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Today's Legal Headlines

Disney Sued by Families with Autistic Kids for Alleged ADA Violations

– April 08, 2014

Walt Disney Co. has been sued by 16 families with autistic children who allege that the company’s theme parks no longer provide autistic kids with adequate access to rides.

Prior to October 2013, Disney parks used to provide autistic visitors with “guest assistance” cards, which allowed them and their families to bypass long lines for rides. In October 2013, the company began offering “disability access service” cards instead, which allow autistic visitors to schedule a set return time for park attractions.

The plaintiffs claim that Disney’s new policy violates the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) because the return time is equivalent to waiting in line and because autistic visitors are not guaranteed immediate access to rides at their scheduled return time.

The families are seeking an unspecified amount in damages and a change to Disney’s current policy.

A Disney spokesperson said that the company changed its policy in the wake of media reports about visitors who hired disabled people to accompany them to Disney theme parks in an effort to avoid long lines.

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