Disney has a long standing reputation of accommodating families of all shapes and sizes. This reputation is largely based on their ability to create attractions that parents can enjoy with their children and grandparents can enjoy with their grandchildren. Beyond these clichés, Disney also does a tremendous job accommodating guests with special needs. Available programs for guests with disabilities include:

  • Wheelchairs and Electric Convenience Vehicles (ECV) are available for rent.
  • Baby care facilities exist in every park.
  • Dietary needs are met at nearly every restaurant.
  • Service animal relief areas exist in every park.
  • A variety of options are available for guests with hearing impairments.
  • Audio descriptions are available for guests with visual impairments.

In addition to the aforementioned benefits, the most impactful program Disney has for special needs guests is the Guest Assistance Card (GAC) program. To the uninitiated, the Guest Assistance Card (GAC) program is a service offered at both Disney World and Disneyland that allows certain accommodations to guests requiring special assistance. The GAC itself is a small piece of thick paper stock obtainable at guest services locations in each park. The card is dated, stamped with the required accommodation and includes the name of the guest requiring assistance and number of people in their party. Typically, the GAC can be used for up to six guests at once and the available stamps include:

  • Guests can use an alternate attraction entrance where available
  • Guests may enter attractions through the standard wheelchair entrance
  • Guests can use their stroller as a wheelchair
  • Provide a shaded wait area if available at attraction

Additionally, other accommodations include preferential viewing at shows for guests with visual impairments and the so-called “Green Light” available to guests visiting through the Make a Wish foundation.

The two most common stamps are the alternate attraction entrance and standard wheelchair entrance stamps. The standard wheelchair entrance stamp allows guests to use a wheelchair entrance where available. At a park like Disney California Adventure, most of the standby lines are wheelchair accessible so this stamp does not have a significant benefit to the guests. In most cases, guests with an alternate attraction entrance stamp can enter the attraction through the Fastpass line or through the exit. This can be a huge time saver for these guests, but because of this benefit it also tempts those who don’t need it to abuse the system.

Recently, Disney has made minor changes to the GAC program in an attempt to limit abuse. The most significant of these changes is used at Radiator Springs Racers at Disney California Adventure. Here, alternate attraction entrance GAC users are issued a return time instead of being granted immediate entry to the Fastpass line. This hasn’t eliminated the GAC abuse, but it has helped Disney manage usage on a popular new attraction.

When Disney officially discusses the GAC program, they emphasize that the card is not a front of the line pass, but the card does create an advantage if it has the alternate attraction entrance stamp. One approach Disney has taken to reduce distribution is limiting the available information on the GAC program online. A search of “GAC”, “Autism”, and “Guest Assistance Card” on Disneyland.com yields no results. The same searches on DisneyWorld.com include responses from the Disney Mom’s Panel, but no official policy. A phone call to Disneyland’s information line for more information about the program directed me to guest relations in the parks. I fully support this lack of information as a means of curbing this problem, assuming that it helps prevent abuse.

Morally questionable guests have fabricated ailments in order to receive an alternate attraction entrance GAC. In other cases, ailments have been exaggerated to accomplish the same thing. It is at the discretion of the guest services Cast Member as to what stamp is used on every GAC issued, and there are no requirements for the guests to prove their disabilities. Legally, it is assumed the Americans with Disabilities Act prevents Disney from asking for proof of an ailment. It is also reasonable to assume that Disney fears discrimination lawsuits.

While the total elimination of the GAC program is unlikely, changes to the program’s benefits are a possibility. Depending on the extent of these changes, many legitimate GAC users could decide to visit less or not at all. More importantly, changes may result in some former users taking legal action against a company that isn’t providing sufficient accommodations to those that need it. Unfortunately, if acquiring a GAC provides any advantage there will still be abuse. For this reason, I feel that restricting the distribution is a better approach than substantial changes to the accommodations.

Having said that, the accommodations may be modified more easily when MyMagic+ is rolled out. Some suggested changes to the rules are as follows:

  • Limit usage at marquee attractions to once per day, or require a return time for multiple rides.
  • Do not allow guests that have difficulty standing for long periods of time access through the Fastpass system. Instead allow these guests to wait in a seated area for the length of the standby line. This could be accomplished with an additional stamp option.

Speaking personally, my older brother Matt, who you see featured in the photos above, is autistic and my family has used a GAC on every trip since we were made aware of the program. At this point in time, family trips are productions and we now travel nine deep. As mentioned, the GAC restricts usage to six guests, so it cannot accommodate every member of my family. Where available, we get Fastpasses to supplement the GAC so that the family can experience attractions together. For rides that don’t currently offer Fastpass, we will typically wait in the standby line. The new policy that eliminates late Fastpass returns has made this approach a bit more difficult for my family, but the inconvenience has been minimal.

At first glance, my brother’s disability is not apparent to all guests or cast members. Physically, he is in the best shape of anyone in the family, and our concerns are in no way linked to his physical ability to stand in line. Our concerns are primarily ones of aggression. When a child throws a temper tantrum in the parks, it creates a scene, but rarely is any damage done to property or guests. However, when a 36 year old acts out aggressively it can be far more damaging. I remember a trip twenty years ago where Matt simply could not handle the stimulation that came with a trip to Disney World. My parents took turns staying with him at the hotel while the other parent toured the parks with me and my older sister.

Like many of us fans, Matt has his favorites at the parks. At the Magic Kingdom, his favorites have turned into a somewhat strict routine and if he hasn’t seen all of these attractions he is significantly more irritable. What makes this more difficult is that depending on the trip, a deviation from the specific order is also cause for increased irritability. His order at the Magic Kingdom is:

  • Jungle Cruise
  • Pirates of the Caribbean
  • A bag of candy at the shop after Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Splash Mountain
  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
  • The Haunted Mansion
  • It’s a Small World
  • Peter Pan’s Flight

He has other favorites, but typically after experiencing these attractions his irritability has worn off. Several years ago, my girlfriend (now wife) and I took an early morning flight on Thanksgiving Day. After dinner, some of us went into the park to ride a few attractions with Matt. We started the routine and made it as far as Splash Mountain. It was in the high 40s, and we got significantly wet on Splash Mountain. We were cold, we were exhausted, and we wanted to leave the park. Matt had other ideas, and we were faced with the choice of physically restraining him in the middle of Fantasyland, or completing the required attractions in the routine. We opted to complete the routine.

For my family, the GAC allows us to experience a family vacation that we can all enjoy together. Matt loves Disney World and eagerly anticipates our family vacations. Some of our best photos of Matt involve trips to Disney as you can see by the ones included in this column. Our family is looking forward to taking him to Disneyland for the first time this summer to see how he reacts to things that are somewhat familiar but still very different.

While it may seem self serving, I would hate to see substantial changes to the GAC program. It allows our whole family to enjoy a vacation with my brother Matt. If those accommodations were removed or limited, it would likely mean that we could no longer bring Matt to the parks, and thus bring an end to our Disney family vacations.

Have you used the GAC? What strengths and weaknesses does the program hold for you and what changes, if any, would you make?

  • JFS in IL

    My son Joe is a 21-year-old version, almost, of your Matt. He has autism, and is also hypotonic – he can’t walk/stand in line for too long without needing to sit – on the ground in the middle of a line, if need be. Last year I took him to Disneyland as part of a trip to California to see my folks and the GAC pass as a lifesaver! I had skipped the long line at customer relations (Joe was too excited to not make a dash for Star Tours and he is too big to easily redirect) when we first entered the park. Star Tours line did not look bad so we got in it – only to discover the visible line fed into a room where the line weaved back and forth for 45 minutes (I timed it) with no place to sit! I almost lost Joe for the day right then and there.

    After Star Tours we slowly made our way back to Guest Relations, where I parked Joe in the floor in a corner and got in the then shorter line for a pass.

    The rest of the day was much more manageable! Where lines were shortish, we stood in line. Most attractions, though, we entered via Fastpass or the wheelchair entry. Only once did someone (a dad with a tired toddler in tow – I have three other kids and understand his frustration) yell at us for “not needing to cut in line!” as Joe, like Matt,, doesn’t “look” disabled at first glance.

    We are going again in a month – if you are at D’land May 29 – 31 and see a short older mom with a six-foot-tall grinning man wearing a bright yellow shirt with either Tintin/Homer/Special Camps logo on it (I keep Joe in yellow so I don’t loose him!” say “Hi!” 😉 we will probably be at StarTours or waiting for Captain EO (Joe’s idea, not mine!) or eating pizza (again!) at the pizza place by Space Mountain.

    Which better be up and running when we go or heaven help us!

    • Unfortunately we won’t be there when you’re there, however we’re doing our first family trip to Disneyland in August and we’re looking forward to see how Matt reacts to things that a similar but different.

    • Susan Hughes

      Your story makes me even more angry about the GAC abuse. Angry because there are those who have a GAC for “legitimate” reasons. Even if the disability isn’t obvious.
      But there are so many who know they can get one simply by saying they need it, and that Guest Relations will not question it. The favorite “LIE” is saying they have anxiety disorder. No way to see that…no way to check that.
      And for some reason, those “cheaters” with a GAC card also happen to be the biggest JERKS when using them. Example: I’ve never seen anyone with a GAC card with a wheelchair stamp…ACTUALLY IN A WHEELCHAIR!!! But man do they get pissed off if they can’t enter through the exit, as is the case with Luigi’s Flying Tires where the main entrance IS wheelchair accessible. They refuse to use the entrance and will piss and moan about wanting to enter through the exit.
      Unfortunately, Cast Members are required to “make them happy” no matter what. So in the end, they get to cut in line if they raise a stink. And they ALWAYS DO!!!

