Culture

How I Scammed the Disney World Wheelchair Line System

In 1993, when I was 11 years old, my family went to Disney World. We piled into our station wagon -- my mother and father in front, my little sister and I in the back -- and set out from our home in rural Pennsylvania, driving two full days until we reached the town that Mickey built. By the time we arrived at our resort, the anticipation was unbearable. But it was the afternoon, and not worth paying full ticket price for a half day of rides. So instead, we went to the pool at our resort.

The first thing I did was run to the deep end and jump in, toes pointed, trying to touch the bottom. The pool wasn't as deep as I'd hoped, and I crushed my foot against the rough concrete. I came up, choking and wailing; hours later, my big toe was more swollen than I'd ever seen on anybody. I couldn't walk on it at all. I was certain it was broken.

So the next day, we marched ourselves up to the guest services desk at Magic Kingdom, and requested a wheelchair for me. That was when I learned the tantalizing truth about Disney World's special disabled lines: Anybody can use them. And anybody -- not just "rich Manhattan moms" who can afford disabled guides -- can scam the system.

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Ciara LaVelle is New Times' former arts and culture editor. She earned her BS in journalism at Boston University and moved to Florida in 2004. She joined New Times' staff in 2011.
Contact: Ciara LaVelle