I grew up skipping Disney World lines with my wheelchair-bound sister. A perk? Sure. But when I read about wealthy New York moms hiring disabled tour guides so their kids didn't have to wait in line, I felt sick to my stomach. What is this teaching children?

My story

My sister is disabled, and I'd be lying if I said it wasn't cool to automatically go to the head of the line at Disney World when we were kids. It was even awesome when we were adults — a "no waiting in line" trip to Disneyland was par for the course when she'd visit me when I lived in California. So, the first time I visited a Disney park without her and had to — gasp! — wait in long lines like the rest of the world, it sucked. But I got over it — and anxiously waited for my sister's next visit so we could jump the lines (so did she).

This must be a joke

handicap sign isolated

But when I read the New York Post story about wealthy moms who hired disabled tour guides so their kids wouldn't have to wait in lines at Disney World, I felt sick to my stomach. For a moment, I thought it must be a fake headline — until I read the article that quotes an anonymous mom who hired a tour guide in a motorized scooter with a handicapped sign to take her family around Disney World:

“My daughter waited one minute to get on 'It's a Small World — the other kids had to wait 2-1/2 hours." She went on to say, “You can't go to Disney without a tour concierge... this is how the one percent does Disney."

I don't care if a parent is in the one percent or not — it's 100 percent disgusting to hire someone disabled so that you and your able-bodied kids don't have to stand in line like everyone else. You have to stand in line for an hour or two? Get over it. The "perk" I mentioned about bypassing long lines? It's more of a brief respite — disabled kids, their parents and siblings have a lot of challenges — and an opportunity for a magical day with a little bit of special treatment from Disney that will be remembered forever.

The tour company mentioned in the New York Post article, Dream Tours Florida, is taking a lot of heat, too, and it will be interesting to see how this story plays out. As of this writing, if you click their site for information about VIP tours, you'll be greeted with this message:

"Due to inaccurate press and slander, Dream Tours is not offering VIP tours at this time. Our focus has primarily always been providing magical vacations for adults with special needs and helping their dreams to come true."

You know what? I hope this story isn't true. (As of this writing, Disney is investigating the report.)

One day, they'll visit Disney World or another theme park without Mommy hiring a disabled tour guide and question why they have to wait in long lines.

What about the kids?

If it is, what kind of example are these moms setting for their kids? I promise you, one day Mommy One Percent's kids will wonder why they got a free pass to cut the line. One day, they'll visit Disney World or another theme park without Mommy hiring a disabled tour guide and question why they have to wait in long lines. Are these moms really going to say, "Well, we spent a lot of money to hire someone who is disabled so that you, my perfect little princess, didn't have to wait?"

I wonder if, while writing a check to this tour company, these moms wondered what it would be like to have a disabled child. Did they realize, even for a second, that a disabled child would much rather be able to walk than go to the head of the line for It's A Small World?

Instead of hiring disabled tour guides, I hope these moms learn compassion and patience — and teach these lessons to their kids.

Read more about families with special needs

Having a sibling with Down syndrome
Parenting a disabled child: When another child isn't disabled
Tips for visiting theme parks with kids on the autism spectrum

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