Ah, Disney World — a collection of whimsically themed structures built on top of a swamp, in which fully-grown adults gambol about in rodent costumes cooing at the assembled youth of America. While this magical bog may seem to be a factory of simple, innocent fun, it hides a darker underbelly: Disney World is a veritable hellscape for Manhattan families who are just too rich to wait on line.
Thank the Disney Gods (which probably look like a hat with a glove attached to it and a white lady in a wig) that Manhattan's elite are so plucky and inventive. They've figured out a way to cut the massive lines at the resort — by hiring a tour guides with a disabilities to pose as their family members so that their own children can bypass everyone else! Woohoo! Capitalism!
According to The New York Post, these "black market Disney guides" allegedly can be hired through a (not Disney affiliated) service called Dream Tours. The company, which states on its homepage that its specializes in wheelchair accesible travel, charges $130 an hour — or $1,040 for an eight-hour day. According to the "black market Disney" customers, it's an awesome and great plan to hire a wheelchair-bound guide, because each guest with a wheelchair or motorized scooter is allowed to bring six other people with him/her to a "more convenient entrance."
Disney Tours does officially offer a VIP guide service, complete with line-cutting fast passes, for $310 - $380 an hour, but, like, what's the point in using your wealth to wield advantages over others if you're not being as exploitative as humanly possible? Furthermore, according to social anthropologist Dr. Wednesday Martin, this service also functions as a status symbol amongst certain circles. You must be referred by someone in-the-know in order to use the wheelchair tour service as an able-bodied client, so Dream Tours has become a means of "affirming that you are one of the privileged insiders who has and shares this information."
It goes without saying that all of this is truly gross. To think it's in any way appropriate, as an able-bodied person, to take advantage of systems that have been put in place to make life easier for those with physical disabilities is disgusting; to do so in order to assert your extreme privilege is despicable. It's wonderful (and necessary!) that there's a Disney tour service out there catering to those with special needs; to co-opt it as a means of further spoiling advantaged rich kids is shameful, oblivious, and demeaning.
"Rich Manhattan moms hire handicapped tour guides so kids can cut lines at Disney World" [NY Post]
Image via Getty.