Theme Parks called on to clarify their accessibility policies for people with limb differences
LONDON, 12 July 2012: Limb Difference charities in Europe are calling on Disneyland and other theme park operators to clarify their policies on safety and discrimination after several young people with limb disabilities were banned from rides.
EDRIC (European Dysmelia Reference Information Centre), which operates DysNet, a globally-focused limb-difference online network, has been contacted by two of its member charities, Reach in the UK and Assedea in France, after several disabled youngsters were prevented from riding roller-coasters because they had missing limbs.
In one case, a young girl, twice refused entry to a ride, was permitted to go on after she and her parents visited customer services to be registered as a disabled passenger.
The girl's father said, "We were left shocked when our five year-old daughter, who was born missing her forearm, was stopped from going on by a Disney employee who said it was 'because she doesn't have two hands'. We have brought our daughter up as if there was no difference to anyone else but in Disney's eyes, she must be registered as disabled."
In a statement, Disneyland Paris said, "At Disneyland Paris, the majority of our two theme parks' attractions are designed to be accessible to many guests with disabilities or special needs. However, safety is the primary consideration in all decisions made on the ground by our cast relating to attraction access and this would have been the case with the particular situation you've described.
"Furthermore, we work daily to facilitate and improve our guests with disabilities' visits and we are currently reviewing our boarding and accompaniment procedures. These changes will take effect soon."
EDRIC chairman, Geoff Adams-Spink said, "As school summer draws near, thousands of people with disabilities will be heading for theme parks across Europe and North America. The policy on safety and accessibility for those with limb differences seems to be unclear and our members want to know what to expect when they spend large sums of money this summer visiting Disneyland and other parks. If you can only ride when you've been officially labelled, it would seem it's not really the safety but the fact that Disney are seeking to protect themselves and that isn't the correct message to be sending out."
Mr Adams-Spink, who was himself born with shortened arms as a result of the drug, thalidomide, said that he would be contacting Disneyland Paris to try to set up a meeting to further clarify their policy on rides for people with limb differences.
"While no one wants the safety of individuals with limb deficiencies to be compromised, a blanket policy covering all rides, or forcing people to be labelled as disabled when they don't feel they are, is not acceptable. It's not rocket science to examine each thrill ride and make safety accommodations for people who are missing upper or lower limbs where possible, so that they too can enjoy everything that Disneyland has to offer.
"EDRIC would be delighted to work with Disney to work out a detailed accessibility policy for people with limb differences. I am happy to meet Disneyland safety officials to develop a more refined policy that does not discriminate against our members."
1. DysNet was launched by EDRIC in May 2012 to bring together limb difference patient groups and charities around the world to share knowledge and expertise.
2. The DysNet website is at www.dysnet.org The Reach website is at www.reach.org.uk/. The ASSEDEA website is at www.assedea.org/
3. Disneyland Paris has online information for disabled people in general and accessibility information at the following locations:
[LINK:HTTP#visit.disneylandparis.co.uk/disabled-visitors and www.disneylandparis.com/BROCHURE/handicap/uk/catalogue]http://visit.disneylandparis.co.uk/disabled-visitors and www.disneylandparis.com/BROCHURE/handicap/uk/catalogue
Tags: EDRIC Reach UK Assedea Dosneyland paris discrimination disability limb difference dysmelia amputee Press Release Press Release Article