The New York Post is reporting that some rich families in New York City have been using disabled tour guides to bypass lines. One of the tour groups named in the story writes on its website that the story is inaccurate. Here’s a summary.
“The New York Post is reporting some wealthy families are now hiring disabled people to pose as family members so they can jump ahead of the Disney masses.
“My daughter waited one minute to get on ‘It’s a Small World’ — the other kids had to wait 2 1/2 hours,” the Post quoted one mom, who hired a disabled guide through Dream Tours Florida.
“The Post reports the “black-market” Disney guides can be rented for $130 an hour, or $1,040 for an eight-hour day. The guide will escort a family through the park in a motorized scooter with a “handicapped” sign on it. At each ride, the group was sent to an auxiliary entrance at the front of the attraction.
“You can’t go to Disney without a tour concierge,” said an unidentified mom in the Post story, “This is how the 1 percent does Disney.”
“Dr. Wednesday Martin, a social anthropologist who is writing a book,”Primates of Park Avenue,” discovered the tactic while doing research.
“Who wants a speed pass when you can use your black-market handicapped guide to circumvent the lines all together?” she told the Post. “So when you’re doing it, you’re affirming that you are one of the privileged insiders who has and shares this information.”
“According to the Post, Disney offers a VIP guide and fast passes for $310 to $380 per hour, far more expensive than the black-market guides.
“The Post says passing around the Dream Tours guide service’s phone number recently became popular among Manhattan’s private-school scene during spring break.
“The service apparently asks who referred you before they even take your call.
“Disney has not returned The Post’s requests for comment.”
The Dream Tours website says its purpose is to provide a quality, affordable supervised vacation experience for people with special needs and says that the press coverage has been inaccurate.
“Due to inaccurate press and slander, Dream Tours is not offering VIP tours at this time. Our focus has primarily always been providing magical vacations for adults with special needs and helping their dreams to come true.”
I love the idea of a tour company dedicated to helping families with special needs children or adults enjoy a vacation that might otherwise be difficult. I think it’s a great idea. But the idea of families or tour group operators taking advantage of disability status to bypass lines is just disgusting.
I do remember last year one “friend” posting on Facebook that she was glad her disabled mother was going with them to Disneyland because it meant they got to go to the front of the lines. Her mom was in a wheelchair. I think she was partially kidding but I also think she was happy to reap that benefit.
What do you think if it’s true that rich families used disabled tour guides to allow them to bypass lines? Have you ever used someone in your family who had a disability to bypass lines? Do you think it’s a comparable concept? How can Disney or other amusement parks regulate this type of accommodation to really help those who need it but now allow it to be abused?