The National Association of the Deaf (NAD), Stein & Vargas, LLP and Chason, Rosner, Leary & Marshall filed a lawsuit against Great Wolf Resorts, Inc. in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. Great Wolf Resorts, Inc, a national chain of indoor water parks, offers different forms of entertainment including a popular attraction, “MagiQuest”, which is described on its website as a “live-action adventure game in which a player goes up to a station and waves an electronic wand in order to trigger an auditory-based clue to locate the next station.”
When Plaintiff K.M., a deaf child, visited a Great Wolf Lodge in Williamsburg, Virginia, she was not able to participate in the interactive game with her hearing siblings. Similarly, co-Plaintiff Suzanne Rosen Singleton, a deaf mother, was barred from providing support to her hearing children in figuring out the clues. Great Wolf Lodge also features storytelling puppet shows that rely heavily on audio. Such shows do not include auxiliary aids or services. The plaintiffs allege that Great Wolf Lodge refuses to provide access to the MagiQuest game, and as a result violates Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Virginians with Disabilities Act. The lawsuit asks the court to order Great Wolf Resorts, Inc. to provide auxiliary aids and services to ensure that individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing are able to fully participate in and enjoy the MagiQuest game, storytelling time, and all other facets of Great Wolf Lodge. It also asks that the resort be required to post information on its website and at its locations on how to request such auxiliary aids and services, as well as provide training to all of its representatives and employees on how to provide effective communication to deaf and hard of hearing guests. “It is inconceivable in 2011 that any place of entertainment in this country should expressly refuse to allow deaf and hard of hearing parents and children to enjoy the full experience offered, and this legal action seeks to ensure equal access for all,” said NAD President Bobbie Beth Scoggins.