Lawsuit Filed Against Disney’s Disability Access Service

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According to there has been a lawsuit filed against Disney’s Disability Access Service, claiming that they discriminate against certain disabilities.

I knew it was just matter of time. Since I have personal experience with this, I can tell you that I feel they treat certain disabilities like they matter more than others.

The lawsuit was filed very recently, on April 3, 2014 in California.  The lawsuit is 176 pages and it alleges that Disneyland and Disney World are violating the Americans with Disability Act and California laws that prohibit disability discrimination.

Some of you may remember the GAC, it was much better in my opinion. They changed the entire system when an article was released saying that some rich people were paying disabled tour guides so they can skip the lines. I could understand changing some things but to change the whole system and penalize innocent people for the mistakes of a few is not fair.

What do you think?

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47 thoughts on “Lawsuit Filed Against Disney’s Disability Access Service

  1. For my Family, it won’t make too huge of an impact, I’ve only been with a group using a GAC. I loathed the news and info when DAS was leaked, we we just considering using the GAC like our friends with similar hardships had, so one of our kiddos could really enjoy Disney, as she should. I just have extreme anxiety even over Happy Disney days, and worrying my little one won’t enjoy things. guess we will see at GS when I ask, or make Dad since I will already be a ball of nerves.

  2. Kyle I I can empathize with you. I’ve come across the same issues. When I’m with my sister who is disabled, I want to share the magic of Disney with her, but she is physically unable to stand in line that long. Also it is very difficult to match up the logistics of bathroom breaks, medicine needs, and FastPass times. Not to forget to mention the people traffic when you’re trying to navigate with a loved one with a disability. It’s a very slow process. The old GAC system worked very well.
    As a Passholder I also have visited Disneyland SEVERAL times without any disabled loved ones, and I have never observed any treatment Christine has mentioned. I’m sure it has happened, but at times people take a few situations and base an entire opinion on it.
    However, I have seen parents use their strollers as weapons to clear the traffic many times. Lets not get started about when I’m waiting for California Disney to be opened and I’m at the front and parents with strollers ramming them into my legs to squeeze through. LoL

  3. I personally don’t have a disability, but I have family members with disabilities, and I saw this coming as well. Great article!

  4. I can assure you, if I ever become disabled I won’t expect anything above what is legally owed to me… In the same fashion I don’t expect that for my disabled daughter.

  5. Thanks for being on my side Leslie. I know your frustrated with the new system as well. I would be careful expressing your opinion on here- you might just get attacked as I did. God forbid one day these same people are afflicted with a disability and they have to walk in someone else’s shoes.

  6. Thanks! I do bring the old DAS with me to help move the process along. I’ve also been making copies of them to eventually show Disney that we only make 1 or 2 DAS reservations at the most each trip. And we are there from rope drop till closing!

    Using the QR code sounds like a great advancement in the system!

  7. Hopefully the CMs are more pleasant tomorrow! They recently started using the QR codes on the DAS, so if you bring the old DAS with you it also goes by much smoother when you’re renewing!

  8. Oh – here’s an example of why perhaps some of us felt treated so poorly by Disney…..

    When they first started the new system, they only allowed the DAS to be valid for one week. They told me that it was because most guests vacations are for 1 week. But then they decided to extend it because many people do stay in the resorts for more than a week.

    That was a very nice consideration for resort guests, yet it completely ignored the pass holder in the process. It felt as if considering the pass holder’s use of the parks didn’t matter one bit in the restructuring of the program, only those staying in the resorts.

    I hope the program continues to develop in it’s awareness of those with disabilities.

  9. That would be great! We are going tomorrow. I hope that we do get the renewal for 60 days. After tomorrow, I won’t be taking my sister back until May 1st. It will be nice to not have to visit GS and get straight to the fun!

  10. A recent change is that AP holders can now renew the DAS card for a 60 day period. Hopefully that helps.

    It sounds like most of your concerns are with CMs themselves, not necessarily the system. I do agree that CMs are jumping to conclusions when they see a wheelchair versus listening to other issues that may require a DAS.

  11. Hi Leslie,

    We’ve been treated like garbage by CM’s with the new system. I haven’t written to Disney about the treatment just yet. I’ve been doing my best to work with the new Fast Pass + system and the DAS card and collect information that I hope they will listen to in order to review the new system.

    It would have been nice if they interviewed us as to how we used the old system and how it benefited us or our family members before just bringing down the ax on the program. My mother passed away before the system changed. She would have been devastated by the treatment we receive now. I take my sister who is also disabled to the park now. I wasn’t able to push two wheel chairs.

