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.

Friday, December 4, 2009 8:42 PM

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

And sometimes the comments are better than the stories...:)

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Saturday, December 5, 2009 2:29 AM
LostKause's avatar

I love Fark!

I think that it's sad that a lot more people think that shows like Entertainment Tonight are important television news programming.

Last edited by LostKause, Saturday, December 5, 2009 2:31 AM
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Saturday, December 5, 2009 8:20 AM

So, how long before "Ow! My Balls!" is considard a news program?


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

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Monday, December 7, 2009 7:46 AM

While I believe Disney acted with the best of intentions based on their existing Segway policy and looking out for the safety of others, I'm pretty confident they'll lose any lawsuit this guy brings against them. This is a medically prescribed device, and the user is required to go through training before using it. While I don't fault Disney for not knowing that, I'm not sure ignorance will be a good defense in court. When it comes to safety, I'd take somebody on an iBot over a parentwith a stroller or someone who rented a Rascal for the first time thatday.

LostKause said:
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.

I've known several wheelchair bound people, including a couple with iBots. You're 100% on with that statement. The ability to be on everyone else's level, to look someone in the eye when you're talking to them, is a priceless experience for anyone bound to a chair. To ask them to get "down on all fours" would be the equivalent to telling an able-bodied person to grovel before you. Anyone who doesn't believe that clearly has no idea what it's like to be in that sort of situation.


And then one day you find ten years have got behind you
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun

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Monday, December 7, 2009 9:26 AM

FWIW, MousePlanet is "reporting" today that Disney has said that it screwed up, and should have allowed the device, for exactly that reason: it's a medically prescribed device.

http://www.mouseplanet.com/9077/Walt_Disney_World_Resort_Update#ibot

No source given, which is why "reporting" is in derision-quotes.

But if that's the case, my expectation: a relatively quick settlement, with a gag order, that probably also will require Disney to implement some sort of training for some portion of its Cast with respect to these devices. Depends on how far the guy wants to push it.


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Monday, December 7, 2009 10:27 AM

Did this guy bring any documentation saying he had training on this device? I understand Disney may have been wrong in how it was handled, but do they have to know the regulations on EVERY piece of new equipment that comes out. If this guy were to pleasantly show his prescription and training on the device and that it is not capable of going off course and plowing into people, that may have resolved things differently.

I personally have never heard of this before now. And as an employee, given the recent Segway ordeal, I probably would have wanted more information about the product. Show me how I know you are responsible with it. Otherwise, I am sorry, but it needs to be on four wheels. If he showed documentation for it, and how he was trained, then a mgr should have been able to aprove it.

Even then the mgr should give him a mgr aproved release so other employees don't stop him later. He can show he is allowed, or this could have been an ongoing problem though out the day. Employees not knowing it is allowed, would be stopping him and he would still have a lawsuit, for being harrassed all day long.

edited because I missed a spelling error

Last edited by Bears 54, Monday, December 7, 2009 10:29 AM
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Monday, December 7, 2009 12:11 PM
Jeff's avatar

Why is everyone already assuming the guy is gonna sue?


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

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Monday, December 7, 2009 3:20 PM

Quote from the original posted article:

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

That's not anything definite, but it sounds like enough reason for the assumptions.


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Monday, December 7, 2009 3:28 PM
rollergator's avatar

With technology advancing at such an incredible pace, is anyone really surprised that even Disney can be caught off-guard by someone utilizing what really seems cutting-edge? Five years from now, the iBot would probably not register a blip on the radar of "unusual devices which may or may not be prohibited in the park(s)".

One up-side of the ongoing wars is that many people who once were considered "handicapped" now have tools and devices at their disposal which really can minimize the impact of their physical challenges...obviously, there is a learning-curve for individuals (and businesses) to adapt...


You still have Zoidberg.... You ALL have Zoidberg! (V) (;,,;) (V)

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Wednesday, December 9, 2009 8:14 AM

Is the iBot even AVAILABLE anymore? If you go to the company's website you get a message that retail sales have ceased but support will continue until 2013.

Given that, it's (sadly) possible that devices like this will indeed remain "not even a blip"... Heck, most people still don't know what to make of my insulin pump and CGMS systems (admittedly it's possible to be a lot more discrete with those, and in situations where it MIGHT be spotted, such as airport screening, training is generally good enough for things like that)

Last edited by GregLeg, Wednesday, December 9, 2009 8:17 AM

--Greg
"You seem healthy. So much for voodoo."

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