Brad Messer Commentary
Tuesday, November 4, 2003

Dollywood “Disabled Pass” Disabled

Dollywood is the #1 tourist attraction in Tennessee. For years the park has given free passes to physically impaired people. Blind, deaf, or people in wheelchairs didn't have to pay the $40 per day. An average of one in every 50 people got the free passes.

The manager said, "We felt it was the right thing to do."


Not any more.

The group Access Now sued Dollywood, claiming in effect that the Americans With Disabilities Act says people with disabilities shouldn't be treated differently.

The lawsuit got the theme park thinking. What if someone claimed to be disabled, but it looked to Dollywood like he wasn't. Might he sue Dollywood for discrimination?

The park has decided that its employees don't have the proper training to judge degrees of physical impairment, so at the end of the year, the free passes will disappear.

Dolly Parton's theme park is as accessible as any. All Dollywood *shops and restaurants are accessible to wheelchairs, and theaters have special access entrances.

The lawsuit-happy Access Now group ought to be ashamed of itself for spoiling the free-pass policy at Dollywood. And somewhere in there, ought to be a spanking.

Brad Messer— commentary, KTSA.

Knoxville News 10/30/2003
Dollywood to end free admission for disabled

*Dollywood website
2003 Special Information For Guests With Disabilities

Theme Park Insider 3/18/2003
Dollywood Sued over Disability Access

Access Now, Inc. website here

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