Disney has a policy in place for disabled patrons (along with up to six of their guests) to access rides from a “more convenient entrance” and avoid the long wait lines. Disney also offers a personal family tour guide and VIP passes for non-disabled (and presumably disabled) families for $310 to $380 per hour.
An article in the NY Post dated May 14 (link here) revealed that a group of wealthy, Manhattan moms have been hiring disabled people to pose as family members during trips to Disney so that their families can cut the lines.
Apparently a social anthropologist researching wealthy New York moms for a book discovered the practice. This “service” or “black-market Disney guides” as it is being referred to, is a bargain at $130/hour. The result of hiring one of these “guides” is that instead of waiting 2 1/2 hours for your kids to get on a ride the regular way, you wait two minutes and get on the ride via the disabled procedures.
Dream Tours Florida, the company allegedly involved, denied that their Disney guide (who suffers from an autoimmune disorder and requires a scooter to get around the park) uses her disability to bypass lines.
In a CNN follow-up article (link here), a spokesperson for Disney called taking advantage of the disabled guest policy “unacceptable,” and noted that Disney is looking into the situation and “will take appropriate steps to deter this type of activity.”
One of the wealthy moms who utilized the “black-market” service is quoted as saying: “This is how the 1 percent does Disney.”
Well, this is how the 99% responds– “Yick.” At least that’s how I respond. According to the articles, some people are okay with this practice, figuring that at least the wealthy are sharing their wealth and that this is a great way for disabled people to make money.
I think it’s sad and pathetic and yick.
For one thing, what is this practice teaching the one-percenters’ kids? To me, it teaches them that they can exploit the disabled (as long as they pay them) to satisfy their every whim. That standing in line is for the poor people. That patience may be a virtue, but it’s also a drag when rides are involved. That spending a thousand dollars a day to impose upon a privilege reserved for disabled people is a worthy investment.
How about the fact that these families could probably afford the legitimate Disney guide for the $310 per hour?
Here’s an idea! If these families are such supporters of accommodating the disabled, why not give that grand they spent on the disabled tour guide to a charity that supports the disabled and their rights, and wait on line like the rest of society?
Just because people have a disability, or because companies like Disney try to accommodate them, doesn’t mean we should exploit them in the name of “hey, at least they’re getting paid!” For me it’s an issue of money vs. morality. Does payment make something right? Doesn’t the payment become the tree in the forest? By that I mean maybe it’s not hurting anyone directly, but looking at the big picture, doesn’t this practice drag us down as a society?
Disney is a big thing. For them to even care one inkling about special needs patrons is a big thing. It sets an example to other big corporations. It helps parents of kids with special needs. It helps kids with special needs experience someplace magical. Some people argue that the fact of being at Disney actually changes these kids.
I have a child with special needs and I hope to go to Disney with him someday. A major factor in that decision is that Disney had the foresight, thoughtfulness, business sense, or whatever motivation to accommodate him in a helpful manner.
If the people who don’t need the service end up being the cause of Disney terminating the service or making it more difficult for those who can actually benefit from the service, I’m going to be pissed off. And someday in the future when these one-percenters’ kids try to pay my disabled kid to do their dirty work, I’m going to be pissed off even more.
To these one-percenter families: keep your money to yourself and use it for good, not to promote laziness and impatience and to set a bad example for your own kids.
[As an aside, I feel the need to point out that the crappy one-percenter moms are taking the hit for this. Why aren’t the crappy dads mentioned? Dads aren’t required to have morals? But that’s another post for another day.]
I just needed to vent. Thanks for reading and have a nice night.