The National Union of Charities for Parents with Disabled Children (UNAPEI), has lodged a legal complaint, accusing Disneyland of ‘institutional discrimination’.
The French organisaton accused Disneyland Paris of using controversial practices, equivalent to racial profiling, to identify visitors with learning difficulties.
The charity says those visitors are forced to identify themselves as ‘disabled visitors’ and are denied access to certain attractions, sometimes being pulled out of queues by workers in front of other tourists.
Christel Prado, president of Unapei, told Le Parisien newspaper: ‘It’s humiliating. Mickey Mouse treats us like we are crazy’.
As well as labelling the visitors as ‘disabled’, the park also bans them from using rides together, making their guardian take one person on the ride at a time, meaning they have to queue multiple times when travelling as a group.
The ‘priority pass’ issued to tourists with learning difficulties means they have to follow a different set of rules- something with Unapei argues doesn’t happen in other parks.
However the park, which trades on being a place ‘where dreams come true’, has launched a robust defence of its policies, saying it welcomes 60,000 customers with disabilities every year.
A statement from Disneyland Paris said: ‘We are very attentive on this subject. We have to above all ensure their safety. If the ride is blocked in the dark, if there is panic, then the rescuers need to know straight away where they are.’
When asked about forcing visitors with learning difficulties to identify themselves as ‘disabled’, the park responded to Le Parisien: ‘It is for their own good. Although we have noticed that more and more disabled people do not want to signal this.’