    We’ve been treated horribly by some CM’s. For example, when we went to get the new card, the CM asked if my sister could transfer. I answered ‘no’. She presented me with a leading question and then would not listen to anything I had to say after that. She kept repeating about 4 or 5 times that we didn’t need a DAS for Spaceship Earth. I answered her each time that my sister cannot ride Spaceship Earth and would never be able to ride Spaceship Earth because she cannot transfer on a moving belt. That’s not just because her physical disability. She has mental disabilities as well that make her terrified to transfer & move sometimes. I allowed that rude CM to ruin my day. Her attitude was like the Gestapo. She was more determined to turn people away than to listen.

    I went back at park closing. I asked about the card and the CM asked me why I needed it. The CM was in front of the counter and standing between me & my sister. I whispered that she’s mentally, emotionally & physically disabled. The CM was like, bingo – I had said the magic words. My sister always had physical disabilities, yet she was able to walk & even enjoy Disney many years ago. Now she is confined to a wheel chair & deteriorating in all her disabilities.

    I also encounter CM’s that point me to the standby line when I have a fast pass. It’s like they just assume that because I’m pushing a wheel chair that we don’t belong walking through that line unless I am flashing a DAS.

    It would be really nice if they would reconsider the 2 week renewal. They’ve based this on the hotel guest. We are annual pass holders. We only go about once or twice a month. It would be nice not to wait in Guest Services every time we visit. The lines have been even longer at GS since the FP+ program. After all, her picture is on the card.

    There are lots of things that others don’t consider that we have to when at the parks. I can’t show up to a show at the last minute and still get in easily. I’ve been at Indiana Jones many times when the parks aren’t crowded, the show isn’t full, yet all the wheel chair spots are taken. We have to plan differently than other guests. It’s especially difficult to push a wheel chair with 2 oxygen tanks all the way out to Fantasmic and then be told that all the wheel chair spots are taken even with ample time before the show starts.

    It’s nice that they built new bathroom facility in EPCOT at the American Pavilion with several handicap stalls. My mother & my sister must use these stalls. We get to wait in bathrooms, even if 1/2 or more of the bathroom is empty because someone without a physical handicap or with a few children is using the stall. I hope Disney continues to build more companion facilities and add more handicap-wheel chair accessible stalls.

    It would be nice to have a forum where we could list our concerns and then present them to Disney. We didn’t break the old system, the abusers did.

    I haven’t yet had the opportunity to use the fast pass + system with show reservations. It will be interesting if they keep any wheel chair spots open or we’ll get turned away, even with a fast pass.

  12. I am a disabled Iraqi veteran and do not beleave everyone end there family should benefit from this. The disabled person plus one should be all it includes if the rest of your party is not disabled then you need to wait in lone like everyone else. I don’t like it when people try to pig tail off what I earned or off the disabled. So if you and your boyfriend are disabled Leslie then you you two should only be allowed to ride fast pass not your whole family & friends

  13. Ya know, when people use the word discriminating and discrimination about things that aren’t it really makes the actual cases of discrimination less believable. It’s like the word bully. It’s getting old and frankly, as a parent with a child with a disability it’s offensive.

  14. Go ahead and explain how then. You’re wrong about it, and people tend not to listen to people who spout off false information emotionally. Yeah Leslie! we hear you.

  15. Not liking something doesn’t mean it’s not meeting ADA requirements. Sorry. You stated above you use a wheelchair. The lines are ADA compliant and when they are not they have an alternate procedure. Bottom line. They’ve accommodated your wheelchair. The fact you don’t like using it isn’t covered by ADA. If you have other problems that cause you an issue with an actual line, discuss them with GR and get a DAS.

  16. It doesn’t meet ADA requirements. People infuriate me. I am disabled whether people like it or not. Let me tell you this. PEOPLE DON’T LIKE IT!

  17. Eileen and Amber I agree with Kyle. I have Cerebral Palsy and have to use a wheelchair. I hate using it. These new policies are discriminating whether you think so or not. I am ashamed that you both do not see that everyone is different that no matter what people say or do we will never be the same or be seen as equals.

  18. I am disgusted by what you say. Me and my boyfriend BOTH have disabilities and we tried the new system. We both left crying it was so awful and discriminating.

  19. Thank you hkinga for letting me know. I appreciate your information. Yes, you are correct in that we went to guest relations 2 seperate times, but it was early in the transition. We were told the same answer twice, so we thought that was the final answer. I will have my mother go to guest relations tomorrow when we visit the parks. Thank you for the insight. It is much appreciated.

  20. If the guest explains they have trouble walking/standing they will not be issued a DAS. They will be given the option to rent a scooter/wheelchair – or in the case of the mother above, she already has a wheelchair that meets her needs. She just doesn’t want to use it.

  21. It’s absolutely fair. The ADA doesn’t accommodate ‘doesn’t want to use an accommodation.’ If you can not walk or stand the alternative is sitting. Not wanting to use a wheelchair isn’t a reason to receive a DAS and it wasn’t supposed to be a reason to get a GAC. Sorry. People receive the DAS because it’s the LINE they can’t tolerate – that’s the difference.

