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3894
11-05-2001, 07:36 AM
Should the merry-go-round be modified so that wheel-chair bound folks can ride? Or is it - as David Koenig's 11/05 column brought up - a desecration?

I say take out some horses so that everyone can ride.

Bill Catherall
11-05-2001, 07:42 AM
Would it be just as fun if you can't sit on a horse? If so, then I don't see anything wrong with it. How would it be a desecration? I've seen many merry-go-rounds that have benches. You could just make a bench that folds up to accommodate a wheel chair. Then you'd have to have a mobile ramp than can be moved to the position of the bench (since the merry-go-round doesn't always stop in the exact same spot). It's do-able.

wonderful
11-05-2001, 08:01 AM
The carrousel is NOT an original, but a combination of a few originals and it just seems natural to make as many attractions wheel chair accessable as possible. There are surely many OTHER things in the park for folks in wheelchairs to do, but I think it is much more "Disney" when we can say, "yes" instead of "try this instead"...
And remember, folks, Walt never wanted Disneyland to be a museum... if you can improve on it, improve on it.

Bill Catherall
11-05-2001, 08:39 AM
Oh, I just read the article on Mouse Planet about this. "Mechanical stress" -- Pffffff! Are you (not you, but the employee that brought it up in the article) telling me that some small kid in a wheel chair is going to weigh more than me (240 lbs) riding the carrousel? I don't think you need to worry about adults in wheel chairs riding it because, as an adult, I wouldn't ride it unless my kids dragged me onto it. And if heavy adults (which I see a lot of) ride it with no mechanical problems, and no unbalanced spinning top effect, even the occasional wheel chair bound adult would have no problems riding it. Just put them closer to the hub of the carrousel and it won't cause any undue stress to the bearings.

All of the "excuses" that were used to not do it are stupid: unbalanced weight (I'm sure it happens all the time), political correctness (I hate political correctness and can smell it a mile away, this is not a pc move, it's about letting everybody use everything in the park), desecration (giving me a freaking break). The employee that David Koenig quotes in his article needs to get a grip and a clue.

I say make the changes, and while you're at it, repaint that awful roof.

Tony
11-05-2001, 09:24 AM
The following is my response to the comments from the cast member:


King Arthur's Carousel being where it is cements the concept of fun for the entire family Walt always wanted.

Unless a member of your family happens to require the use of a wheelchair.


One needs to ask why all this is happening. ADA is a poor excuse (sorry) since ADA applies to new construction, not
existing ones. To make the carousel available to all is another attempt at political correctness, and we can see what
this has done to Pirates.

This is a common misconception about the ADA. The exact requirement is that all "public accommodations" (and amusement parks are explicitly included defined in the law as a public accommodation) are *required* to retrofit their facilities to make them accessible to people with disabilities "so long as it is readily achievable." There is *no* exemption for existing construction, or any other "grandfather" clause. That this retrofit is readily achievable is demonstrated by King Triton's Carrousel at DCA.

I take strong issue with the claim that this is "another attempt at political correctness." This has nothing to do with political correctness, and everything to do with equal access. The comparison to Pirates is quite ironic, considering Pirates is not even slightly wheelchair accessible.


the carousel was not designed to take the weight of chairs

The average weight of a wheelchair is 25 pounds. I can't speak to the weight of a carousel horse, but somehow, I would think that, it being solid wood on a brass pole, it is somewhere in that same range. Additionally, parents are allowed to ride standing next to their child. Their weight is obviously borne by the platform, and you don't see the table "spin[ning] like an unbalanced top." I don't see a weight limit on the ride (something Disneyland hasn't hesitated to do on other rides when needed, such as the Stinger at DCA), and have seen people weighing 300+ pounds riding the carousel. How my 200 pounds (including wheelchair) is going to overweight the platform is beyond me.

I understand the purists desire to retain the carousel intact, but using arguments that are false or poorly reasoned is not the way to make your case.

tjrj
11-05-2001, 11:44 AM
Thank you Tony and all of you who have responded so far in this thread. As a person with a disability-one who will use a wheelchair while at the DLR-I applaud DL for making this ride accessible. I am really looking forward to riding King Triton's carousel at DCA during our December visit-yes, I'm a carousel nut. One day in the not-too-distant-future(hopefully!) I'll be able to ride King Arthur's again as I was able to do when I was more mobile.


