Disneyland axes 'entitlement policy' for disabled visitors
Is the abuse of entitlement programs -- from Food Stamps to welfare -- an inevitable fact of human nature? Forget about the contentions debate underway between liberals and conservatives over record levels of Food Stamp use -- and abuse -- under the Obama administration.
Consider a morality tale from America's most iconic amusement park -- Disneyland and Walt Disney World. For years, the family-oriented theme park in Anaheim, California, has allowed visitors claiming to have "disabilities" to jump to the front of long lines. It was a noble policy with good intentions, yet consider what happened to it. Over the years, large numbers of park visitors jumped on the disability bandwagon -- even though they had no real disabilities. This included families who hired "disabled tour guides" so that they could cut to the front of long lines.
Recently, Disneyland decided to crack down on the entitlement program because -- surprise, surprise -- it was riddled with abuse and scammers.
As NBC Southern California reports:
People with disabilities will no longer go straight to the front of lines at Disneyland and Walt Disney World under a policy change park officials say is a response to growing abuse of the system.
Under the change, visitors with special needs will be issued tickets with a return time and a shorter wait similar to the FastPass system that's offered to everyone.
The current approach to accommodating disabled park-goers "certainly has been problematic, and we wanted to curb some of the abuse of this system," Disneyland Resort spokeswoman Suzi Brown told the Orange County Register.
"We have an unwavering commitment to making our parks accessible to all guests," Disneyland Resort spokeswoman Suzi Brown said in a statement. "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."
The change takes effect Oct. 9 for guests with park-issued disability cards. Disney officials said more details will be released after park employees are briefed on the new rules.
In attempting to rein in entitlement programs, Democrats and Republicans ought to consider the story of Disneyland -- and what it says about human nature, at least in America today.
Once upon a time in America (at least some parts of America) there was no need for policies that essentially told people how to behave. Able-bodied people in a long line -- upon seeing a person in a wheel chair or with a with a cane -- would wave that person to the front of the line.
What's happened at Disneyland not only offers a sad commentary on the moral hazards of entitlement programs. It perhaps offers some disquieting social commentary on the state of civic culture in America today.