MiceAge Disneyland Update: Parties, Parking, and Planned Projects

Written by MiceAge. Posted in Disneyland Resort, Features, MiceAge Update

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Published on September 17, 2013 at 3:00 am with 260 Comments

The post-summer off season of low crowds at Disneyland Resort lasted only two weeks, and after the crazy Friday the 13th Villains event Disneyland has crashed into its wildly popular HalloweenTime season before it shifts almost immediately into Christmas mode in early November. While Team Disney Anaheim keeps their cards close to their vest on Burbank’s orders regarding big new rides about to begin construction in DCA and Tomorrowland, there are still some big changes coming to the parks in the next month. In this update we’ll fill you in on what’s ahead this fall, why there are only three more weeks to use a Guest Assistance Card (GAC) in the American parks, and why TDA is suddenly fine tuning their Resort parking strategy.

Got that freshly spun tuft of candy corn colored cotton candy in your sticky hands?  Have your Pumpkin Spice Latte poured?  Then let’s get this Disneyland update started. . .

The Good, The Bad, and the Unlucky

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Before we tell you about the termination of the Guest Assistance Card program, it seems appropriate to fill in a bit on the backstory behind that overcrowded Friday the 13th event last Friday night. The concept was dreamed up by the One Disney marketing team as a bi-coastal Limited Time Magic offering. At Disneyland it also coincided with the first day of Haunted Mansion Holiday and Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy, which is historically a very busy Friday evening anyway as the Annual Passholders all flood in after work to check out the seasonal overlays. Each property was allowed some leeway in what they could do, and the Disneyland entertainment team landed on the two dance parties and as many Villains characters in the park as they could find CM’s to staff properly. Ladle this concept with the usual marketing hype and a 1:00AM closing time for Disneyland, and judging by the online reviews people either loved it (Villains!) or hated it (Crowds!).

Disneyland Resort got hammered by those crowds on Friday evening, with the attendance at both parks basically tripling in size between mid afternoon and late evening. Between 10:00PM and Midnight alone, an additional 5,000 Annual Passholders arrived at Disneyland after fighting late night traffic around Anaheim and finally finding a parking space at the GardenWalk mall. The numbers for that day tell the story:

Disneyland Attendance on Friday the 13th
55,000 Total Guests, of whom 36,000 were Annual Passholders

Disney California Adventure Attendance on Friday the 13th
30,000 Total Guests, of whom 19,000 were Annual Passholders

Total Resort Attendance
85,000 Total Guests, of whom 55,000 were Annual Passholders

Compared to an average busy summer day six weeks ago, when an 80,000 combined attendance was average but only 12,000 of those are Annual Passholders due to summer blockouts, the Friday night frenzy caused by Annual Passholders is a uniquely off-season phenomenon.

In TDA’s defense, they pulled out every trick they had to get as much parking as was available and to keep off-duty CMs away. Earlier this summer TDA made Friday the 13th a blockout day for Cast Member sign-in passes, and Disneyland’s parking team went into the event planning for New Years Eve crowds with every tram and bus and satellite parking lot they have pressed into service and staffed to the max, with extra Anaheim traffic cops staffed at TDA’s expense at major intersections.

But out at Walt Disney Worlnd, the TDO team failed to think of blocking Cast Member passes and they had a parking strategy that was based on just an average busy weekend. The result in WDW was that thousands of Cast Members and their families descended on Hollywood Studios to get in for free, and the parking situation and traffic logistics quickly fell apart at the seams. TDO’s lack of logistics planning needs to take a lot of the blame for this one, and it doesn’t help that via “The Hub” intranet website they continually encourage Florida Cast Members to return to property on their day off by touting free park admission and discounted recreational activities on WDW property. Whereas in Anaheim, TDA rarely encourages CM’s to come back to Resort property on their off time and instead touts CM discounts at the much wider range of cultural and entertainment options throughout Southern California.

One thing that the WDW team did right was to keep the executives in the parks and let them experience the madness first hand. DHS Vice President Dan Cockerell was in the park the whole night watching the drama unfold, and he pitched in with Guest Relations to personally take complaints and help where he could. It is executives sticking around on a Friday night to see the mess their team caused that can prevent this from happening again.

Contrast that to Disneyland, where most executives left last Friday evening and went home, missing the overcrowded park venues and gridlocked surface streets and backed up freeway off ramps that usually play out on Friday evenings. The TDA executives routinely rely on daily reports from lower level park duty managers to summarize the operation, and the summaries provided last Friday were quick to puff up the positives, ignore the negatives, and gloss over the hassles and massive lines that most park guests encountered. It’s a classic case of corporate C.Y.A., and it would be a refreshing change if these reports from Anaheim’s middle management were honest and clear in their assessment of the huge hassles and long lines created by these events. Or better yet, just have a Vice President or two stick around to try and exit the Santa Ana Freeway at 6:00PM on a Friday night and then fight for a parking spot. (Those Gold Sticker spaces reserved for executives behind Rainforest Café would be off limits in that experiment.)

DAS all Folks!