The above mentioned cast member(in the article) needs some serious re-education-IMO.

stinkerbell
11-05-2001, 12:58 PM
As a special educator (and as a human being with feelings) I applaud any attempts made in a positive fashion to make ANYTHING wheelchair accessible. **In fact, my dream job would be the director of disability/accessibility services at DLR.** I think it's a long overdue change that would have a huge impact on many families and the excuses quoted in the article are hooey. Sorry for my strong language.....:)

thamnarestan
11-05-2001, 01:19 PM
Originally posted by Tony
This is a common misconception about the ADA. The exact requirement is that all "public accommodations" (and amusement parks are explicitly included defined in the law as a public accommodation) are *required* to retrofit their facilities to make them accessible to people with disabilities "so long as it is readily achievable." There is *no* exemption for existing construction, or any other "grandfather" clause.

Are you sure that that requirement is enforced? I've always been opposed to the ADA anyway, because businesses should decide for themselves who to accomodate, but if retrofiting is required, I have one more reason to oppose the ADA. Businesses shouldn't be forced to spend thousands of dollars to accomodate a small minority of the population. I'm sure the cost of retrofitting can be quite expensive.

That said, if Disney wants to pay for it, and thinks its in its best business interests, I think it's a good idea. If they're just doing it to comply with a well-intentioned but stupid law, however, I think they should make a stand against excessive government intrusion into the private sector and keep the Carousel the way it is.


Originally posted by Tony

I take strong issue with the claim that this is "another attempt at political correctness." This has nothing to do with political correctness, and everything to do with equal access. The comparison to Pirates is quite ironic, considering Pirates is not even slightly wheelchair accessible.


What do you mean? Handicapped people ride Pirates all the time.

About the CM who was complaining in the article- my guess is that he just doens't want to deal with loading wheelchairs onto the ride.

downingfamily1
11-05-2001, 01:35 PM
As long as Disney actually spends the money to theme everything together and make it enjoyable for everyone I am all for the change. Every kid (and adult) should be able to enjoy as much of the park as is safely possible for them. The carousel is a beautiful, tame ride that my kids love, I would hate to have to tell any child that they could not ride something so many others are having fun on right in front of them.

innerSpaceman
11-05-2001, 02:04 PM
I, too, am a bit confused about the requirement for ADA retrofitting. I have always been under the impression that the requirements kicked in only when new construction is taking place. I am the president of a large corporation and we are currently undergoing some new construction which is requiring us to become ADA compliant. It is costing us a fortune, by the way - but I have no objection to making things accessible to persons with disabilities. It's just that we were not aware of any requirement to have retrofitted everything prior to new construction and, with no offense meant to Tony, I am still not really aware of it.

I get a creepy feeling when I hear that any Disneyland attraction has to be made ADA compliant. That is because I was told flat out by imagineer Tony Baxter that the primary reason the beloved Skyway was removed was because of the expense that would have been involved in making the attraction ADA compliant. (Disney was only considering doing so when the attraction came up for major refurbishment, not because it had to retrofit everything in the Park). Anyway, while I don't think we'll lose the Carousel because of ADA, the requirements will always make me queasy when it comes to rides I would not like to bid farewell to.

Tony
11-05-2001, 03:35 PM
For clarification, I quote fromADA Title III Regulation 28 CFR Part 36, Sec.36.304: Removal of Barriers. (http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/ada/reg3a.html#Anchor-91481) found at the Department of Justice website:


A public accommodation shall remove architectural barriers in existing facilities...where such removal is readily achievable...

(b) Examples. Examples of steps to remove barriers include, but are not limited to, the following actions --
(1) Installing ramps;
(2) Making curb cuts in sidewalks and entrances;
...
(4) Rearranging tables, chairs, vending machines, display racks, and other furniture;
...
(10) Eliminating a turnstile or providing an alternative accessible
path;
....

