Walt Disney World changes disability policies

Allegations made of abuse to program

Published On: Sep 22 2013 11:15:01 PM EDT   Updated On: Sep 23 2013 06:07:41 AM EDT
Disney World entrance
ORLANDO, Fla. -

Walt Disney World has planned a big change after allegations that people were abusing its program for people with disabilities.

The park has created a system similar to the "Fast Pass" called the "Disability Access Service Card" which will replace the old "Guest Service Card."

Disney sent Local 6 a statement saying it wants to make sure their disabled program is consistent.

"We have an unwavering commitment to making our parks accessible to all guests. Given the increasing volume of requests we receive for special access to our attractions, we are changing our process to create a more consistent experience for all our guests while providing accommodations for guests with disabilities," said spokeswoman Kathleen Prihoda.

It comes after the New York Post reported that rich families hired locally-based "Dream Tours" to provide a disabled tour guide to get able-bodied families in faster. The company denies it all, but the allegations sickened some guests.

Theresa Tenace often visits Disney parks with her disabled friends and said, "I think people take advantage of the system, but when I heard about people hiring people with disabilities, I was appalled."

Starting October 9 a new Disney policy could stop all the cheaters.

Before, disabled guests could go to the lines and zip to the front. Soon, under the new program, they will have to go to the ride and return at a designated time.

"It's not necessarily fair, but if it's needed to stop people from abusing the system, then that's fair enough, I suppose," said Arron Ward.

Sources told Local 6 Disney worked closely with disabled groups like Autism Speaks to try to make the change easy for everyone.

Tenace said she had a lot of questions about the new program and said, "If you're getting the card, how are you getting the card? What is that based on? So, whatever that system is, try to use that system to weed out the people who are being insincere about their friend or their loved one or their family member."

Each disability will be evaluated on a case by case basis, said sources, and while there are not many details about the program, more should be learned in the next few weeks.