In light of some concerns it has over the public perception of an ongoing lawsuit (as most recently reported on by the Orlando Sentinel here).
To summarize, a lawsuit was initially filed against Disney claiming that those who use the Segway for mobility purposes were being discriminated against when not allowed to take their Segway into the parks. Disney’s response is that a guest on a Segway can not be monitored and that it inherently poses a security risk to the safety of not only the guest using the device unsupervised, but the rest of the guests. In addition, the Segway units can travel faster than walking or, in particular, the ECVs that the park usually recommends, which essentially gives Segway riders a speed advantage. Segway’s response almost appears to speak out of both sides of the mouth since they obviously don’t want to offend Disney and hurt/jeopardize the longstanding relationship but they evidently take offense to the suggestion that the devices are in any way unsafe to anyone (when used properly), at least when taken out of context.
The full statement is as follows:
BEDFORD, N.H., June 3 — Segway feels that issues raised in a class action lawsuit against Walt Disney World Co. pending in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida (Mahala Ault et al. v. Walt Disney World Co.) may have caused some confusion about the safety of our Segway(R) Personal Transporter (“Segway PT”) product. The plaintiffs in this action allege that the policy of Walt Disney World Co. (“Disney”) not to permit two-wheeled vehicles violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). While Disney and the plaintiffs have reached a compromise in the lawsuit, some have objected to the settlement based on the premise that they prefer to use a Segway PT at the Walt Disney World Resort instead of the mobility devices permitted by Disney. Segway is not a party to this lawsuit and has not taken a position in this dispute. However, since the issue of safety has arisen in the context of the lawsuit, we are taking this opportunity to comment.