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 7:47 PM

"He said I needed to get down on all fours...". That's just sick.

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Wednesday, December 2, 2009 8:31 PM
sws's avatar

Wasn't that a line from George Orwell's Animal Farm?

"Four wheels good. Two wheels baaaaaaaad."

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Wednesday, December 2, 2009 8:34 PM

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

This statement is demonstrably false. I'll give you a simple example that is relevant to amusement parks. Look at the rider safety guide from any large park. There is a good chance that certain prosthetics are prohibited on some of the more forceful rides. The basis for the prohibition is consistent with some of the concerns raised earlier in this discussion. Specifically, there are situations where patron safety may be at odds with the use of an approved medical device.

However, I do not think this is the case for the iBOT; I would be very surprised if there were a compelling safety argument to prohibit its use. In fact, since the FDA also requires user training, it is probably safer than a rented mobility scooter with an untrained operator.

Continuing the Animal Farm reference, we may reach the point of "four wheels good, two wheels better."

Last edited by Paul Miner, Wednesday, December 2, 2009 8:36 PM
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Wednesday, December 2, 2009 10:23 PM
Jeff's avatar

Agent Johnson said:
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.

If that's the expectation you have at Morey's, remind me to never go. Your attitude sucks.

Again, spending the week at WDW, I can say that generally people with disabilities here work within the system, and Disney makes more than reasonable accommodations. We've even used courtesy wheelchairs in queues for Diana in instances where hauling the baby weight was getting to her, and pregnancy is hardly a disability!

I still think that an erect and heavy vehicle like that in the queue may be dangerous, and I think Disney is well within its right to determine this, just as they can decide who can ride a roller coaster.

Are there instances where entitlement gets out of control? Yeah, of course. Happens with rich white men and their Coach-carrying trophy wives, too. All the more reason that it's an asinine generalization to say all people with handicaps are impatient.


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

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Wednesday, December 2, 2009 11:06 PM
LostKause's avatar

Hell has froze over, because I am with Carrie on this one. Why such a hatred for the people who use strollers and wheelchairs, AJ? 99.9% are impatient? I never saw that when I worked at CP or IOA. Geesh. Are you in charge of constructing new stereotypes?

These new kinds of wheelchairs are an amazing breakthrough in way people who use them can view the world and be viewed. It's must be such a great feeling to be able to "stand up" when you are paralyzed, and see the world the same way able-bodied people do.

It does sound like this guy was being a jerk, but when a subject as sensitive as his disability comes up in a negative way, it could easily turn a lot of people into jerks.

His story does seem a little exaggerated. His judge wife cried? Seriously?

How in heck would the cast member mistake one of those awesome wheelchairs for a segway? They look nothing alike.

My favorite part of the story is:

"Ironically, Rosner said he was inspired to buy the high-tech wheelchairafter seeing it on display at Epcot's Innoventions, which exhibitsproducts that help make human lives better."

(When I was a tweenager, I bought a T-shirt at Spenser's that had a funny, yet slightly obscene statement on it. I wore it the next weekend at the mall, and got escorted out by security. This kind of reminds me of that.)


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Wednesday, December 2, 2009 11:54 PM

Jeff and LK, you are correct, I am incorrect. I was referring to 'large vehicles', ie strollers, which appear to be cumbersome, and do present certain safety hazards when banging into people. I also should clarify that not wheelchairs, but those scooters, the single passenger one, seem at parks in general to have no so careful drivers behind the wheel.

Thanks for the heads up. My bust.

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Thursday, December 3, 2009 12:38 AM

I may not have a full understanding of the law in this area but doesn't a person have to have actual damages in order to sue? Are hurt feelings damages? If so, I have about 1000 lawsuits to file. Was he ejected from the park? Was he told he can not use his hi-tech chair? Was he ordered to use a traditional chair or leave? I believe this is a situation where Disney believed they were acting with the safety of the masses in mind. Surely there would be nothing to report if they were treated properly. It doesn't make sense and yes, acting like a jerk can hurt your cause. It shows character and a person looking for a confrontation rather then a person who feels their rights were violated. As far as I can see, he has no damages.

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Thursday, December 3, 2009 6:31 AM

Okay, I stand corrected.


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

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Thursday, December 3, 2009 2:58 PM
ApolloAndy's avatar

AJ, I can't speak for anyone else, but I thought you were out of line with your generalization about 99.9% of any group being impatient, regardless of the type of equipment, the type of people, or the situation. I find it hard to believe that any group of people is less patient than another or less careful than another - you just don't notice when the skinny single guy whizzes past you in a crowd (that would be me).


Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

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Thursday, December 3, 2009 5:54 PM
LostKause's avatar

AJ, I understand that it is popular for park employees to not like those big, plastic, cumbersome strollers, and the scooters that bombard amusement parks. I've rolled my eyes a few times when I saw a motorcade of these things clogging up the pathways. The stroller parking areas are ridiculous at IOA on a busy day. I think that I know where you were coming from.

