I found it pretty funny and ironic that the week after Al wrote that article that South Park came out with this episode. I can't help but wonder if someone on the writing team is a regular passholder? The artistic Disneyland detailing was really fantastic (though I'm sure all of the artists didn't mind possibly going on a "field trip" for the sake of accuracy ). I really liked how while the episode was centered around Cartman's abuse of the system and laziness, someone who legitimately needed to be in the GAC line was shown to say, "Hey, there are people that actually need this."
There are also some guests that actually cannot physically handle long waits, so they'd need an accelerated wait to load time anyway.
This is a really complex issue, and I really feel for the employees at Disney that have to come up with a way to fix the abuse issues better.
I have a girlfriend who has to ride in a wheelchair for extensive walking periods, not because she's obese or anything that you could tell from her appearance, but because she has some nasty physical conditions in her inner working that cut out all of her energy and make it impossible for her to walk around or stand for extended periods of time. I've been close friends with her since high school, and there's actually a whole group of us from that time that meet every year for the holidays as an annual thing. We decided to shake things up and visit Disneyland together last year, but that ended up becoming a bit of a mess in the togetherness department. Originally there were to be 12 of us, and two in our party were to ride in wheelchairs. But at the last minute, the other person who would have been in a wheelchair (he was recovering from a motorcycle accident) decided not to come, so suddenly we were 11 and only 5 other people could wait with my friend. I didn't really know what else to do at that point, so we had to split into two parties and it upset a lot of people. The heavy crowding didn't make it any easier (I planned for us to go early in December for lighter crowds, but it ended up being very busy). The only attraction we all rode together was Pirates because as luck would have it we were approaching the boats around the same time, and when we asked the CMs they were really nice and got us on together. Maybe other attractions CMs would have done that, too - we didn't ask and it's not like we wanted to make things more complicated for them. Some people have said we should go again, and I've said outright that because my friend needs to wait in a separate line, the group would have to be way smaller if it was done again.
One of the last times I was at Disneyland, I was with another girlfriend and someone we knew from (yes, high school again) saw that we were at Disneyland and wanted to meet up with us. Turns out she's one of those GAC abusers - I didn't say anything so that I could just see her process (and to be honest I didn't really find out she was an abuser until we were walking through the line). She was bragging about how she puts on an act at City Hall saying that she doesn't do well with being around a lot of people in this panicky sort of way and then gets the pass. I was astounded.
It's so complicated. Disney doesn't want to offend anyone by accusing them of lying about having some sort of condition, they don't have the right (legally) to demand a doctor's note demanding information about their condition (there are certain laws regarding these things, even with work), space in Disneyland is limited, and Disney doesn't want to ruin guest experience by limiting how many people an accompany said GAC guest.
I think the return time pass system would be a great idea. It doesn't necessarily address the abuse issue, but it would make it less cumbersome on the guests that actually cannot handle being stuck in a long line. I wish Disney the best, in any case, with regards to this issue.