On Friday, I posted about Disney revoking their disability passes for families with special needs because of abuse by wealthy families who wanted to skip lines.
There's a lot of chatter on Disney message boards about this, debates about the merits of forcing people to return to the front of the park to register for each new ride, whether or not special needs families should have more rides than regular families, whether or not special needs children's lack of stamina should be taken into account. It all falls into one of two categories: how can the special needs pass be made less attractive for abuse? And should families who already have it tough be penalized?
What bothers me is that no one appears to be focusing on the actual problem: those who were accepting money to abuse the system. Disney already has the FastPass system which allows people to join a shorter line for a fee. But that wasn't acceptable to people of entitled privilege. They wanted to skip the lines entirely.
There's a lot of talk about what's fair. Well, here are a few problems with using that as a business standard.
It is not fair that people with more money can have privileges that those without cannot afford. But it is also not preventable.
It is not fair that families with special needs have more challenges than those without. Trying to make all families' experience equal is not in and of itself fair.
Fairness is not treating everyone the same. It's taking into account the different circumstances in each person's situation, which quickly turns into a nightmare of bureaucracy. Or it means having a system which you know and accept can be abused because that's the only way to make sure those who need it have access.
We've been planning a Disney vacation since last year. It will take us two years to save up the money to go with Alex. Now we have to wonder whether or not it will still be a positive experience for him or if we're just setting ourselves up for massive meltdowns as we have to traipse back and forth to the front of the park all day.
And that, my friends, is not fair.