Disney Changes Line Access Policy for People with Disabilities
It's no secret that at Disney parks, those with special needs or disabilities are given a pass to go right to the front of the lines of rides and attractions.
Unfortunately, due to some unscrupulous folks abusing the system, that's all going to change.
UPDATE (9/25/13): If you're interesting in helping out and letting Disney know you disagree with this policy, but can't make it to the video event on Saturday, you can still participate.
Tape a 5 second video of your child stating his or her name and diagnosis, for example, 'Hi, my name is Cole and I have autism.' Siblings can also get involved, saying something like, 'Hi, my name is Sophie and I love someone with a disability!'
You can send the videos to Tracy Bean via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. She will then combine all of the videos and send them to Disney.
Starting October 9th, Disneyland and Disney World 'visitors will be issued tickets with a return time and a shorter wait similar to the FastPass system that's offered to everyone,' reports the Associated Press.
It's been likened to making a reservation at a restaurant.
And it's largely because of a scheme-turned-trend among wealthy people to use a 'tour concierge' to get them to the front of the lines. Basically, they pay a disabled person to take them around the park...(at a cost of about $1,000 for an 8-hour day!) so they and their able-bodied spoiled children don't have to wait in lines.
Now because some people with too much money and too little patience and compassion for others in real need, those who rely on the policy will be unable to use it.
Consider the children on the autism spectrum, who will be brought to a ride only to be told they are just getting a ticket and have to come back later to actually ride it, which will undoubtedly confuse them, stress them, and lead to a meltdown. Think about those who have sensory issues and can't handle waiting in loud lines with so many people in a small space?
Then there are those who have difficulty moving around physically.
I spoke to Tracy Bean, the Belmar mom who found unintentional fame when two girls stole her disabled son's wagon earlier this month, and asked her how this kind of change would affect a child like her son Alex.
She said for her family, 'Particularly for Alex, in a wheelchair, it's too hard to maneuver him...to show up there and then have to go back after getting a Fast Pass, waiting in line for that, it takes away from our day, and it takes away from the joy in the park.'
She said it's hard enough to negotiate him around the park, and having to go back to each place twice isn't worth it.
She thinks requiring a doctor's note would be an easy way to make sure that only those really in need are using the assisted guest program.
She's asking special needs families to join her this weekend to make a video which she hopes will convince Disney execs to reinstate the program for disabled patrons. She said when Great Adventure made a similar decision regarding disabled patrons, they were able to have the decision reversed within 24 hours.
She's planning to meet at 11 a.m. on Saturday, September 28th at Ferruggiaro Park along Silver Lake at 307 7th Ave. in Belmar. She only has an iPad to film with, so if any videographers are available and willing to donate their time (or even just someone with a handycam), it'd be greatly appreciated.
As for what Ms. Bean has to say to those who abused the system, 'Shame on you.'
I couldn't agree more.