In a New York Post expose that made my stomach turn, I learned that rich, Manhattan mothers have discovered the most despicable way imaginable to bypass long lines at Disney World: hiring disabled people to pose as family members so their precious children don’t have to wait in line.
According to the rules of the theme park, patrons with a wheelchair or motorized scooter can bring up to six guests to a “more convenient entrance.” The only other way to get preferential treatment at Disney World is to purchase a VIP Tour Package for $300-plus an hour, which includes a personal guide and fast passes. But even with the package, the park warns patrons that there “may be a waiting period before boarding.” In comparison, these “black-market Disney guides,” as they’re being called, cost about $130 an hour and are allegedly more efficient when it comes to cutting the line.
An anonymous mother gave an account of using one of these “black-market Disney guides” through a a service called Dream Tours Florida, whose number is being passed around NYC’s most exclusive private schools. The mother claims that a man named Ryan Clement, the owner of the company, escorted her, her husband, their 1-year-old son and their 5-year-old daughter through the park in a motorized scooter with a “handicapped” sign on it:
“My daughter waited one minute to get on ‘It’s a Small World’ — the other kids had to wait 2 1/2 hours … You can’t go to Disney without a tour concierge. This is how the 1 percent does Disney.”
The ruse was discovered by social anthropologist, Dr. Wednesday Martin, who learned about the practice while doing research for and upcoming book.
“It’s insider knowledge that very few have and share carefully…Who wants a speed pass when you can use your black-market handicapped guide to circumvent the lines all together?” Martin said.
Um, I supposed someone would want a speed pass — if it were absolutely necessary to have one for whatever reason — because they care about their children being imbued with morals and ethics. And speaking of morals and ethics, if this Ryan Clement person is actually disabled (and not just pretending to be), I’m just as appalled at him for exploiting his disability for money. I feel like these black-market guides are just as culpable as the entitled mothers who hire them.
And don’t even get me started on how the 1 percent does Disney. Part of the Disney experience — at least in my opinion — is waiting in those long lines. It’s about letting the excitement build as you wait to ride Pirates of the Carribean. It’s about hanging out with your parents and your brother and eating overpriced Mickey Mouse ice cream bars while you watch the faces of the other kids emerging from ride. It’s about feeling pure joy once you finally get in the boat after waiting for three hours. That’s a life lesson that’s worth learning: you have to appreciate the the four minute ride on the boat because life is hard most of the time. These kids are being robbed of that knowledge, not to mention being primed to grow up entitled assholes who don’t respect other people and can’t play by the rules.
OK. I’m done ranting. I’ll leave you to stew about this disgraceful story and share your outrage in the comments. [New York Post]