Are the rich cutting in line at Disney World?
One report says wealthy Manhattanites hire disabled guides to speed through the park. Really? More evidence would help.
Maybe a little more evidence.
The New York Post uncorked such a story Tuesday when it declared that wealthy Manhattan mothers were hiring a disabled tour guide for $130 an hour, or $1,040 per eight-hour day, to help their kids cut to the front of ride lines. The lead source on the matter is social anthropologist Wednesday Martin, who's writing a book called "Primates of Park Avenue" that she says goes into all of the sordid details of the Manhattanites' exploits.
None of the mothers are named. And the black-market tour group that's supposedly behind the whole thing -- Dream Tours Florida -- denies it uses a tour guide's disability to bypass lines. But the man who runs it notes that its guide has an autoimmune disorder and has to use a scooter on the job.
That basically makes it the word of an author quoting anonymous sources against that of a tour guide who fits a profile and offers the service and a ride pass that undercuts Disney's price of $310 to $380 per hour for its own VIP service.
Unfortunately for Disney, park policy favors Martin's story. The park allows each visitor using a wheelchair or motorized scooter to take up to six guests to a "more convenient entrance."
One of the sources Martin quoted claims she hired a Dream Tours guide to escort her, her husband and their 1-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter through the park in a motorized scooter with a "handicapped" sign on it. Their group was then waved past the line at each ride to an auxiliary entrance at the front of each attraction.
Believable? Absolutely. All the elements are in place to allow such a scheme to unfold. Does it get increasingly believable, given one's disposition to think little of the Manhattan elite? Absolutely.
The problem is that the folks who grease co-op boards for residences with a view of the park, convert SoHo and TriBeCa lofts into family-friendly dream homes and shell out for prep schools that beat paths to Ivy League institutions aren't exactly bargain hunters. Even at roughly 66% off, taking the low road through Disney has too many downsides for the reputations of folks who have to face their peers over brunch at Bubby's every weekend.
Again, that's not saying they couldn't take advantage of a scheme like the one described above. Without hard evidence, however, it all just seems a little bit too tailored to an audience that's not only critical of the rich but thinks wealthy mothers speak in the made-for-TV dialogue excerpted from Martin's book:
"You can't go to Disney without a tour concierge," she sniffed. "This is how the 1 percent does Disney."
I am totally disgusted! This system is meant to help people with disabilities try to enjoy a "normal" life. To take advantage of this is beyond revolting. As a father with a son with autism, we do take "advantage" of this policy. Without it, we would never be able to have my boy enjoy the pleasure of going on rides like the other typical kids. The funny thing is that me and my wife always feel "guilty" of going in front of all the other folks. In fact, we feel down right embarrassed at times. The staff at Disney always treat us with respect and understanding. We truly appreciate the effort they go through to accommodate our son.
To all those folks taking advantage of the system I tell you this; I would gladly stand in line for hours in the Orlando sun in August if that meant my son was ok.
Even the biggest jerk I know wouldn't stoop that low. They're probably the same people who drive on the shoulder to get around traffic in a construction zone. It's too bad we can't post their pictures on the internet.
This is horrible, but they have to answer to a higher Judge. My son is in a wheelchair and it does bother us to go in front of the others in the long lines, but he also cannot regulate his body temperature and the heat causes seizures. It is convenient to go to the front of the line and for people to misuse this necessity for real handicap children makes me sick.
I know several people who have recently gone to Disney and all they had to say was they were just discharged from the hospital, they are ill, etc. and did not have to show any sort of "proof". Disney does not question...it's super easy to get a "disability" pass. Some people are going to abuse the system. Poor, middle class, rich - none are exempt.
I went to Disney World in March of 1972 (12 hour pass from the Naval TC in Orlando). I think it cost about $6 to get in. I guess things have changed since then.
They had a sign at the entrance. "No hippys, no hair below the collar" No kiddin'.
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