News Column

69 additional plaintiffs join discrimination suit against Disney

August 29, 2014

By Art Marroquin, The Orange County Register



Aug. 29--ANAHEIM -- An additional 69 people have joined a federal discrimination lawsuit this week over Walt Disney Parks and Resorts' new policy for how disabled people can access rides at the company's theme parks, which include Disneyland and Disney California Adventure.

The suit, filed earlier this year in Los Angeles, now includes 95 plaintiffs, including 52 with autism and 43 relatives, who allege that Disney's new policy violates the Americans with Disabilities Act. A hearing is scheduled for Oct. 6.

Eugene Feldman, an attorney for the plaintiffs, could not be reached for comment.

Separately, a Los Angeles federal judge on Sept. 15 will consider Disney's request to move the case to Florida because most of the original complaints in the suit allegedly happened at Walt Disney World.

The suit seeks an unspecified amount of money and a policy reversal, alleging that Disney implemented a system in October that is too narrow and does not allow for individual exceptions for guests based on the severity of their disabilities.

Disney officials on Thursday declined to comment specifically on the additional plaintiffs.

The company has previously disputed the suit, saying that it lacks merit because its theme parks provide "an inclusive and accessible environment for all our guests." Disney's new policy is similar to those used in other Southern California theme parks.

Previously, Disney guests with disabilities and their groups would get a pass allowing them to skip the line on most rides. Some people apparently cheated by hiring disabled tour guides or using Disney cards that had been given to someone else.

Disney has said the new system is aimed at stopping such abuses by providing guests a Disability Access Service Card, with a photo ID.

It works somewhat similar to the park's FastPass system: Guests get assigned times and can come back for the ride, bypassing the traditional queue. Disabled visitors, and up to five guests, can get a special pass with a specific time to board, as well as the regular FastPass tickets at the same time.

In the past, Disney has said that it also would consider individual requests to accommodate guests.

Contact the writer: 714-704-3769 or amarroquin@ocregister.com

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(c)2014 The Orange County Register (Santa Ana, Calif.)

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Source: Orange County Register (CA)


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