Autistic Man Files Lawsuit To Get Front-Of-The-Line Access To Rides At Disney Parks

'The disabled plaintiff is mentally and physically incapable of traveling across the park to the site of an attraction only to be told to come back later,' said his attorney.

walt disney world's magic kingdom park
HenningE / Pixabay

'The disabled plaintiff is mentally and physically incapable of traveling across the park to the site of an attraction only to be told to come back later,' said his attorney.

An autistic man has filed suit against The Walt Disney Company, demanding front-of-the-line access to rides and attractions at Disney parks. His reasoning is that his disability prevents him from making use of the same process the park uses for other disabled guests.

As The Orlando Sentinel reports, the man, identified in court documents only by his initials, A.L., actually filed suit five years ago. However, the suit has been held up in court procedures, and only this week was it allowed to move forward.

Disney’s Process For Handling Guests With Disabilities

For decades, guests with disabilities at Disney Parks could simply go to the front of the line and get on an attraction, without having to wait, and their families could join them. Unfortunately, reports started surfacing that some guests were abusing the system by effectively “hiring” people with disabilities to tour the parks with them, effectively giving groups with anyone with a disability an advantage over the rest of the crowd.

To combat the cheaters, Disney Parks instituted a new policy for guests with disabilities. In effect, guests with disabilities who want to experience a particular attraction are given a time when they can return to the attraction and get on without having to wait in line. The system is roughly similar to the FastPass system, which is available to all guests, in that it gives guests a return time to come back to a particular attraction without having to wait in the regular, “standby” (as it’s called) line.

walt disney world's splash mountain
  Jennifer Lynn / Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

That Doesn’t Work For A.L.

A.L. says, through his attorney, that due to the specific nature of autism, he can’t take advantage of the current system.

As Yahoo! News explains, A.L. has to walk through the parks in a specific direction each time, according to his strict routine. He visits the same attractions, in the same order, at the same time.

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“The disabled plaintiff is mentally and physically incapable of traveling across the park to the site of an attraction only to be told to come back later,” the suit says.

Autism advocates say that other people on the autism spectrum, and their families and caregivers, experience similar problems at Walt Disney World. As one mom of a small child with autism notes, having to wait in a line at all can be too much for people on the spectrum.

“This isn’t him being impatient, but rather a sensory thing. If we are in a line too long, I have to leave the area or he will have a meltdown,” she said.