Disney Parks Should Allow ALL Personal Mobility Devices for special needs guests
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(I apologize for the sideways photo - only way it would show the device. If you would like to see a video of the device in action, you may visit littlescoot.com)
Walt Disney World and all of their parks currently have a policy that guests can bring in their own mobility devices, but they must have 3 wheels or more. Or, alternately guests can "rent" an ECV (Electronic Conveyance Vehicle - motorized scooter), or a manual wheelchair from them, or from an outside company. The problem with this is that there is a line of mobility devices similar to a segway with 2 wheels. These are called SCV (Sensor Controlled Vehicles) and are much more practical for guests with specific mobility needs. Here is the link from the ADA on these guidelines - https://www.ada.gov/opdmd.htm Also, Universal Studios has done a beautiful job of integrating "Other Power Driven Mobility Devices" into their policy - please find that (brief) language on safe usage on page six of this document.
There are many examples of medical conditions that the SCV would afford the guest a more accessible and comfortable experience, but I can only speak to the one that I am most familiar with - dwarfism. There are over 200 types of dwarfism, and my daughter has one of them, making her smaller than her average height peers, and her bones are not the same as everyone else's, leaving her with fatigue and pain. At her orthopedic surgeon's recommendation, we purchased an SCV with a modified post to fit her height, and a seat so she has the flexibility to sit or stand rather than walk during long days. The deck of the SCV adds 9" of height, while boasting a small safe footprint for the safety and convenience of the rider and other guests, blinkers, speed control, etc.... Olivia doesn't need the device for daily use, as some do, so this fits perfectly for her needs during long days or extenuating circumstances. The ADA has very specific guidelines and says that entities cannot discriminate and not allow mobility devices, even 2 wheeled devices, unless they can show "legitimate safety requirements", of which are NOT posted anywhere on Disney's website, nor have they been made available to me upon request. In fact, Disney's website states "Guests must be 18 years of age to rent ECVs. A photo ID is required. The maximum weight is 450 pounds. ECVs are not designed to hold more than one person. You are welcome to bring and use your own ECV throughout Walt Disney World Resort." ECV - Electronic Conveyance Vehicle doesn't specify how many wheels it has on their website. So, according to the ONLY information their site provides, I would think her device is allowed, but upon further research on my part, it is not. I cannot drive her on a 3 or 4 wheel ECV, as only one person is allowed on the devices, and it's a liability issue, and SHE IS TOO SMALL TO DRIVE THEIR DEVICES independently. When we went to Disney in March, I paid almost $200 to rent a double stroller for her for 4 days, which was only with our family, but it was VERY uncomfortable physically for her and would be humiliating for an 11 year old with her class trip. It's uncalled for when she has her own device.
My daughter is almost 11, 46" tall with pain and fatigue in her hips/legs after a long day. Her 5th grade class is going on a large field trip in May to Disney World in Orlando ,and the Little People of America National Convention is in Orlando this upcoming summer 2018. I'm sure there will be many of these families planning to go to Disney World, due to the nature of most of the rides (smaller height requirements and not large roller coasters compared to other theme parks in the area). There is a large population of Little People (among people with other special needs) who NEED THEIR OWN mobility device instead of being forced to PAY to rent a mobility device that is entirely too large for this population to safely drive for themselves and for the safety of other guests as well. This also takes away from their experience, as sitting down makes this population of people smaller than standing, which makes food windows, etc... inaccessible. The SCV safely gives them 9" extra to access the park. It just makes sense for people to be able to use THEIR OWN DEVICES, 2,3, or 4 wheels. I have to wonder if this is not a money making gimmick for Disney to make people pay roughly $50/day to rent a scooter that does NOT fit their needs and is questionably unsafe for many people.
Let's please show Disney the need for this allowance BEFORE the LPA National Convention in July and Olivia's class trip in May. There has to be a process that Disney CAN allow these devices in the park for special needs guests. I agree with requiring a handicap sticker on the device or hanger from a car, etc... but there is a way to do this if Disney agrees to be open minded to it. Disney is considered a very progressive, up to date park, but they are behind in this! These devices have been around as mobility devices since the early 2000's and are only advancing, they are not going away. It is time for Disney to evolve as well. Some may think that if they allow these devices for some (handicap), they must allow for all (non-handicapped), that will be a minimal to non-issue, as these devices that the battery is intended to last and the use is intended as a daily driver, are in the $3000 range, which is not accessible to just anyone who wants to zoom through the park. Other theme parks allow these devices with NO questions asked. Olivia used her device in Washington, DC as a 9 year old with NO issues safety wise and we weren't questioned anywhere we went. Please sign this petition and share so that Olivia, other Little People, and people with disabilities of all types have this option available to them while enjoying the MAGIC of Walt Disney's parks. Thank you for your consideration, and in true Disney fashion, Have a Magical Day!
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