Four-wheeling at Disneyland

December 10, 2008

Disabled Segway riders who were barred from using the vehicles at Walt Disney theme parks may soon find themselves four-wheelin’ down Main Street under a proposed settlement the company reached with three disabled parkgoers who had sued for the right to use the personal transporters.

In their 2007 lawsuit, the three Segway owners argued that Disney violated the Americans With Disabilities Act by providing only sit-down wheelchairs and motorized scooters for disabled parkgoers.  Disney denied any wrongdoing in the settlement, court documents showed.

Under the settlement, Disney won’t allow Segways in its parks because of the potential danger to other parkgoers because of the vehicles’ 12 mph speed capability. The company will instead develop its own four-wheeled ESV, an electrically powered vehicle designed for operation while standing.  If the settlement is approved by a judge, Disney will make at least 15 of the vehicles available for parkgoers to rent at each of its U.S. parks starting in April 2009, court documents showed.

The proposed settlement provides each of the three plaintiffs with $4,000 toward a one-week stay at a Walt Disney World hotel and complimentary use of one of the new ESVs, the documents said.

And they all lived happily ever after.

5 comments

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And another example of our judicial system failure. Did you really have to sue because you had to use a motorized wheelchair versus a Segway? How did Disney violate the Americans with Disability Act? Does it say in the act that they need to provide a sit down and and stand up option? I don’t think so. I thought the act said that companies had to provide a “reasonable solution”. The fact that Disney provides wheelchairs sounds like a reasonable solution. I agree with Disney in barring Segways from their parks as there are hundreds of children around. At least wheelchairs are at the same height as children and don’t go as fast as Segways.

Posted by Ben | Report as abusive

I have never been to the Disneyland, even the one in Hong Kong, but I wish I could.

the magic word is “reasonable” so if a person requires a wheelchair to get about in why should he/she need to have a segway that lets him/her stand up. I have to use a wheelchair and would be terrified of hurting someone if I was trying to steer one of these segway things standing up.

Posted by Robin | Report as abusive

As a person with MS who can stand but not walk I find it amazing what ignorant people will say. I assure you that operating a Segway is much easier and safer than any wheelchair that i have come across. The Segway is a device that makes it feel like i can walk again. It is no more difficult for me to operate than for a normal person to walk. As for a wheelchair. Because it sits low to the ground it is harder to look ahead and steer clear of kids. Ask anyone who operates a power chair in a crowded area how many toes have been run over. Segways are the way to go. It all comes down to FDA approval.

Posted by Dale | Report as abusive

This lawsuit is selfishness on the part of those ‘handicapped’ people. But i give great kudos to Disney for accommodating these selfish people anyways. That’s why Disney is the leader in entertainment and customer satisfaction. I doubt anyone will have less of an enjoyable time at a Disney Park just because they have to use a wheelchair versus a segway. Besides, don’t you have to sit down to go on the rides in the park?

Posted by Andy | Report as abusive