      • silvercuffs

        Yes, those cheaters usually are the worst guests to interact with. I’m a cast member and I had a man threaten to sue me because my attraction’s cue is wheelchair accessible and I wouldn’t let him through the fast pass line with his wheelchair GAC (and he didn’t have a wheelchair anyway). It was a crazy busy day, and I hate seeing people abuse them too, so I wasn’t going to give him what he wanted. (Maybe if he had been nice instead of threatening me, but people don’t seem to understand that either.) Sometimes I will even have guests right in front of me talking about how they got the GAC by lying. It’s terrible. (And don’t even get me started on cast members abusing them…)

    • AuntLaRee

      Susan, I have a 5 year old great nephew with all of the same issues. One of our traditions on our trips is to make him a new t-shirt. I embroider his favorite character (it changes week to week) on his favorite color (which also changes week to week LOL). I would love to make a shirt for Joe, MY TREAT! Please email me [email protected] and we will figure it all out. And we may even be able to be at Disneyland to say hi!

  • George Taylor

    Sadly, many people abuse the system with a GAC an will proudly tell people about it.

    My brother uses a GAC when he travels with his Autistic son. Similar to what you describe, the GAC really makes the trip for their family of 6 much more manageable.

    My oldest son has bi-polar disorder and ADHD. He has no outward signs of any disability but the BPD and ADHD causes him to become hyper-focused on a specific attraction. If we don’t do the attraction, then we’re looking at a melt down and we are forced to sit down and ignore the behavior for upwards of an hour. This really cuts into the enjoyment of the park and the vacation. The use of the GAC has allowed us to tour the parks in ways that suit our families needs.

    Thanks for posting this article. Personaly, I would have NO issue with bringing a note from my son’s psychologist or his doctor in order to procure a GAC.

    • I agree with the note. I think legally it’s questionable, but for those people that genuinely need it I could see it happening. I wonder if they could also legally employ a doctor on site that could make a qualified professional opinion in instances where the disability is not obvious.

      • JFS in IL

        I think you would run into HIPPA again – the doctor at D’land would not have access to the person’s files and medical history. Even a doctor can’t look at someone and tell if they have a heart condition or lupus or are hypotonic or autism etc. etc. I’d hate to have to prove to anyone that Joe needs the pass (although I do have him dangle his Medic Alert necklace on the outside of his shirt as we ask for the pass.)

  • JFS in IL

    Almost forgot – when we went last July we did walk all the way up to the ride entrance to use the GAC pass to get a Fast Pass to return later to ride the Racers. While I appreciated passing the looooong line of folks waiting to get Fast Passes, I was nervous as Joe might well have expected to get on the ride right then and there. Luckily, I was able to redirect him as it was our first time at DCA and it was all new to us.

    If I had to get and use Fast Passes for other attractions, though, it would have caused major problems. Joe simply can not walk that much to go back and forth collecting passes and returning later – he also would not understand why he had to come back when he was already there at the ride and wanted to go on it. I need to ration his strength and deal with his autism. Parking him somewhere while I run about collecting passes would not work – I simply do NOT leave him alone (except for restrooms – he knows to wait outside the Ladies for me, and if he takes too long in Mens I usually find an employee or ask a random Dad to go in and check on him.)

    All in all – I hope they do not change the GAC pass program too much. I think limiting the passes to a once-per-day-per attraction is feasible – as long as an “over-ride” can be made (but how to figure out who really needs it?) for someone like a person with autism who simply has to go on a certain ride 3 times a day and can’t be redirected.

    • This is actually a question we have regarding the RSR Fastpass line. We have never had a problem supplementing the GAC with Fastpasses where needed. I’m curious if at RSR we will be able to do this, or potentially request a GAC return time that syncs with our 3 FP when we’re traveling with 9 of us. The other option is to just get 9 FP for RSR.

      • JFS in IL

        Even with the GAC – get those RSR passes as soon as the park opens. Send someone to where ever the GAC folks go for their Fastpasses (last year it was all the way up by the entrance to the ride but it may have changed) while others get in the looong regular FP line. Tell the folks handing out the FP for the GAC folks what you are doing and how do they want you to handle it so you all ride at once. Have your cell phones on so you can call back to the folks in the regular line IF they don’t need to be in it. There has to be a way to do this.

  • ChrisNJ

    Tim – thank you so much for writing the article. It is so easy to forget why these programs exist when you are waiting on line and see others getting a shorter wait. Hopefully Disney can modify the program in a way that only negatively impacts those who abuse it.

  • Skimbob

    Yes it is a good program and I hope they keep it. My dad is 79 and has bad rheumatoid arthritis that makes walking and standing for long periods hard. We stay at the Grand Californian to put us closer to the parks and I rent him a scooter to use. We don’t use the GAC card because we were told to just show the scooter key. Every CM has taken good care of us and we never ride a ride more than once at a time and usually only once each day. At RSR we just use the single rider line and even though we get separated it is a much shorter wait for him. The only ride that is bad is Toy Story. We have waited between an hour and an hour and a half which in my book is unacceptable. WDW has fastpass which is way better. I don’t take him there because it is just too hard. I just travel alone for those races.

    • The issue at Toy Story is really a function of DHS not having enough family attractions. While I had another article on here that went against this, adding Cars Land to DHS would certainly help the lines at Toy Story (although I’d argue that so would more Star Wars/other Pixar content).

      • slomike

        Tim, Skimbob was talking about DCA, not DHS. There is no fast pass at DCA Toy Story.
        -Mike

  • BigDisneyKid

    As an adult who uses a GAC card when traveling to WDW and Disneyland I can say how grateful I am to have it. I have psoriatic arthritis, which requires various medications that restrict the amount of sun I’m exposed to, my stamina (both because of the disease and the medications),and my ability to walk varies based on my pain levels. I was in denial on my first trip to WDW after my diagnosis until my husband said I looked like I’d melted into the pavement when I sat down on a bench to rest after only a couple of hours in Epcot. It was the next day that I asked for my first GAC. What a life saver! I was able to do my favorite attractions without being so tired the remaining two days! On my next trips I’ve gotten a scooter, which helps as well, but without the GAC card I’d just trudging through my vacation.
    The practice that California Adventure was using on my last visit was great for me! I am able to handle going away from the attraction and returning at a designated time so it was good. I was given a Fastpass with a handwritten return time that was equal to the current wait in the standby line and when I returned I went through the Fastpass line or alternate entrance if no Fastpass was available. This is comparable to other theme parks I’ve visited since my diagnosis. I am able to truly enjoy my Disney vacations again!
    I wouldn’t think twice of providing documentation from my rheumatologist to verifying need for the GAC card!

  • rocknjosie

    I have a family member with rheumatoid arthritis, and we discovered the toll a Disney day can take when their body locked up on them waiting in a long standby line. The best solution for them is movement, which sometimes causes confusion at guest services. Not being doctors, they recommend a wheelchair, but sitting for extended periods can be just as painful as standing.

    Getting the GAC has been a blessing, cause it gives us options. We’re well aware of the abuse, cause you can tell the cast members are looking for signs of “drug seeking behavior”. We’re reminded it’s not a front of the line pass, which isn’t it at all.

    Our family is still the immediate source for making sure their joints don’t lock up, same way parents are the ones who have to tend directly to their autistic children, same way parents with a cancer kid who has to push around an oxygen tank are responsible for their well being.

    The GAC isn’t a magic wand, it won’t soothe your joints or prevent a tantrum. It’s exactly what it says. It assists you, the individual for whom otherwise a day at Disneyland would be too overwhelming.

  • WesternMouse

    My heart goes out to Matt, his family, and everybody who has posted here who have family members with special needs. I have two kids with food allergies. Our trips our productions any the issues I have to deal with are in absolutely no way even comparable to what you folks deal with on a daily basis. Kudos to all of you for not giving up on these special human beings and for not giving up on life. Just because someone has a special need, that doesn’t mean you don’t try to work in a great vacation–especially one at a Disney park.

  • PatMcDuck

    GREAT column! I have a 23 year old son with Downs and Autism. We would have serious difficulty in the parks without the GAC. Nowadays, his siblings are grown, and it is usually just me and my son at the parks. I push him in a large heavy Convaid chair… We only last a few hours at a time in the parks. I had to smile that your brother has an order to the rides he wants to experience. My Sean does not really have an order, but points and yells “this way, this way” a lot. And you are correct, it is harder to handle an autistic adult then a child, when they get tired, cranky, irritable, or aggressive. But my son lives for his Disney trips, they are a major part of his life, we go about twice a year.

    To add to the general discussion, but slightly off-topic, Disney has been adding more and more “Family” restrooms, which absolutely save us at the parks. I do not like taking an adult man into the ladies room, and sometimes (rarely!) my son has disasters that require major cleanups.

  • Joshnyah

    Great article, your pic with goofy is wonderful. His face in that pic is priceless very sweet. The GAC saved me tremendously thru my back surgery. I also wish proof was required to eliminate the abuse. But what a great program for those who need it. Again great article.

  • waltons

    Thanks Matt for this article.
    Both my husband and I use the GAC card. My husbands disability is visible when you see him walking because he can hardly walk due to severe arthritis in ankles and knees and he also doesn’t do stairs. When we are with him, most of the time we don’t get the odd stares from both cast members in guest services and others standing in standby lines. I say most of the time because when we are at DLR he usually doesn’t use an ECV because it, in it’s self can be a problem at times especially for the other guests in the park. DLR is small enough for him to try and tough it out, but rarely does he last for more than 2 or 3 hours before he just parks himself somewhere and waits for everyone else to finish their time in that particular park before moving on to the next park. So having the “Time Return GAC” allows him to enjoy more rides with his grandson and family. He can sit somewhere in between times of return for the rides. When in WDW we wouldn’t even consider doing those parks without an ECV.