With HalloweenTime now kicked off, it’s onward to the next bit of drama set to play out inside the parks in both California and Florida. The existing Guest Assistance Card (GAC) program is set to be discontinued and replaced with a new system on Wednesday, October 9th at Disneyland and DCA. As we’ve outlined for you before, after years of revolving door executives not wanting to get near the GAC issue, the rampant fraud inherent in the 10 year old GAC program was brought to an embarrassing light via an expose on The Today Show last May. Only then did the executives on both coasts admit that something finally had to be done, and the existing Guest Assistance Card will cease to exist on October 9th.

In its place will be an entirely new program called the Disabled Assistance System (DAS). The DAS will work similarly to the “return passes” issued at popular rides like Star Tours 2.0 and Radiator Springs Racers, where currently a GAC holder gets a Fastpass-style return time hand written on a card based on the current Standby wait time. But with DAS, that concept will be rolled out to several dozen high-wait attractions in Anaheim. Instead of going to the actual ride to get a return card, a DAS holder will report to one of several Guest Relations kiosks that will be set up around the parks, with a current plan to have four kiosks in Disneyland (Fantasyland alone gets their own kiosk) and three kiosks in DCA. The DAS holder will present their card and tell the Guest Relations CM which attraction they want to ride, the CM will look at the current wait time via the official Disney Mobile Magic app on an iPad, and will then write out a return time for that attraction and subtract 10 or 15 minutes to make up for the travel time to and from the kiosk.
Only one ride reservation on a DAS card can be made at a time, so if the current wait for Space Mountain is 90 minutes and your return time is written for 75 minutes later, a DAS holder will not get another return time printed on their DAS until the first one has expired. A person with a DAS card could go and do anything else in the park in the meantime; watch a parade, see a show, have lunch, go on low-wait time attractions, pull a regular Fastpass for any other attraction, etc. But only one ride time can be reserved at a time with DAS, unlike the existing GAC which serves as basically an open Fastpass for any Fastpass lane in the park or an access card to go up the exit on any other type of attraction. The DAS changes that quite dramatically.

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The DAS cards will be issued only at Guest Relations offices in both parks, and the DAS kiosks are only for checking in for a specific ride. There will be no different stamps on the DAS like the current GAC with its half dozen stamp codes; you will either be issued a DAS or you will be instructed to use a wheelchair or other aid for your mobility issue. DAS will only be issued for one day at a time, although folks who can prove they are staying at a hotel for a few days could get a DAS dated for a short length of stay.

The person who is disabled and who has the DAS issued to them will also have their digital photo taken at Guest Relations, and the photo will be printed on the front of the DAS card and used by CM’s at the attractions to confirm that the DAS holder is actually going on the ride. The photos will prevent a current form of abuse, whereby one member of a party gets a GAC issued to them but then insists to the CM’s that they don’t want to ride they just want their children or friends to go in through the exit and skip the line while they wait nearby on a bench. Or worse, children or others in the party are coached into telling the CM’s that they are the person listed who was issued the GAC. To use a DAS, the person the DAS is issued to must be present at the kiosk and at the attraction and must go on the ride for the DAS privilege to work for the rest of the party.

There are more radical changes in DCA, where all queues and park facilities meet ADA requirements for wheelchair accessibility. In DCA, a person in a wheelchair or ECV won’t receive any extra courtesies or services beyond those visitors who are not in a wheelchair. People visiting DCA in wheelchairs likely won’t qualify for a DAS, and will now experience the park as everyone else does, including waiting in Standby lines and juggling Fastpass return times. The task of implementing that culture change will be more intense in Anaheim than Orlando as there are currently 55 attractions at Disneyland Resort that use a ride vehicle, and about 35 of those have wheelchair accessible queues. Comparatively, there are a total of 46 attractions at Walt Disney World’s four parks combined that use a ride vehicle, and 38 of those have wheelchair accessible queues. There are more rides overall at Disneyland Resort compared to WDW, and more of them in Anaheim are not wheelchair accessible.

At Disneyland Park there are 20 rides that have been identified as non-wheelchair accessible, and at those 20 rides an accommodation of going through the exit or a Fastpass lane will be offered to those in wheelchairs. A person in a wheelchair doesn’t need a DAS to get access at those attractions, thereby limiting the issuing of DAS cards in that park. Disneyland’s operations teams are studying ways to restore the wheelchair accessibility designed into the queues of some newer rides, like Indiana Jones, to allow a DCA-style equity to exist at as many Disneyland rides as possible. It should be noted that the work implementing DAS, which has had lots of executive involvement from both coasts, has now generated serious discussion in TDA on creating a five-year plan of capital expenditure to go in to those older rides and retrofit them with wheelchair accessible queues. But that’s still a few years away.

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The goal behind DAS is to still offer service to those who may need it, but to also eliminate the wild excesses of the GAC system which operated on most days and on most rides as an unlimited Fastpass card and/or a backdoor pass to slip in via the exit with a much shorter wait. The one exception to the DAS program is made for Make-A-Wish children. A new Genie lanyard has been created for Make-A-Wish children that will act like an unlimited Fastpass and instant backdoor access card (basically the same thing as the current GAC with the “green light” stamp on it), and it will be sent to the families just before their visit directly from the Make-A-Wish headquarters in Phoenix. The Make-A-Wish cards won’t be kept on Disney property, at the specific request of Disney to avoid any ability to use that courtesy for anyone other than qualified Make-A-Wish visitors.

