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Should Disney Allow Autistic Guests To Not Wear A Mask?

Since businesses have slowly started to reopen, mask-wearing has been required at nearly everywhere you go in the United States. Theme parks across the board have been requiring masks at nearly every location across the country. Disney in particular has been known as a “stickler” about wearing them and has even amended their policy several times since reopening. However, there are several people that think that those guests with autism should be exempt from wearing masks at Disney Parks and stores.

Copyright: Walt Disney World

On August 6, Richard Ross and his family tried to enter the Magic Kingdom in Florida. He was told his seven-year-old daughter would not be allowed entry into the park without a proper face covering by several employees and managers.

Ross actually posted several videos online of his confrontations with various Disney managers about what he believes is discrimination against his autistic daughter. One of the conversations outside the Magic Kingdom went like this:

“Can my daughter — who is autistic with sensory issues —enter your park without a mask because she medically can’t wear a mask?” Ross said.

“Sir, I apologize, I know you’re frustrated,” the Cast Member says in the clip. “At this time…at this time we ask that anyone entering our park …”

Ross cuts him off, saying, “Just answer the question: Are you refusing to follow the Americans with Disabilities Act laws?”

Copyright: Walt Disney World

The American with Disabilities Act comes into play a lot in these conversations. Most recently, a child was not allowed entry into a Disney Store in Pennsylvania for the same reasons.

According to a report, another family is actually suing the Disney Store for violating the Americans with Disabilities Act. Keep in mind, we have covered the ADA on this website MANY times. We even contacted a lawyer and got a detailed rundown on how only handing out paper straws affects the ADA.

This is new territory. Do you think these new mask requirements violate the Americans with Disabilities Act? More importantly, how many other theme parks and businesses are going to have to spend money on having to defend these lawsuits and what could that mean for the bottom line? Would love to hear your thoughts.

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The views and opinions of Theme Park University Staff are not associated with any themed entertainment company and are clearly our own. Please don't sue us.

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