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  1. #1

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    Disabled groups push Disney, SeaWorld to allow Segways - USA Today - 10/15/07

    Article from USA Today - October 15, 2007
    Disabled groups push Disney, SeaWorld to allow Segways

    ORLANDO (AP) Advocates for the disabled are pushing Walt Disney World and SeaWorld Orlando to lift a ban on the use of Segways at the theme parks, saying the scooters give people who can't walk a degree of personal freedom not afforded by wheelchairs.

    The parks say the scooters create safety hazards, and that disabled people are welcome at the attractions, just not on Segway Personal Transporters.

    "We're not turning people away," Disney World spokeswoman Kim Prunty told the Orlando Sentinel for a story Saturday. "We're turning away a particular form of transportation."

    The move to allow the two-wheeled, electric Segways at the park is coming mostly from an organization called Disability Rights Advocates for Technology, or DRAFT, which raises money to donate Segways to disabled U.S. military veterans and pushes for their acceptance.

    James Nappier uses one. The 49-year-old petty officer in the Navy Reserve suffered leg and arm nerve damage in a May 2004 mortar attack in Ramadi, Iraq.

    "It's been a godsend, because I can get out and get around on it," said Nappier, of Loxahatchee. "I try to take it all the places here I can."

    Nappier said he has a sense of freedom on a Segway and that standing on the upright scooter, he can look people in the eyes for the first time since he's been unable to walk.

    Earlier this year, Epcot Center officials wouldn't let Nappier enter on his Segway, forcing him to use a wheelchair pushed by his wife, Lacey.

    Many people who use prosthetics, and people who can stand but can't easily walk, such as many people with multiple sclerosis find Segways offer more mobility and dignity than wheelchairs, said DRAFT co-founder Jerry Kerr, 52.

    Kerr, who suffered spinal-cord injuries in an accident and uses a Segway, estimates that at least 5,000 disabled people have purchased Segways to get around, up from a few hundred that he estimated three years ago.

    Disney runs paid, guided Segway tours of Epcot and the Fort Wilderness campground, and has put many of its employees on Segways. But Disney officials said they see serious safety concerns if potentially untrained visitors are riding Segways on the same crowded walkways as toddlers, elderly persons and people with sight, hearing, mental or mobility disabilities.

    They say they are also concerned that Segways can go more than 12 mph, much faster than most motorized wheelchairs.

    "Our concern has continued to be the safety of all our guests and cast members," said Prunty, the Disney spokeswoman.

    E-mail and telephone messages left for Bedford, N.H.-based Segway by The Associated Press were not immediately returned Saturday.

    SeaWorld spokeswoman Becca Bides told the Sentinel the park had similar concerns and added that SeaWorld has thin paths and walkways of varying grades and construction, which may be ill-designed for Segways.

    Universal Orlando permits disabled riders on Segways on a case-by-case basis, park officials said.

    So... what do you think? Should Disney and Sea World stand by their current safety policies or are they too harsh and outdated?

  2. #2

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    Re: Disabled groups push Disney, SeaWorld to allow Segways - USA Today - 10/15/07

    I don't always feel comfortable with managers zipping about on Segways, I am not sure that they are good for the parks in crowded situations.
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    Re: Disabled groups push Disney, SeaWorld to allow Segways - USA Today - 10/15/07

    ^ Agreed. People get rude and pushy in their ECV's, I can't imagine the added speed and agility of Segways being a good fit for the parks.


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    Re: Disabled groups push Disney, SeaWorld to allow Segways - USA Today - 10/15/07

    Is there a way Disney can have Segways for rent with a speed restrictor installed? That way, people can rent them like they do wheelchairs and ECVs without the concern for people traveling at high speeds.

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    Re: Disabled groups push Disney, SeaWorld to allow Segways - USA Today - 10/15/07

    Quote Originally Posted by SkittleKicks View Post
    Is there a way Disney can have Segways for rent with a speed restrictor installed? That way, people can rent them like they do wheelchairs and ECVs without the concern for people traveling at high speeds.
    Problem with that is EVERYBODY will want to rent one... Not just the disabled.
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    Re: Disabled groups push Disney, SeaWorld to allow Segways - USA Today - 10/15/07

    I don't think this is a great idea. (though I remember a rather bombastic fellow a while back who would disagree )
    The speed, the instability, and the chance for injury is to great. I've been hit by a segway before and it's far worse than a hit from a wheelchair or EVC.

