As of today, if you’re disabled you can no longer go straight to the front of the line for all of your favorite rides at Disney World. It may sound like a callous joy-revoking move from the home of the Magic Kingdom, but, then again, the reason for the change is pretty appalling. Families, fully capable of waiting in line like everyone else, were scamming their way to the front of the line by, wait for it, hiring disabled–or perhaps more appropriately “disabled”–tour guides. The TODAY show went undercover this summer to expose the practice.
Here’s what they found:
Last May’s investigation began with ads found on Craigslist in which tour guides bragged about their “disabled passes”: “Let’s cut the Disney lines together,” “access to special entrances.” Going undercover at Disneyland, the TODAY producer and his family hired two of those guides, with home video cameras rolling.
“I’m here to make sure everyone has fun at Disneyland and we get on as many rides as possible,” one of the guides, named Mara, told the producer and his family. “I have a special card that’s going to help us beat the lines.” And she charged $50 to do it, getting them straight past long lines at such attractions as the Mad Tea Party ride.
The producers paid between $50 and $200 for an escort for the day with a disabled pass. When confronted one of the guides told TODAY: “We live in a capitalist country, and I don’t feel like it’s morally wrong.”
As a result, Disney’s implementing a new program for disabled customers where they “will receive a return time for attractions based on the current wait time,” according to the Disney website. “Disney Parks also hopes it will help control abuse that was, unfortunately, widespread and growing at an alarming rate.”