The translation is very simple - you must modify existing facilities. Period. End of discussion. Now, the DoJ does not have people wandering around looking for violations, but beware of turning away someone because you have failed to make a facility accessible. They can file a complaint, and the legal costs can be painful. Just ask United Artists Theaters and Norwegian Cruise Lines.

If you question its enforcement, talk to Disney legal. They are already under a consent decree with the Department of Justice regarding disabled accessibility at both WDW and Disneyland. The ramp at the Plaza Pavilion was finally installed only after a threat of legal action was made.

My reference to Pirates was that the boats themselves are not wheelchair accessible. I recognize that people can transfer, but there is a difference. For the record, I think making the Pirates boats accessible falls under the more stupid recommendations, given the nature of the ride. However, making the Small World boat accessible was a good call, and the same change should be made to the Jungle Cruise.

Blaming the closing of the Skyway on accessibility is a red herring. They proved that they could do it at WDW by allowing guests to take round trips. They already do something similar at the Haunted Mansion where disabled guests make a full round trip, exiting at the loading area, and going up the elevator.

EandCDad
11-05-2001, 04:17 PM
I think they should make the Carousel accessible. The only legitamate argument made by the CM was the historical nature of the ride itself (the 140 year argument). Unless the CM was a structural engineer, I'd guess the comments made about the effect on the spin of the ride are an uneducated guess at best and horse hockey at worst.

I'm not disagreeing with anything you said Tony and you certainly know more about ADA than I ever will, but I would encourage people to go to the DOJ website and read the entire section you quoted in part. I'm glad you posted the link. "Readily achievable" is defined in that section as "easily accomplishable and able to be carried out without much difficulty or expense." It further states that the DOJ will make determination based on resources of the company. My guess is that they would make Disney do it, but that definition has certainly got some wiggle room in it. Disney could say that it would be expensive to make the change.

I hope they make the change, I'd like everyone to reasonably be able to go on all the rides.

thamnarestan
11-05-2001, 06:38 PM
Originally posted by Tony

My reference to Pirates was that the boats themselves are not wheelchair accessible. I recognize that people can transfer, but there is a difference. For the record, I think making the Pirates boats accessible falls under the more stupid recommendations, given the nature of the ride. However, making the Small World boat accessible was a good call, and the same change should be made to the Jungle Cruise.


Actually, WDI was planning at one point to retrofit a few Pirates boats to allow handicapped people to stay in their wheelchairs for the ride-- but they couldn't find a way to make it safe during the drops. Mabye they were working on some sort of device that would lock the chair in place? Anyone else heard of this?

And, by the way, why has this thread been moved to this forum? It isn't discussing anything raised in the TAG column. It's primarily a discussion of something raised in David Koenig's column about a Disneyland attraction... nobody's going to find it here.

adriennek
11-05-2001, 07:04 PM
Using that logic, it could belong in the "general" column discussions, too, even though this thread never started there. I didn't move the thread myself but I support the move. It seems logical to me and I disagree with your assertion that no one will see it:

1- If a registered reader signs in at MousePad, he/she will see that there is a new post on this forum and can come here to read it. Then he/she WILL find it.

2- The original thread still shows up on the DL forum, so readers can follow that link to read this thread-- they will find it.

3- You found it, so obviously it's not hidden-- people can find it.

4- The primary discussion here is about Access to this ride, so it seems logical to me that it would fall under Theme Park Access.

Back to the topic: Tony, thank you for taking the time to point out the logical flaws in the original e-mail sent to David. Part of me thought: No! They can't take out horses because it's supposed to be a "pure" horse only carrousel. But the other part of me knows that I would not want to have a friend or family member of mine excluded from riding this attraction.

So here's a devil's advocate question: Tony- I know about how much your wheelchair weighs from experience, but I've also seen very heavy-looking electric chairs with heavy equipment such as respirators on them. Do you have any idea how much those would weigh?

I would imagine that Disney could train CMs that if a wheelchair like that came to ride, they would not allow any other chairs on the ride for that turn, other than that electric chair. This would not be discriminating- as you know, they only allow one wheelchair at a time to ride Space Mountain....

