Controversy surrounds new Disney policy involving special needs guests

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KISSIMMEE, Fla. —

As part of Disney's new special needs policy, special needs guests must now show photo identification in order to get a ticket similar to a Fast Pass so they can reserve a ride time.

Maureen Deal said Disney is now asking more detailed questions about her child's special needs, which is causing more issues for her and her son, Zachary, who is autistic.

"It wasn't just, 'Let's go and have fun,'" said Deal. "It was, 'Well, we have to explain we can't go on this ride and have to wait.'"

Deal said in the past, no questions were asked, but now the park wants to know why guest need the special access.

"It has added a lot of work for us," said Deal.


YouTube: See more of the video showing one family’s experience with guest services


But as of last week, the park made major changes after reports of wealthy families paying disabled guides to cut to the front of long lines.

"Because of the actions of a few, it has affected a lot of people in a negative aspect," said Deal.

The Deals said they now find their son's experience less satisfying, and Channel 9 found users on blogs and websites for disabled guests share the same sentiment.

Federal laws prohibit Disney from asking for proof or a doctor's note.  A park spokesperson told Channel 9 they walk a fine line in an effort to stop further fraud.

Disney confirms they are vetting the guests more than before to understand why the special access is needed.

Disney sent Channel 9 the following statement:

Most guests appreciate our extra diligence as we work to implement the program.   As we roll this out to our guests, we are telling them to please try it.   After guests try it, there is very little negative feedback.”