Guest Relations and Attractions Cast Members in both parks have already been scheduled classroom training for the DAS program through late September and early October. The Guest Relations team will get the most intensive training day, as they’ll be on the front lines of this new system as they try and reel in expectations of Annual Passholders used to having a GAC with easy access to any ride they wanted. Staffing for Guest Relations is being beefed up as much as possible beginning with roll-out day on Wednesday, October 9th, and the Security department has also been asked to help staff officers in Guest Relations centers in Disneyland and DCA to help with anyone who may get verbally abusive or threaten violence against those Guest Relations CM’s doling out the more restrictive DAS cards.

The real day to watch will be Friday, October 11th, two days after DAS begins and the first day when 25,000+ Annual Passholders show up in the evening. This is going to be ugly for at least a few weeks, everyone agrees on that. It helps that the exact same program is being rolled out at WDW at the same time, and that finally there are several senior executives supporting the program. It will be interesting to see how strong the executives stand behind the DAS program when the inevitable ugly media stories begin showing up on the local news and online, or heaven forbid if the CM’s in the parks really start taking serious verbal or physical abuse.

A Great Big Beautiful Tomorrowland

While October will feature quite a few upset folks in the parks, there’s still good news headed to Anaheim this fall. DCA Vice President Mary Niven has instructed her operations teams to go full speed ahead on their strategizing over WDI’s plans for Monstropolis and the Door Coaster back in the corner of Hollywood Studios, as Burbank bosses have quietly nodded that the check for the new project will clear the bank just as soon as the new fiscal year starts in October. Meanwhile, Disneyland Vice President Jon Storbeck is keeping his strategic planners on the path to a virtual Death Star landing in Tomorrowland, with a two-phase approach still favored to get some of the “placemaking” done prior to the 60th Anniversary in ’15, with the rest opening after the 60th and bookended by the Monstropolis opening in early 2017. The recent “play tests” conducted by WDI in the Golden Horseshoe were an important part of that planning for Tomorrowland, as WDI and Disneyland’s operations teams are curious to see how they can get WDI’s plans for a rowdy night in a Tatooine cantina to work with theme park guests. And you can bet there’s lots of food and drink and merch sales piled on to the fun in that interactive cantina attraction planned for Tomorrowland.

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Captain EO is also heading to extinction, but Burbank caught wind of TDA’s plans to close the increasingly irrelevant show for a fake “reburbishment” this month in order to save some labor dollars at the end of the fiscal year. Burbank bosses and an important clique in Glendale’s WDI headquarters want to make the most of their newly acquired Star Wars property, and the parks announcement is a key part of that.

Burbank was upset that if EO was closed for a refurbishment, fans would be able to see what was really its permanent closure in advance of a replacement announcement, and they told TDA to back off and just eat the extra labor hours. So the Captain EO fake refurbishment was shelved, and the show will stay open until the Star Wars plans are announced. Don’t forget, there’s the first D23 Expo Japan being held at Tokyo Disneyland on October 12th thru the 14th, and Tokyo’s Tomorrowland not only has an underused Captain EO show but also has an aesthetic that has been screaming out for an update for over a decade. Bob Iger and Tom Staggs are both scheduled to fly over to Japan for that D23 Expo and make a few announcements about the parks, and perhaps also mention a galaxy far, far away.

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But those announcements are still a month out. And in the meantime the current exhibit at the Blue Sky Cellar touting last spring’s debut of the Fantasy Faire is looking more and more useless. The Blue Sky Cellar is currently planned to shut down and go into mothballs with the new fiscal year on October 1st, and then wait until the Monstropolis or Star Wars announcement is made so that WDI can stage a new exhibit there in 2014. Those Guest Relations CM’s that staff the Cellar will be needed elsewhere in October to help roll out the DAS program anyway, but if you are a fan of the Blue Sky Cellar a September visit to get your fix is advisable.

PARKS and Resorts

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With the stealthy plans for more Anaheim expansion this decade, TDA has gone back to the drawing board on a parking expansion for the Resort area. The latest news was Disney’s acquisition of a big chunk of property on the corner of Ball Road and Harbor Blvd., as the current site of an old service station and an RV park. The plan is to turn this lot into 1,500 spaces of Cast Member parking, thus opening up breathing room to begin construction on a multi-level parking garage and streetcar station on the existing Pumbaa parking lot. A portion of that Pumbaa lot had to be turned over to Cast Members in early 2012, when the Resort went on a hiring binge in advance of DCA’s grand reopening. There are 1,400 spaces in the Pumbaa lot, and they are now available for CM’s as an alternate to the infamous Katella Cast Member Lot (KCML) south of GardenWalk.

KCML has been in operation since late 1998, and requires CM’s to wait in long lines to take a rag tag fleet of smelly standing-room-only shuttle buses to and from KCML. Although when wait times for the KCML shuttle exceed 20 minutes on peak days, many CM’s just end up walking the 1.5 miles to or from the park anyway. And at least the opening of GardenWalk in ’08 created a bit of a shortcut for them. The experience of KCML parking is so disliked by CM’s, that several thousand CM’s per day now voluntarily park in the Pumbaa lot and then walk a round trip of up to two miles to and from their work locations inside Disneyland or DCA. And these are front line CM’s working in the park on their feet all day, they aren’t walking to and from a cushy desk job.