    Me, on the other hand, I for the most part get the stares. My problems are not visible and most people guess my age to be somewhere in my late 40’s instead of mid 60’s. So, when I go in to get a GAC, even most of the cast members look at me with that, “OK, I can’t ask you for proof of your disability, but I doubt that you need this card” stare. For the most part, I can walk just fine, it is the standing that wreaks havit on my spinal column and circulation. After standing for more than 10, 15 minutes, my right leg starts to tingle and burn and then goes to sleep and it is difficult to walk let alone the pain in my lower back. I have a history of major back, knee and foot surgeries. My other problem is that on doctor’s advice, I’m not supposed to walk or stand more than about 30 minutes without taking a time out to elevate my feet for about 10 minutes. If I don’t do this, by the late afternoon my ankles and feet can be looking like footballs.

    I was made aware of the GAC card by a cast member when he saw me walking bent over and sitting on the ground in between moving in line. He asked me if I was OK or did I need assistance. When I told him that my leg was asleep and it was difficult for me to walk and I was trying to take the pressure off my lower back by walking bent over and sitting, he told me that I needed to go to guest services and get the GAC card. After that ride my daughter and I went to guest services to get one and the cast member there asked who it was for and I said “me”. She then told me, I’m sorry, but the cards are for guests with disabilities. When I said that I did have disibilities and started to explain, she stopped me and told me that they are not allowed to ask for details and issued me a card, but with that “abuser stare”. I had thought to get a letter from my doctor, but then was told that it was unnecessary because the cast members are not allowed to read them. Also, I don’t usually do stairs well. When I do, do them, it is usually slowly, one at a time, which causes back up problems in a lot of areas.

    I know people do abuse them and it is frustrating when you hear a small group of people crowing about how they are beating the “Fast Pass” system by getting a GAC pass. But for the most part, I think the people who need them are the ones using them. From what I understand there are different types of passes for different disabilities, we are usually issued the one that you come back after the prescribed standby times. That works for both my husband and I because we can rest in between times. I have learned not to judge wheather or not someone in the altenative lines really needs to be there or not. I just wish that others in the standby lines could learn to do the same. The first time I went to DLR I was 6 years old when they first opened. I have happily (most of the time) stood in the standby lines for over 50 years. Now I need a little help doing that even if it doesn’t outwardly look like I do.

    My heart goes out to all those parents and others who are dealing with loved ones that have disabilities such as autism and other personality disorders. All those standby people who want to be judgemental towards groups that look to be perfectly normal, but includes a special guest, I wonder how they would feel, or be empathetic if they were in line with a guest having a melt down. Little do they know.They just don’t get it.

    • Mark Busicchia

      I am 55 years old and have been going to the DLR for 47 years and I Love being on any and all Disney Properties.
      27 Years ago I had a 490 pound roll of Carpet dropped on me by a person moving it with a forklift without the proper equipment attached to the forklift, I have major nerve damage and 2 blown disks, I can walk for short distances and when my wife and I make the trip to DL from our home in Las Vegas which we try to do at least 3 to 4 times a year I would try to walk the park but by noon I was in to much pain to continue so we would head back to the Hotel. Then 1 trip we rented an ECV and found our trip to be much better I don’t get GAC passes we just use the wheel chair access and it is a god send just being able to sit instead of standing in the lines, We don’t really care about the wait and enjoy the Queses in DCA where you can just take the ECV in through the regular lines. And I feel for the Cast Members they get yelled at and cussed at and they don’t right the rules they are just trying to do thier jobs so people need to lighten up.
      My wife used to walk by my side and now she has her own health issues and cannot walk for long distances or stand for long periods of time she is also on oxygen now so 3 years ago we purchased our own ECV’s and travel with them, DL Cast Members are always pleasant to deal with and always willing to lend a helping hand, it is because of this help that my wife and I can still maintain a fun filled life and we will continue to grow old and deal with our aches and pains but we will never have to grow up…We also carry our letters from our doctors that confirm our disabilites…. When we are at DL or WDW we have no cares or worries and weather we wait 10 minutes or 2 hours like we did the first time we rode RSR we are together enjoying our time together and the time in the Parks! May you all learn to accept what you can Change and Let go of the things you have No Control Over. Let you Inner Peter Pan Out!

  • DannyeF

    Hi, folks! Thanks for the article. I have a question: we are traveling to DLR in a few months with my new stepmom! <3 She has had diabetes surgery on both legs and may require use of a wheelchair. This has never been something we've dealt with before, so could someone please explain how the GAC works for this? We definitely do not need a cut in line as we will be at the parks for 5 and a half days. But would we need a GAC for places that the wheelchair can't go into the line? Thanks very much.

    • George Taylor

      DannyeF,

      Because of the wheelchair, you probably won’t need a GAC. When you approach the attraction, you should be met by a greeter who will then direct you to the appropriate entrance, whether it’s the Fast Pass entrance (usually more wheel chair friendly) or through the exit. It really depends on the attraction layout.

      It’s a great idea to stop by Guest Services to see if there are any special accommodations that should be made for the wheel chair.

      Don’t hesitate to ask if you have any other questions!

      • DannyeF

        Thank you so very much!!

      • slomike

        Also, at DCA, almost all of the lines for the rides are designed for wheelchairs. In Disneyland this is not true.

  • waymire01

    Another “basic” accommodation not mentioned is the “baby swap” program.. Disney is the only major park that offers this option to my knowledge.. and it is a tremendous help when you have small ones with you who either cannot ride or are frightened of the ride. Simply inform a cast member at the front of the attraction and they will give you a fastpass to allow the child to exit at the loading area with one parent while the other family members ride, then you can “swap” and the other parent can ride with very little wait.

    My husband suffered a back injury years ago that he lives with on a daily basis, and if not for the wonderful accommodations Disney offers he would never be able to go with us, and since we would never go without him.. that means no Disney vacation for our family. Like others mentioned above you cannot see his pain.. but it is very real and would only allow him a couple of hours of walking and standing in line before it was unbearable. With the aid of a scooter, and the ability to shorten or eliminate standing, stairs, and/or walking into many attractions he can do a full day in the parks. It’s a big deal for us.. and one we are very thankful to Disney for.

  • pinkertonfloyd

    I have nothing against the GAC, I personally think its a great program, I just have issues with the abuse done to the program by able-bodied people. It’s well documented now that Disney has a problem here (RSR proved that). I’ve sadly had coworkers and “friends of friends” tell people how to abuse the system and get the GAC (that are fully-abled people). I even knew one coworker who kept a temporary cast to “get the pass”, then would put the cast in his car after he got it. My wife recently told people she was going to Disneyland, and had a friend of a friend post how to get a GAC pass (and we’re not disabled, just some small kids so we do the “Baby swap”)

    The problem with the abuse is it hurts the people who use it… I agree it’s needed for people with disabilities, and by people.

    Problem is Disney is stuck between ADA, HIPAA, and other privacy laws, basically “if you ask” they must provide… and people know this.

  • Tootles

    I, too, used a GAC on my most recent trip to the World. Outwardly, I come off as a normal 18 year old girl. The reality is that I have a condition that causes me to faint when I stand for longer than 15-20 minutes (I passed out at my own high school graduation. Embarrassing.) As most of the wait times are much longer than this, the GAC was a life saver.

  • toonaspie

    It’s a shame how the abusers are ruining things for people who seriously need the accommodations. I think that everytime one applies for a card they should be told “this is not a Front of the Line Pass. Do you wish to continue applying?” We will see how many people this will scare away.

    I don’t like the “sitting for the amount of time as standby” idea. I think it’s best to just let them through the fastpass or single ride line instead of putting them through something needlessly complicated.

    • JFS in IL

      I flat out asked at Guest Services if there was a pass for Joe to sit in the shade instead of standing in line and the cast member said most attractions simply did not have such a space and to use the Fast Pass entrance or the wheel chair entrance if no FP.

      In some cases, even if there was a spot to sit and wait, I suspect some folks would not be able to do so (those who can not sit comfortably for long periods, folks with autism or Downs if they do not understand waiting, etc. ) Plus then we’d have the non-disabled folks complaining “How come they get to sit” etc. and the waiting folks with the pass would have to deal with the comments and stares etc. Not worth it.

  • DobbysCloset

    A great article, thanks. It really says something about the appeal of Disney that so many people would brave their own distress to enjoy the parks. I’m would guess that the same people who abuse the pass are also the ones who go on rides that, if they really had the disability they claim, would potentially be damaging to their pre-existing conditions…

    My disability is not visible but, having no human family, I have trained Dobby in accordance with the ADA guidelines to accompany me in public. I hope to go to Disneyland in the next few years with him — I can sit or stand forever at the age of 60 but being in line with thousands of total strangers happily enjoying each other’s company makes me anxious. When we’re out and about I offer special needs people I see a chance to “make friends” with Dobby, turning frowns upside down!

  • bayouguy

    Our daughter is autistic, with the no outwards signs. She can handle the short lines or lines that move quickly (Pirates, Mermaid, Haunted Mansion). But the long lines and crowd noises can be burdensome for her. We allow her to make choices for using the card. Some are not too surprising (Midway Mania, Raider Springs), but some queues are very interesting to her (Snow White, Monsters Inc), so she’ll want to experience those queues.
    We really try to use the card wisely. We can’t control others so we just enjoy Disneyland and DCA with our daughter.

