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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.