Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Family Of Autistic Man Appeals Disney Discrimination Ruling

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
Wikimedia Commons
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

An autistic man’s family who says Disney’s new disability access program discriminates against guests with autism are continuing their legal fight.

The family filed an appeal on Monday after U.S. District Judge Ann Conway ruled last month that Disney did not violate the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The case is one of dozens alleging the theme park giant’s disability access program violates the Americans with Disabilities act.

Disney used to allow guests with disabilities immediate access to the fast pass. That meant they only waited for 10 to 15 minutes for any attraction.  

But Disney changed the program in 2013. Now, disabled guests get an IOU to come back to the ride at a specific time.

In her ruling, Conway wrote that guests with autism had access on par with non-disabled guests.

Disney released a statement Monday defending its policy.

“Disney Parks have an unwavering commitment to providing an inclusive and accessible environment for all our guests, and we fully comply with all ADA requirements,” the statement said. 

It’s not a function of whether a person with autism can tolerate waiting, said Andy Dogali, an attorney representing the families.

“Most of the moderate to severe cases of autism have difficulty comprehending the concept of time,” Dogali said. “They only have a present tense.”

Separately, plaintiffs say, the Florida Commission on Human Relations has ruled there’s probable cause the new policy discriminates against guests with autism.

Health News Florida reporter Abe Aboraya works for WMFE in Orlando. He started writing for newspapers in high school. After graduating from the University of Central Florida in 2007, he spent a year traveling and working as a freelance reporter for the Seattle Times and the Seattle Weekly, and working for local news websites in the San Francisco Bay area. Most recently Abe worked as a reporter for the Orlando Business Journal. He comes from a family of health care workers.