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Not Disabled at Home? Then You Don’t Get to be Disabled at Disney

By Pilar Clark |


Waiting for balloon animals cleverly twisted into Pluto shapes.


Waiting very seriously for Rapunzel to emerge from her tower.


Just waiting for the line to move.

Sure, Disney is all about fairy tales and make believe, but if you don’t have a disability at home, you don’t get to have one just because you want to skip the lines at Disney Parks.

No cuts, no buts, no coconuts.


Even the littlest kids know that.

See? Mine are illustrating just that in every photo I shared here.

But according to an article the NY Post published this morning, some Manhattanite moms are RENTING handicapped tour guides to walk them through Walt Disney World so they can line skip by using entrances dedicated to disabled guests.

Renting them.

I’ll let that sink in for a minute.

“My daughter waited one minute to get on ‘It’s a Small World’– the other kids had to wait 2 1/2 hours,” one “rich mom” is quoted as saying. “You can’t go to Disney without a tour concierge. This is how the 1 percent does Disney.”

I’d like to know if she’s also cackling while stroking her Cruella de Ville fur, because seriously?


Yes, long wait times are often a part of the deal, but guess what kids?

There will be long waits and moments that test your patience and opportunities to be good societal team players throughout your entire life. If you can’t handle waiting for something you want as a child, then good luck with life when you’re older.

Disabilities are not a cool, built-in way to get out of things.

My own son, now 7 years old, has Asperger’s Syndrome and had a stroke in utero, which means he’s challenged with a lot of developmental delays whose hallmarks – low muscle tone, decreased balance, trouble with depth perception, sensory input issues – make it difficult to stand for long periods of time. Coupled with the anxiety that often comes with being on the spectrum, we’re ecstatic that he can do it at all, despite having to wait thisclose to people’s rear ends in crowded places while listening to them talk THISLOUDBECAUSETHEYCAN.

Yet, we have never requested a GAC.

Short for Guest Assistance Card, anyone can get one from Guest Relations, because you don’t need a doctor’s note. Parents only need give a brief explanation to the cast member on duty why it’s needed, and while it won’t act as a FastPass, it will allow for accommodations – using the wheelchair entrance, waiting for your turn in a quiet area, keeping your child in their stroller until right before you hop on the ride – to make things more comfortable.

Because Disney’s nice like that.

And I really wish they wouldn’t be.

Too many people are scamming the system.

Just Google “how to skip the lines at Disney” and you get a number of results that tell you exactly what to say to a cast member to get that “golden ticket.”

Obviously, this is part of a much bigger problem.

And before you get all shouty, I’m not knocking those who legitimately find a GAC helpful during their visit. This isn’t about those people at all, and choosing not to use one has been our personal decision. My son has made me nothing but proud, waiting just as excitedly alongside mainstream children, for his turn on Pirates of the Caribbean, invisible disabilities and all.

But then I hear stories from cast members who have encountered parents asking for a GAC because their child is “artistic” – yes, I’m serious – or because they don’t want to wake their stroller-bound infant when they go on rides.


Disney Parks are one of the few places where having special needs isn’t something that makes kids stand out. Instead, it’s something that makes them special.

It’s where they can be accepted just as they are with a little magic making the process a bit easier, and sometimes a bit faster.


So why do disabled guests get to skip the line and get all this special attention?

Because of logistics and plain old human compassion.

The majority of wheelchair-accessible rides have to come to a complete stop to allow the guest time to transfer themselves – or be transferred by someone riding with them. Wheels have to be strapped down, the guest has to be safely and securely buckled in, and it’s awkward. And takes time. And doesn’t feel very special for the non-disabled people waiting in line. Because of that, there are separate loading areas for disabled guests. Cast members assist where they can, and hey, sometimes they even let the disabled guest take a few turns.

Apparently, some people think that’s a perk they should all be entitled to.


Cast members can’t do a thing about it because of regulations stated in the Americans with Disabilities Act, and since this is the age of political correctness where everyone gets offended about everything, they literally have to accommodate anyone who claims they need to be accommodated.

And you know what?


There are guests who can’t rent a scooter who actually need one, because so many others decide they don’t feel like walking that day. There are guests who have autism and cancer and leg braces who could use a cool place to wait. Instead, they’re stuck waiting in unnecessarily crowded lines for the disabled with the people who feel they have a right to be “disabled” too, because hey, it’s not fair that your kid should get “special treatment.”

It’s Disney, people.

It’s a place where folks from all walks of life are supposed to think happy thoughts and remember what it was like to be little, and in a lot of cases, see your own children experience the glittery, sunny joy that comes with believing Tinker Bell and Mickey Mouse are real.

Stop gaming the system.

Stop pretending to be something you’re not, and think about the families who eat, sleep and breathe disabilities EVERY SINGLE DAY.

Unless of course, you’re ok with suffering from permanent asshattery because it makes you “upper crust.”

Photo credits: Pilar Clark

Read Pilar’s writing from around the blogosphere here, social creatures. And if you’re in the mood for more magic, join her on Twitter, Facebook (here and here) and Instagram.

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About Pilar Clark


Pilar Clark

A native of Chile with really deep Chicago roots, Pilar Clark and geekdom have been mutually exclusive since tight-rolled jeans and slap bracelets were in fashion. An award-winning writer, editor, social media strategist and geeky pop culturalist, she's been quoted in and on some cool places like Martha Stewart and BBC America’s websites. Follow her adventures on One Mom Media. Read bio and latest posts → Read Pilar's latest posts →

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6 thoughts on “Not Disabled at Home? Then You Don’t Get to be Disabled at Disney

  1. Rosemary Krevy Chiacchia says:

    This is most definitely a load of bull crap! It’s one thing to have the money to hire a guide to take you around WDW, but that should NOT entitle you to “jump to the head of the line”. That is why I resent so-called celebrities” so much! I guess I should include the super-rich now. Disney needs to re-assess that little “perk”. And you can’t tell me that EVERYone who is riding in a scooter really needs it. They were EVERYwhere in December!

  2. mouth hanging open?! I have TWO special needs children AND would NEVER think to do this! Standing in line is TORTURE for one – but we do it – we do it because she NEEDS to learn to adapt! She is not going to be a child forever!

  3. This whole article is BS.

    It’s based on a lady saying that she got on Its a Small World in one minute while everyone else waiting 2.5 hours? If you’ve ever been there you know this is impossible. There is a line for the handicap entrance. There are only a few boats that can accommodate handicapped people and you are forced to wait for them. Also I’ve been to Disney at its busiest time if year and the line for that ride has NEVER been that long. If you are in the 1% you’re not hiring a person in a wheel chair… You’re going VIP with Disneys own your guides.

  4. Mary says:

    This article is not bs. One of the reasons why the GAC Line is so long at times is because of people who rent wheelchairs and ECVs or feel like they entitled to a GAC when they don’t actually need one. I have seen this many times. They think that because they rent a wheelchair or have a GAC, they won’t have to wait in such a long line. Unfortunately, they end up making the line even longer for those who are actually disabled. This article is pointing out the fact that there are more people than ever lying and cheating the system.

  5. Jennifer P says:

    It is much the same at Disneyland now, with people renting wheelchairs just to go in the handicapped entrance, making it more difficult for those that really need it.

    Years ago, you had to bring a note from a doctor or other medical professional explaining why you needed the accommodations. I don’t know why they changed it, but that kept the cheaters out.

  6. Chrissy says:

    Disney refused to provide sign language interpreters for the Deaf all the way up until 1996 when they were sued blind by a five year old little girl. I’m not a fan of Disney for this, and many other reasons.

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