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Your lifestyle, your quirk
Just last week, the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco dealt a civil suggestion to the folks at Disneyland after hearing evidence in a disability lawsuit against Walt Disney World Co.
The lawsuit was filed by disabled mother, Tina Baughman, who was forced to use a wheelchair instead of her typical Segway while visiting the amusement park for her daughter’s eighth birthday. Baughman suffers from limb girdle muscular dystrophy, a condition that makes walking and sitting for long periods difficult. Her doctor offered the use of a Segway as a preferred alternative to a wheelchair or scooter. According to the Los Angeles Times, “a lower court ruled in favor of Disney … the 9th Circuit Court … reversed the decision on the grounds that federal disability protections require more than assuring mere access.”
How can Disneyland be the happiest place on Earth if they don’t allow disabled patrons to visit the park freely? Baughman would have been able to fully enjoy her daughter’s birthday if she had been allowed to use her Segway, but instead she was forced into a wheelchair. The only alternative was not being admitted to the park.
And missing your daughter’s birthday is certainly not an option for any mother. Baughman, thus resigned to her fate as a wheelchair user for a day, was subjected to not only learning how to use a wheelchair, but also asking others for help maneuvering around the park.
At least her daughter had her special day in the happiest place on earth.
Chief Judge Alex Kozinski wrote, “"As new devices become available, public accommodations must consider using or adapting them to help disabled guests have an experience more akin to that of non-disabled," essentially instructing Disney to “study the idea” of permitting Segways.
The case is now returning to federal court in Santa Ana, California, but its fate seems already set in stone—or set in motorized wheels.