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Disney to Stop Letting Disabled Parks Guests Go to Front

Sept. 24 (Bloomberg) -- Walt Disney Co. will stop letting disabled people go to the front of the line at its U.S. parks, in part because some people were abusing the program.

Under the new plan, guests with disabilities will receive appointments based on current waiting times for rides, according to the company.

“We are changing our process to create a more consistent experience for all our guests while providing accommodations for guests with disabilities,” Kathleen Prihoda, a spokeswoman for Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, said yesterday in a statement. “We engaged disability groups, such as Autism Speaks, to develop this new process, which is in line with the rest of our industry.”

The changes at Disney, the world’s largest theme-park operator, were partly motivated by abuse of the system, according to Prihoda. The “Guest Assistance Card” program that sent disabled guests to the front of attractions at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, and Walt Disney World will be replaced on Oct. 9.

The change was reported earlier by the Orange County Register in Southern California. The New York Post reported in May that some wealthy parents from Manhattan were hiring disabled people to pose as family members to get to the front of the line.

Disney, based in Burbank, California, was little changed at $64.70 as of 12:52 p.m. in New York. Through yesterday, the shares had advanced 30 percent this year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Anthony Palazzo in Los Angeles at apalazzo@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at apalazzo@bloomberg.net

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