The Pumbaa lot

The Pumbaa lot

On busy days this past summer, the 1,400 space Pumbaa lot was often filled to capacity during the first and second shifts. Parking in Pumbaa sends those CM’s trudging back to their car down Harbor Blvd. and side streets late at night after their shifts, but the female CM’s try to walk in groups and have become street savvy to avoid the various panhandlers and con artists that lurk in the shadows there after park closing. But for most park Cast Members that darkened hike at the end of a long day spent on their feet is a better scenario than dealing with the indignity and hassle of the dreaded KCML shuttle.
TDA now realizes they have more CM’s than they know what to do with, but before they can seriously barter with the city of Anaheim over how to best use the Pumbaa lot, and some connected property Disney also owns, they will have to find more CM parking. They are already using small overflow lots across Harbor Blvd. much closer than Pumbaa to park a few hundred white collar Cast Members who work in the original Administration Building inside Disneyland’s berm. But those auxiliary lots are being snapped up by hotel developers, as a new hotel building boom hits the Disneyland Resort District this year and next.

There are currently a dozen new hotels under construction or planned to get underway this winter in the Resort District around Disneyland; from a swanky Westin and Hyatt House on Katella, to a boutique Hotel Indigo, to mid-range motor inns like the Marriott Courtyard about to be built on the current Administration Building parking lot. The unfortunate thing is that the new CM parking structure on Ball Road will be even further from the parks than KCML is, so packed shuttle rides are looming in the future for the CM’s that have escaped to Pumbaa.


MiceChat Podcast: The Great Disney Geek-Out

Doug Barnes and Dusty Sage jump head first into the cave of Disney wonders and return with quite a few gems to share from the recent D23 Expo. But what did Disney do that actually made Dusty cry? It’s a touching moment and a reminder why so many of us are true Disney fans. This show is for the Disney fan in all of you and well worth a listen.

Direct Link | iTunes Link

 


Oh-KAY, that wraps things up for this update. But there is still plenty of news coming soon enough.

Did you survive Friday the 13th in the parks? Have thoughts about the replacement of the GAC program? Looking forward to Tomorrowland updates finally being rolled out?

If you enjoyed today’s update, please be sure to share with your friends on Facebook and Twitter and leave us a comment below.

About MiceAge

The MiceAge crew was started by Al Lutz in 2003, and is committed to bringing you the inside Disney story that you just can't get anywhere else. As much as we'd all like to see more frequent rumor updates on the site, we only publish when reliable news and rumors are available to share. The MiceAge news Editor can be reached at: [email protected]

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  • Quentin

    Yes! No more unlimited FastPass!!!

    • Susan Hughes

      You mean no more, “Lazy cheating ass cut to the front of the line” Cards.

      • Brooke2773

        It makes me sick to think of all the able bodied healthy people throwing a fit because some unfortunate disabled people are occasionally given a break that the rest aren’t given. When the issue with people hiring the disabled in order to take advantage of the GAC cards became public, I was outraged at first, but then when I discussed it with my husband, he said “what’s the problem? a person with special needs got a free trip to Disney and maybe earned a little extra cash. Being disabled is NOT CHEAP!!” He is and was right. We know from experience. We have a special needs child with multiple issues having had over 100 surgeries in her short life just to stay alive. We would NEVER take her to Disney. Even when she got her wish Disney was never an option, there are not enough things for her to be able to enjoy to warrant the trip. With the new system not only would it not be worth it, it would be impossible. But hey, we have to make things “FAIR” for the able bodied healthy people of the world. We can’t let them feel slighted in the least. It doesn’t matter that people that have a disability are slighted or short changed their entire lives. The non disabled person takes an awful lot for granted. I pray those of you with the negative attitudes toward giving a break to a special needs person NEVER has to deal with the trials they do. I pray you always know health and happiness. I also pray you open your minds and your hearts to those who don’t have the advantages you were born with. Just because you don’t physically or mentally understand does not mean you have to be hateful or jealous. The special needs people you are jealous of do not blame you because you don’t suffer daily the way they do.

      • janvincent_1313

        As someone who had to spend some time in a wheelchair due to cancer, I can understand how some of you feel, but before you panic, you need to read the entire policy. Disney is offering a second type of pass for people who have family members with severe issues. I’m sad that this might be inconvenient to you, but both healthy and handicapped guests pay for the right to have equal and fair access to the attractions and we must work together and be patient to help stop the abuse of the current system.

        I applaud Disney’s efforts to stop the abuse of people who cut the line with their family or friends when their issues are either not that bad or non-existent. Please be patient with Disney as they work with the new system and stop the abuse while providing help for guests who really need help.

  • Malin

    WDW opperations can be badly organised and its the biggest difference you’ll notice between that and the guys on the West Coast. Although in situations like the Friday the 13th event. Its a unique one off and so its hard to predict planning and organisation for the Event when you simply don’t know how many will show up. From an entertainment point of view I think DHS wiped the floor with DL modest dance parties. And great to see Dan Cockerell out and about interacting and personally handling Guests complaints. Evidence that some WDW Management care deeply about the Park experience. I truly hope this is not the last time we see a Villains Event at Disney. But I think Disneyland really did get upstaged this time around by the team out in Orlando despite the mayhem.

