Family will appeal autism lawsuit after court finds in favor of Disney

Posted Wednesday, May 18, 2016 9:22 AM | Contributed by Jeff

An autistic man’s family filed an appeal on Monday after U.S. District Judge Ann Conway ruled last month that Disney did not violate the Americans with Disabilities Act. Disney used to allow guests with disabilities immediate access to the fast pass. That meant they only waited for 10 to 15 minutes for any attraction. But Disney changed the program in 2013. Now, disabled guests get an IOU to come back to the ride at a specific time. In her ruling, Conway wrote that guests with autism had access on par with non-disabled guests.

Read more from WMFE/Orlando.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016 9:40 AM
Jeff's avatar

These stories continue to bother me. I'm an advocate of autism awareness, given my kid's placement on the spectrum (and as we wrap up kindergarten, I'm pleased to say that he has largely been able to adapt and work around his atypical wiring), but these stupid lawsuits frame the problem in the wrong way. As is the case with virtually any situation that a kid with autism can't reconcile as logical, you have to frame it differently. I'm lucky, my kid can queue like it's his job, but at the same time, nothing delights him like the structure of a well-timed schedule. Whether it's knowing that he has 30 minutes to play on the computer at 4:30, or knowing that he has a Fastpass for 11 a.m., he responds well to that structure. Kids with autism are pretty good at reconciling schedules and routines, because it's variability and adaptation that throws them off. If you ask me, Disney's accommodation is a hundred times better of an arrangement, offering specific return times. It's also fair and equitable.


Jeff - Webmaster/Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

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Wednesday, May 18, 2016 10:19 AM

As a former WDW operations cast member, the biggest struggle with these families was never the child - it was always the entitled, bratty attitudes of the parents. When the new system rolled out in 2013, we heard from so many folks who really needed it how it was fair, easy to work with, and benefited the child. And more than once I was told how much it was appreciated so that it cut down on abuse. Those who complained and screamed in our faces about it were the parents who were simply mad that they could no longer use their child as an "endless Fastpass." Never once did I encounter a child who was upset about having to come back later - it was always the parents who would throw a temper tantrum and throw the "ADA laws" in our faces because they weren't allowed to skip the 60 minute wait instantly and an unlimited number of times.

I'll never forget the mother who screamed bloody murder right in my face that her autistic child "simply could not wait in line" and the child responded with "yes I can, my mom just doesn't want to wait in the long lines."

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Wednesday, May 18, 2016 11:51 AM
slithernoggin's avatar

I'm on the spectrum and I love -- LOVE -- structure.

As part of the ASD diagnosis process I was administered a Rorschach test, which I failed. The inkblots all looked like inkblots to me, because, well, they were inkblots. Afterwards, the guy who administered the test told me I need a lot of structure and that was why I had so much trouble with the test.

What Jeff said about variability and adaption. One of the reasons I like going to ACE events is that I know when and where I have to be each day.

What Disney is doing seems very fair to the children on the spectrum involved.


Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.
-- Groucho Marx

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Wednesday, May 18, 2016 2:12 PM

The court got it right. Disney is accommodating them with equal access as a non-handicapped individual. Equal access and accommodations is all that should be expected. They are getting basically the same access as a Fast Pass, and the added benefit of that they get one for whatever they want instead of going through the normal process.

These people seem to be self-entitled. Who is paying their legal bills? They are wasting taxpayer funds in court time.

It's good Disney didn't back down. I think that's what everyone that goes after Disney hopes for. Their pockets are deep and its easier to settle.

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Wednesday, May 18, 2016 3:05 PM
rollergator's avatar

IMO, Disney has created an "equal access" situation, and deserves to be commended not sued.

Also, despite their "deep pockets" - I think Disney has learned when to fight...the information gets out so readily, if they settle with one complainant, they'd end up having to settle with *everybody.* Easier and cheaper to see this one through in the long run...


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

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Wednesday, May 18, 2016 5:40 PM
sws's avatar

I suspect that the parents would not be happy with mere equal access.

I think George Orwell got it right.

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Wednesday, May 18, 2016 6:27 PM

I've always wondered what the people who insist their child cannot wait in line would think of a system that gives them immediate access to the attractions, but keeps track of how long the standby line was that they avoided.

After skipping past 10 or 12 hours of wait time, they would politely been told "You have had an equal amount of enjoyment as our other guests. You may now go home".

I can't imagine that this would be acceptable to them, even if they were not forced to leave, but only lost further line skipping provisions.

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Wednesday, May 18, 2016 7:16 PM
sws's avatar

sfglbkf said:
After skipping past 10 or 12 hours of wait time, they would politely been told "You have had an equal amount of enjoyment as our other guests. You may now go home".

I think that just gave Gonch an erection...

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