Monday, May 20, 2013

Misuse of the Disability Access at Disney Parks

Misuse of the Disability Access at Disney Parks

            Over the last few weeks reports have been in various newspapers and Disney fan sites regarding the misuse of the GAC card (Guest Assistant Card) at Disney parks. Let me share my thoughts on this issue.
Reports are that a tour company in New York is hiring disabled people to act as “tour guides” at Disney Parks. These disabled people use their GAC to take their “clients” through the handicap access on rides and attractions. This effectively allows their “clients” to cut lines. Reports also say that these disabled people are being paid over $1000 a day for their services.
While it is nice that these disabled “tour guides” can make some money doing something enjoyable I do not think it is fair or morally right for them to use their disability to help a rich client cut lines.
            Let’s start off with what the GAC is intended for. The GAC is intended to assist those with limitations, of all kinds both visible and invisible have access to the attractions at Disney Parks. These are not intended to be passes to cut to the front of the line or give unlimited access to attractions and characters. The GAC is designed to tell Cast Members it is shown how to best to assist that particular guest at the attraction they wish to see.
            The GAC will tell a Cast Member to tell a guess that can’t walk up or down stairs to use an alternate route bypassing stairs. Sometimes people who can’t walk up or down stairs do not use canes are wheelchairs so you can’t tell without the GAC. The GAC will also help a child with ADHD or adult with an anxiety disorder who cannot stand in a long line or who gets nervous and crowds. For some it will give them a place to wait until it is their turn to ride that is quite safe for them.
            I am thankful for the GAC Disney gives my husband and daughter when we go to the parks. We would never think of abusing it. It allows my husband and daughter to enjoy the parks without undue stress. If the regular lines are 30 minutes or less we will wait in the regular line. Our GAC allows us to take up to six people total with us per GAC, that six includes us. If friends and family are with us they can and do go in the handicapped entrance with us. We would never think of using this as a way to make money.
            Disney says it will take appropriate action to stop the abuse of the GAC. It is my concern that because of these few dishonest, disreputable and downright rude people it will be even harder to get a GAC in the future. In my opinion the GAC policies, as enforced at Disneyland are appropriate and work well. I believe that anyone found abusing the system and being paid to use their GAC as a tour guide to cut lines should be banned from the Parks for life.

See news article here:

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