TODAY   |  May 31, 2013

Rossen Reports: Scheme to skip lines at Disney

NBC’s Jeff Rossen investigates the shocking way some families have been cutting to the front of those long lines at Disney: by hiring disabled tour guides with special passes so they get onto rides without a wait.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> this morning on rossen reports, we're taking you to disneyland in what many are calling a shameful trick to skip the lines on the rides. "today" national investigative correspondent jeff rossen will show us how it happens.

>> all of us who go to disney know how frustrating the lines can be especially when you're waiting there with kids. now some families are cheating the system. they're hiring disabled tour guides so they can cut right ahead of you to the front. if you think that's appalling, wait until you see it happening. we went undercover and caught it all on tape. disneyland , the rides, the characters, the happiest place on earth , except if you're waiting in these long lines. you and your kids waiting hours in the heat. so how does this family get to skip past everyone?

>> we get in front of everybody.

>> reporter: they do it at ride after ride after ride, escorted to the front every time.

>> that took about two minutes to get on.

>> i know. the ride's going to take us longer.

>> reporter: it's the outrageous business few even know about, families bypassing the lines by hiring disabled tour guides with these special passes that give them speedy access to rides, most theme parks like disney have great policies like this to help the disabled, but now, healthy families are abusing the system, paying disabled guides to get them in with up to five guests.

>> these parents call them black market handicapped disney guides.

>> reporter: just look at these ads we found on craigslist, tour guides bragging about their disabled passes. let's cut the disney lines together. access to special entrances. so we had our producer and his family go undercover with home video cameras rolling, hiring two of those disabled guides to show them around disneyland . first up, guide number one, mara . she says she got her pass because of knee and back problems.

>> i'm here to make sure everyone has fun at disneyland .

>> you have a secret weapon today.

>> i do, i have a special card that will help us beat the lines.

>> reporter: and she charges $50 an hour to do it. we start at the teacups. look at that line. no problem for us. we skip ahead and get right in through the exit. which one are we getting in, the pink? okay. our second disabled guide, ryan , charges our family $200. he didn't tell us his disability, but he uses that pass to get us into star tours through this side door, down a special hallway and right up these stairs, up to the rides.

>> i can't believe we're getting past everybody.

>> reporter: check out the line at splash mountain at least an hour long but we slipped right in through this back exit, thanks once again to that trustee disabled pass. another ride, one less line. in fact, over two days, ryan and mara flashed their passes and got us nearly instant access to some of the most popular attractions, bypassing this monster line at pirates of the caribbean and breezing past all these people at alice and wonderland. those guides happy to take our money while other families had to wait. jeff rossen from nbc news. i met up with mara in the parking lot . you're profiting from this.

>> well disneyland is profiting a lot from all the people that enter. we live in a capitalist country and i don't feel like it's morally wrong.

>> reporter: mara is unapologetic but when i introduce ryan he's downright defiant. do you think you're abusing the system?

>> no.

>> reporter: why not?

>> i gave him a wonderful tour.

>> reporter: with your disabled pass you went into side entrances and exits and they're complete strangers and you charged them for it.

>> and?

>> reporter: do you ever feel any pangs of guilt cutting past all of the people waiting in line and paying you.

>> it's a moral question.

>> reporter: you don't feel morally --

>> i couldn't care less.

>> reporter: about others waiting in line?

>> no.

>> reporter: disney says we find it deplorable. we have initiated a review of this abuse and will take appropriate steps to deter this type of unacceptable activity. that way, no one's jumping ahead of you this summer who shouldn't be. that's the goal, isn't it? now our investigation is getting results. this morning, disney is cracking down, sending out warning letters to anyone advertising these services online and if they catch any of those disabled tour guides in the act, they say their disabled passes will be revoked, they won't be allowed back into the park at all. we should also mentioned we called the american association of people with disabilities to see what they thought about this, they call it abusive and exploitive and stand behind disney in trying to crack down on it.

>> something tells me ryan 's picture will be at some of the entrances and exits.

>> no remorse.

>> both of them are probably going to do it again even after all this.

>> i'm sure they'll try.

>> jeff, thank you very much.