Are rich parents cutting the queue at Disney World by paying disabled tour guides to pose as family members? That’s the allegation that social anthropologist Dr. Wednesday Martin made to the New York Post after discovering the practice while conducting research for her upcoming book, Primates of Park Avenue.
To accommodate disabled visitors, Disney theme parks allow each guest in a wheelchair or motorized scooter to bring up to six guests to a “more convenient entrance.” The line at these entrances is traditionally much shorter, which is why allegedly some parents are willing to shell out big bucks to hire disabled tour guides who can usher them past the line to the special ride entrance. The Post anonymously quoted one mother as saying, “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% does Disney.” The practice is certainly cost-prohibitive for most. The report said that the “black-market Disney guides run $130 an hour, or $1,040 for an eight-hour day.”
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The company from which the woman allegedly hired the disabled tour guide, Dream Tours Florida, disputes the claims, though. According to their website, they are no longer offering VIP tours “due to inaccurate press and slander.” The site adds, “Our focus has primarily always been providing magical vacations for adults with special needs and helping their dreams to come true.” The Post noted that Jacie Christiano, who runs the company with Ryan Clement, does use a motorized scooter due to an autoimmune disease.
In response to the claims, Disney is now investigating the alleged practice. “It is unacceptable to abuse accommodations that were designed for guests with disabilities,” Disney spokesman Bryan Malenius told CNN Wednesday. “We are thoroughly reviewing the situation and will take appropriate steps to deter this type of activity.”
Disney theme parks offer VIP tours and FastPass service allowing people to avoid long lines for $310 to $380 per hour.
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