Tuesday, September 24th, 2013
People with disabilities have long been able to go to the front of lines at Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resort, but the company has announced that starting next month, the policy will change. The reason cited was that the policy is abused too often and is rendered ineffective. More from CNN.com:
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Under the current policy, Disney visitors can get a guest assistance card that grants quicker access to rides, often entering through exit doors to bypass the main lines.
There were widespread reports of able-bodied people abusing the policy.
Some wealthy park visitors were hiring disabled people to pretend to be family members so they could skip lines, the New York Post reported in May. Social researcher Wednesday Martin learned about the practice while researching a book about New York’s Park Avenue elite, the Post reported. “It really is happening,” Martin told CNN’s “Starting Point” in May.
Starting October 9, guests with a new disability access card will be issued a ticket with a time to enter an attraction, based on the current wait time, so they don’t have stay in line. Disney fan site Miceage.com broke the news of the policy change last week.
No proof of disability is required under either the current or new policies. Asked why Disney couldn’t keep the current system and require disabled guests to provide proof of disability, Disney spokeswoman Suzi Brown said, “Due to confidentiality laws, we’re limited in the information we can ask.”
“We have an unwavering commitment to making our parks accessible to all guests,” Brown said in a statement. “Given the increasing volume of requests we receive for special access to our attractions, we are changing our process to create a more consistent experience for all our guests while providing accommodations for guests with disabilities. We engaged disability groups, such as Autism Speaks, to develop this new process, which is in line with the rest of our industry.”
Thursday, May 2nd, 2013
Amusement park rides including roller coasters injure some 4,400 kids each year, some badly enough to require hospitalization, according to a large study conducted by the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System. More from NBC News:
Most of the injuries are not serious — just bumps and bruises, but about 67 kids a year, or 1.5 percent, are injured badly enough to be hospitalized, according to an analysis of data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, which includes reports from about 100 nationally representative hospitals. It’s the most in-depth study to date, tracking 20 years of injuries which occurred at fixed-site amusement parks, mobile carnivals and fairs and coin-operated rides at places like malls, stores and restaurants.
About 20 kids a day are hurt on rides in the peak season between May and September. “That’s one every two hours,” said Dr. Gary A. Smith, who conducted the research for Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.
Such harm — and the most in-depth study to date on ride injuries — highlights the need for more awareness, better education, and increased tracking and oversight, he said.
“In the past, the discussion has always been on roller-coaster injuries and the bigger rides,” Smith said. “The message here is that these injuries occur across a broad spectrum of types of rides and across many locations.”
Image: Roller coaster, via Shutterstock
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Monday, March 18th, 2013
Walt Disney World and Disneyland theme parks and resorts will, beginning March 23, no longer allow children under age 14 to enter the park unless they are accompanied by someone who is over age 14. The new rule isn’t a response to any particular incident, but it was put in place after visitor surveys and child welfare organizations both expressed concern about the safety of children who are unaccompanied in the parks. More from The Associated Press:
“If a cast member who is working at the front gates sees a guest who appears to be younger than 14 without someone who appears to be older than that, they will engage in a conversation with the guest,” Disney spokeswoman Suzi Brown told NBC4.
The employee will verbally determine whether the guest is too young to enter on his or her own, since children that age typically do not carry identification with them, she said. The child’s parent or guardian would then be contacted if the visitor is underage, and that adult would need to physically come accompany the child into the park.
Disney chose the age of 14 after the company surveyed its guests and reached out to organizations that deal with child welfare, Brown said. She said both the organizations and visitors agreed on the new age limit.
“That was the age they felt was appropriate,” she said. “That’s also the age the Red Cross recommends for babysitting.”
Image: Girl in amusement park, via Shutterstock
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