At Disneyland, scam artists killed special kindness for disabled kids

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  • SlopJ30 St Louis, MO
    Nov. 6, 2013 7:34 a.m.

    My father-in-law lost his wife a few years back and quickly remarried to a woman who was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and declared "disabled," collecting a government check every month. The condition was, I'm sure, an annoyance, but she was perfectly capable of participating in life like the rest of us . . until there was an advantage to be gained by being "handicapped." Boarding a plane? She'd insist on a wheelchair to play up her "disability" and jump ahead of the crowd. Any public gathering with a Disney-like policy for the disabled? All of a sudden her fibromyalgia magically got worse. And, yes, they were divorced as quickly as they were married.

    As for Disney, a "fast-pass" solution seems fair enough. I don't really buy that everyone who it technically disabled (which covers a lot more than rosy-cheeked terminally ill or wheelchair-bound kids) should just be able to jump ahead of everyone at any time. The rampant abuse of the program just hammers that opinion home.

  • bribri86 Phoenix, AZ
    Nov. 1, 2013 1:55 p.m.


    Your situation is the perfect solution. A whole family does not need to go through the exit. The person with the disability, no matter what it is, can wait to go to the exit of the ride until the family who waited through the line makes it to the front of the line. They can give the disabled person and their caregiver one of those things that restaurants use to tell you your table is ready. Then they can board the ride with the rest of their party. I was always terribly sick of seeing large groups at the exit to the ride and thought how long I had to wait to get on the ride but their whole family had to wait maybe 5 minutes to board. I think this solution will also reduce wait time. Good job Disney!

  • Hauulamom Hauula, HI
    Nov. 1, 2013 1:28 a.m.

    When we attended Disney Would after I had knee surgery and was in a wheelchair- One member of our party stayed with me - all others were told to go through the regular line- when the rest of our party made it to the front of the regular line - it was then that I was wheeled in the back way. They accommodated my inability my to stand in a long line - but there was no time advantage or shorter wait time involved.

  • Luke Nelson West Valley City, UT
    Sept. 28, 2013 10:10 p.m.

    @james d. morrison

    That's a pretty thoughtless attitude. People who are prone to anxiety in situations like that should not be punished for going out of their comfort zone to participate in life.

  • fowersjl Farmington, Utah
    Sept. 28, 2013 12:25 a.m.

    We went to Disneyland once with most of our children, and one little daughter suffering from excruciating headaches because of malignant brain tumors. I didn't feel at all bad having her go right to the front of the line, but didn't think the other children should be able to do it, though we were allowed to take all of them so that we could stay together as a family. It was a lovely experience, thanks to Disneyland's generous policy at the time. Our daughter couldn't stand for even a few minutes without fainting, and had to be in a wheelchair. We all have good memories of that trip. Am sorry to see such a good policy abused.

  • james d. morrison Boise, CA
    Sept. 27, 2013 10:40 p.m.

    a friend said he saw someone ask for a pass because he didn't like being around other people and had agoraphobia, and they gave it to him. If that's the case, then don't go to Disneyland.

  • Kelliebelle66 West Jordan, UT
    Sept. 27, 2013 6:05 p.m.

    When I read the comments I wonder how many people have actually read the article before they decide to spout off. Several people criticized Disney for just scrapping the program and not having a solution. They do and I quote from the article: “Disney will replace the (old) program with a new Disabled Assistance System (DAS). … Visitors with disabilities that preclude their use of the traditional queues for attractions will get Fastpass-like return times for those rides, but only for one ride at a time. … Since DAS users can reserve only one return time at a time and won't be able to transfer that benefit to anyone, there should be no wait-time advantage to having a DAS pass.” Sounds like a solution to me that will help prevent abuses by those selfish entitled people who think they deserve the world. It isn't as easy as it was before but the easiness is what made the program so abusable. It's really sad that Disney had to take these steps. It's not their fault at all but they had to do something to enable all customers to have a fair opportunity to have a nice time.

  • suess Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 27, 2013 5:37 p.m.

    My take on this is that they will issue a pass to come back at a certain time, like the fast pass works. I like this idea. The thing I don't like about Disneyland, and I've only been to Disney World a couple of times, and don't recall -- there is no place for anyone to sit and wait. When you try to sit at the outdoor tables (not being used) you're asked to move. If you sit on a railing, you're asked to move on. Very few benches to legitimately sit and rest. When you have a handicap, it's hard to stand for so long and not be able to sit. At least going through the lines quickly, you didn't have to stand longer than you could without pain. Not saying they should keep the program, as I also have seen it abused, and I've thought something should be done. I've used the program at times, but at the suggestion of ride operators who have seen us struggling in line. No matter what they do, someone will find a way to ruin it.

  • morpunkt Glendora, CA
    Sept. 27, 2013 5:21 p.m.

    Bingo. Exactly correct.

  • missynme sandy, UT
    Sept. 27, 2013 4:45 p.m.

    Disneyland and Disney World are not allowed to verify a person's disability because it is against HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Privacy Act). If they could have, I'm sure they would have--thus reducing the chance of fraud.

  • sechilds Silver Springs, NV
    Sept. 27, 2013 4:38 p.m.

    As someone who has used the HC line at Disneyland, I would actually start in the regular line and make acquaintance with the people in front of me. Then when I was moved to the HC line, my family and I would wait until we saw those people again get ready to board. Then we would board. The only rides I did not follow through that way with were the one where they used specially outfitted HC capable people carriers. Those were always held back and released in a way to keep the general line moving rapidly. No problem for us. We waited our turn.

