Disabled mayor says he was treated poorly by Disney World

Posted Wednesday, December 2, 2009 10:25 AM | Contributed by Chitown

North Miami Beach's paraplegic mayor said his pleasant Thanksgiving weekend at Walt Disney World Resort turned into a demeaning experience after park officials harassed him because of his high-tech wheelchair. According to Mayor Myron Rosner, theme park employees at both Epcot and Animal Kingdom questioned his use of his $30,000 iBOT 4000 -- a four-wheeled vehicle capable of balancing and moving on only two wheels. In front of his wife and four children, park employees demanded Rosner lower himself and use four wheels, citing a Disney policy that prohibits the use of Segways, which it deems as unsafe.

Read more from The Miami Herald.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009 10:28 AM
Jeff's avatar

I don't buy it. I'm there now, and we've experienced first hand how accommodating cast members are. They've been bending over backward for Diana, who is only pregnant, not disabled. In fact, we've even encountered cast members with disabilities themselves, at Animal Kingdom.

I believe he was given conflicting info. I'm sure that's reasonable to assume. I don't believe anyone treated him like a douche. It's my opinion that those kinds of chairs could pose a danger in crowds though on two wheels, just as a Segway would. Sounds to me like too many people lost their cool.

Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

Wednesday, December 2, 2009 10:34 AM

They felt dirty, disgusted and undignified so they went to the media to let the public know about it?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009 10:55 AM

I don't believe the issue with Segways are the fact they are on two wheels, rather the possibility of many people zooming around on a machine capable of 12.5 mph.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009 11:15 AM

I was so embarrassed and humiliated in public! So let me call every newspaper and TV station in Florida to whine about it. I think he's more embarrassed because he thought as a mayor who's married to a judge, he could do whatever he wanted and the folks at Disney would kowtow to him.

Sure, it sounds like a misunderstanding, but what was his response? The rules don't apply to me. And he kept insisting that. I'm sure he did it loudly and in a way that attracted much attention. In that case, he embarrassed himself, Disney didn't do it to him.

Maybe he and that lady from Tampa can team up and go from park to park in costume and on two wheels. Gotta love it.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009 11:34 AM
Fun's avatar

Once again, a simple phone call could have prevented grief, but everyone assumes they are entitled.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009 11:47 AM
phoenixphan :-)'s avatar

My question is how many physically disabled persons do you know with a $30,000 hi-tech wheelchair that can still afford to take the family to Disney? Ungrateful, truly ungrateful people.

* I apologize for the wrong dollar figure, but whats $10,000 among politicians? LOL*

Last edited by phoenixphan :-), Wednesday, December 2, 2009 12:40 PM
Real men ride wood... coasters that is!
Wednesday, December 2, 2009 11:57 AM

It cost $30,000.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009 1:35 PM

^ and they make them right down the road from me!

Coaster Junkie from NH
I drive in & out of Boston, so I ride coasters to relax!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009 2:21 PM

See I've got no problem with the Tampa women. But to me this isn't similar at all. The way the paper paints it, this guy seems like a real piece of work.

"I was totally harassed by Disney World. It was a nightmare for my wife, myself and my four children,'' he said. ``They gave me the impression I was not welcome here.''

Being asked to lower a chair is considered being totally harassed? Poor soul!


`He said I needed to go down on all fours, and I said . . . the only way I'm going down is if the sheriff takes me down,'' Rosner said, noting his wife cried during the incident.

His wife cried? Because he was asked to lower his chair? Sure it wasn't because you were being a stubborn dick and making a scene yourself?

Rosner said Monday he plans to file lawsuits against Disney for what he called an embarrassing experience.

Well given you've gone to the media you clearly don't have any embarrassment issue here. And how would you put a money figure on that? Do you now get a monetary payout for feeling bad? Good luck getting a judge who doesn't see through this.

his wife, Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Sarah Zabel.

Of course, the crying women is a judge...