  • mickeyandme67

    You guys can go ahead of me anytime. Thanks for your stories.

  • TRONAlex

    Both of my children are autistic. This Special Assstance pass really helps alot. Sometimes when I tell the Person at Guest relations that my son is severly autistc, they give me 20/20 questions. I feel like I am on trial, just to get a SAP for my son. Some times I go to DCA and get a pass for my daughter who is autuistic as well. She can go on rides with me or my wife. Since my son is scared to go on certain rides , my wife gets a pass for my son at Disneyland so we have fun as a family.
    Or sometimes the people in guest relations give me a pass for 2 and my wife a pass for 2.
    If I have any issues at Guest Relations, I will ask for a supervisor on stage for a pass.
    What really upsets me is sometimes a ride has more handycap people in the line then standby. I am not against the people in electric wheel chairs or anything like that. I mean families that have autistic chidren or downs syndrome etc. have to wait just as long as a person with a wheel chair.
    Disneyland needs to separate from wheel chair bound/ to a person that can walk. They share a special assistance line and my son goes into a balistic fit. for example, Small World Holiday, the SAP line is longer then the Standby. They have 1 boat for a wheel chair and everyone has to wait for the boat to come back. I have to avoid these kinds of rides because of Disney not separating the line.
    I hope that changes aren’t that severe since my son doesn’t look autistic, but acts autistic with the flairing arms and speach issues and is sometimes in his own world.

  • TRONAlex

    Tim,
    My son is severly autistic, and your brother is autistic.
    How does your brother get a hair cut?
    My son can’t stand one and it takes 3 people to hold him down just to buz his his hair. He’s 6, but is really strong.
    Thanks for reading this,
    Alex

    • Unfortunately/Fortunately, we can’t really relate to the same issues with getting a haircut for Matt. For a while we went to a local barbershop and made sure that he went to a barber that was familiar with him. For Matt, the issue is more that it tickles more than anything.

      • TRONAlex

        I tried that for a long time and the barber shop didn’t want to cut my sons hair anymore..They said it wasn’t good for the clientel.
        The barber shop’s name was Sports Clips…
        I am glad the issue was tickles and not the sound of clippers/
        scissors cutting hair.
        Thank you for getting back to me on this.
        Alex

  • LuckyJack65

    Great article Tim!
    I am a MK character attendant, and deal with GACs daily. I appreciate the card and do what I can to accommodate the guests who need assistance.
    The one thing that guests either don’t understand or abuse is that the GAC (aside from a Make A Wish GAC) is only for attractions with an alternate entrance, and not for character Meet/Greets. I continually have to spiel to guests that the card will not get them into the front of Merida’s line (or whomever I’m attending on any given day). I even point out to them where the limitations are written on the card,and most guests accept it and either get in line or leave. But some guests get very angry and say some really hateful, awful things because they feel they are being discriminated against. All I can do, aside from remaining calm and providing proper guest service, is direct them to guest relations for assistance.
    The part that really makes me extremely angry/disgusted are those rare guests who see a Make A Wish family go to the front of a character meet/greet line, and yell out loud, “I wish my kid was dying so I could get to the front of every line!” Again, this is a rarity, but does happen.
    My parents visited me in January this year from Indiana. My father has severe arthritis and my mom suffered a stroke in Sept. Neither wanted to rent a ECV (Midwestern pride), but I was able to get a GSC for them, which came in very handy. They were able to rest any where in the park whenever they were tired, but they couldn’t stand in the long lines for attractions. The card was a life saver.
    Again, thanks for writing this article. Well done!

    • LuckyJack,

      Is this “no character policy” the reason why there isn’t an Alternative Entrance to Enchanted Tales with Belle?

      Typically we don’t do a lot of character stuff with Matt because usually he’s dictating that we go from ride to ride. However, you can see by the smiles that he loves the characters. The photo with Mickey and Minnie was actually at a special appearance at a “Welcome Party” for my cousin’s wedding at Shades of Green. The photo of him and Goofy was at the end of the night in Storybook Circus where we got pictures of him with the four characters in the tent. Part of the problem is we try to avoid some of the situations that a viewing public may view as inappropriate. This includes crowded meet and greets – conversely, character meals work really well.

      • LuckyJack65

        Tim, unfortunately, that is the case with character meet/greets, including Belle at MK. With the Make-a-Wish GAC, the family is either sent to the front of the line immediately or “back doored” as the case may be, but for all other GAC cards, those guests must wait in line with everyone else. I don’t know the reasoning for this decision, I’m just trained to handle GACs in this manner with character meet/greets.
        The only exception is Town Square Theatre. It was designed with a Fast Pass queue, so all GAC users may skip the standby line. That is the area for meeting Mickey, and seeing Cinderella/Aurora/Rapunzel.
        Going to the Big Top in Storybook Circus late in the evening is a great choice, as most guests are gone from that area and the wait time for meeting characters is very very short.
        If you ever have questions, feel free to contact me. I’ll do my best to find the answers for you and your family!

  • Shin-Gouki

    I have a bad back (and the scar to go with it) along with horrible knee problems that cause me to use a Stone Cold Steve Austin type Knee Brace from time to time. On my last trip I was informed about this service and man did it really help. By comparison I was at a convention recently that took 4 hours in line to get the registration materials and it destroyed me for the weekend. This is a great program, and though I am in better shape than some and tend to feel guilty about it in the end using it saves me from days of pain afterword.

    • waymire01

      Shin-Gouki thanks for bringing up the other “hidden” effect of chronic injuries: the aftermath. My husband, for example, could do one day in the parks if he had to… but would be barely able to get out of bed to go to the restroom the next day if he did.. which really puts a damper on a week long vacation. I speak from experience because that is exactly what happened on our last trip before he finally broke down and got a scooter. I would also like to address a previous comment about “going on the attractions if you are so bad off”. While he does avoid the extreme rides (Everest for example) most of the others are not a problem. It’s not the 3min ride that does the damage.. it’s the hours and hours of walking, standing, and stairs.. most of it on concrete or steel.

  • MochaCat

    thank you for sharing your story!

  • wec

    Hi all. I have a daughter with Autism and we recently visited Disneyland.
    We used the GAC. I always bring a doctors note to prove the disability
    at Guest Relations. Surprisingly, Disney doesn’t require doctors notes though
    I think that they should in cases where the disability isn’t always obvious.
    It’ll limit abuse.

    Several years ago I had the chance to educate another guest who asked me
    “Where do you get that neat little card.” I replied first, you get a child with
    a disability. Second you get medical bills from hospitals and doctors that
    aren’t covered by insurance, then you get lots of heart break but rewards too
    regarding raising a child with disabilities. Then you get a doctors note and get the pass at
    Guest Relations. Then when getting on attractions, in my daughters case where
    her disability isn’t always obvious, you often get nasty comments from other guests who
    feel that you’re cutting in line. The guy truly empathized with me by saying “It’s not really that neat
    of a little card is it.” We ended up with a friendly conversation and I told him, well; it is nice
    as it makes visits to the park easier, but there’s the other stuff that goes with it.

  • ranman101

    I don’t have anyone in my direct family that has a need for a GAC. I do know many that abuse this system. I have even watched my own sister brag about getting one ( sorry I can’t choose family), and she has nothing wrong with her. As much as the GAC system is not perfect, its better than nothing. As a premium pass holder for Disneyland, I am tired of watching the abuse. I was just at Disneyland a few weeks ago with my sister in law who suffers from Primary Pulmonary Hypertension. It was amazing to me how many people in the “secondary entrance areas” that openly admitted they just lied to get GAC. I think it speaks volumes about our society. Not in a good way.

  • victoriaskitten

    Great informative article. Thanks.
    I have been using an ECV for 3 years now and didn’t know about the GAC card. When you look at me you don’t see anything but a healthy looking woman. I have a lung disease therefore walking long distances, climbing stairs, takes my breath away and I get dizzy and start wheezing. Meds do not help me. Also more than a few stairs with my bad knees, hips and back are just not fun.
    I always go through the lines when possible sitting on my scooter and just inform the cast members that I can’t climb stairs. They have always been very nice. For Radiator Springs I get to the park first thing and get fast passes for my group. When alone I go single rider. Otherwise I don’t go on that ride. For other rides such as Hollywood Tower we get a hand written fastpass and come back at the appointed time. I am just happy to skip the stairs.
    In the last year or so I have noticed that their seem to be many more guests who need assistance and I myself inwardly have a question about some guests but never voice it outloud.
    I have been rudely questioned when I park my vehicle in the handicap parking with the correct plates and have calmly told the men (always men who make the comments) that I would gladly change places with them right that minute if they would like and not have to go through the horrid ending that is coming to me and all my family. Then I tell them to never assume anything.
    I am always touched deeply when I see families with a loved one in wheel chairs with some disability and feel such joy when I see them taking them on and off the rides. The cast members are my heros they show such care and respect. I truly feel lucky to witness these moments.
    I don’t think that I will get a GAC card in the near future and will continue doing what has been working for me. So if you see me walking for a bit it’s because I just can’t stand to sit for the entire day( we are usually at the park from opening to closeing) and I need to get up stretch my legs and back.
    Thanks again for a great article and everyones comments.

  • kimbyslice

    We had a horrible experience in Disneyland Paris with the GAC card. We were traveling with my mom, my aunt, my brother and my 78 year old grandfather with extremely bad knees. After two weeks of traveling Europe my grandfather could no longer walk for more than a few minutes, even while using his cane, so we rented a wheelchair for the remainder of our trip. When we arrived at Disneyland Paris, with my grandfather in his wheelchair, it took them 15 minutes just to let us into the park, even though there was no wait at the turnstiles. They had to have a supervisor of some sort come over to unlock the gate so he could fit through.

