Saturday, March 16, 2013

Disneyland's New Entrance Policy

Disneyland’s New Entrance Policy

            For many years local parents would bring their kids to Disneyland and drop them off to play for a few hours or the day. Some kids as young as 10 to 12 years old would be handed their Annual Pass and maybe a little bit of money and dropped off at the entrance to Disneyland. Disneyland’s newest admittance policy will change that.
            Disney just announced that from now on children under the age of 14 must be accompanied by someone 14 years of age or older. I see both sides of this situation.
There are some very responsible 10-year-olds that can handle being left alone at Disneyland for a few hours or even a day. They most likely have been to the park often with their parents and know the rules and are well able to follow them. Leaving these children at the Park alone is actually very good for them as it recognizes their maturity level and rewards their good behavior. It can also help boost their self-esteem and confidence.
There are some very immature and irresponsible 10-year-olds they cannot handle being left alone anywhere for any length of time. Put into a stimulating environment such as Disneyland these children can be even worse. These children left alone at Disneyland can be a big problem. These children could cause problems for other guests, be injured not following safety rules and even cause general mayhem and mischief such as theft and property damage. Sadly some parents of children like this will drop them off just to give themselves a break.
While I do think it is good to reward responsible young children with freedom and extra responsibility beyond their years I do not think it is fair or good to reward the problem child with the extra freedom to be irresponsible and cause more problems. When parents will not use the wisdom when dropping off their children businesses like Disney have to make policies to control the situation.
I know of people that treat Disneyland as a low-cost babysitter. I’m speaking of people that live local to Disneyland. They buy their child an Annual Pass and their child has a place to go when the parent is busy. Even at $650 a year this is cheaper than a babysitter. During winter/spring breaks and summer vacation when the child is not in school some parents will drop the kids off at the park on their way to work and pick them up after. I can see how Disney would not be happy with this. Disney and their cast members are not babysitters.
I will be honest, when my daughter was younger if we had lived closer to Disneyland I too would’ve dropped her off every so often. I know that when she was 10 years old my daughter would’ve been one of the responsible ones that would’ve enjoyed the rides and shows offered and most likely even helped new guests to the park find their way around. I would’ve called in often to check on her. If I thought for one moment she would be a problem I would not have left her. As it was, when our daughter was 10 we would take her and a friend to the park and let them go off on their own for a while. We would check in on them frequently by cell phone and prearranged meetings.
I do not know exactly what happened to prompt Disneyland to make this policy change. I can only hazard a guess as to why. It can be assumed that several children or groups of children have been dropped off frequently and have been causing problems. The problems could have been anything from theft and property damage (such as tagging) to just not following safety rules and listening to cast member directions. No matter what the problem was I’m going to assume that it would cause problems for other guests along with causing safety concerns. Disney and their cast members are not babysitters. While I’m saddened by this decision for the responsible youth who self-esteem could be built up and responsibility rewarded I understand the decision. Once again a few abusers ruined it for others.

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