Lake Buena Vista, Fla. — Walt Disney theme parks continue to be under fire as the Human Rights Commission in Florida released a statement saying that after conducting an investigation, it found that the popular amusement park has, in fact, discriminated against children with disabilities.
Disney was slapped with multiple lawsuits after it changed its policies for its theme parks-— which used to provide ‘guest assistance’ cards for visitors with disabilities, allowing them to skip the long lines at the entrance of the Disney parks— a policy allegedly subjected to abuse by wealthy individuals who hire people with disabilities to get them into the park without having to line up.
Disney replaced the old program with the ‘Disability Access Service‘, which, in essence, requires for guests with disabilities to make an appointment before they are allowed entrance to the park. But this policy backfired as parents accused Disney of discriminating against children with autism— who sensory challenges often mean they do not have the patience to wait.
And the Human Rights Commission of Florida believed the parents are in the right.
In a statement published on the Orlando Sentinel, the commission wrote:
“The accommodations offered would not allow (the child) to enjoy the park as it was intended to be enjoyed by all other patrons.”
A lawyer for one of the parents who filed charges against Disney said that the statement by the Florida Human Rights Commission is a confirmation of their position— that the entertainment giant has, in fact, discriminated against children with autism with their new “blanket” policies. He told:
“It’s not necessarily a binding legal document, but it is a confirmation of our position. Folks have a certain predisposition about Disney, that they can’t do anything wrong. If Disney people didn’t take this seriously before, they have to now.”
Jennifer O’Toole from Asperkids posted this comment on their Facebook page earlier today:
“Have to say – I LOVE Disney…..but I absolutely agree. Our experience with the “new” system last April was awful. Even stopped by and offered my services as a consultant (pay me in a park pass and I’d be great!) — but heard nothing. Really hope they think through this a little better (and yes, I’m still willing).”
Contributed by Althea Estrella Violeta
Source: on the Orlando Sentinel: Florida commission: Disney discriminated against autistic visitors