    When we headed over to guest services, the asked if we had a doctor’s note proving that my grandfather was handicapped (old man, in a non-disney wheelchair) and when we replied with a negative, they asked if we could have his doctor fax a note. No!?!? We’re from California and with the time differences it would be near impossible to reach his doctor, not to mention using a cell phone for an international call. The guest relations woman, sighed and clicked away and finally told us she was making an exception just for us and not to expect it again but that the GAC would only be good for my grandfather, plus one person.

    Not wanting to ruin the trip, my mom and aunt sent my brother and I off so we could explore the parks and they went around with my grandfather, but at each attraction one of them would have to wait outside or do the standby (or single rider) line and hope that they would both finish the attraction around the same time. Ultimately they made the best of the trip but it definitely soured our entire experience of Disneyland Paris. I guess the one positive is that their stringency does cut down on those who abuse the system, but I can’t imagine that every handicapped person travels around with a doctor’s note to prove that they are disabled. I doubt this policy would be accepted in the United States.

  • daliseurat

    Thank you for this eye-opening article and all the great posts. I too know many people who brag about lying to get the card. I always let them know how they are damaging a system meant to help people who need it. Reading how it has helped folks through their eyes is amazing and shows just how important the system is.

  • SpectroMan

    I think it’s impossible to have a perfect system without requiring medical proof of one’s disability. Disney is to be commended for making such extensive efforts to accomodate the handicapped and disabled in every aspect of their parks, but sadly the abuse is rampant. People talk, the internet speaks volumes, and social media makes it okay to be an abuser. I often hear co-workers say, “Oh, I’ll just rent a scooter that day” when discussing going on a busy day. It’s infuriating.

  • lionheartkc

    I actually have a problem with the GAC being too powerful. You see, my mother has MS, and if she exerts herself too much, over an extended period of time, she is pretty much done for the next few days. That being said, when we do the parks, we bring a wheelchair so that she doesn’t need to walk or stand much. We do get a GAC, just because some lines aren’t wheelchair accessible, but the problem is that every single time we go, after one or two uses, she gets it in her head that skipping the lines is a right that she has been granted to make up for the fact that she lives with an illness, even on rides where the standby like is wheelchair accessible. I’ve had to have many a discussion with her about the fact that the GAC is a privileged, not a right, and we just need to be grateful for the help it provides when we need it and not to expect preferential treatment when we don’t need it..

    Yes, I realize this is a personal issue and not a problem with the system, but I imagine that I’m not the only person who deals with this. As they say, power corrupts, and when you get to skip the 2 hour line at Midway Mania, it’s pretty intoxicating.

    My hope is that, with the new wrist bands, they may be able to expand the program to be more specific about the needs of each guest and accommodate just those needs. I think that would cut down on the abuse and it would also help people to only use the services they need instead of being tempted to take advantage of those that they don’t. I do love the idea of making it work like a fast pass. That not only takes away some of the feeling of privilege, but it also allows for better integration into the stand-by line.

    • CathyG

      we just had our first visit at Disneyland, didn’t receive any wrist bands, just the GAC. Can you give us more info on them….. thanks :O)

  • scarymouse

    I completely support Disney in their efforts to make the parks a magical place for everyone.

  • Vanner

    A cast member who saw that I was having difficulty maneuvering in the lines directed me to Guest Services for a GAC. She even called ahead, described what she saw, and they were expecting me at Guest Services when I got there. Because of the GAC, I was able to enjoy the park with my family without worrying about which lines would be too dark or winding, and therefore overwhelming after my recent visual loss. It also helped the cast members know to stop any moving walkways onto the rides. I certainly felt cared for, and respected, without feeling like a burden to the system. I know that, over time, I will gain confidence in my mobility, and receive more training in moving through lines, but in this difficult transition period for me, at a time when i needed it the most, Disney cast members really made my visit to the parks Magical, by relieving the stress I thought I would have to feel every single time my kids picked a ride. I know there are some people who don’t think I should have had a GAC (visual disabilities is controversial on these online GAC discussions), but without it, I would have been a physical (bruised my hip and ran into a column on just that first line) and emotional wreck after just a few rides. I have no problem waiting in lines, but there’s really no way to know which lines will be quick moving or slow, and my husband could only help me out so much by calling out directions while trying to also lead our two kids. The GAC put me on level ground with everyone else at the park, and I don’t want to think about what I would have done without it.

  • Haunted Pennies

    I thought this was a really great article. Our oldest (who is currently 6) was diagnosed with autism at the age of 3. He also loves Disney (we’re Disneyland goers) and the things you mentioned in your article sound very very familiar. It has historically been difficult for me to find information on accomodations for children with autism at the parks. Fortunately I have friends that work at WDW who were able to help me know what to ask for with the GAC. At our last trip (the first one where we knew about Ian’s diagnosis) when we stopped by City Hall to acquire the pass, they asked to see the person recieving the pass. Ian wasn’t able to stand in the line to enter City Hall so my husband had waited with him and our younger son outside the exit door, so that it was easy for them to pop in to visit with the CM at the desk. After our experience with this last trip and visits with other Moms of autistic children I have written a blog post about our lessons learned; what we did right and what we’ll do differently next time. If anyone wants to read it let me know and I’ll happily post the link. Like you, there would be no point to a family vacation to Disneyland without the GAC. I am dissapointed by people who abuse the system. Personally people who abuse the system should get fined, like people who park in a handicapped spot who aren’t handicapped.

  • Mtnman

    I may catch some flak for this, but usually that means you are directly over the target. 😉 Perhaps there is some room to pull back on some of this GAC stuff. Obviously it is full of abuse, everyone knows this. The abuse would be gone if most GAC stuff was gone. Life sucks and is unfair. Not everyone can do everyting. Not everyone can do theme parks, and not everyone can do everything at disney, nor should they. I think things have gone a bit too far it trying to accomodate everyone. Giant obese people can’t ride everything. Handicapped people, or those with health issues, or those with back injuries can’t ride everything. It’s not their fault, it is just life. Nor is everyone able to skydive, ride ATVs scube dive, play football, runa marathon. Heck, some people can’t even walk around a themepark. I suggest, these people spend their time doing OTHER activities rather than attempting to get accomodations for everything. It is disruptive. Themeparks are food and shelter. Life sucks, we can’t have everything we want. I’m not saying some accomodations aren’t locial and practical, I’m just saying that I think we’ve gone too far in what we are expecting. I have two kids with fairly bad ADHD, and one has depression with some Autisim. I would never ask for a pass to skip the lines. If we coudn’t manage theme parks, we’d do something else! 🙂

    • Vanner

      I see what you are saying, and if that’s how you chose to run a park, I would respect that and just not go, but Disney has taken an approach that is understanding of the fact that, if the only thing separating their family and themselves from having a wonderful vacation, full of Disney magic, is whether or not they can get through a line, then the company is willing and able to accommodate for that. There are plenty of things that I can’t do at the park because of my visual disability. I won’t be taking up a prime viewing spot for Fantasmic, or slowing you down on the Tarzan Treehouse. I’m not beating you in a race to the Indiana Jones ride when the park opens. I won’t be spotting any of the Hidden Mickeys before you get a chance to see them first. I won’t be crowding you out of the way to look at the beautiful window displays that change every season. And the fireworks are all yours. Basically, thanks to the GAC, you won’t even know I’m there, except for the fact that you might have to wait an extra five minutes in line for the six or seven rides I manage to make it onto during a day at the park. You’re right. Life sucks, and you can’t do everything you want. I’m glad you and your family can manage theme parks without the extra accommodations. While you’re taking that high road, I’ll be over here, on the direct access (to enjoyment without needless guilt) road, because high roads, fun as they might be, aren’t for everyone.

      • JFS in IL

        I’m with you, Vanner. Well said! BTW – there aren’t many “other” activities, Mtnman, that compare to Disney. My adult son with autism will never do sports, can’t read, can’t drive – heck, our trip to Disney is the high light of his year.
        (I am so NOT looking forward to standing in line with him amid all the little kids to see Princesses again this year…but Joe thinks they are beautiful, so I do it. )

    • Mark Busicchia

      Thats a shame your children should not be cheated out of the joy
      a trip to Disney would provide for them, even if it mean’t paying
      for some professional help to assist you with them while in the park
      I am not telling you how to rasie your children it is obvious you love
      and are trying to protect them just something to think about. I have
      been enjoying DL for 47 years and will never give it up! When I can
      bring my 4 grandchildren to the park it just adds to my joy but it also
      takes it toll on me and my wife. It in there eyes and on thier faces.
      Remember DL was built so that Parents and Children would have a
      place where they could go to enjoy together as a family.
      God Bless you and your family

  • jr66

    I have mixed feelings about the GAC. I use it everytime we go to DL, and like many others, have no visable disability. I have a cyst on my meniscus, which can be extremely painful after walking up and down stairs for a long period of time (we are in the park for a couple days for each trip). I follow all of the rules, and get a fastpass when available as was recommended by Guest Relations. It’s really bothersome to have people stare and make comments about something that they know nothing about. Sometimes I feel like some cast members discriminate against me because of the pass. In fact, because we accidently used the wrong entrace for the Monorail (the elevator at the exit), we had to wait for the next train. Then it was the next train. Finally I asked what the problem was, and was given the run around. We left. That’s happened before on California Screamin too. Try using a single rider card and a GAC at the same time! Really confuses them! But, most of the time, the CM’s have been wonderful. For RSR, we always get a fastpass. When we go back at the designated time, we wait in the fastpass line until the end, then they send us over to the wheelchair accessible area. I will say that since they elimated the late return for fastpass it is much more challenging to try and get to the right area by the time frame when I move so slowly. For me the GAC has really been a life saver on some of the rides with stairs, and there’s no way I would be able to spend as much time in the park without it. But, I wish there was some way to cut down on the abuse. Like maybe a note from your doctor or something…. The real kicker is that you don’t need a GAC if you’re in a wheelchair. I’ve seen kids (teenagers) rent one in order to avoid the lines, and heard them brag about it.

