Great Wolf Lodge has entered into an historic agreement to make all of its eleven resorts fully accessible to individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing. Over the next year, Great Wolf Lodge, the nation’s largest family of indoor water park resorts, will develop and roll-out a new interactive system that uses new technology to provide deaf and hard of hearing people full, equal and contemporaneous access to its MagiQuest game, and all of its other entertainments.
The Settlement Agreement announced provides:
Within thirty days, all Great Wolf Lodge locations throughout the United States will begin providing qualified interpreters upon request
Within thirty days, all television screens at all Great Wolf Lodge locations will offer captioning
Within 6 months, video elements of the Magiquest game will be captioned
Within 9 months, Great Wolf Lodge Williamsburg will develop and debut new, fully accessible and interactive system that will allow guests who are deaf and hard of hearing to have contemporaneous access to the auditory elements of the MagiQuest game through visual means with the flick of a wand.
Within 12 months, Great Wolf Lodges nationwide will implement this interactive system at all of its other locations in the United States.
Great Wolf Lodge will make diligent efforts to incorporate American Sign Language into the video portions of the MagiQuest game
Great Wolf Lodge will expand employee training to include policies and procedures to ensure access for guests with disabilities
The Agreement resolves a lawsuit filed on behalf of Ksenia Markel and Suzanne Rosen Singleton in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. Both Markel and Rosen Singleton are deaf. Markel visited Great Wolf Lodge Williamsburg in 2011 as part of a family birthday celebration. Rosen Singleton brought her three hearing children to Great Wolf Lodge in 2010 as part of a Girl Scout outing. The lawsuit was filed pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Virginians with Disabilities Act.
The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits places of public accommodation, such as hotels, resorts, and theme parks, from discriminating against individuals with disabilities. Discrimination includes the failure to ensure that all guests and visitors have a full and equal opportunity to benefit from and a public accommodation’s programs and activities.
For twelve year old Ksenia Markel, her next trip to a fully interactive and accessible Great Wolf Lodge can’t come soon enough. Ksenia can hardly wait to choose her magic wand and watch it bring to life a world of fun. Markel’s mother, Diana Markel, viewed the experience as an opportunity for Ksenia to learn about self-advocacy and social justice. Plaintiff Rosen Singleton, who is herself a lawyer in addition to being a mom of three, also looks forward to a future visit to Great Wolf Lodge in which she can enjoy everything the resort has to offer along with her children, and adds, “Deaf individuals should have equal opportunity to work hard and to play hard — access at Great Wolf Lodge through captioning of its interactive games and interpreting services will open doors for increased literacy and educational opportunities, quality family time, and more patrons and customers – a win-win solution for all.”
Markel and Singleton were represented by the National Association of the Deaf, as well as Chason, Rosner, Leary & Marshall, LLC, and Stein & Vargas, LLP. Attorney Mary Vargas of Stein & Vargas, LLP, applauds Great Wolf Lodge, stating “Great Wolf Lodge has shown an extraordinary commitment to use technology to make sure that everyone who comes through its doors has a great time.” Bobbie Beth Scoggins, President of the National Association of the Deaf shares the enthusiasm for the changes coming to Great Wolf Lodge – saying, “Great Wolf has taken the experiences of the Singleton and Markel families and has turned them into an incredible positive for many by making the resorts as enjoyable for deaf and hard of hearing guests as they are for all guests.”
The National Association of the Deaf is the nation’s premier civil rights organization of, by, and for, deaf and hard of hearing individuals in the United States.
Chason, Rosner, Leary & Marshall, LLC, focuses its practice in all areas of civil law, including medical malpractice, business and corporate disputes, insurance, personal injury litigation, products liability, real estate and foreclosures, toxic torts, and workers’ compensation.
Stein & Vargas, LLP is a civil rights firm committed to the principle that all people have full and equal access to all parts of society.