Disney Hits Home Run With Revamped Handicapped Theme Park Services


I have never been so proud of Disney as when I had a conversation with theme park officials about their new revamped services for guests with special needs. This change followed stories broken by the NY Post and other news agencies about wealthy New York socialites hiring handicapped people from unscrupulous businesses to help them cut to the front of lines at Walt Disney World in Florida. Disney execs could not stomach the abuses of their charitable programs and leaped into action, working on a plan for months to revamp their special services for the guests that really needed them.

Disney parks, including Disneyland in Anaheim and Walt Disney World in Florida implemented the new programs in early October 2013 at great expense to the company, but they have seen great success with the new procedures as well. Legons of additional theme park staff had to be hired to implement the new, more complex procedures, but it was money well spent as now guests with special needs can have their questions and issues addressed at new information stations located in each land of Disney’s many theme parks.

The old program of guests obtaining a special pass which let them cut to the head of any attraction queue is now entirely gone. In it’s place is an amazing new program that Disney worked hard to develop with several disability advocacy groups. Disney is proud of their accomplishments here, and they should be. Instead of granting instant access to attractions, guests who need an alternate meathod of boarding ride vehicles can do so after waiting the same amount of time as non-handicapped guests in a special waiting area. Parents who’s children have autism can obtain special passports for their child that allow them to wait outside the attraction queue and even walk around the park if necessary for the same amount of time that regular guests wait in the lines before boarding an attraction. These new procedures keep the park queues fair for everybody while addressing the needs of guests with disabilities, and let everyone have a magical experience at Disneyland.

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John Glass is a travel blogger, editor at SoCalSecrets.com, and author of the books “Things To Do at Disneyland” and “Things To Do at Disney California Adventure”.