You'll see all kinds of folks at the Disney resorts in Anaheim: really fat people, others who wish they were as skinny as the really fat people, and grandmas (generally fat) faking disabilities so they, their wheelchairs and their families (generally fat) can cut to the front of long Disneyland and California Adventure lines.
Now, thanks to the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, some of those folks may wind up on Segways. God help us.
Overturning a lower court decision favoring the Walt Disney Co., a three-judge panel of the appellate court says its time for the Mouseketeers to study the idea of providing Segways for some disabled people.
The panel ruled on a lawsuit brought by Tina Baughman, who suffers from a form of muscular dystrophy that makes it difficult for her to walk or rise from a seated position. She claimed Disney violated her rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act by refusing her request to bring a Segway upright scooter into the park to celebrate her daughter's eighth birthday.
Here is the decision: 9th-circuit-tina-baughman-v-disney.htm.
“Technological advances didn't
end with the powered wheelchair,” Chief Judge Alex Kozinski wrote for the court. “. . . 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
The case will now be kicked back to a lower court, where Disney must prove, with actual cited risks, why Segways would pose dangers.
Kozinski offered a playful parting shot.
“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,” the justice wrote.
Coming up: signs stating, “You must be this disabled to ride Mr. Toad's Wild Segway Ride.”
Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the paper’s first calendar editor. He went on to be managing editor, executive editor and is now senior staff writer.