    The DAS issue sounds fair to me and Disney were given no option after people were caught abusing the system. I do feel sorry for the few people that do need to use the system and do so fairly for the further inconvinience caused but I hope these people realise why the GAC had to change and will accept it rather then taking it out on the Cast Members with threatening behavior. Its a classic situation of people ruining it for others through selfish greed and “me me me” atitudes.

    I’m excited with the future of the Disneyland Resort. The Monsters Inc Coaster will provide another exciting addition to the Park after Cars Land. I do have to ask if construction will have an impact on the Mad T Party’s which are a nice night-time experience. The Star Wars additions all sound great and won’t be sad to see Captain EO go once and for all. Although it would be smart of Disney to make a big deal out of its closure and offer the movie for fans on DVD.

    • BradyNBradleysMom

      I never see anyone bring this up, so I will: I have always been creeped out by Michael Jackson being in Disney parks. Yes, he was acquitted during his trial but since his death more allegations have come up about inappropriate relationships with children. I don’t like going to a Disney park and having my kids ask why Michael Jackson is there with that Captain EO. I’d just rather this attraction go to Yesterdayland and not have Michael Jackson be a part of our family trips to Disney.

      • Marko50

        Sounds like a good opportunity to teach your kids about “innocent until proven guilty”. And how convenient is it for allegations to come up after he’s dead and therefore has no way to defend himself?

      • danielz6

        Ya or the millions of dollars and 39 worldwide charities he supported or the many kids he helped cope with cancer.

      • Amy VandenBoogert

        What a lot of people fail to do when it comes to Michael Jackson is knowing how to separate the man from the music.

        Yeah his personal life was MESSED UP (and a lot of that can probably be blamed on how he was raised – his father was a tyrant). No denying that.

        But professionally, the guy was a a mega hit-maker. He made some amazing music and was a great entertainer. he dominated a good part of the 80s and his career was at its peak when Captain EO was made. THAT is the MJ I see when I go to Captain EO… the singer/dancer/entertainer extraordinaire, the self-proclaimed “King of Pop” (I hate that he called himself that but I digress).

      • KennyVee

        Well that’s a great example to set for children, to teach them that unfounded rumors and allegations should be believed and people who are accused should be judged based on those rumors, even after they are proven innocent.

        People lay out allegations that Walt Disney was a racist and an anti-Semite. Those are just as false as the disproven claims against Michael, so how do you talk to your kids about the allegations against Walt when you take them to a park that he created?

        Heck, Pirates of the Caribbean is an attraction actually based on the looting, pillaging, murder, and other violence that pirates actually DID perpetuate. They auction off women right there in the attraction. They shoot at each other. They tie up poor Carlos and dunk him in the well, shooting at the lady who tells him to keep his mouth shut about where the treasure is. They burn down the entire city, destroying the homes of everyone who lives there. You’re OK with all of this, but a dancing space captain bothers you because the actor who plays him was once accused (and acquitted) of something?

        There’s also an Iron Man exhibit in Innoventions. You do know that Robert Downey, Jr. was arrested while in possession of heroin, crack cocaine, and a .357 Magnum. He broke into a neighbor’s house and passed out in their bed. He once told a judge “It’s like I’ve got a shotgun in my mouth with my finger on the trigger, and I like the taste of the gun metal.” You’re not complaining about that, but you ARE complaining about the guy in Captain EO who was acquitted of any wrongdoing.

        Captain EO’s time will come before long, and I’ll be sad to see it go. I really hope it’s still there for my next trip in November so I can see it in the Magic Eye Theater one last time. I just don’t see the logic of closing it before a replacement is even announced just because you don’t want to have to explain to your kids why it’s OK for some people who actually committed real crimes to be represented at the parks, but not OK, in your mind, for other people who were acquitted of any wrongdoing to be there.

      • QPerth

        I feel very sorry for you that you feel that way about the lead star of Captain EO.
        The fact that he was found Not Guilty on all counts in a court of law, that previously 2 grand juries and the FBI found Zero evidence of the allegations made against him, the obvious false allegations made by Wade Robson who previously testified under oath that OTHER people who made false allegations involving himself and Michael were completely and outrageously false, refuting each alleged act in great detail, now he’s in financial trouble he now makes allegations himself to file monetary claims – these facts should have been the end of any ill thoughts against a man who is listed in the Guiness Book of Records as the most charitable celebrity, made a place at his own Ranch for poor and sick inner city kids to experience a fun park, animals and nature who never would normally had that chance.
        A man who was the most successful American Entertainer and Artist on Earth. Who inspired and continues to inspire many people to make the world a better place, to change things that are not right, to protect children and give them a voice, to fight injustice and racism and abuse, to protect nature and the Earth against environmental damage and catastrophe.
        The media have a vested interest in making up and perpetuating untrue and horrific stories about THAT man who did so much good. That is how they sell and get advertisers money. Lurid tales and controversy makes money, but the price is someone’s life and image. And sadly people buy these publications and watch these shows over and over again, and believe what they see and read, when in reality, they are being played for fools and they’re pockets emptied. And a good man suffered for no reason of goodness.

