 PM
Yea most of the issuse in the suit are more regarding to those in a wheel chair or in need of a wheel chair sometimes...more so than the autistic children.

Quoting Anonymous: This sounds like a giant pain. At least make everything the same and tell you going in so you know. Out $70 and the stress of figuring out how to get to each ride is a pain.

Quoting karrahM:

What we found in January was my mom who is bionic from one knee down could not get a disability pass because she rented a scooter but could have had she not. This meant that she had to drive her scooter through the switch back lines and crowds of people in line on some rides or be transferred to a wheel chair and pushed on other ride lines. Each and every ride had a different policy regarding the scooter and how far it could go and where to park it. It was very stressful and she paid 70 bucks for it! 

Posted on CafeMom Mobile
snowpeasmom
by on Apr. 6, 2014 at 10:26 PM
I think the law should have it that if you want the best help proved a dr note.. and if you want to scream and not show the note then you get the crappy system...
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
Anonymous
by Anonymous 3 on Apr. 6, 2014 at 10:29 PM
3 moms liked this
Testicles
Anonymous
by Anonymous 4 on Apr. 6, 2014 at 10:30 PM
1 mom liked this
So...I was at Disney last weekend. There was people trying to navigate a line in wheelchairs and scooters....the old system was NEVER a front of the line pass in most cases it provided an alternate entrance for people. It was at the discretion of the ride attendant how fast those guests got on...you clearly have no idea what you are talking about

Quoting peanutsmommy1: Equal access means just that, EQUAL access, which they have
What they got before was preferential treatment
Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

close Join now to connect to
other members!
Connect with Facebook or Sign Up Using Email

Already Joined? LOG IN