I am sure there are a TON of people who cheat the system and claim their 3 year old and even 4 year old is 2. It saves HUNDREDS of dollars (I mean, the difference between a child and adult ticket is laughable (I’m not even sure why they even have a different price)).
I have gone to WDW a lot with young toddlers because of the “free before 3” policy. I plan on going this November when my daughter is 2 and then turn around and go 11 months later right before her 3rd birthday to take advantage of being free again.
I wouldn’t feel guilty or shocked, they have to do their due diligence to ensure those who should have tickets purchased them.
Though I checked into WDW the day before my son turned 3 (“you don’t grow old at Disney World”) and we were never questioned about his ticket, though one restaurant just assumed he was 3 or older (which he was (by a day) and wanted to charge him for a kid’s buffet. Since their policy is your child must be 2 at check-in day, it was no issues removing that charge. I guess it all depends on the cast member.
36″ seems pretty tall for a 2 1/2 year old, so that is probably why they asked…