Another Disney Disabled Scam


Last month Shanghai police busted a group of folks who started a travel business of sorts. Not unlike Manhattan-based Dream Tours, this “tour operator” specialized in escorting folks to Shanghai Disneyland, and offered them front of the line privileges. How were they able to do that at this popular — and crowded — theme park? Well, they basically posed as disabled guests.

Unlike its US counterpart, Shanghai Disneyland allows front of the line privileges to disabled guests and up to five companions. Of course you do have to get a Disney Access Service Card in order to do that; however this gang of seven fabricated fake disability certificates to obtain them. And they charged their able-bodied customers a pretty penny for those front of line privileges.

So how did this case come to the attention of the Shanghai Police? ¬†Well one of the gang’s guests felt she was overcharged so she reported it to the authorities. And this led to a raid on the suspects home, which resulted in the confiscation of fake ID cards, disability certificates and Disability Access Service Cards. After an investigation it was discovered that this enterprising group had over 800 customers during the previous four months.

The Shanghai Police subsequently encouraged Shanghai Disneyland to change their policy to prevent this from happening again.

And that’s exactly what US Disney parks did after they discovered the Dream Tours scam back in 2013. Today disabled Disney guests get in line like the rest of the visitors if the entrance is accessible. If the front entrance is not accessible, or if their disability prevents them from waiting in line, they can schedule a return time that is comparable to the current waiting time. Then they simply go to the front of the line at their return time. Physically disabled guests are directed to the alternative entrance at that time, and those that have issues waiting in line are fast tracked to the main entrance.

Of course disability advocates took Disney to court regarding their new access policy, but the judge ruled in Disney’s favor in 2020. Now everybody waits the same amount of time for rides.

Sometimes it’s really hard to keep a few steps ahead of the scammers. Hopefully Shanghai Disneyland will also change their policy.