New Dollywood Policy: No More Free Rides
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
October 30, 2003
PIGEON FORGE, TENNESSEE--Responding to a claim that its admission policy discriminates against people with certain disabilities, Dollywood will no longer give free admission to people with any kind of disability beginning January 2004.
According to the company's website, Tennessee's most popular tourist attraction made the decision after a local woman filed an anti-discrimination lawsuit against the Smoky Mountain theme park. The woman claimed that Dollywood's current discounts for visitors with "total and permanent vision or hearing loss, and/or who have a medical or physical condition which made them permanently dependent on a wheelchair" violated the Americans with Disabilities Act.
"From a legal standpoint, our staff is not qualified to make decisions on who should or should not be given free admission to the park based on their level of disability," reads a statement about the new policy on the Dollywood.com website. "For those reasons we regret to inform you that individuals who have been admitted under our previous disability policy will no longer be allowed to enter free of charge."
A regular daily pass to Dolly Parton's theme park is around $40. The park estimates that about 45,000 of its 2.2 million annual visitors have disabilities.
Beginning with the 2004 season, the park will make donations to area disability groups equal to the cost of this year's free disability admissions.
Dollywood Disability Information