The one per cent does Disney

In times of growing inequality, it’s only natural that the practices of the very rich will come under greater scrutiny. However, these practices deserve examination based on their merits rather than immediate dismissal.

While researching the lifestyle of “New York City's Park Avenue elite”, an author discovered that some wealthy families pay people with physical disabilities to pretend to be family members in order to skip long lines for attractions at Disney World.

This practice is unethical — it involves lying and violating regulations that have been put in place to help those who are disabled. However, a more nuanced view must be taken of the practice and its benefit to those involved. Reactionary condemnation helps no one.

Lines for people with disabilities should be for them and their actual family and friends. Anything else results in longer wait times for those rightfully trying to get the benefit they deserve.

Those legitimately skipping lines might now face suspicion from other Disney patrons, an ugly possibility.

On the other hand, the amount of people actually employing this technique is probably minimal.
If the practice is used by “the one per cent” as the article implies, it follows that one per cent or less of Disney World attendees employ this unethical method of line-skipping. These people are paying a premium for a service that will hopefully remain uncommon.

Yet, those with disabilities who sell their time are consenting and not exploited.

They provide a very obscure service in an arrangement which they presumably seek out themselves. Additionally, they can make more than a thousand dollars in a single day, according to the author.

We shouldn’t be paternalistic about a practice which seems mutually beneficial. After all, who doesn’t enjoy a day at Disney World?

As such, the current state of affairs is imperfect but acceptable.

It’s uncomfortable to think about people using an individual because of their disability. However, when the arrangement sufficiently benefits both parties and alternatives could do harm, simplistic judgements should be avoided.

Journal Editorial Board


All final editorial decisions are made by the Editor(s)-in-Chief and/or the Managing Editor. Authors should not be contacted, targeted, or harassed under any circumstances. If you have any grievances with this article, please direct your comments to

When commenting, be considerate and respectful of writers and fellow commenters. Try to stay on topic. Spam and comments that are hateful or discriminatory will be deleted. Our full commenting policy can be read here.