I would just be curious how the weight would work out-- what would the equivalent number of adults be? Unless the number is greater than 4 or 5 (which would be 800-1000 lbs, for ONE chair) I can't imagine that there would be a engineering conflict.


Adrienne K

Tony
11-05-2001, 08:16 PM
Originally posted by adriennek
So here's a devil's advocate question: Tony- I know about how much your wheelchair weighs from experience, but I've also seen very heavy-looking electric chairs with heavy equipment such as respirators on them. Do you have any idea how much those would weigh?

I would just be curious how the weight would work out-- what would the equivalent number of adults be? Unless the number is greater than 4 or 5 (which would be 800-1000 lbs, for ONE chair) I can't imagine that there would be a engineering conflict.


After a bit of quick research, I found the following: The heaviest base power chair runs about 130 pounds, plus the batteries, which can run about another 40 pounds. Figure 20 max for any additional equipment (most respirators are made largely of titanium, so they tend to be lighter than they look). So figure worst case, 200 pounds for chair and equipment.

The amount of space needed will likely require two rows of horses to be removed. Figure the weight of 6 horses minimum, plus the weight of six full sized adults removed. The weight of a bench place holder (see King Triton's for a reference) gets added. Again, you would probably have to weigh 1000+ pounds to really cause problems.

EandCDad: You are right that the amount of resources the company has is considered in what must be done to provide accessibility. Small businesses have a much smaller threshold of unreasonable compared to Disney. However, look at the types of modifications that are explicitly defined as being readily achieveable - ramps, curb cuts, lowering of water fountains, replacing bathroom stalls, etc. Figure the cost of doing those things, compare it to what the modifications to the carrousel would cost, and it becomes obvious that Disney doesn't have any real room to argue expense.

Heck - compare the cost to Michael Eisner's bonus for last month.

Tony

thamnarestan
11-05-2001, 08:55 PM
Originally posted by adriennek
I would imagine that Disney could train CMs that if a wheelchair like that came to ride, they would not allow any other chairs on the ride for that turn, other than that electric chair. This would not be discriminating- as you know, they only allow one wheelchair at a time to ride Space Mountain....


I didn't think a wheelchair could fit into one of the rockets... how do they do it???

dsnyredhead
11-05-2001, 09:18 PM
Originally posted by thamnarestan


Are you sure that that requirement is enforced? I've always been opposed to the ADA anyway, because businesses should decide for themselves who to accomodate, but if retrofiting is required, I have one more reason to oppose the ADA. Businesses shouldn't be forced to spend thousands of dollars to accomodate a small minority of the population. I'm sure the cost of retrofitting can be quite expensive.

That said, if Disney wants to pay for it, and thinks its in its best business interests, I think it's a good idea. If they're just doing it to comply with a well-intentioned but stupid law, however, I think they should make a stand against excessive government intrusion into the private sector and keep the Carousel the way it is.



What do you mean? Handicapped people ride Pirates all the time.

About the CM who was complaining in the article- my guess is that he just doens't want to deal with loading wheelchairs onto the ride.

It's hardly a "stupid law". Why is it so difficult to accomodate people with disabilities that can't get around that well?

3894
11-06-2001, 06:44 AM
I agree the thread belongs here. It was my ignorance that it didn't begin here in the first place.

In most cases, doesn't it come down to deciding which is more important: people or a pre-ADA amusement park ride?

adriennek
11-06-2001, 08:12 AM
Originally posted by thamnarestan


I didn't think a wheelchair could fit into one of the rockets... how do they do it???

touche. I made an error when I was typing fast. They only allow one guest in a wheelchair to ride Space Mountain at a time.

I admit when I've made a mistake.
Adrienne K

JeffG
11-06-2001, 09:52 AM
Tony and others have done a great job of covering this issue from the ADA perspective, so I'll take a moment to talk about the historic component that was brought up in the letter printed by David Koenig.

The writer states "Disneyland Park has one of four remaining Grand Carrousels in (I believe) the WORLD! It was built about 140 years ago, and cared for since installation at the park by some of the finest craftsmen I've had the privilege of knowing."

