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In May, the New York Post featured a story about how "Rich Manhattan moms hire handicapped tour guides so kids can cut lines at Disney World". The moms – and others across the country – turn to "disabled" Disney tour guides who pose as family members and escort the families past the long lines at rides using a special handicapped pass that permits the guide and an additional 5 people to bypass the lines and get right on the ride.

The "black-market Disney guides" run $130 an hour, or $1,040 for an eight-hour day.

"My daughter waited one minute to get on 'It's a Small World' – the other kids had to wait 2 1/2 hours," crowed one mom, who hired a disabled guide through Dream Tours Florida.

New York Post

The Today Show has followed up and now Disney will be cracking down on these practices.

Disney said:

We find it deplorable that people would hire the disabled to abuse accommodations that were designed to permit our guests with disabilities to enjoy their time in our parks. We have initiated a review of this abuse and will take appropriate steps to deter this type of unacceptable activity.

As deplorable as it is to exploit the "disabled" just to line jump at an amusement park, what's worse is the effect it may have on actual disabled people and their families. The majority of my clients are severely and catastrophically injured – many of them are confined to wheelchairs or must use artificial limbs. The effort required to do normal, everyday activities is substantial. I know how fatigued and worn out I get spending the day at an amusement park with my family. I can't imagine what it must be like for them. When people abuse policies like Disney has in place, it's the real people who get hurt.

© Copyright 2013 Brett A. Emison

Follow @BrettEmison on Twitter.


  1. Gravatar for Jon Sherman

    Really hard to crack down on this unless they just allow "1" other with a handicapped rider

  2. Gravatar for kas

    While this is a big issue, I can see this affecting people with invisible disabilities very negatively. My fiancee already has a hard time getting his handicap pass. He's very claustrophobic when surrounded by still crowds (ie. lines that don't move quickly), which can and often does result in panic attacks. On top of that he has metal rods and pins in his legs, making standing still or walking up inclines & stairs taxing after a while. He's mobile, so the cast members always seem reluctant to renew his pass. Usually we get the manager on duty called to assist us to "verify he's actually handicapped". I have a feeling that after this "crackdown", we won't be able to get a handicapped pass. :/ AND we're premium pass holder. They're just going to say "sucks for you", I'm sure.

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