Disneyland and Walt Disney World have announced changes to their rules that used to allow people with disabilities to bypass ride lines.
In an effort to curb abuse of the policy, the resorts announced that starting next month visitors with disabilities will not go straight to the front of the line, but will be issued tickets for specific times to ride. The new policy will be similar to the parks' current FastPass system available to everyone.
One local mother said she worries the schedule may damper the Disney experience for children with disabilities and their families.
"There's very few things we can do as a family of four," said Natalie Bushey of Xenia. "Disney was the one thing that was really accessible."
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.
Cooper has a rare muscular disease. He 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. One unidentified mother was quoted as saying, "This is how the 1 percent does Disney."
Disney vowed to take action and said today that more details about the new policy will be released closer to the Oct. 9 implementation.
Bushey said her family is still planning on making 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. "We don't know how he's going to be doing. He's got only so much battery power (for a ventilator) and only so much stamina."
She said she fears a strict schedule of rides will not be conducive for many families of children with disabilities.