      • grizzlybear55

        I so agree with you, B&BsMom. His presence there turns my stomach, and I am thrilled to hear that he will soon be gone from DL for good. I am still puzzled, as well, about who that attraction appeals to. My kids and all their friends — and I mean ALL their friends in both New York and California (we have lived in both states) — have long been the first to pull out an MJ joke when the time is right, and the first to make clear that though decidedly talented, the guy has always given them the creeps. Like you said, time for Yesterland, EO!

  • BradyNBradleysMom

    I have a question that I hope is not too obvious, but I just don’t understand why they have those administration buildings right behind Disneyland. It feels like that’s such wasted space and could be used for expansion of the park. Why do those executives need to be there?

    From what I have learned following this site and others, the TDA executives don’t set foot in the parks much. They think they are better than the parks cast members and have a lot of actual disdain for the parks. So why not put these people in offices in Glendale? Why do they need to be in Anaheim when they hate being there and they don’t want anything to do with the parks?

    Moving the white-collar office workers to Glendale seems like it would free up all kinds of space. Most of these people seem to be pretty rich so I doubt they even live in Anaheim. Why not have them located somewhere else?

    • FerretAfros

      Although they may spend a lot of time locked up in their building, most people at TDA also spend a lot of time in the parks, visiting multiple times each week for observations and such. Moving them off site would only make these visits more difficult and infrequent, making the out-of-touch problems even worse

    • DisneyIPresume

      The wealthier TDA execs usually live in Newport Beach or Irvine, or other surrounding areas that are a lot closer and a lot nicer than Glendale.

    • LoveStallion

      Glendale is mostly Consumer Products, anyway. It’s full of hippies that figure out how to sell your daughter more princess crap. I had some job interviews there once. Really fascinating place.

      I have no problem with the big green building being where it is. It’s wedged right up against the freeway. Disney would never build actual park space that close to a loud freeway.

    • Westsider

      Painting with a broad brush here admittedly, but it’s all valid…

      TDA workers aren’t wealthy, and Disneyland executives have a lower pay scale than a similar VP at some Irvine company in pharmaceuticals or finance or automobiles. The top TDA execs are comfortably upper-middle class for SoCal, that’s as good as it gets in TDA. They just don’t like walking in the park because the Guests bug them and ask them questions and it’s just annoying.

      TDA is full people who prefer the safety and comfort of their grey cubicle or windowless office, pushing paper and attending meetings about topics that have little to no impact on real CM’s working with real Guests. But most are not the top talent in their field and thus they don’t earn lavish salaries. The TDA parking structure is full of older Hondas and Fords whose owners live in apartments or 1970’s tract homes and older bungalows in Garden Grove or Orange, with an occasional leased Lexus or leased BMW being driven by an upper level leader to their over-mortgaged shoebox tract home in Irvine or Anaheim Hills.

      The people in TDA aren’t wealthy, nor are they the tops in their field (if they were, they’d go work for more money at pharmaceutical or finance companies in Irvine Spectrum or Fashion Island office towers). They are simply white collar working joes who have mild disdain for the theme park and its inhabitants south of their building.

    • choco choco

      I’ve questioned it many times. Not that I think they would ever expand the actual park right up to the edge of the freeway, but actual CM backstage space could be expanded up to that area, freeing up the northern bit of Disneyland as expansion space.

      I also really, really question why the TDA building needs to be that big. I just can’t fathom that the resort could fill a 300,000 square foot building with “managers” who aren’t really CM’s helping run the onstage functions. A couple of years ago, Al Lutz mentioned that TDA really trimmed themselves into a much simpler, leaner organization. In which case, I suspect a lot of that massive building is empty – and hence wasted space.

      • Dreamagineer

        Believe me… there is no such thing as wasted space or empty cubicles backstage on the Disneyland side.

    • LauraQPublic

      To your point about Crohn’s Disease, you are WAY off base. Everyone has different experience with Crohn’s. My stepfather has had 17 surgeries on his bowels. He no longer has a lower intestine. To say his experience would be the same as your husband’s is ridiculous. You do not know everything there is to know about Crohn’s, so why make a generalization?

      Every person with a disability may experience similar symptoms to different degrees or they may not experience the same symptoms at all.

      You cannot say that man can easily wait in line without issue. Perhaps in his condition, standing for any length of time could be a trigger for his symptoms.

      It’s ignorant and it is careless to say that just because YOUR husband wouldn’t need to run to the bathroom except during a flare up means that everyone else with Crohn’s would be the same.

    • HollywoodF1

      10 Things You Should Know About the Folks in TDA

      I’m not sure I’ll be able to clear the air, because so many people have such firmly set, yet unfounded opinions about what goes on inside the big yellow building behind Disneyland. Here’s a little insight, and I implore you to believe that these facts are the truth about a lucky group of dedicated Cast Members who hide in plain sight.

