So which is it? Was she being an entitled b or was Disney being stingy? Probably both.
This story just keeps on giving!
I got a surprise DM from a CM (follow that?) who lurks here that knows about this incident first hand, as when a crazy Karen is yelling at you that "I'm Shonda Rhimes sister! Let me in!" and you have no idea who Shonda Rhimes is, it's a memorable day at work.
I got tons of information from this CM, but I sifted through it and figured it out and I'm going to paraphrase a bit to protect the innocent, but what I learned is this (and it's even more unflattering for poor Shonda)...
Shonda Rhimes had a "Main Gate Pass", because she was an employee of the Walt Disney Company. A Main Gate Pass is nothing special, it's given out to every full time Disney employee coast-to-coast as part of their benefits package, from janitors in Orlando to bigwig TV Producers in Hollywood. A Main Gate Pass gets you and/or your legal spouse, plus your "dependency listing" of your legal children that is on file with Disney HR, into the park with one-day park hopper tickets. There are blockout dates for Main Gate Passes, just like lower level AP's.
Shonda Rhimes is an unmarried ABC employee with three children on file with HR, so her Main Gate Pass is good for herself and 3 guests. What makes Shonda Rhimes interesting is that she's too busy to take her kids to Disneyland, so she has her nanny do it for her. But previously she ran into trouble with that because her nanny is not her legal spouse, so her nanny was not listed on the Main Gate Pass. Shonda had her lawyers negotiate with Disney to break their own established rules and let the nanny be listed on the Main Gate Pass so that the nanny can use it without Shonda having to be there. A legal spouse may use their spouse's Main Gate Pass, but no one else. Certainly not a household employee like a nanny or a cook. But let's not forget how very, very special Shonda Rhimes is.
So before the nanny showed up with the kids at Disneyland that fateful day, Shonda was already used to thinking the rules of the Main Gate Pass don't apply to her. This is where Disney has some blame for sowing their own scandal by establishing the rules don't apply to Shonda Rhimes. But on the day in question, it wasn't just the nanny and three kids using the Main Gate Pass, Shonda's sister also tagged along. Shonda's sister put them over the limit of three guests, because now there are four people trying to get into the park with the nanny who is using Shonda's Main Gate Pass. And the CM at the turnstile said "Sorry, your Main Gate Pass only prints out three extra comp tickets. I'll need to have a fourth ticket to let you all in."
And that's where it all fell apart very quickly. Shonda's sister immediately starting throwing the name Shonda Rhimes around, right there at the turnstile. The CM was an elderly lady who had no idea what the words "Shonda Rhimes" meant, she just needed to have the adult yelling at her give her a ticket to be let into the park. Managers were summoned, the group was moved off to the side to figure it out, but it was clearly apparent; this was a Disney employee of some type trying to bully their way into the park with a 4th guest on a Main Gate Pass that was only valid for 3 guests. The manager and "Lead" shift supervisors also had no idea who Shonda Rhimes is, although they did have basic knowledge of the show Grey's Anatomy as that reference was used often by Shonda's sister.
Shonda's sister was on the phone with Shonda, the phone was passed to the manager on duty and Shonda tried to tell the manager that he was making a big mistake and he would be fired if he didn't let Shonda's sister into the park immediately. The Disneyland CM's and turnstile manager dug in their heels and stood their ground. Shonda's sister fumed and also told them they were all losing their jobs by morning. Shonda called some executives in Burbank demanding they "do something" and get her sister into Disneyland ASAP. More calls were made.
Disneyland's Guest Relations team was then involved, but they had no record of any extra ticket being set aside for Shonda Rhimes that day, and no previous communication on the matter at all. Lots of CM's were then Googling Shonda Rhimes to try and figure out who she was and what she did for Disney, just out of curiosity.
Eventually after some time, a separate department in TDA was involved by Burbank who brought a comp ticket out to the Esplanade and gave it to Shonda's sister to use for the day. The party then went into the park with lots of attitude and more scorn heaped on the turnstile CM's who dared not let Shonda Rhime's sister into Disneyland for free. Peasants!
It was their very rude and horrible attitude that made this incident so memorable for the CM's involved. If Shonda's sister there in person, and Shonda via the phone, had all just been more polite about it, had been kinder to the CM's doing their jobs, and just played it off as a misunderstanding, the incident would not have been so memorable to the CM's involved.
Of course, no CM's involved lost their jobs. No one was reprimanded, because all CM's involved did exactly what they were supposed to do. The managers thanked all the CM's involved for performing so well, and the elderly CM who took the brunt of the Rhimes family scorn was given a Starbucks gift card by her supervisor. It was just another crazy day at the Disneyland turnstiles.
It seems my jokey reference earlier about Shonda Rhimes letting her sister use her dental plan wasn't too far off. Basically... Shonda Rhimes was infuriated that her Main Gate Pass valid for 3 people wasn't simply turned into being valid for 4 people because she is Shonda Rhimes and she has a sister. And so she left Disney and now works for Netflix.
Just another day in Hollywood, gang. They're such pleasant people to be around! Let's adore them!