Disability Claims Mounting Against Disney
More families are taking legal action against Disney, alleging that recent changes to theme park access for people with disabilities are discriminatory.
Fourteen new families filed suit this week in Los Angeles Superior Court against Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, arguing that the company’s disability access program violates California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act.
Already, 44 families are part of a federal lawsuit before the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida claiming that the disability access policy at Disney parks violates the Americans with Disabilities Act.
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Both legal actions were sparked by sweeping changes to Disney’s approach to accommodating guests with disabilities in 2013.
At that time, the company put an end to its Guest Assistance Card, which often let individuals with special needs and those they were traveling with skip to the front of long lines for theme park rides. Instead, Disney now offers the Disability Access Service Card, which allows people with disabilities to obtain a return time for one attraction at a time.
“The DAS remains a horrible device through which Disney creates the appearance of offering an accommodation to autism families, but through which it really offers, at most, nothing,” said Andy Dogali, an attorney representing the families. “The DAS is completely contrary to established science relating to persons with cognitive impairments and measures which should be taken to accommodate for their special needs.”
The 425-page complaint filed this week seeks damages for the families and modifications to Disney’s disability access policy.
Disney has vigorously defended its approach to accommodating people with disabilities indicating in a court filing last year that “all guests with disabilities are provided the level of accommodation required by law.”
“We once again believe these claims are without merit,” the company said in a statement to Disability Scoop on Friday.