      1. We are all in the park daily, both while the park is open, and before it is open, but never after. Why not after? Because “after” doesn’t exist– we are always either open, or getting ready to open.
      2. For lack of a stronger word for our feelings– we love the the Disneyland Resort. We love our Cast at all levels. We love our product. We are obsessed with our product, and believe in it with a zeal that approaches religious fanaticism. The idea that we are disdainful about Disneyland is misguided and hurtful, and when you think about it, doesn’t really make any sense. Of course we care. When you’re in the Resort, you’re inundated in innumerable evidence of it.
      3. We are a part of a machine of profound complexity and incredible dynamism. Our Show is a movie that is shot most of the day, every day, continually, from tens of thousands of cameras, that is to say, the eyes of our Guests; all running filming editors, all running continuously, all in real time.
      4. In addition to the Show’s needs, we have human needs that we must also attend to– our thousands of Cast, and our tens of thousands of Guests every day. And these needs are as important as they are unpredictable; yet we try to anticipate and accommodate these needs.
      5. We operate under a microscope that few people ever know. If we make a misstep, it appears on over 2000 news outlets. Regulators find us fascinating, and watch us like hawks. And our Guests notice…everything. Pursuing perfection under this kind of scrutiny borders on insanity– but we try, nonetheless; because we believe in a product. And this pursuit requires work. Lots of work. Lots and lots and lots of work.
      6. We try to amuse you with novelty. We do it for the same reasons we do anything else. And novelty is inherently, well, new. So we don’t know what’s going to happen. We always hope that we can foresee as much as possible, but we would also hope that our Guests will appreciate that the fun of novelty is the unknown, and that we are not going to all this effort to disappoint.
      7. I am surrounded by hundreds of people at TDA, all of whom are exceptionally talented. The feeling is like being a neuron in a huge brain. We are extraordinarily collaborative. It’s the core of our success: the beehive of TDA lives and dies by communication. We need that building, because it gives us each other. We’re not hiding any more than a group of chefs hides in a kitchen.
      8. All of the people I work with feel very lucky to have been chosen for their roles among innumerable candidates. We appreciate our jobs as much as we love them. We all have the utmost respect and humility for our custodianship of our slice of the Magic.
      9. We interact with the Cast and Guests in the Resort constantly– frequently unknown to any of them. Walt used to tell his Imagineers to get down to the park a couple times a month to experience the Guest perspective. Since we’re just behind the curtain, we are in the thick of it all the time. And we are, because we love it. All of it.
      10. If we weren’t in the yellow building, we’d be Annual Passholders. We know that we do is a calling and we are all zealots. You should see our offices– it’s like a museum of all things Disneyland. We surround ourselves with our product because we believe in it.

      Please accept that there is a degree of mystery to what we do. The opaqueness of our jobs contributes to the product. I cannot innumerate details of my contribution to this Resort because the integrity of our product depends on it. The downside to the shroud is that it leads the imaginations of our Guests to wonder at our purpose, and our intentions. I can attest that we feel like guardian angels for Disneyland, and we take our roles that seriously. It is my hope that you will not let your presumptions about our jobs or our intentions mislead you from our true objective.

      What I’m trying to convey is that we not only dedicate our emotion for to Walt’s dream, but our effort and our time, indeed, an enormous part of our lives. And all of this because we believe in a concept, the dream of a genius, that succeeds to an extraordinary degree at providing the most important product in the world– Happiness.

      • [email protected]

        I got to say it. I believe Darth Vader gave that same speech during the Death Star launching ceremony. Sorry I thought it was funny.

  • FerretAfros

    The land recently bought by Disney isn’t the last RV park in Anaheim. The Anaheim Harbor RV Park is right across Harbor Blvd from the site in question, and appears to still be in operation
    https://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&ll=33.818884,-117.914522&spn=0.004876,0.008841&t=h&z=17

  • ScottOlsen

    “Wheelchair accessible.”

    My son is in a wheelchair and obviously handicapped. If you’re not in a wheelchair you don’t go through the exit. Period. The reason you don’t go in the regular line is because the wheelchair won’t fit. Limit the number of guests to 4, not 6. If the wheelchair fits in the regular line then you wait in line.

    • ex-wdi

      Scott,

      Your response is narrow-sighted, ignorant, and completely rude. I have Crohn’s disease and cannot be trapped in a queue or very, VERY bad things can happen for myself and those around me if I can’t run to a restroom within a few seconds. Imagine being trapped in the Indy Bat Cave queue when that happens. I cannot wait in a line, and it disturbs me when someone looks at me in perfect physical condition pulling out my GAC. I can run and walk and am young, but that doesn’t mean I don’t need assistance.

      Your son, frankly, can use ADA lines just fine. So please don’t assume that your situation entitles you to a GAC. It’s actually the opposite in many cases, especially at DCA.

      • mandelbrot

        Crohn’s is a horrible disease and I’m sorry you have it. Are you able to ride some of the longer attractions like Pirates or the Submarines? Bathrooms aren’t accessible while you’re on those rides so if a line is fifteen minutes or less (like those rides are) would you be okay waiting in line?

      • BradyNBradleysMom

        Ex-widi,

        My husband has Crohn’s and what you’ve said here is not accurate about the condition. If a person is in remission, waiting in line is fine. My husband has flare-ups occasionally but his doctor puts him on a steroid course until he is in remission. He does not require any special accommodations ever. If he’s in flare-up, he can be incapacitated…but he would never go to a place like Disneyland if he’s in a flare-up. He’s just too sick to enjoy himself out in public for that long of a time if it’s in flare-up.

