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Disney World wins dismissal of lawsuit challenging Segway rule

Orlando Sentinel

Original Article »

February 22, 2008

A federal judge in Orlando has thrown out a lawsuit against Walt Disney World aimed at forcing the company to allow disabled visitors to ride two-wheeled Segways in its theme parks.

U.S. District Judge Gregory A. Presnell dismissed the suit Wednesday after agreeing with Walt Disney World's contention that none of the three people who sued had any standing to do so, because none of them had demonstrated any intention to visit the resort in the near future.

"We asked for dismissal and the court agreed it was appropriate," Disney World spokeswoman Jacquee Polak stated. "We provide a variety of accommodations to guests with disabilities, which allow them to fully enjoy our theme parks."

The three plaintiffs -- a man and woman from Illinois and a woman from Iowa -- sued in November, contending that Disney violates the Americans with Disabilities Act by forbidding guests from using the upright scooters within its parks. One of them has multiple sclerosis, another has Lou Gehrig's disease and the third lost his foot in a 1999 accident; none can walk and all say they now rely on Segways for mobility.

None of their lawyers was available Thursday to comment on Presnell's order.

The three had sought class-action status for the lawsuit, which could have potentially opened the case up to thousands of Segway users nationwide.

Disney says it has safety concerns about allowing Segways to maneuver through its often-crowded parks, and says it has no practical way to gauge whether a Segway user entering a park is adequately trained on use of the scooters. SeaWorld Orlando also bars Segways.

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