We all live in a Disney submarine
Some time ago, Aussie comedian Adam Hills wrote a piece for Ouch exposing the alleged disablist philosophy of the, er, "Hillsy Corporation".
Now, obviously, I’ve got no idea which corporation Adam was talking about. None. At all. That devilishly cunning code was far too impenetrable for me.
Nevertheless, I was – for some reason - reminded of that article of his when I came across this news story a couple of weeks ago.
Disneyland’s Submarine Voyage (which first opened in 1959) has recently reopened as the “Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage”. Disney’s “imagineers” (pardon me for a moment while I flinch at that insult to the English language) couldn’t make the subs themselves wheelchair-accessible. Instead, they’ve filmed the “undersea voyage” and will be playing it on a plasma screen in “a theatre designed to represent an observation outpost”.
Which is great. They’ve thought about accessibility for all the ride’s visitors. Can’t knock that. Not in itself. But do they have to make such a song and dance about the fact that they’ve gone to the effort and expense of making something accessible when their legal obligations under the ADA in regard to that particular something were “a grey area”? Are we supposed to kiss their feet in gratitude?
The whole tone of that article implies (to me, at least) that Disney feel they should be patted on the back for what they’ve done. That they’ve done something really special. Something they could have got away without doing, were it not for their saintly understanding of the tragic truth that some of their frailer(paying) visitors can’t actually shin down spiral staircases.
Whereas, frankly, if I had to pay for admission to the park, I’d expect either the whole place to be accessible to me, or my admission fee to be discounted accordingly. I may be a crip, but my money’s as good as anyone else’s. Call me unreasonable but, if I’m paying full whack for entertainment, I don’t feel there’s any need for me to be grateful that I can actually access that entertainment. Surprised, possibly. But not grateful.