Friday requiem: Disney Reportedly Altering Special Needs Access At Parks

Quick note for readers.  I think it’s important that I consider my back catalogue of posts to be part of the site and that they get maintained, looked after and followed up on.  So each Friday I’ll be picking a post I did from that week last year, and see if my opinions have changed, or find out how the story develops.

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Last year.  In this post. I wrote this:

From Disability Scoop:

Big changes may be in store for a Disney program that has allowed theme-park guests with disabilities to skip to the front of the line for many rides.


Rather than bypass wait times, under the new system guests with disabilities will be able to request access to a ride at special kiosks at the company’s Florida and California parks and then return to the ride at a specified time. While individuals would not be required to wait in a line, they could only request access to one ride at a time, the website reports.

So… I don’t have an unbiased view on this. DisneyWorld is one of my little brother’s favourite things. Particularly the rides. And I can accept that it’s not particularly fair on non-disabled people if someone is always jumping the queue, I’ve felt fairly embarrassed accompanying my brother. But my view has always been this: if you tot up all the unfairness in the world that’s faced by the people jumping the queue, against the people standing in it, then I’ve always felt that Disneyland was doing its bit to settle the score. And that a day in Disneyland really was some of the happiest, and most ‘normal’ time we spent as a family.


So, in summary: sadness.


Interestingly enough, when I look at the paragraph I wrote a year old, I’m very happy with it.  I wrote it better then than I would have now.

To give you the update on the case – now, obviously I year old, I’d point you in the direction of this:

EXCLUSIVE:  Walt Disney Parks and Resorts could be facing a lot more angry families of children with developmental disorders if the plaintiffs in the ongoing American With Disabilities Act lawsuit get their way. In fact, the discrimination suit Image (2) Disneyland__130426203418-200x150.jpg for post 512535over access at Disneyland and other theme parks filed back in April against the media giant could nearly triple. “After the initial Complaint was filed, undersigned counsel received an outpouring of phone calls and emails from victims and their families, similarly situated to the 26 existing Plaintiffs,” said lawyers Andy Dogali and Eugene Feldman in one of several filings today in federal court (read it here). “Most of the victims wanted to offer cheers of support and witness assistance; some were in search of counsel. Ultimately, the undersigned counsel agreed to represent many of them.”

The fight goes on, and for all I like the idea of the plucky insurgency, Disney is a company that has a high-class of lawyer.  My main issue is that it has to be a fight at all. I quite enjoyed it being the one thing  that there we hadn’t had to fight for.



One thought on “Friday requiem: Disney Reportedly Altering Special Needs Access At Parks

  1. The old system sounded perfect for families like yours, and I feel sad and frustrated by the change – it takes all the spontaneity out of the day.

    The original Disability Scoop piece states that “wealthy families were paying people with disabilities $130 per hour to serve as “guides” so that they could avoid long lines during visits to Disney World”. So I understand that Disney was looking to revisit the policy to crack down on fraudsters. There could instead be some ID check, to prove the person is there with another member of the same family; but of course, the person concerned may just wish to go with friends or have a different surname.

    What’s the answer? Would threatening people who abuse the system with fraud or theft charges, and undertaking random checks, be a good enough deterrent? Must be difficult to prove. Some people really have no shame.

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