    Plus segways are not recognized by the FDA as an approved mobility assistance device. If the real benefit is the ability to "look people in the eyes" then little people should be allowed to wear stilts. My sister would need a pretty good pair of platform shoes.
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    Re: Disabled groups push Disney, SeaWorld to allow Segways - USA Today - 10/15/07

    If you can stand and drive some lazybutt machine around a park, then you are not disabled.
    I think it's time for America to get off whatever drug they are overmedicating on, and get real. And please, stop using "discrimination" as a way to push hidden "me me me" agendas.

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    Re: Disabled groups push Disney, SeaWorld to allow Segways - USA Today - 10/15/07

    Quote Originally Posted by TDLFAN View Post
    If you can stand and drive some lazybutt machine around a park, then you are not disabled.
    I think it's time for America to get off whatever drug they are overmedicating on, and get real. And please, stop using "discrimination" as a way to push hidden "me me me" agendas.
    TDLFAN, don't hold back. Tell us what you really think!

    I actually am surprised that Segways can be used by the disabled also, since they are work to maneuver. But disabled or not, I can't even imagine taking one around the parks. It really does get crazy, and it's hard enough to keep from bumping other people - let alone if someone ran over a kid with a Segway (like at night, when it's harder to see).
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    Re: Disabled groups push Disney, SeaWorld to allow Segways - USA Today - 10/15/07

    And not to sound like I'm being mean ... but ...

    Isn't there a weight limit on ECV's? So this wouldn't really help those that use ECV's because they can't walk around the parks all day due to weight issues.


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    Re: Disabled groups push Disney, SeaWorld to allow Segways - USA Today - 10/15/07

    Trust me. I have to hold back before I am stoned to death by those who play the law for their benefit.

    I think San Francisco got it right by banning Segways off their sidewalks. Disney should do the same... and while we are at it.... let me criticize the speeding Disney managers at EPCOT... Some are very careless when in crowded conditions at the park.

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    Re: Disabled groups push Disney, SeaWorld to allow Segways - USA Today - 10/15/07

    Quote Originally Posted by TDLFAN View Post
    Trust me. I have to hold back before I am stoned to death by those who play the law for their benefit.

    I think San Francisco got it right by banning Segways off their sidewalks. Disney should do the same... and while we are at it.... let me criticize the speeding Disney managers at EPCOT... Some are very careless when in crowded conditions at the park.
    I haven't heard about SF banning Segways. But I agree with the managers speeding, I mentioned that I felt uncomfortable with them - they especially seem to buzz around Epcot much faster than I think is right to do.

    I would have no problem in wide open areas having Segways (like Fort Wilderness), where bikes and golf carts are all over the place. I have been told that it would be highly unlikely, due to legal issues. I do think Segways have their place, but in areas that are not so densely populated. Same with Heely's - not in the parks, but elsewhere, away from most people (though they are not good for the feet, so maybe nowhere for those!)

    You won't even get people who are disabled to agree on everything. I have 3 relatives who have one type of handicap (genetic), and if you asked them what allowances should be made for them - it would vary wildly. Two would ask for very little, and they make their way just fine. My aunt, completely the opposite!
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    Re: Disabled groups push Disney, SeaWorld to allow Segways - USA Today - 10/15/07

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerren View Post
    Problem with that is EVERYBODY will want to rent one... Not just the disabled.
    Well, as it is, EVERYBODY rents the current ECVs whether they are disabled or not just out of laziness and/or wanting to skip ahead of longer lines. The current ECVs are perfectly fine and appropriate.

    Quote Originally Posted by TDLFAN View Post
    If you can stand and drive some lazybutt machine around a park, then you are not disabled.
    I think it's time for America to get off whatever drug they are overmedicating on, and get real. And please, stop using "discrimination" as a way to push hidden "me me me" agendas.
    I completely agree with you!
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    Re: Disabled groups push Disney, SeaWorld to allow Segways - USA Today - 10/15/07

    Quote Originally Posted by TDLFAN View Post
    Trust me. I have to hold back before I am stoned to death by those who play the law for their benefit.

