Disney Segway Lawsuit: Appeals Court Orders More Studies

    July 19, 2012
    WebProNews Staff
    Comments are off for this post.

Disney Segway Lawsuit: Apparently you can’t use a Segway in Disneyland, and one woman isn’t too happy about the fact. Tina Baughman, who suffers from limb girdle muscular dystrophy, just wanted to celebrate her daughter’s eighth birthday at “The Happiest Place on Earth”. However, when her request to use a Segway was denied by park officials, she sued the company under the Americans with Disabilities Act in attempt to right what she felt was a wrong. If people are allowed to use wheelchairs and scooters, she argued, then Segways should also be permitted within the park. The company, however, didn’t feel the same way.

Although the courts originally sided with Disney’s decision to forbid the use of the personal transportation vehicle, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is requesting the company do some research into the matter before ruling out the Segways altogether. According to the panel, “technological advances didn’t end with the powered wheelchair”. Should Disney wish to continue pushing the matter, they’re going to have to show some data which supports their belief that the vehicles pose a risk to other visitors.

“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,” Chief Judge Alex Kozinski wrote. “We have every confidence that the organization that, half a century ago, brought us the Carousel of Progress and Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln can lead the way in using new technology to make its parks more welcoming to disabled guests.”

According to The Disney Blog, Disney World settled a similar Segway lawsuit in 2008 by offering disabled visitors a four-wheeled alternative that would allow individuals to remain in a standing position. This vehicle (ESV) would allow them to move about the park in a manner was safe for all involved. However, the blog states

  • Fred Kaplan

    Disney has attempted to settle the Orlando lawsuit as well but the US Dept of Justice Civil Rights Division was not happy with the proposed settlement. That case is still quite active.

  • chris

    What we really need is segway jousting.

    • Drew

      Maybe over at Universal near Harry Potter….

    • Terry Bennington

      We all have anecdotal evidence. I can’t count the number of times people have fallen-over my wife as she sits in her wheelchair and saying “sorry, I didn’t see you!” Nor can I count the number of times my wife has hit someone at the intersection of isles in stores because she’s not tall enough to see over displays while she sits in her wheelchair (e.g. souvenir stores @ Disney).

      When powered wheelchairs were becoming affordable, people were saying they were dangerous and should be banned. Disney is NOT being told they must allow EVERYONE to use a Segway, just those with disabilities. If you read the law (Title 28, part 36, § 36.311 Mobility devices.) you will see where, UNLIKE a service animal (dog or miniature horse), “A public accommodation may ask a person using an other power-driven mobility device to provide a credible assurance that the mobility device is required because of the person’s disability.” In other words: prove you need to use a Segway!

  • Drew

    This is ridiculous. It is not up to Disney to invent a way for this person to visit the parks. Disney has a responsibility to ensure the safety of all guests and this will not occur with a Segway. as an Orlando resident and passholder, I cannot tell you the countless times I have been run into by a careless/unaware person driving one of those motorized scooters. I cannot imagine what would happen with people riding Segways around the park. I have a great deal of sympathy for this woman’s condition, but she needs to find another solution and get out of the courts.

    • Laurie Murphy

      Well I have been to Disney and have countless times been tripped, run into and have had stuff spilled on me by children too distracted, excited and rushing to get to the next attraction to pay attention to what is going on around them. I guess Disney should ban children at the parks too!

  • AmeriCan Do

    People who don’t know what they’re doing on a Segway don’t belong in crowds. But people who use Segways because of a disability have everyday experience. I think they would be a lot more cautious because they do not want to become more disabled than they already are. They shouldn’t be forced to use wheelchairs which are miserable and humiliating. This is about making an exception for a few visitors with special needs, not a bunch of yahoos.

  • http://www.thedisneyparks.com Shawn

    I feel as though guests at Disneyland are given plenty of choices for mobility around the parks. I’m not sure I want to see a lot of segways in the parks.