FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                          CR
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 12, 1996                       (202) 616-2765
                                               TDD (202) 514-1888


WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Business travelers and vacationers with disabilities will have full access to the facilities at a Comfort Inn hotel near Walt Disney World, under an agreement reached today with the Justice Department.

According to the agreement, the Lake Buena Vista, Florida Comfort Inn will ensure that all of its amenities and a portion of its guest rooms are fully accessible to people with disabilities. The hotel is one of the nation's largest Comfort Inns with 640 guest rooms, a restaurant, and two swimming pools. Many Disney World tourists stay there.

"Travelers with disabilities should be as welcome at our nation's hotels as anyone else," said Deval L. Patrick, Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights. "We hope that other hotels will follow in the footsteps of Comfort Inn to provide equal services to people with disabilities."

The settlement resolves a complaint filed by a couple who alleged that the hotel violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The couple, both of whom use wheelchairs, had to cancel reservations at the hotel because it did not have any accessible rooms.
Under the agreement, by December 1, 1996, the hotel will:

     ensure that 19 guest rooms are fully accessible to people who use wheelchairs and people with hearing impairments. Six of these have roll-in showers, and 13 additional rooms have phones and alarms that are accessible for people who are deaf or hard of hearing;

     modify recently added accessible guest rooms so that guests who use wheelchairs can maneuver in the bathrooms, use door handles and be protected from exposed water pipes;

     ensure that parking lots, the lobby, lobby restrooms and other common use areas are accessible;

     lower drinking fountains;

     ensure that each elevator bank has one accessible elevator; and,

     make lifts available to enable individuals with mobility impairments to use the swimming pools.

Title III of the ADA prohibits private businesses, such as hotels, from denying goods and services to people with disabilities. Following the enactment of the law on January 26, 1992, businesses were required to make their facilities accessible where readily achievable.

The Department also announced an ADA agreement today with the Courtyard by Marriott hotel chain, which has agreed to ensure that reservations for accessible rooms will be honored at all Courtyard by Marriott hotels.

People who would like to find out more about the ADA or would like to obtain copies of today's agreement can call the Justice Department's toll-free ADA Information Line at (800) 514-0301 or (800) 514-0383 TDD. The Department's ADA home page can be accessed through the internet at crt/ada/adahom1.htm.
# # #