Thursday, August 10, 2017

Magnum TA vs. Disney World


Magnum TA vs. Mickey Mouse


By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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I debated writing this blog because I know it's going to irritate some who read it. Many people who check out My 1-2-3 Cents know I'm a journalist by day. I've been in the world of broadcast news for two decades. So from time to time, I go into reporter mode when it comes to responding to things going on in the wrestling world.


Chances are you've seen the tweets from Tessa Blanchard, the step daughter of wrestling legend, Magnum T.A. She says Magnum and her siblings were denied entry into the Magic Kingdom in Orlando recently. According to the tweet it was because Magnum uses a Segway to assist with walking. More than 30 years ago, TA was severely injured in a car crash. 

Here's where I become annoyed with wrestling fans. Many responded to the tweets by saying fans should boycott Disney. They criticized the move as they thought Disney was targeting one of their favorite stars. However, doing some research on the subject, Disney banned Segways more than a decade ago. In fact, the issue became such a hot topic the United States Supreme Court got involved and ruled in favor of Disney. 

Magnum T.A. with Bill Apter
Admittedly, I don't know all the facts about Magnum's situation. But Disney enacted the ban because they say Segways are too unstable. It's been in place since 2004. Their website doesn't specifically say Segways aren't allowed, however it does talk about just using wheelchairs or Electric Conveyance Vehicles. Chairs can be rented for $12 a day and the ECVs are $50. I've read the ECVs didn't have the controls on the correct side for TA.

None of us were there, we can only base our opinions on what was tweeted by a third party who also wasn't at the park. I'm a Disney fan. I'm a Magnum TA and Tessa Blanchard fan. Unfortunately, there was a misunderstanding of some kind. We don't know for sure if park officials tried to offer an alternative. Each time my family has visited the theme parks, we've never had any problems. In fact, they have gone above and beyond to make our experiences outstanding, including two times when my mom had to use a wheelchair to get around.

It's natural to pick a side. But really both sides could have likely handled this situation differently. Hopefully, this incident will raise awareness and serve as a reminder of what guests with disabilities need to prepare for before arriving at Disney World or Land. 



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