  • leopardchucks

    Thank you so much for writing this, Tim. It’s a wonderful article. My 9 year old son has severe autism and does not always “look” disabled. However, he is non-verbal and flaps his arms an awful lot…especially when he’s excited. I have only procured a GAC for him one time and the CM told me to save it and bring it back with me for next time. I have done so. I agree with the others about not having an objection to showing proof. I’d gladly provide his IEP or a doctor’s note or whatever if that meant it would help cut down on abuse. Like Matt, my Johnny has very specific ride interests. Mainly, he wants to ride Splash Mountain over and over and over. We often have to use some serious big guns for redirection to get him to exit! The GAC has really helped us in a few situations. We generally try to use Fastpasses when available and if line moves quickly OR has a stimulating queue, we can sometimes wait in the regular standby line. It’s the small handful of attractions that have really congested and non-stimulating queues that he can not handle. (Peter Pan’s Flight, Dumbo, Matterhorn sometimes) To avoid Johnny having a melt down, which could involve laying on the ground, possible kicking or climbing on me and/or fixtures, we have used the GAC. It has really saved the day and we are able to enjoy a full day at the park as a family. Thank you for sharing your story. It’s nice to know we aren’t the only people dealing with similar problems!

  • Alpinemaps

    Thanks for the good article.

    I’m conflicted on its use, as it affects my family. My 5 year old has Infantile Scoliosis, which is a rare form of scoliosis that affects infants/young children. She was initially in a torso cast, but now wears a brace. We are APs, and we typically let her take off her brace when we go to the park, as a special treat.

    It’s difficult for her to walk around all day – she’s usually up on my shoulders or in a stroller. When we’re in line, I typically have to hold her. It actually gets pretty tiring for me!

    We’ve never used the GAC, and I’ve often wondered if we should. I’m conflicted with the way it might make our life a bit easier at Disneyland, but at the same time, I don’t want to send the wrong message to her. I want her to believe that she can do anything that anyone else can do, and I don’t want her to feel privileged or expect special treatment.

    Just last week, though, we were visiting the park with a family friend who did need a GAC, and I have to say, it was very convenient for RSR. The kids we were with had autism, and you could see how beneficial it was to them for using it.

    It’s also news to me that we could use the stroller as a wheelchair. I may try to do that next time we’re in a long queue.

  • Novacastrian5

    This is a great article. Thank you for sharing. We have made the trek for the last 4 years (once to Wdw and 3 times to dlr ) with our 3 kids. Our oldest is 14 and has severe autism / intellectual disability and needs mum and dad most of the time to help. He is 5’10 and big so it’s getting harder to physically manage him. On our first trip we had no idea what a GAC was until a CM came up to us in the Matterhorn line and took us up to the gac entrance, waited for us to finish and radioed to main st to ensure we had a gav waiting. We were gob smacked,humbled and in tears at this overwhelming service. We still struggle, we still get the stares if a meltdown happens, we still give great experiences to all our kids and try not to let this disability wear us down. You know Disney aside from gac has great restrooms to use ( I have to take my son so things get a bit squashy in a normal size restroom). All the issues aside though the big cheery smile on our sons face ( including his brothers I might add) as we enter the parks makes up for it all…. The GAC has allowed us to do things we might not have ever done again and we are great full such a system exists. I did say we make a trek. It’s from 12000km away in Australia we travel from! We have no such system at the few parks in Australia. Almost the opposite. We save now to come to Disney instead….

  • CathyG

    Great information Tim. :O)
    We recently had our very first Disneyland visit with our autistic daughter and her service dog. We were amazed over the 5 days that we didn’t run into any other children with their dogs, just adults, as the demand for autism service dogs is just exploding. Having the GAC pass certainly made this visit possible for us, very few meltdowns as we didn’t have to wait forever to get on/see anything. We didn’t go on any of the scarier/popular rides as Mom & Dad not big fans of them and there is plenty other stuff to see & do. Something really new that Disney has just started in the last few months is having cages for service dogs at the various rides that service dogs are not allowed on. These are listed in the Guides for Disabilities pamphlets, which also show where all the dog relief areas are. On our last day we did go the Guest Office (Chamber of Commerce) in the California park to suggest adding more relief areas and also suggesting more rides that the dogs shouldn’t be allowed on. Our dog quickly figured out that once he saw a cage, we weren’t dragging him onto a ride he didn’t really want to go on, and he was a happy camper!!! While we were on the ride, a cast member kept an eye on him….Somebody obviously has thought outside the box, so to speak, very simple & innovative idea. The staff is still training on the whole process, so you have to ask for the cage. Now, as to the matter of people abusing the GAC, unfortunately there is always an element of mankind who will try to “outsmart the system”. We have even seen this in the guide dog world where people try and pass off un-certified dogs as certifed. Our dog carry his certification card in his jacket, plus we each have Government Photo ID’s with him. As owners of a service/guide dog, we have met with plenty of resistance over the last couple years, believe me, but it is definitely worth it. Usually the first time it’s just educating people, but if it continues at the same place usually a phone call to the higher ups/Head Office fixes it. He has certainly changed all of our lives for the better and has made going to places like Disneyland a reality, not just a dream….. :O)

  • JFS in IL

    I hope someone from Disney really reads these comments and that they help the company keep the GAC, pretty much as is, for the folks who DO need it. Yes, there will be twits (to be polite) who deliberately abuse the system. Disney can not, due to HIPPA laws, ask to see proof of disability. So there will never be a way to “prove” a disability.

    I think, too, people need to not question ANYONE using the GAC pass, even if they do not “look” disabled. Hey, the only reason some folks may look perfectly “fine” to the other guest is BECAUSE they have the pass – they are not limping, in pain, having a melt down or whatever – in fact they look HAPPY (as they should be at D’Land) thanks to the GAC pass!!!

  • Bobbie42

    I am a single mom of two very large autistic boys, and yes, they don’t look like they have a disability until something sets them off. The guest assistance pass has been invaluable to us, because one son has sensory issues, and standing in long lines isn’t a problem, unless he hears a crying baby – then he gets hysterical, and at 6’2″, that gets dangerous. We have had passes for two years, and just recently ran into problems with the RSRacers – the first time we came to the ride, no one told us in advance about them issuing fastpasses. My son did not understand that it would still be another half hour before he could get in line, and wasn’t about to leave, so he stood by the fastpass distributors, refused to move, and screamed for a half hour. I felt bad for them – they kept saying there was nothing they could do, it was the new policy, and I said I was sorry too, but because he is so much larger than me, and we had no social story to prepare him for this, there was nothing I could do to remove him. After the time had passed and they said he could go, after a half hour of screaming, and people staring, asking if we needed help, etc, he stopped crying, got in the fastpass line, and was perfectly fine. Next time I was able to write a social story to let him know we would have to get a fastpass, ride other rides, and come back when the pass said it was time. Things were still shaky, but much better. If Disney didn’t have the G.A.P., it would be doubtful if we would get passes, let alone go at all.

  • CasaFamilia

    Thank you Tim very much for this article. Our daughters are 6 year old twins, both have been diagnosed on the Autism spectrum. We are an AP family and live only 4 miles from Disneyland and therefore go at least once a week and many times twice a week. Going to Disneyland and DCA has been a major part of their childhood and we feel has helped them with their social development. Going so frequently might seem excessive but it has become part of their “routine” each week and is a nice alternative to their busy school and therapy schedule. Every time we visit it is like the first time they are experiencing the magic of Disney. The GAC has made all of this possible. The alternate lines allow them the room to move about without troubling other guest or becoming a safety issue. The shorter wait times allow them to experience more attractions and shows and makes it possible for us to leave sooner and avoid them becoming over-stimulated which can occur if we stay too long. Like others we try not to use the GAC all of the time and have explained to our girls it is not automatic that we will get on the ride quickly. The twins often wear pink headphones for noise reduction and this helps clue people in that something may be a little “different”. That being said we still get looks and questions frequently and it is difficult to be patient with other guests that are rude. My wife and I have joked about how clever we are by planning ahead and making sure we had autistic twins to ensure that we could get on the rides faster at Disneyland! Any frustration we have usually dissapates very quickly when we see how much fun the twins are having and how joyful they are. I wish that the rude guests would take a deep breath and stop and have some interaction with the twins, it might help them put things into perspective and help them enjoy themselves at the Happiest Place on Earth. If you’re at the resort and see two blond twins with pink head phones and me in my Angels hat and t-shirt come on up and say hello; their joy is always infectious. Raising these beautiful daughters could be a source of bitterness and unhappiness to some but is a complete blessing for us however it is always extremely challenging; thank you Disneyland for helping it be such a blessing by being so accomodating and for bringing so much happiness to our home.

  • New Orleans lady

    I am 65 years old. I have limited walking and standing ability. I look like I am just fine. But… I have Fibromyalgia
    , degenerative arthritis and atrophied muscles. I hear comments when I transfer from the ECV to a ride. I really don’t care what people. I just say…. Don’t judge until you walk in my shoes. Do you think I really want to spend an extra 300.00 on the ECV?

