Disneyland Resorts--Please Bring Back the Special Needs Pass

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    The Walt Disney Company & Disney Resorts
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    Parents/Caregivers of children with Special Needs
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Any parent/caregiver can tell you that it is very difficult for any child to have to wait in a long line. For children with special needs, however, waiting is extremely difficult and can lead to over-stimulation, stress, anxiety, and ultimately to 'melt-downs,' which in a public setting could be extremely dangerous to the child or to an innocent bystander.

In the past, Parents/caregivers of children with special needs were able to obtain what is called a Special Needs (or Assistance) Pass at City Hall in Disneyland, which allowed up to 5 members of that party to bypass the long lines at rides. Eligibility was based upon the presentation of a doctor's letter which clearly stated the reason for the request and stated the diagnosis, or a copy of a current IEP plan which stated the specific disability.

Effective the last week of December, 2003, however, this policy was changed by the resort and the pass is now no longer available to a disabled person unless s/he has a physical/mobility challenge, or terminal illness. It does not take into consideration those individuals who have "invisible disabilities" such as autism or other neuro-biological disorders which may not be obvious at first glance, but are severely debilitating none-the-less.

This change in policy will prevent millions of children and their families from ever being able to enjoy Disneyland again.

Emails, phone calls, and letters to Disney have all been answered with the same exact canned letter which directs the concerned citizen to the availability of the "Fast Pass." Letters written specifically to Michael Eisner and James A. Rasulo were routinely re-routed to the Disneyland Resort and never read by the intended parties.

We feel that Disney's response and so-called solution is not acceptable. The "Fast Pass" is not available for many of the rides that this population would gravitate towards AND it does not address the reason that the Special Needs Pass was needed in the first place. Disney states that the pass was discontinued because people "were abusing it." While we, the undersigned acknowledge that there may indeed have been people who abused this privilege, it is not right to punish those with valid documentation of the disability.

We also feel that it is unfair to have to pay extra in order to accommodate an individual's disability by being pushed to purchase a "Fast Pass." Whether or not this is legal under the standards of the Americans with Disabilities act is currently under review.

This petition is to hereby ask Disneyland to reconsider their policy on Special Needs (Assistance) Passes and reinstate them to those with legitimate needs. Then, once again ALL of our children and future generations can share the experience of the Magic Kingdom.

Thank you.