  • Brave Sir Robin San Diego, CA
    Sept. 27, 2013 3:17 p.m.


    "Third, I say shame on Disneyland. You found out it was happening, so do something to fix it."

    They have some of the smartest people in the world working on solutions to issues like these and the only solution they could come up with is to cancel the program. That tells me it wasn't a trivial problem. Then again, maybe they're a bunch of dunces who are just waiting to hear your suggestions.

    Bottom line is anyone can fake a disability. What do you want them to do, take a test to prove they're disabled? Bring an easily-forged doctor's note? Come on, what's the solution? Let's hear it.

  • mattrick78 Cedar City, UT
    Sept. 27, 2013 3:02 p.m.

    I have used the disability pass because a family member has an actual disability. We probably don't need it anymore but I feel bad for parents who do need it. But Disney probably did the right thing. It is disgraceful that it was abused and Disney didn't want to be in a position to start determining whether a guest really was disabled or not.

  • Reasonable Emotion Springville, UT
    Sept. 27, 2013 2:50 p.m.

    I had a roommate in college from Orange County, and she told me that every time she and her friends went to Disneyland they would bring along a wheelchair and one of them would pretend to be handicapped. I think she did feel bad about it in retrospect; she realized that lots of families would travel from all over for a once or twice in a lifetime experience at Disney and these local kids would butt in front of them dishonestly. Sad for those deserving people who used to benefit from the system, but I think overall probably a good move on Disney's part to change the policy.

  • GiuseppeG Murray, Utah
    Sept. 27, 2013 2:19 p.m.

    Kinda like parking in the handicapped parking spots....jerks.

  • Duckhunter Highland, UT
    Sept. 27, 2013 2:12 p.m.

    It wasn't just parents having their kids fake disabilities, there are also the fat people that roll up to the front of the line on their little scooters and consider themsevles disabled just because they are fat. And I'm not talking about just a couple of people like this, there are a LOT of them. So many people think they are just entitled to things these days, it is really sad.

  • UtahBruin Saratoga Springs, UT
    Sept. 27, 2013 2:01 p.m.

    My first couple of thoughts are as some have already shared. Shame on those people who do this. Those who think they are above everyone else because they have money. Not right!

    Second, shame on those who are handicapped and take payment to pose as a disabled child of the family. Nobody knows more than a disabled person how difficult it can be sometimes to maneuver around in any place or a park like Disneyland. So these folks are just as guilty for being greedy and thinking they are above the rest because of money.

    Third, I say shame on Disneyland. You found out it was happening, so do something to fix it. Better secure it, rather than just quit and take your ball and go home. Like a comment above by morpunkt, now you are going to make it difficult for handicapped people to enjoy the park. You are taking away what some view as their dream and now it is shot.

    Everyone, including handicapped people have Social Security Cards, bring documentation to secure the disability pass. I am sure all families would be willing to do this to verify they are alright.

  • BYU Track Star Los Angeles, CA
    Sept. 27, 2013 1:35 p.m.

    I once saw a family of Hollywood Thespians abusing this program at Disneyland. One kid wanted to play Austic, while another wanted a turn to wear a leg brace. Some people have no shame. Part of me is glad these scamsters have to stand in the queque like everybody else, while another part of me is sad that special need guests with disabilities are accomodated.

  • morpunkt Glendora, CA
    Sept. 27, 2013 1:34 p.m.

    My 20 year old son is severely handicapped. He is wheelchair bound and requires restraints. We never could take him very often to Disneyland, just 25 miles down the road. It was a labor intensive effort for our family. But, our other children never complained. He would laugh and laugh whenever he rode the Dumbo ride. I guess the cheaters messed up his opportunities for another trip in the future.

  • FitMom Davis, UT
    Sept. 27, 2013 1:32 p.m.

    As the mother of a child with disabilities I was so grateful we were able to use the pass last summer on our trip to Disneyland. We don't have the luck of a parent or grandparent that can take us every year, it took us some time to save up for this trip. Because of the pass our child was able to experience the park with few problems. It is too bad that there are people who would abuse this pass or lie to use it, because there are many well deserving families out there who benefit from this pass.

  • athought Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 27, 2013 1:21 p.m.

    I am one who would fall in the disability program. I can't stand for long periods, and have difficulty going up and down stairs. I have waited at the exit, while my family goes through the line, then join them. I have waited down stairs when there are stairs to go up and down, but can only think of very few rides that this would include. The fast pass makes it nice to be able to come back and go on a ride at a specified time. I see this as a positive -- but it will also be open for abuse by those who don't want to play by the rules, and who feel they are entitled. Our solution to the long lines -- we go when Disney is less busy and only stand in line maybe 15 minutes. Takes lots of stress out of the trip.

  • Tators Hyrum, UT
    Sept. 27, 2013 1:18 p.m.

    It's a really sad commentary on our society that something so simple and meant to be so good could become so abused by others... then ultimately needing to be done away with because of that abuse. Very sad indeed.

  • LivinLarge Bountiful, UT
    Sept. 27, 2013 11:57 a.m.

    I take my grandchildren and their families to Disneyland every year. Disneyland made a great decision because the treatment for handicapped patrons was terribly abused.