Joz - Power, in tune with nature!
Wednesday, December 2, 2009 2:44 PM

The politicians down here could give the folks up in Chicago a run for their money. Yesterday it was reported that one local mayor racked up more than $70,000 in phone bills on a city cell phone. Seems he is in the shoe business and was doing all his business (phone calls to China and other places) on the phone.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009 3:22 PM
crazy horse's avatar

Neither miami or chicago's mayors hold a candle to the ex detroit mayor.

what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard.
Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it.
I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009 5:29 PM

IMO some people need to get into reality and realize that Disney is not the perfect place everyone thinks it is and is just as capable as CF and SF to provide crappy customer service. They are a big business and could care less for its customers, as they only care about the money! I think he should sue them because if the employees are that stupid and dont know the difference between a wheel chair and a segway they need to be sued!!!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009 6:13 PM

The big shot mayor of North Miami Beach. No red carpet for him. Thats the root of the problem. All theme parks bend over backwards for handicaps. Large wheelchairs, strollers, and all the other crap do not belong in parks. Period.

They are cumbersome, and 99.9% of folks with wheelchairs and strollers are impatient. Its a fact. Anyone who argues what I just said has not worked in a busy park, which the Magic Kingdom is.

Its like the strollers with some fat kid with their feet dragging on the ground. Time to cut the cord, and make Junior walk. This is a harsh thing to say, but maybe they could have visited on a slower time, like this week.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009 6:23 PM
Carrie M.'s avatar

Are you kidding me, AJ?! Your commentary is not only inappropriate, it's also not even close to being accurate. You do know that expecting anyone to visit on a specific day because of their physical challenge is against the law, right?


"If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins." --- Benjamin Franklin

Wednesday, December 2, 2009 6:27 PM

One factor to consider is that the iBOT requires a prescription and is certified by the FDA. This is fundamentally different from the Segway, even though the technologies involved are similar. The guy may have behaved like a jerk, but he could very well have been within his legal (ADA) rights to refuse to lower the chair.

The sticking point is whether Disney can prohibit the use of FDA-certified, dynamically stable personal mobility devices. Can they legally restrict access to only allow statically stable devices (e.g. traditional wheelchairs and mobility scooters, or the iBOT in its 4 wheel mode of operation)?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009 6:53 PM

Nobody can prohibit the use of an FDA and/or ADA complient device in ANY place, public or private.

Coaster Junkie from NH
I drive in & out of Boston, so I ride coasters to relax!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009 7:02 PM

We also need to consider that Disney needs to look out for the safety of the other guests. I don't know how difficult it is to control the device he was using, but I would have to guess that its less stable than a traditional wheelchair. If this is true, he could have lost control of the device on a crowded midway, and injured a couple dozen people. Then you have a lot of people suing you for letting a device in your park that could injure people. I think that Disney has to err on the side of being too safe and not let those devices in their park.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009 7:04 PM

Carrie M., If you read closely, before shooting your mouth off, I said they should have considered a visit on a slower time. That is common sense. I am not interperting ADA law, or what equipment is proper for park use.

Bottom line, If Myron pulled out all the stops to truck a $30,000 wheelchair upstate, at least call ahead to check if there will be any problems with using that chair, and maybe ask for a recommended slow time that the family will enjoy themselves.

Everyone is to blame in Myron's and media's eyes.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009 7:35 PM
Carrie M.'s avatar

AJ, I read your post. I know exactly what you said. You are suggesting that someone with special needs bears the responsibility to only attend the park when it's easier for everyone else. That's wrong, no matter how you spin it.

The fact that the guy is a jerk has no bearing on this situation. The guy could be a disabled veteran or a blind nun or a graduate of the Charles Manson school of charm... he's still entitled to the same rights you have to attend the park any day he chooses.

As for shooting my mouth off... you'll know when I actually shoot my mouth off. This wasn't it.


In the last lawsuit Disney faced, they even proposed the use of an alternate accommodation that allows guests to stand on two wheels. Being on two wheels is not the issue for Disney. Segways are, because of their speed and the desire for other guests to use them.

Disney admitted to being wrong here having provided conflicting information. Why do we dispute their own admittance?

The guy may be acting like a jerk. That doesn't make him wrong.

"If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins." --- Benjamin Franklin


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