  22. Are you aware that the GAC was not intended for mobility issues in the first place? So in reality, your mother receiving the GAC was not supposed to be happening. They can change their accommodations whenever they like as long as they are within ADA requirements. The whole reason they had to change the GAC in the first place was because EVERYONE was benefiting. There is no reason for a WC to get a GAC. They can go into regular lines.

  23. No problem, I know you’re not trying to be argumentative. 🙂

    Walking in and saying “My child has autism and he can’t wait in long lines – I need a DAS” may well not result in being issued a DAS. Saying “My child can’t stand in long lines because he becomes overstimulated, and begins to exhibit behaviors that could result in injury to himself or someone else” tells the CM what you need and why.

  24. Under what circumstance would anybody be unable to tell GS what accommodation they need? And if they can’t tell them what accommodation they need, how is Disney supposed to fulfill it?
    I’m in no way trying to be argumentative, just to understand.

  25. Completely untrue. Unless a guest can explain what accommodation they need (not diagnosis, what they need), Disney does not have to issue a DAS.

  26. If a guest requests DAS, then Disney must give it without questioning what the need or disability might be…so I don’t understand what you mean by saying your mother’s disability doesn’t count or isn’t recognized at Disney. Perhaps the first member of Guest Services you checked with wasn’t aware of this policy and you haven’t checked with anyone else since? If this is the case, I would encourage you to return to guest services and ask again on your next visit. Disney does get new employees from time to time and it’s possible that the cast member you originally spoke with needed additional training.

  27. We all fight different demons. Some of us or our family have heart problems and have to stay out of the sun and heat. Others can’t walk or stand. Others are fear of crowds and the list goes on and on. A one size fits all is not a solution. The card did offer greater diversity for one’s needs. This new system is challenging. I liked being given a time to return. That worked. Some of the wider lines work but all of them. It depends on the layout and if indoors or out. Disney was known for accomdating but that has now past. Ride operators are rude and I was injured by one last year. Should have sued but not in my nature. I think those of us who can use the line; great. Those who cannot, should have alternatives. The moving walk paths MUST be slowed for entry and exit. Pushing you and saying move is not a response. It causes injury due to their ignorance. If I could MOVE; I would not need accomdation.

  28. READ ABOVE.. I wasn’t saying she needed “personalized accomadation” I simply stated that the old system of GAC included her disability and the new one does not. PERIOD. Why can’t you people realize I am not looking for special something that never existed, it did, and for many years, and now it does not. So, to conclude, I hope the person sues and WIMS and brings back the GAC so that EVERYONE with a disability can benefit…

  29. Christine, just for you to understand. I didn’t ride anything my disabled mother in law couldnt ride.. meaning- anything more then the thrill level of the people mover. So, no, thats not my issue. And also, no, I am not entitled to anything. I am able bodied, and thank God for that. Its just we used the old system, and that worked well for HER, and the new system does not include her, and that is what I have the problem with.. I hope that I cleared any confusion up as to my comments. And who was I being rude too? the person that put themselves in my mom shoes and told us that she would be “just fine” without knowing her or her situation? Or the person that told me to get a wheelchair and stop complaining, when in favt she does have a wheelchair– so another person saying comments when they do not know all of the facts. DON’T COME ATTACKING ME JUST BECAUSE I HAVE AN OPINION AND IT DIFFERS THAN YOURS. Let me make my post, and you make yours. FACT IS- The old system worked, and the new one DOES NOT for her. So THAT”S why I am complaning. We didn’t abbuse the system and it got taken away from my mom… and that’s NOT FAIR!

  30. I have had problems with the new husband is legally blind and all we asked is if it available to let him sit up front to the shows…with the old system it was fine we only travel with the most with 5 ppl. Now with this new system they wont give him a dac card and we have to tell the cast member and they have a choice to believe him or not.

  31. I would limit it to two people others can wait, once disabled is done riding they can sit and wait for the rest of thier party

  32. She could use her wheelchair for the lines, and then walk the rest of the time. Disney has an accommodation for her – wheelchair accessible lines. Disney is required, by law, to make appropriate accommodations available = they aren’t required to make a personalized accommodation that each person wants.

  33. The GAC is there it’s just different. You act like they owe you and your defensive attitude makes you sound entitled. My daughter hates her wheelchair too but when the parks are packed and she has to stand a lot she has to compromise and use her wheelchair. I also taught her not to take advantage. I think you’re more pissed at the fact that you don’t have the privlidge of bypassing the lines via your mom. Exactly the reason why they had to make changes. You’re just being rude and nasty.