    I think San Francisco got it right by banning Segways off their sidewalks. Disney should do the same... and while we are at it.... let me criticize the speeding Disney managers at EPCOT... Some are very careless when in crowded conditions at the park.
    I have to agree here, when I took the Segway tour at Epcot a couple years ago they warned us that people just don't pay attention and we had to be not only smiling and waving as part of the show but prepared to stop on a dime. I literally had about 3 people walk right in front of me, 3rd in a row of segways all single file dorky helmet on Hello?!? Am I invisible? No I have a photo I'm not must be them...

    I agree its probably the most fun I ever had touring the World Showcase and was able to zip around it feels like your flying etc but that was after an hour of watching the safety video, one one one training and obstacle course inside before they let us loose in the park. (oh and if you hit more than 1 cone during the training you had to buy everyone ice cream afterwards....) If you have to do all that just to tour a section of the park thats closed can you imagine what you would have to do to use it in the park proper?

    I can't see them being used ina crowded park at all, keep in mind the folks walking in front of me and not paying attention are the same ones who may be driving them. If the CM's can't drive them in the park safely what chance do you think joe public would have without causing injuries?

    Besides you can't wear your mickey ears with the helmet on, that would hurt sales....
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    Re: Disabled groups push Disney, SeaWorld to allow Segways - USA Today - 10/15/07

    When I first started reading this thread I thought, like several others that maybe having Segways in the parks as mobility devices was not a good idea. I didn’t post then because I want to think about it. Well, I’ve thought and here are my conclusions.

    1. I use a scooter when I go to Disneyland or WDW or the Zoo or anyplace like that. If it were not for the scooter I probably would not be able to go.

    2. There are people who use a Segway like a mobility device. I know a realestate agent who used to walk neighborhoods talking to people to drum up business. Then he got injured and could not walk distances anymore. A scooter would not be easy to use the way he walks the neighborhood, so he got a Segway and it works very well. He uses the Segway AS a mobility device, even though not recognized as such by the agency who recognizes such, he still uses it as a mobility aid and it serves him well.

    3. I am sure that there are other folks who have found the Segway to be a good mobility aid in their everyday life, so they just want to use it in theme parks and zoos and such.

    At first I thought, wow, allowing Segways to be used as mobility aids doesn’t seem like a good idea, it may even be dangerous particularly for what I call “folks on foot”, and there could be some liability for Disney or other park operator to the Segway user and “folks on foot”. But this liability is no different than to all others using a cane, crutches, wheelchair (electric and push) and scooters (ECVs) of all sizes. We as users of mobility devices have an obligation to be careful, and “folks on foot” have an obligation to get along with each other and the disabled.

    With that in mind, as long as Segway users (like the rest of us) realize that there is an obligation to be extra careful (I’ve learned that I must be extra careful on my scooter), I see no reason why they should be denied the use of their “Mobility Aid”. In my mind it is just a mobility aid for the 21st century. I applaud any mobility aid that will allow those of us with disabilities to get out and be with others and do things.

    Yeah, the Segway is different, it puts people above the rest of us, but if one can use one (I could not), great! Better than being down at butt level like me. Believe me, I see a lot of butts and smell a lot of foul air down there. At least a Segway user would not have to put up with that indignity. So put me on the side of will be happy to see approval of the Segway as a mobility aid!

    Just MHO, YMMV

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  15. #15

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    Re: Disabled groups push Disney, SeaWorld to allow Segways - USA Today - 10/15/07

    Okay, lets say that the Segway rider is the best in the world, and has no issues with people around them.

    That still leaves everyone else in the equation. The child who doesn't notice it, parents who are pushing their strollers around everything, clipping the Segway. Segways are heavy, and if they fell, could really hurt someone. On an extremely light day in Epcot, I'd not have much issue. Any other park, with medium or heavier crowds - I just can't see it working. It isn't only about the rider (and a Segway actually is work, it is a pretty good workout in my opinion) - but about the people around also. And what if the Segway rider doesn't notice a young child, a small stroller, etc.? They are much higher up than a wheelchair or scooter, so it's easier to not see what is below.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TDLFAN View Post
    I think it will give more pipping pervs the reason needed to go parasailing
    on Bay Lake.

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