I'm really having a hard time figuring out where he got hisinformation. The Disneyland Carousel was originally built in 1920, making it 82 years old, not 140. It was manufactured by the Dentzel company and while their carousels are impressive and beautiful antiques, they aren't nearly as rare as the writer implies.

I have no clue where the "one in four" idea came from at all. I know of eight other antique carousels in the Los Angeles metropolitan area alone. The locations of those are Knotts Berry Farm, Magic Mountain, Castle Park, the Santa Monica Pier, Griffith Park, Shorline Village (Long Beach), South Bay Pavilion (Carson), and Puente Hills Mall.

Most of those are actually more authentic than the Disneyland carousel, which has been pretty extensively modified and uses horses from multiple historic carousels and even a few fiberglass figures. Originally, the carousel was a menagerie carousel with animals other than horses, but Walt Disney wanted it to be horses only. The horses on the carousel have also been all painted white contrary to their original, more-colorful design.

The carousel also was originally a 3 row carousel that was modified by Disney to have 4 rows. The original design also had more of a mix of jumper and non-jumper animals and included a couple bench chariots as well. The original mechanism's hand-operated break has also been replaced with an electronic control system. In other words, the proposed modifications are hardly more radical than the ones that have already been made.

-Jeff

Bill Catherall
11-06-2001, 11:09 AM
Should somebody point David Koenig to this thread? While I enjoy David's articles, in this one he quoted a cast member's displeasure with changes without substantiating their claims. It makes it sound like it really is a big concern among all cast members and that the one he quoted is an authority on the issue. I think that's irresponsible.

Flubber
11-06-2001, 02:41 PM
Originally posted by Tony
The translation is very simple - you must modify existing facilities. Period. End of discussion. Now, the DoJ does not have people wandering around looking for violations, but beware of turning away someone because you have failed to make a facility accessible. They can file a complaint, and the legal costs can be painful. Just ask United Artists Theaters and Norwegian Cruise Lines.

Not necessarily so Tony. Any remodel must be 100% accessible. An existing facility must be made compliant when it is remodeled and the cost of the remodel plus the cost of providing access to the remodel exceed about $90,000 (this amount changes every year). Granted, the intent of the ADA is to provide a barrier free environment but the cost to business to just comply would be too great. So would the cost to DOJ for enforcement as you pointed out. The ADA provides a way to upgrade existing buildings as they are remodeled.

I'm not familiar with the United Artist or Norwegian Cruise Lines cases but it seems to me for businesses that rely on visitors, and lots of them, it's just good business to to be accessible. To upgrade the carousel makes another attraction available to disabled guest. Good business.

Flub

rob
11-07-2001, 07:31 AM
I wonder how much of the castle walkthrough closure (if it really does happen) will be due to avoiding the costs of an ADA retrofit? That sounds much more likely than a response to terrorism.

adriennek
11-07-2001, 07:42 AM
Originally posted by JeffG

I have no clue where the "one in four" idea came from at all. I know of eight other antique carousels in the Los Angeles metropolitan area alone. The locations of those are Knotts Berry Farm, Magic Mountain, Castle Park, the Santa Monica Pier, Griffith Park, Shorline Village (Long Beach), South Bay Pavilion (Carson), and Puente Hills Mall.


When I was growing up there was a carousel at the Old Town Mall in Torrance. Since then, that mall has changed a lot and I haven't been there in years, nor do I know how historical it was....

But on our recent vacation, we went to Golden Gate Park only to find out that its carousel had closed half an hour before we got there. Anyone know if that carousel is considered an antique?

Adrienne K

Tony
11-07-2001, 08:31 AM
Originally posted by rob
I wonder how much of the castle walkthrough closure (if it really does happen) will be due to avoiding the costs of an ADA retrofit? That sounds much more likely than a response to terrorism.

The castle has never been on a list of required changes to my knowledge, simply because of the expense involved in adding so many elevators to reach each landing, plus a lack of space to include them. It is the same type of problem as the Tree House. A person I met a few years ago who is heavily active in the accessibility activism groups told me outright that changes to the castle dioramas and the Tree House are considered unreasonable, even by them. To put it bluntly, it is not considered "readily achieveable" by any any reasonable person.

Tony