Disneyland and Walt Disney World announced this week that persons with disabilities and their families will no longer be allowed to bypass ride lines.
The change was made in an effort to curb abuse of the policy, but it has angered some parents of children with disabilities.
Instead of jumping to the front of any line at any time, parties will now be issued a ticket for a specific ride at a scheduled time, similar to the parks’ current FastPass system available to everyone.
One local mother said she worries the schedule may dampen the Disney experience for children with disabilities and their families.
“The changes they think are going to work for them just are not going to work for a family with a special needs child,” Natalie Bushey of Xenia said Wednesday during an interview at her parents’ house in Springfield. “We can’t be told when and where to be somewhere, because I don’t know the stamina he’s going to have.”
Bushey, her husband Matt, and their 4-year-old twins Cooper and Lilly made their first trip to Disney World last year, and she gushed about the wonderful experience. Disney gave them a guest assistance pass and allowed them to go to the front of lines to meet characters and ride attractions.
“We still had to wait because most rides only have one handicap accessible vehicle,” she said. “We knew we had to go back, after seeing our kids that happy.”
Cooper has myotubular myopathy and uses a wheelchair and several breathing apparatuses.
Online fervor over abuse of line jumping at the parks began in May when the New York Post reported wealthy Manhattan moms were hiring disabled individuals to be their Disney guides in order to circumvent long lines.
Bushey said her family still plans on their second trip to Disney World next month, but she hopes the company will take into consideration that all children with disabilities have individual needs and schedules.
“I understand that Disney needed to do something,” she said. “But going to a ride and signing up and being told to come back 45 minutes later isn’t an ideal situation for somebody like Cooper.”
In a statement Disneyland spokeswoman Suzi Brown said, “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.”