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  1. #1

    • Darkbeer
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    Disney's VIP passes for bigwigs raise ethical questions - Orlando Sentinel, 4/10/08

    http://www.orlandosentinel.com/busin...,5369377.story


    Walt Disney World is offering politicians and other VIPs special passes that let them cut in line at popular rides such as Soarin' in Epcot and Expedition Everest in Disney's Animal Kingdom.

    The unrestricted, all-day "FastPasses" are for elected officials or other "high-profile guests" who don't want to worry about logistical or security problems they might face while waiting in long lines, but who don't want a tour guide.

    Spokeswoman Kim Prunty acknowledged that the passes were created for officials who are high-ranking enough in state, federal or even international affairs to travel with entourages -- officials for whom a long line could be more than an inconvenience. She said the passes are available to such officials and those traveling with them, but on a very limited basis determined case-by-case by Disney's government-affairs office. That is the same department that runs Disney World's lobbying efforts.

    Disney maintains that the passes have no monetary value and so are not restricted by government ethics laws and do not have to be reported either as gifts to public officials or as a lobbying expense.
    Much more at the link...
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  2. #2

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    Re: Disney's VIP passes for bigwigs aise ethical questions - Orlando Sentinel, 4/10/0

    Quote Originally Posted by Darkbeer View Post
    The passes don't have monetary value? This is where Disney really pisses me off. If the passes don't have value, why not go ahead and send my family some lifetime passes...at no charge? Disney talks out of both sides of their mouth. I like what they're capable of doing to bring happiness to the world, but the corporation itself is just slimy.

  3. #3

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    Re: Disney's VIP passes for bigwigs aise ethical questions - Orlando Sentinel, 4/10/0

    Hasn't this type of VIP treatment been pretty much the standard at Disney for a while now? The way I'm reading the article, Disney is classifying all high-profile VIP's pretty much in the same category. It's the Sentinal that's singling out politicians. Hmmmmm.....must be an election year.

    On my last visit to DL, I saw actor Forest Whitaker being escorted through a back door into Space Mountain, obviously to bypass the line. There were a few other people enjoying the day with him, and I believe two cast members. Clearly, Mr. Whitaker was taking advantage of the VIP treatment available to him. I asked a friend who is a cast member what the protocol is for celebrity visits. He told me what we were seeing was typical of celebrities and dignataries visiting the park and was done as much for their safety as it was to give them a little special treatment. He went on to tell me about one time when soccer star David Beckham arrived at DL's main gate unnannounced to surprise his wife (she was already with a VIP escort in the park). In a very short time, without any controls in place, an overenthusiastic crowd formed that threatened the safety of not only Beckham and his family, but other park guests as well.

    Now, obviously Beckham and Whitaker are a little more high profile than a lot of State and Federal officials, but I don't think it's unreasonable to give them the same kind of special treatment, particularly when security may be an issue. Assigning a Disney government-affairs department to specifically handle politicos also makes sense. There's usually an entirely different set of protocols for handling government officials compared to handling Hollywood celebrities.

    And finally, these are only line passes, people, not free admission tickets. There's a big difference.

    Oh, BTW, here's a crappy cellphone pic of Forest Whitaker and company in Tomorrowland:

    Last edited by disneytim; 04-10-2008 at 10:46 PM.

  4. #4

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    Re: Disney's VIP passes for bigwigs aise ethical questions - Orlando Sentinel, 4/10/0

    I have no problem with this.

  5. #5

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    Re: Disney's VIP passes for bigwigs aise ethical questions - Orlando Sentinel, 4/10/0

    That's called big business. I'm not sure what the big deal is.

  6. #6

    • kevsgarden
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    Re: Disney's VIP passes for bigwigs aise ethical questions - Orlando Sentinel, 4/10/0

    I don't understand what the big deal is. As a member of the press, I've been given what's called the "Golden Fast Pass," where you can use it for any attraction that utilized the FP system. It's just another perk of DL.
    It sounds like the Orlando Sentinal is trying to make a mountain out of a mole hill.

  7. #7

    • Seasick
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    Re: Disney's VIP passes for bigwigs raise ethical questions - Orlando Sentinel, 4/10/

    I agree with everything disneytim said. This makes sense from a logical standpoint. It's not like having the occasional person back-doored is going to make any difference to the rest of us.

  8. #8

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    Re: Disney's VIP passes for bigwigs raise ethical questions - Orlando Sentinel, 4/10/

    I agree with most everybody above. I don't see it as a big deal.


  9. #9

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    Re: Disney's VIP passes for bigwigs raise ethical questions - Orlando Sentinel, 4/10/

    I think it's entirely reasonable. While celebrities and politicians already get a bajillion perks, in this case it is more for their safety as well as the safety of people who happen to be in the area. I work in television at a major show and see first hand how insane people react to celebrities. Like REALLY insane. It would create massive problems if they were to stand in the regular line... so for my sake, I'd be more than happy to have them cut in front of me.

  10. #10

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    Re: Disney's VIP passes for bigwigs raise ethical questions - Orlando Sentinel, 4/10/

    I also do not thnk its a big deal. I could just imagine the chaos that a well known person could create if not given some little perks. Its probably a good safety reason for not only the VIP but also the rest of the guests.

  11. #11

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    Re: Disney's VIP passes for bigwigs raise ethical questions - Orlando Sentinel, 4/10/

    I think the angle being discussed is... would Disney start using this as leverage for people that aren't really 'celebrities' but instead may be people Disney needed to woo.

    For instance - lets say a head of a certain state committee or commission?

    99% of politicans would go unnoticed wandering the parks. Or lets say.. an important CMO or CEO of a certain vendor Disney is trying to cut deals with. They wouldn't be mobbed and they most don't travel with security.

    Disney has a right to woo people this way in a commercial sense - but when its government employees its a totally different story. I don't buy that they would be mobbed and create security issues. Most politicians are faceless to the public. I think the underlying story is - is this being abused in a way to get around laws about contributions and gifts.
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  12. #12

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    Re: Disney's VIP passes for bigwigs raise ethical questions - Orlando Sentinel, 4/10/

    I think the underlying story is - is this being abused in a way to get around laws about contributions and gifts.
    I wouldn't think so. They (politicians) out and out get away with far worse and a VIP pass doesn't get em much in the grand scheme of things.
    Last edited by WSVR; 04-21-2008 at 06:30 PM.

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