  34. Amber, how about you mind your own business.. For your information, she has a wheelchair. She doesnt like to use it because she hates being in it. She would rather just walk a little, then rest. And what awesome system are you refering to? She doesnt qualify for any system at Disney. Her handicap doesnt count. Until you can walk in her shoes, I suggest you keep your comments to yourself. I am allowed my opinion, just as everyone else. it is a discussion board. Point being… She enjoyed being able to ride attractions with us before with the GAC. now, unless she has a fastpass, she cannot do the ride simply because of the wait of the stand by lines. She doesnt have a problem at all getting a time to come back, but Disney doesn’t allow that for her. AND ITS NOT FAIR. why make her wait in the line, and someone else with a different situation does not. Now do you get my frustration?

  35. How about you get her a wheelchair and stop complaining. Disney doesn’t have to make awesome systems for those less fortunate but they do so be greatful.

  36. Eileen, Just for you information, We go to Disney at least once a week, but usually twice. And no, the new system doesn’t treat her “just fine”. I didn’t know that you were the official spokesperson of the new system. And thank you for telling me what will be “just fine” for my mother. What may be “just fine” for you, isn’t “just fine” for everyone else. Next time, back up your statements with some actual facts or suggestions as to what the subject is about. THEN, your comments will be “just fine”.

  37. The new policies will treat your mother just fine. If you haven’t tried them you have no need to complain. My mother in law also can’t stand or walk very long and was able to use the new system easily.

  38. Bring back the GAC, my mother in law in disabled, and cannot walk or stand for very long. These new policies are bogus. I was hoping someone would get fired up enough to do something like this!

  39. We are talking about a modified system that hasn’t been in place for long and as with any modification there is a period of trial an error in which adjustments can be made. Disney is doing their best to make things fair for all of their guests and if the lawsuit happy people were really interested in ‘fair’ then they would approach Disney and submit their concerns and show them why the changes should be made in order to make things better for the disabled coming in behind them instead of simply trying to get rich off of the situation. I have had some minor problems during my 30 visits to Walt Disney World and I have never had one single instance where I voiced my concerns and Disney did absolutely nothing. They really go above and beyond to listen to their guests and make reasonable accommodations for legitimate complaints. I have no use for people disabled or otherwise who tries to use their circumstance to outright manipulate businesses or others for personal gain. Any business should be give one or two, maybe even 3 chances to ‘get it right’ before a lawsuit follows.
    Has Disney been given the time/ability to make the changes? Does the person suing them have a legitimate complaint? These questions must be answered before a valid opinion can be given either way.

  40. I think the hardest part that people have to remember is that going to Disney is a privilege and not a right. There are millions, billions, of people who have never been or will never go to Disney. Some might not want to go, but there are many who do want to go and will never have the privilege of doing so. Is this going to strip them of their basic rights of food, shelter, love, safety, and happiness? No, they will go on just fine with their lives even though they will have never experienced Disney first hand. Disney is doing their best to ensure that everyone has equal access once they have arrived at their theme parks. My understanding is that they have been the most accessible location on earth, but they discovered that some people were abusing the old system. So, in order to make it equal access for everyone they have created a new system where everyone waits equally, but not everyone has to wait in the physical line at the same time. Some people will utilize FP+ while others will use the new Disability Access System, and others will choose to wait standby. These two systems are not so dissimilar from each other after all. Everyone needs to get past the idea that everyone has the right to go to Disney and have a special experience. Not everyone goes to Disney. Not everyone has the same experiences in life or at Disney. But everyone who does go to Disney has to wait for their turn. As a teacher and a parent I always thought that was the true purpose behind ADA accommodations. I have family members with disabilities and without. We all wait our turn in and out of line using the FP system. My 69yo mother went to WDW in 2012 for the first time. She refused to use a wheelchair because she didn’t want to take one from someone else who really needed to use it. So, our family of 3 adults and 3 elementary aged kids walked at her pace. If the line was too long we simply didn’t do that ride. We went and did something else. Our trip was not ruined or even negatively impacted by this reality. We had a blast being together and enjoying our favorite place.

  41. The stand by lines are all being made to be wheelchair accessible, and from what I understand, that is why they aren’t allowing the wheelchair bound people to use the new card. They are not being discriminated against, Disney has just already accommodated them. Now, I have heard of issues of people who are in danger from swinging backpacks and the like, and that definitely needs to be taken into consideration. But it takes time to get a new system down, and Disney is trying. The old system was definitely broken. Just bc people in wheelchairs have to wait in the regular line now unless they actually have a FP does not mmean they are being discriminated against

  42. I think Americans are lawsuit happy and that some people don’t want to be treated “equal” they want to be treated “special”. If everyone is treated special – no one is special. Changes had to be made to the system because it was broken, it was failing, it wasn’t working. People will adjust to the change and get over it or they won’t and they will become angry. I suggest getting over it and learning to deal with the new system. I may have liked it the old way but my family (wheelchair bound, autistic and downs syndrome family members included) will adjust so we can still enjoy Disney World.

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