Trial Date Set For Federal Lawsuit Against Disney By Man With Autism
Several years back I remember reading the rumors; some guests were illicitly jumping Walt Disney World lines with the use of paid persons with disabilites(!).
Since then, Disney Parks endeavored to create rules and procedures aimed at keeping waits as manageable and fair as possible. But, frankly, that doesn’t necessarily mean the new rules are an improvement for everybody.
Case in point (literally), a February 18 trial date in Federal Court for Disney, sued by a man with autism.
After a five-year court battle, a federal lawsuit demanding that people with autism go the front of the line at Disney World rides is going to trial in February, a judge has ruled.
U.S. District Judge Anne Conway set a four-day, non-jury trial in Orlando to start Feb. 18, according to court documents filed last month.
The lawsuit involving a plaintiff identified only as “A.L.” was filed in 2014 after Disney changed its policy to ban people with disabilities from going to the front of the line. Reports had gone viral that some wealthy visitors abused the system by hiring guests with disabilities to accompany them to the front.
Now, Disney allows people with disabilities to reserve a ride in advance, like a FastPass, by using what’s called a Disability Access Service Card.
But advocates argue that under DAS Card, getting a return time is equivalent to a wait, and it becomes a struggle for those with severe autism who don’t understand the concept of time and are prone to meltdowns.
Viral Post Provides Example
Earlier this year, a viral social media post illustrated those issues, depicting a Disney CM dressed as Snow White who went above and beyond to calm a child with autism.
I am so emotional with these pictures !! Brody was having a meltdown . It was our turn to take pictures with her and he…
FoxNews.com/Travel picked up the story on the impeding trial, adding:
Supporters of the lawsuit, which was filed on behalf of a plaintiff identified only as “A.L.”, argue that Disney World’s current policy, which allows special-needs visitors to return to a ride at a later time, may be hard for some visitors to physically achieve. They also claim it may be a difficult concept for other visitors to comprehend.
“The disabled plaintiff is mentally and physically incapable of traveling across the park to the site of an attraction only to be told to come back later,” said attorney Anthony Dogali, per court documents obtained by WFLA. “This experience will induce meltdowns in the large majority of persons with cognitive impairments.”
We’ll keep an eye on this story and report back with any updates.