  • DaddyDeuce

    I live in Colorado. Last year my wife and three children flew to Southern California for a two-week vacation.

    On the very first day of our vacation, in San Diego, my five-year-old daughter fell and broke a bone in her foot. Because of the nature of the break there wasn’t much the emergency room could do besides splint it and tell us to see an orthopedic surgeon when we got home.

    The main attraction of our vacation was Disneyland, but it became more challenging than we had planned because of her broken foot. She was unable to walk and not coordinated with her crutches so she had to be wheeled or carried everywhere.

    The GAC pass was a lifesaver for us. On some rides it did let us completely bypass the line. On some rides it got us extra assistance in boarding. Without that accommodation the injury would have turned the vacation into much more of a disaster.

  • BriarRose13

    As someone who has never had a GAC but will now need one, I certainly hope they don’t punish the whole for the wrongs of a few. My niece is almost 3 and has several special needs. She cannot walk so we use her stroller as a wheelchair. She can also not wait in any line for more than an hour becuase she has to be fed through a feeding tube every hour to stay hydrated. My sister just learned from her Tubbie buddies (families who have members with feeding tubes) that this qualifies her for a GAC card. Last year we took her to the park without this card and it was a challenge, we had to carry her through every line because we couldn’t take the stoller with us and had to skip several rides with the rest of the family so we could feed her. I look forward to being able to use the GAC card and hope they don’t make any changes to the program, it sounds like it can really help those in need.

  • GrampaTim

    We have a grandson who uses a GAC because of autism. His mom gives the precise diagnosis when getting the pass, and has documentation with her to back it up. I really see no harm at all in requesting a doctors note. “Ethically challenged” should not be a qualification for a GAC. Those who lack honesty should be excluded. I know lots of people who face significant disabilities, and frankly, none of them have any problem with a requirement to “show proof”. Because this is a privilege, perhaps asking for documentation can be OK. It certainly doesn’t take much ! Not one user who has described their situation here would be unable to get a note, or card, signed by a doctor.

    We are pass holders, and close enough so we can take shorter day trips. While the GAC may accommodate the rides we do take, our visits often involve very few rides overall. We usually have at least one meal in the park, and enjoy attractions that have no wait, or a very short wait. The GAC makes the DLR a great day for my grandson, and we all enjoy the time together, although the rest of our “crowd” may be using fastpasses or standing in a line.

    Yes, there are abusers, and often they start at a pretty young age. However, why put the pressure on the Disney staff to deal with morally bankrupt people ? And why let your day be ruined by it ? Walt envisioned a land of laughter and joy ! Lets grant that wish and savor the positive experience, and support it being available to those who have greater struggles than most of us face !

  • Diznehound

    My partner and I have Utilized the GAC for several visits to Disneyland. HIV infection has caused both significant changes to our metabolism and general health, affecting stamina and the ability to stand for long periods without being affected by peripheral neuropathy. The GAC card is a lifesaver- and I can’t say I’ve ever been subjected to stares or rude comments of other guests who think we’re abusing a privelege. My mother recently visited again after a 30 year absence, and had to be pushed in a wheelchair for the first time.Fibromyalgia and age are starting to take a toll. She has complete mobility, but no stamina for long distance walking or standing. It’s a shame there are those who take advantage of this system, just to bypass the long lines, but the bottom line is this- not every disability is a visible one.

  • captaincatwoman

    I’m a cancer patient and try to avoid using the GAC. But being a passholder that goes often, it’s a good thing to have. I can go to the parks and feel fine, but sometimes it will hit in the middle of a trip and I’ll feel dizzied and often nauseous. Physically, I look fine. (Other than being noticeably underweight.) Because of this, guest relations often will look me up and down and try to talk me out of a GAC. I hate getting dirty looks from CM’s and guests because I look okay. I hate it even more when I feel like certain people only want to go to the parks with me because they know I am prone to getting a GAC. If a line is short, I won’t use it and when friends get frustrated over that it sucks because I feel a little used.

    I just wish there was a way to deal with GAC where people who honestly need it can get it without the dirty looks from guest relations and other CM’s.

  • UsBurchs

    We used the GAC for my much younger sister in law back in 2001. She has type 1 Diabetes and at the time, had a pump that couldn’t get wet or hot. She was very sensative to the heat and would “melt” if we stood in line too long, exposed to the sun. Rides like Grizzy River Run at DCA were iffy with the pump, due to all the water. The GAC was great! She unplugged, I held the pump (waiting in the shade) while she and my husband went to the exit to enter, got on a raft, did the ride and were back within 10 minues. She was WET, but her pump was dry – we plugged her in, checked her number and all was fine.

    She, of course, didn’t look like she had any issues that would need a GAC other than the little line peeking out from under her shirt to a pump on her waist. Most CM’s were VERY understanding. The fact she was only 13 helped, I guess. One CM even asked if he needed to carry her up some stairs – she said that she could manage. 🙂

    She since has found that they are not as accomodating to diabetics. They don’t allow her the card any more, but she doesn’t need it, so she doesn’t ask. She’s on new meds and has a new water-proof pump, so she’s MUCH better off than 2001. However, one of our little friends went a couple years ago – same situation with the pump and they would not grant his family a GAC. Standing in the heat with a five-year-old diabetic who’s numbers are all over the place was difficult, but they managed. Lots of stops and rests. Lots of time in the baby-centers checking numbers and getting snacks.

    It IS a very fine line that has to be followed. A tough call to make. I’m not sure how it will be solved so that the abusers stop abusing the system and the people that need it, even those not “obvious”, will get the help they need.

  • bryanwal

    I have Parkinson’s Disease. Much of the time I can walk normally, so when I can, I do, because I need the exercise. Sometimes I struggle to walk. This ability pretty much goes on and off like a switch. I can’t stand in line for very long unless the line is moving. So I use a scooter to wait in long lines and have to drive a scooter in the parks because I never know when fatigue or PD will strike and I can no longer walk. Sometimes you will see me get out of my scooter and walk around, apparently completely normal and my wife will drive the scooter so that it will be there when I need it.

    Having PD has taught me never to judge whether someone needs a GAC or not. I simply do not know what the circumstances are. In my case, my cane and scooter are my GAC and a card is not required. I am grateful for the graciousness and tact with which Disneyland and Disney World handle disability issues, always asking, “Can you walk 50 feet?”, “Can you transfer?” etc. Plus special viewing areas and access when I need it. It makes it so that it continues to be possible for me to enjoy my favorite vacation spot.

  • bryanwal

    I have Parkinson’s Disease. Much of the time I can walk normally, so when I can, I do, because I need the exercise. Sometimes I struggle to walk. This ability pretty much goes on and off like a switch. I can’t stand in line for very long unless the line is moving. So I use a scooter to wait in long lines and have to drive a scooter in the parks because I never know when fatigue or PD will strike and I can no longer walk. Sometimes you will see me get out of my scooter and walk around, apparently completely normal and my wife will drive the scooter so that it will be there when I need it.

    Having PD has taught me never to judge whether someone needs a GAC or not. I simply do not know what the circumstances are. In my case, my cane and scooter are my GAC and a card is not required. I am grateful for the graciousness and tact with which Disneyland and Disney World handle disability issues, always asking, “Can you walk 50 feet?”, “Can you transfer?” etc. Plus special viewing areas and access when I need it. It makes it so that it continues to be possible for me to enjoy my favorite vacation spot.

  • swiwata

    We have been getting a GAC for my autistic son since his first trip to Disneyland twelve years ago (he is now 17). We call it his “Magic Pass.” The magic of it for me has been that Disneyland is the one place we can go where his disability actually makes life easier for the rest of the family. The magic for him has been that it’s a place where he can be the “leader” and decide what we do.

    As his tolerance for waiting has increased over the years, we are using the pass less and just going though the regular lines. But the pass has still saved us over and over. We have bypassed impossible (for him) lines and been escorted to back entrances like rock stars. I can’t say enough good things about how cast members have treated us.

    One concern I have is the idea of only getting to go on a certain ride once a day. When he was little, he was obsessed with Big Thunder Mountain and insisted on riding it multiple times a day. That would have been tough to explain. Now we do limit ourselves on a ride like Racers to once a day, but he is old enough to deal with it.

    Having a child with a disability that is not obvious to others has made me less critical of the behavior of others. While I’m sure there are actual cheaters out there, some of the “cheaters”
    may just be individuals who are coping well because they have a GAC.

  • greypilgrim

    The GAC made us able to become lifelong Disney goers, and the funny thing is now, we do not need it and do not get it

    Our son has significant special needs. We started taking him from when he was three years old. He was unable to stand in lines and barely able to handle the stimulus levels. The GAC at Disneyworld was a lifesaver on multiple occasions. Being able to take him there actually helped him in so many ways, and he has now learned to both handle the stimulus levels as well as standing in line.

    As he got more capable of handling the lines and the stimulus, we would get the card but use it less and less. Going to Disneyworld and Disneyland became a therapy for him. Something that would have been a non starter without the card.

    We no longer get a GAC card because we don’t need it (he is 17). He now goes on all the rides, in the lines, does the shows, sees the fireworks. It is one of his “safe” places to go.

    They have also done wonderfully handling his dietary needs over the years. People would question us why we would continually go to Disney, but it is such a no brainer specifically because they have gone out of the way to make it work for families like us.

  • greypilgrim

    The GAC made us able to become lifelong Disney goers, and the funny thing is now, we do not need it and do not get it

    Our son has significant special needs. We started taking him from when he was three years old. He was unable to stand in lines and barely able to handle the stimulus levels. The GAC at Disneyworld was a lifesaver on multiple occasions. Being able to take him there actually helped him in so many ways, and he has now learned to both handle the stimulus levels as well as standing in line.