No hard feelings.

Edited to add - well, like a motorcade. maybe parade would have been a better term to use there.

Last edited by LostKause, Thursday, December 3, 2009 10:56 PM
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Thursday, December 3, 2009 6:47 PM
phoenixphan :-)'s avatar

The real problem doesn't sit with Disney or the mayor... its with American media. Most news sources need to make money, so stories like this that are not real news are sensationalized, turning our mainstream media outlets into nothing more than tabloids.

With that said, I also feel that if someone watches the news, either printed, online, or broadcast, they will see that Disney has had negative publicity in the past. This makes it to easy for anyone to cry wolf, then expect to file a suit, and have Disney settle out of court to prevent any reputational damage. Does this mean Disney is right? No, but does it mean they are wrong? Again, no...


Real men ride wood... coasters that is!
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Thursday, December 3, 2009 10:18 PM

ADA only requires that access be provided. It does not specify means of access, or elect one method over any other.

This man was not denied access because he wasn't allow to use his super-turbo-charged wheelchair in the way he wished. He was not prohibited from using it-- he was told he couldn't use it in a certain way. In no way would using it the way park employees told him to use it prohibit him from accessing any area of the park.

If a business constructs ramps that are too steep, or curbs without cuts and ramps, they're in violation. If a business says, you can't use Segways or you must "get on all fours" they're not violating anything. Boss Hogg got pwned, and that's what he's all pissy about.

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Thursday, December 3, 2009 10:31 PM

This was very close to making mainstream news, but thanks to Tiger Woods, is didn't make page 5.

Since I typed without thinking, on my Disney trip next week, I am convinced that I may be run over by an all wheel drive scooter or a stroller carrying quintuplets.

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Thursday, December 3, 2009 11:01 PM
Jeff's avatar

Oh no! People should stop having children.

phoenixphan :-) said:
The real problem doesn't sit with Disney or the mayor... its with American media. Most news sources need to make money, so stories like this that are not real news are sensationalized, turning our mainstream media outlets into nothing more than tabloids.

That's a lame cop out. Why do you think "the media" (and what does that even mean?) puts the crap on TV? Because people want it. This is not a chicken-or-egg scenario.


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

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Friday, December 4, 2009 9:20 AM
Fun's avatar

People like to talk about controversial current events. This is not new. Modern media is simply a flashier means by which to deliver new talking points.

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Friday, December 4, 2009 12:10 PM

Jeff, I'll agree and disagree with you on this.

There were studies done that showed when it came to news, people went to sources that validated what they already believed. People who like to see stories about how big evil corporations pick on the little guy, especially ones in wheelchairs, would probably eat this story up. But really, why should this story be of major regional or national coverage? Is it going to make people boycott buying Disney DVD's?

I'll agree with you that people want to see stuff like this on TV. The sad part is they want to see it because they don't have the attention spans for anything more than 30 seconds of stories that should really matter. That's why you don't see any serious reasonable discussion of things like health care reform. You just get stories making anyone objecting look like a violent kook, and partisan yelling back and forth over stuff that has nothing to do with the issue.

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Friday, December 4, 2009 1:31 PM
Carrie M.'s avatar

The thing that I find interesting is when folks get really crazed over a situation like this, buying into the idea that Disney mistreats disabled guests, but then will do nothing about their behavior as a result.

"Did you hear about how terrible Disney is that they would mistreat a guest in a wheelchair? They are awful! Something should be done about this!!"
"Yeah, I heard the story. Does this mean you'll be canceling your upcoming trip?"
" Uhhh, no.... but I will give them dirty looks as I hand them my money..."

And I tend to agree that there is plenty of sensationalism in the news. And while it may be true that people want that kind of news story, that doesn't mean that journalists need to lower their standards in order to provide it. It's a competitive market and that makes it rough, sure. But I really thought there were supposed to be field standards about these things.


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

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Friday, December 4, 2009 5:08 PM
ApolloAndy's avatar

But changing behavior would actually require sacrifice!

"I'm not going back to Six Flags ever ever ever ever again!......unless they add something cool."


Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

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Friday, December 4, 2009 6:02 PM
Jeff's avatar

The problem with news gathering is that it's expensive, and it's paid for by advertising. In the old days, newspapers were the genesis of most news, and that's where local TV got their story agenda from. For a hundred years, newspapers were in a unique position where so much of their revenue was associated with classifieds... small high margin ads that individually could not cause any conflict of interest with editorial direction.

Newspapers have since lost that magic money to the Internet, which in turn has left local TV news a mess. They're lost when it comes to editorial direction.

National network news actually isn't bad, but it's bleeding viewers, unfortunately, and the 30-minute format doesn't really cover the kind of breadth I wish we could see.

But back on topic, I get so tired of the b.s. lazy thinking "media" cop out. Just because there is crap out there doesn't mean it's all that's available.


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

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Friday, December 4, 2009 6:14 PM

I find and get some of the best stories from www.fark.com. Funky name but a great site for news.


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

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