Can you spend a lot of money and avoid the lines at Walt Disney World?

Well, I had to come up with some sort of title for this post.

Way back in the middle of May, a bunch of news stories about wealthy women hiring “disabled” guides at Walt Disney World so that they wouldn’t have to wait in lines. We weren’t aware of the stories (which by the way were simply a retelling of one story from the New York Post) until Asta sent us a link to the story at CNN.

Now, Asta didn’t comment in the email he sent us… but I’m sure he’s interested in our reaction and our thoughts… And even if he isn’t, I’m going to share my thoughts on the whole stramash (just learned that word and I like it).

First, let me summarize what the news pieces had to say… (the Huffington Post wrote about it, and so did Time magazine).

There’s this social anthropologist doing research on an upcoming book, her name is Dr. Wednesday Martin. I believe that the topic of the book is about how the ultra-rich in NYC live (I can’t find that information at the moment).

Anyway, during the course of her research she learned of that these wealthy women (or at least one spoiled rich lady) have been passing around a “black market disney guide.” It seems that the gist of this “guide” is how to hire a wheelchair bound disabled adult to pose as a member of your family so that you can go directly to the front of the line.

Now, I’m  not saying that people don’t do this or at least attempt it … in fact, the tour guide group is actually named in some accounts and same tour guide group says that they aren’t doing VIP tours at this time. What I am saying is that this seems a bit twisted based on my knowledge of Walt Disney World.

One

Walt Disney World is terribly accommodating regarding Guests with Disabilities. There are free wheelchairs at the theme parks. It’s fairly easy to rent an ECV if you should need one. Here’s a list from Walt Disney World themselves…

Some examples of accommodations that we offer include (for Guests with Disabilities in the theme parks)

  • Rental wheelchairs
  • Rental electric conveyance vehicles (ECVs)
  • Accommodations for service animals
  • Assistive Learning systems
  • Reflective Captioning
  • Sign Language Interpretation
  • Text Typewriter telephones
  • Handheld Captioning
  • Video Captioning
  • Audio Description devices
  • Braille guidebooks
  • Digital audio tours

Two

Until I saw these articles, I had the impression that you DO NOT get to jump to the front of the line if you disabled. Yes, you may get to wait in a different area and avoid the line IF waiting in line is onerous to your handicap. And yes, there is a wheelchair/ECV entrance to some attractions (not all); but in 11 years of visiting WDW very often (twice with people who were clearly mobility challenged), I never took that to mean that you get to jump to the front of the line.

Three

Disney has something called “Guest Assistance Cards” (GAC)… These tell Cast Members what your special needs are. A GAC isn’t automatic because you’re in a wheelchair or ECV; they’re recommended for invisible ailments (autism, ADD/ADHD, claustrophobia, hearing problems, visual problems, etc).

However, the GAC will not usually get you to the front of the line. Sometimes it does. But there isn’t a rule saying that WDW will always let you to the front of the line.

I got this information from diz-abled.com… I don’t have any reason to doubt it, it agrees with what I’ve been reading on newsgroups, blogs, and websites for the last 11 years

Four

Walt Disney World, and I think all of the Disney theme parks around the world, provides VIP guide + fast pass service (ranges from $315 to $380 per hour depending on the size of your group) (here’s the official info).

Five

Disney said immediately that they were looking into things and that “It is unacceptable to abuse accommodations that were designed for guests with disabilities.”

Now, I’m tired of counting.

I don’t know what those wealthy NYC moms were doing. I don’t know what that particular non-Disney tour guide group was doing. I’m pretty sure that this will result in more rules and regulations from Disney World, even if they aren’t public knowledge.

Frankly, I think it stinks to “use” a disability like this. If you can afford to hire a guide, hire a Disney VIP guide… at least you might learn something about Disney World from them and can chalk it up to your kids learning something other than how to manipulate the system.

In Answer to My Question “Can you spend a lot of money and avoid the lines at Walt Disney World?”… Yes, you can. Disney VIP services.

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