    As he got more capable of handling the lines and the stimulus, we would get the card but use it less and less. Going to Disneyworld and Disneyland became a therapy for him. Something that would have been a non starter without the card.

    We no longer get a GAC card because we don’t need it (he is 17). He now goes on all the rides, in the lines, does the shows, sees the fireworks. It is one of his “safe” places to go.

    They have also done wonderfully handling his dietary needs over the years. People would question us why we would continually go to Disney, but it is such a no brainer specifically because they have gone out of the way to make it work for families like us.

  • BrienBear

    Neither my nor my partner has ever had to get/use the GAC because neither of us have any issues. I am a pretty overweight guy, but that doesn’t stop me doing anything except the dumbo ride.

    That being said – I was taught manners growing up and to always be the better person. I won’t get a GAC unless I have something significantly wrong with me (or the partner) but I do not look down on ANYONE, “ethically questionable” or otherwise, because frankly, it isn’t worth my time to get upset over, and ain’t no one got no time for no anger when you at Disneyland. If someone who thinks they’re getting one up on me by getting a GAC when they’re skinnier than me and don’t need it, hey, more power to you if you can sleep at night. But that’s all it’ll be. An additional 5 minutes.

    NOW – on the flip side, my partner is like a lot of people I see/read here. He will get SO MAD about stuff he sees or things people do. Like when the rope drops and people barge in front of you to get ahead. He gets so upset. But I just tell him it ain’t worth it. We already both take BP meds, we don’t need it to get any worse 🙂

    I, personally, am actually fairly impressed with how Disney handles this. I think that sure, some “bad people” get it, but it helps out a lot more people than I think any of us realize, as evidenced by this thread. And it’s not like you see hundreds of these people a day at DL or WDW. I just came back from a 4 day vaca at WDW Resort and neither my partner nor I even remember seeing anyone with the GAC cutting in front of the line, or going to the back entrance, or whatnot. And he would totally notice and remember. And then he’d get all ragey and angsty about it and I’d have to tone him down a bit….

    People, please remember, for your health if nothing else, life is too short. If some DBag wants to get a GAC and get 5 minutes ahead of you. Or hell, even 1/2 hour ahead of you, just remember, that’s less time you have to spend dealing with someone like that. They move on to the next ride, and after that day (or day after) you’ll never see them again. Is it really worth it to get upset about someone that you’re never going to see again? The anger only hurts you… Not them. And they aren’t gonna be changing anytime soon.

    Dbags always gonna be dbags. Cheers, mates.

  • Micayla4873

    Great Article! We have used the GAC for the last few trips that we have made to both Disneyland and Walt Disney World and it has been a wonderful thing to have. My mom has a medical condition that causes her knees and legs to swell up if she stands on them for too long so when we found out that Disney had a program to help people with medical problems like hers we were very greatful! We also used the GAC when my sister had foot surgery and had to use a wheel chair, the Cast Members were all very nice and accommodating and didnt make you feel like you were in the way at all or causing any disturbance for the other guests. I think this is one of the best programs that Disney offers and I hope to be able to use it again for my family if needed on future trips!

  • eyore

    I read this with interest as we visit Disneyland Resort Paris and my son has Down Syndrome and doesn’t quite “get” the idea of a queue and, for 20 years, have always been most accommodating regarding the GAC as indeed they have with us (mum and dad) as we have become less mobile with arthritis and are unable to shuffle with the rst of the gueats in the queue (and my wife uses a wheelchair). However, Paris has for many years required the guest to provide proof of disability by means of a disabled parking badge, a doctor’s note, proof of disability benefits or other official documentation. They have also used the ticket to return later system too. There does seem to have been a huge upsurge in the disabled queues in recent years there too and I see no problem with having to prove disability. That’s certainly always been the case within the UK just as much as a driving license is required to show proof of being allowed to drive. Anything that reduces the instances of fraud is welcome as far as am concerned if only that it means we get on the rides faster! I’ve also found the cast members go out of their way to ensure we have a great time every time. For those worrying about the US parks, these things work fine in Europe and make things a lot easier for disabled guests.
    The only problem I have heard of in the US parks was a child with Down Syndrome from the UK who had bad motor control and also wouldn’t stand in a queue without trying to run off and getting cross (similar to the original post as DS does share some aspects with autism). They were refused a pass as the CMs decided she was not disabled enough (this was 10 years ago in WDW so they must have had some system running back then too and one can see DS due to facial characteristics). Her mum hired a wheelchair for her and got the pass without any problem. I don’t blame the mum but the CMs were not really on the ball regarding mental disabilities then considering that “disabled” meant “unable to walk” only. That, I think, has changed now and the attitudes far better..

  • tinkerbell819

    I really enjoyed your article, Tim. I’m sorry, but I admit to laughing at your cold day in the MK having to go through Matt’s routine. We have a Matt (29 yr old stubborn, non-verbal, autistic) that makes us do a lot of things we don’t want to to avoid further meltdowns. 😉

    We haven’t been to WDW in many years, but have been going to DL every summer since 2002. Our Matt no longer goes on our Disney trips with us, his last one was so difficult for all of us that we stopped going. (We have another son with autism, too.)

    When, we switched to DL, we found that we preferred it to WDW because it’s smaller and easier to navigate. We were able to stay across the street and walk over, making that entry much less of an ordeal. (no trams, buses, monorails, or boats to ride just to enter the park)

    Our other autistic son loves to go to DL, he does still ask when we are going back to WDW from time to time. His routine is different than your brother’s…he always wants to know which restaurants we are going to next & the attractions are secondary.

    We get a GAC pass and use it at rides with fast pass access if the lines are over 20 minutes. He does love Peter Pan’s flight, and I admit, I do use the GAS pass there, too. I’ve waited in line with him there, but it was about an hour long and he got so upset and was crying. At his 6’4″, 280 lb stature, we were quite the spectacle. Since the line is always long, we don’t attempt that anymore! (I like that the GAC line is in the back, hidden a little bit.)

    POC is an attraction where the lines move quickly, and the GAC entrance takes longer to use than the regular queue. (Just a heads up!) And another reader mentioned the Racers procedure being different…take note of her ordeal and be prepared! 🙂

    I can’t think of any changes I’d make to the system. I imagine the abuse is easy b/c CA doesn’t allow the cast members to view a Drs note or other proof of disability, but DL’s hands are tied there.

    I hope your family enjoys DL as much as ours does. I hope Matt is okay with the differences and has a great time there. Maybe you will make the switch like we did all those years ago!

    It’s a longer flight, but well worth the effort! We will be there at the end of August.

    Oh…I forgot…the weather is amazing!!! No thunderstorms in the middle of the day, hardly ever any humidity, 80s in the day 50s-60s at night, can’t beat it!

  • lovechows

    Thank you so much for writing this article. Several year ago, I had a life-changing traumatic brain injury for which I need to take medication that restricts sun exposure. Between the side effects from the head injury and the meds I take, I have many physical limitations and standing in lines for rides is a torturous experience. The GACs have been a Godsend for me and I too am hoping the the Next Gen Program doesn’t change this program in a way that I will no longer be able to go to the one place that provides some much needed happiness for my family. It is disheartening to hear about people abusing this system but for the rest of us, it is an accommodation that has made a huge difference in our ability to be able to go to DLR and WDW. If this program is discontinued, we will no longer be able to enjoy either one.

    On behalf of all of us who need this help to be able to spend time at Disney parks, thank you for providing this assistance.

  • spacemn

    I wanted to thank you for that well written article. My wife is visually impaired and being able to use the GAC has helped us out at Disneyland and DCA. She has some vision but we get around slower than most even with me guiding her and using her cane. Stairs and curbs are what I watch out for as well as people. If she doesn’t have the cane out and I’m her guide it becomes readily apparent that many people expect her to see them and move out of their way. When this doesn’t happen she walks into them and they get upset for her not moving out of their way. I know they don’t know why she didn’t get out of their way but it’s still rude. I won’t get into stroller moms/dads not moving aside even when she has her cane out.
     
    As for using the GAC, she doesn’t have too much trouble waiting in lines, but getting out of the sun is important since bright lights (photo flash, direct sun) can give her a strobe effect that lasts for several minutes to half an hour completely losing what vision she has. The other problem most people don’t think about is the queue lines themselves. The guide chains can be especially treacherous even with me guiding her. She just doesn’t see them and has tripped over them before. Other guide rails at more themed attractions work much better for her (an example is Indiana Jones). She hates stairs but the GAC usually provides a stair-free way of getting on the ride. An example is Tower of Terror. There are two lines once inside, one with stairs, one without. One time we were in line with the stairs and she had difficulty getting up them in such a dark room. Another big help is with getting in the front row for shows. It really helps her see what she can. Otherwise she wouldn’t even bother to go.
     
    We have seen many abuses of the GAC though. Many times we see rental wheelchairs/scooters in the fastpass line/exit line. I know some people really do need it but others I have seen look like they can just get up and walk. It’s hard to say without asking. I also agree in restricting the GAC in certain ways such as being able to use the GAC only once per day per attraction or handing out a written fastpass with a return time. They do that at Six Flags Magic Mountain. With the disability pass you go up the exit ramp to the ride and get a time stamp to return after to the current line wait. You go enjoy the park or sit down until it’s your time to get on. That method really cuts down on abuse and riders. We noticed that most riders were truly disabled people and not people faking it.
     
    Just have to wait and see.