Spending part of my youth in relative close proximity to Disneyland was a wondrous thing, in part because I was still too ignorant to realize the depths of humankind's capacity for wanton, selfish prickery. After my emergence from tweenhood, it would be decades before I set foot in another Disney park, this time the one located directly in the center of the state that's rapidly becoming more known for flakka and the Zika virus than any vestiges of Southern hospitality. And by this point I had learned a little bit about human nature, yet I was still disappointed to learn that the "Happiest Place On Earth" is often where you can find the worst examples society has to offer, such as ...
#6. Service Dog Frauds
The above breed of vigilant pooch, along with Labradors and golden retrievers, are the ones we typically associate with the service dog industry. But the blind no longer have a monopoly on these fuzzy, working relationships. Now that conditions like diabetes, epilepsy, and even PTSD have also been shown to benefit from the company of a canine companion, so too has the range of breeds employed as service dogs expanded. And so it is we've come to this:
"I know I missed a couple insurance payments, but there's no need for them
to get passive-aggressive about it."
I don't mean to disparage all the highly trained schnitzerdoodles and yorkiepoos who carry out their duty with honor and distinction. Heck, even miniature horses can be pressed into legitimate therapeutic service nowadays. However, along with the breed (and species) variation, another thing that's expanded is the number of people who are gaming the system -- by obtaining dubious online paperwork along with a brightly colored vest, fraudulently claiming their pet is a service animal, and then taking their filthy beast into restaurants, onto planes, and to piss and shit all over the grounds of eager-to-accommodate theme parks. And despite the fact that this sort of activity is a federal crime, the Americans With Disabilities Act has made it just as illegal to demand proof of whether an animal is bona fide or not. So some individuals, emboldened by this loophole, don't even bother to confine their chicanery to mammals.
"When the crosswalk light turns green, he lets me know by pissing down my shirt and giving me salmonella."
The fact that theme parks put a lot of people in close quarters with one another can make for some big problems when you add an unruly dog into the mix. And if you think paying some shady dude to print out a fake certificate (that says your purse Chihuahua is a vital part of your dyspepsia treatment or some shit) for the purposes of bringing your furry accomplice into one is a victimless crime, you might reassess your opinion after you've been assaulted by a min-pin while waiting in line for the Matterhorn. Or stared in horrified wonder as a pink poodle goes on a fecal rampage through the souvenir stores.
She had to listen to that "Let It Go" song one time too many; we all have our breaking point.
Until the Byzantine clusterfuck of rules and regulations regarding what is and what isn't a service animal is clarified, there's really no downside for those with an annoying mutt and a lack of scruples to lie their way onto It's A Small World and leave steaming mementos all over the dancing Eskimos. So for now you're just going to have to deal with the occasional snarling lap mongrel menacing you in line, while its Mickey-hat-wearing owner joins in on the snarling with, "He's my emotional support dog! He's mad at you!"
"Toddler mangling is the only thing that soothes my acid reflux."
#5. People Who Hire Disabled "Guides"
A lot of misbehavior in public settings can be chalked up to ignorance, impatience, or simple misunderstandings. But when you willfully hire a disabled person just to ride on a motherfucking teacup a little bit sooner, you've officially joined the ranks of the world's most magnificent turds.
"Aw, shit. My hat fell off on the log ride. Here's 5 bucks to go get it."
Before Disney was forced to make changes in their policies regarding such matters, it used to be that people with disabilities were allowed to jump to the front of lines for rides. It's just a nice thing to do, right? Nobody, not even Cruella de Vil or that dickbag Pete The Cat would be so despicably loathsome as to take selfish advantage of something like that, right? Well, of course they would, and new rules had to be drawn up when it came to light that people were hiring the handicapped as "guides," allowing entire groups to cheat their way in front of everyone else.
"Any thoughts on sucking so hard Disney is thinking of hiring you as a black hole on Space Mountain?"
Don't be feeling too sorry for the "guides" -- imagining them like desperate little Tiny Tims just doing what they had to do for survival. Because some of them (like the woman in this video) somehow managed to obtain a handicapped pass for things like "knee and back problems," while gleefully and jauntily accompanying her customers throughout the park for 50 bucks an hour. All while completely unencumbered by something so troublesome as a wheelchair or a crutch. And I'm not suggesting that all disabilities have to be visible to be real, but I get the feeling from all the giggly gloating going on that she just might be bullshitting a wee bit.
"Come to think of it, it did seem strange when she challenged Tigger to a twerk off."
So, sorry about that, cancer kids and wounded veterans, but thanks to that age old partnership of selfishness and greed, it looks like you'll have to wait in the hot sun for hours like everyone else to be bored stupid in The Hall Of Presidents. So what are those with more disposable income than patience and decency going to do now that this particular jig is up? Well, they could always just cut out the middleman entirely and join up with the ...
#4. Mobility Scooter Abusers
There's another ridiculous reason Disney likely felt compelled to alter their handicapped policies. Because hiring a handicapped-pass-empowered "guide" can get rather pricey, some visitors presumably tried to save a few bucks by straight-up faking it with the help of a mobility scooter. That's right, these people couldn't even make the effort to actually manually operate a wheelchair like a proper grifter. They would just rent out a scooter for their nefarious purposes and further add to the number of dubious Rascal wranglers that were rapidly making the Happiest Place On Earth look like a sale on funnel cake at Walmart.
Again, there are of course those who require the use of a scooter to facilitate their enjoyment of the park. But unless the world suddenly experienced a rampant and sudden heretofore unpublicized cramping epidemic in the last 10 years or so, it very well might be that selfish cunning and audacious sloth are the actual conditions plaguing Main Street, USA. The sheer amount of scooters in one place is remarkable, even for Florida, and I'm not the only one who has a hard time believing they're all being utilized for purely medical reasons. To illustrate, here is a shattered husk of a man for whom a mobility scooter is clearly appropriate:
And here is a rather fitter-than-average person for whom one does not appear to be:
But hey, the country's getting fatter every year, so maybe there are just more people who actually need a little motorized assistance once they reach middle age, when self propulsion becomes an undue hardship due to cankle interference. But using such devices to barge in front of children en route to get a better seat for the Doc McStuffins live show? That's a little harder to rationalize. Here's a typical account from a poster named ptdreher on WDWMagic.com:
I found myself getting desensitized to people with disabilities because I don't know if everyone is legitimate or not. I think there should be a handicap certification for these vehicles so you we can provide proper assistance to those who need it. I saw too many folks riding the scooters up to a ride and using the benefits of handicap access and then walking just fine and allowing a family member to ride the vehicle later on.
But how do you even address a situation like this without potentially making life more complicated for those who really do need the scooters? What kind of restrictions could possibly be put into place without violating all sorts of rights and outraging the public at large? Disney's already been sued (unsuccessfully) because assholes made it impossible to continue providing preferential treatment to those with disabilities. So are we doomed to a dark future where vacations in Orlando will start to resemble a clown-car pile-up on the New Jersey Turnpike? I guess we'll just have to deal with it. For now, however, let's at least try to get a law passed that requires the removal of the horns.