Valdosta Daily Times

September 26, 2013

Disney: Back of the line for a good program

The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — Walt Disney has learned the sad lesson that no good deed goes unpunished. Disney’s parks, such as Disney World, offer disabled guests access to the front of the line for its many attractions. Disney realized that disabled visitors may have difficulty waiting in the lines, some of which can extend for an hour or longer to ride one attraction.

Disney offered a Guest Assistance Card program; disabled guests received the card which allowed them to skip to the front of any line at Disney World and Disneyland.

Unfortunately, come Oct. 9, Disney will discontinue the practice. Not because Disney has had a change of heart but because too many able-bodied visitors are abusing the policy.

Some park guests have feigned a disability to avoid lines. The New York Post recently exposed some wealthy families hiring disabled people to pretend to be a family member, joining them at the park, and granting the entire family access to rides without waiting in line. These “black market Disney guides” were receiving an average of $130 per hour.

Such activities are fraud — plain and simple. And now this scam-artist mentality will cost truly disabled people.

Granted, Disney will try a new program where disabled guests will be issued return times based on wait times. They can’t move to the front of the line but they don’t have to wait in line either.

A Disney spokesperson told The Orange County (Calif.) Register: “Given the increasing volume of requests we receive for special access to our attractions, we are changing our process to create a more consistent experience for all our guests while providing accommodations for guests with disabilities.”

Of course, some folks will try milking this system to avoid lines. Expecting some folks to act decently and not take advantage of a good program for others may be as hopeful as wishing upon a star.