        I don’t see how you can ride the rides but not wait in line. Waiting in line is easier on someone in a Crohn’s flare-up than being on a ride. Being jostled around on the Indy ride would be impossible to take during a Crohn’s flare-up.

        I don’t think your representation of Crohn’s is very accurate. It’s certainly not anything like my husband’s experience with the disease.

      • ex-wdi

        What I’ve found is that the adrenaline rush of being on an attraction usually carries me through the ride. I’m nervous and tend to sit near exit rows during theater shows, but on attractions I ’empty out’ before riding and the adrenaline rush keeps me ok for awhile. The problem is that you can’t ’empty’, wait in an hour line, then duck out to ’empty’ again just before getting on. Waiting in a long line is like taking Ex-Lax for a Crohn’s patient, you just sit there nervous for an hour worried you’ll need to leave, that you’ll have a problem once you get on the vehicle, etc.

        As far as the second description of Crohn’s, it’s a variable disease that affects people in a broadly differing fashion of severity/symptoms. I generally don’t have bad flares, but due to a resection (removal of intestine sections) I have a general urgency when it’s time. During a flare, I wouldn’t hit up an attraction of any type – agreed. But I have a low grade constancy to my symptoms rather than a flare/healthy cycle. So for the bulk of the time the GAC makes a huge difference for me.

        As a side note, I like the changes to the system. They’re fair and reasonable, and I tend to think that the people complaining are either gaming the system and are crying their free ride is over, or people in wheelchairs who are perfectly capable of waiting in an ADA line and have a sense of entitlement about line jumping.

      • ScottOlsen

        “Your response is narrow-sighted, ignorant, and completely rude. I have Crohn’s disease and cannot be trapped in a queue or very, VERY bad things can happen for myself and those around me if I can’t run to a restroom within a few seconds. Imagine being trapped in the Indy Bat Cave queue when that happens…..”

        Aren’t you pretty much trapped back in the Indy queue no matter what way you’ve gone in? It’s a long walk out of there regardless of which way you’ve entered the attraction.

        Regardless, like I said, my son is in a wheel chair, blind and with some behavour issues. The best solution for lines at Disneyland? Don’t go on crowded days! And if it is more crowded than expected, use Fastpass and generally go on rides like Mark Twain or Mr. Lincoln.

      • dcaguy

        Good news you qualify for the DAS. You just don’t get immediate access now. Get used to it those days are over. Unless you can prove some sort of laws are broken because of it looks like you out of luck.

  • LoveStallion

    I’m still not pumped about the Monstropols mini-land, as it has zilch to do with Hollywood, in general, and represents Disney’s increasing reliance on Pixar for marquee franchises. There wouldn’t even be the half-baked Monsters, Inc. ride if Superstar Limo hadn’t been such a colossal disaster (though in a way, we must honor it for being hands-down the worst Disney attraction ever built. Please challenge me on that! I’m curious about others).

    I really wish they could think of something more worthwhile for the space, and I stand by my desire to somehow see Mystic Manor built in the area, but with an old Hollywood mansion vibe. Granted, that might be a bit too close geographically and thematically to Tower of Terror, but I still prefer it to a door coaster. Are we that out of ideas?

    • BradyNBradleysMom

      I thought the rumor was that a Mystic Manor clone would be coming to Paradise Pier in the future and called ‘Museum of the Weird’. I though that instead of having it themed to Mystic Manor they would theme it to the Museum of the Weird, like it was a fortune teller’s shop or something on the Pier.

      That Pier is just so ugly and tacky…but they could make it cool if they made it full of weird things and brought some magic to it. Like it was enchanted. Right now, it’s just rides they bought from a catalog and some minimal theming that is just ugly. That Paradise Pier hotel is one of the ugliest things I’ve ever seen Disney built.

      As for the worst attraction Disney ever built, I think they did a really ugly job with the Gummi Bears boats. Remember those? They were boats that were minimally themed to be a boat ride to Gummi Glen in the 80s. And it all looked like a high school drama department did the plywood cutouts of the bears and the scenery. Just horrible.

      • Marko50

        Disney didn’t build the Paradise Pier hotel. From the Disney Wiki:

        “Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel is a hotel at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California. The Paradise Pier opened in 1984 as the Emerald Hotel of Anaheim, eventually becoming the Pan Pacific Hotel. In 1995, Disney purchased the hotel and changed the hotel’s name to Disneyland Pacific Hotel. In 2001, the hotel acquired its current name, as the hotel overlooks Paradise Pier at the then-newly-opened Disney’s California Adventure.”

        And if you thought the Gummi Bear Boats were minimally themed, you should have seen them before (and after, I guess) when they were just the Motorboat Ride. The Gummi Bear Boats overlay was never meant to be permanent.

      • LoveStallion

        Echoing Marko – Disney didn’t build the hotel.

        I hardly even classify the Gummi Glen thing as a real attraction. They just propped up cardboard cutouts on the Motorboat Cruise. Definitely half-a**ed, but I have never really viewed that as a fully-envisioned attraction.

      • Monoautorail

        Motor Boat Cruise to Gummi Glen was perhaps more themed than Chip ‘n’ Dale’s Rescue Ranger’s Raceway–which was Fantasyland Autopia with some signage–and not really much else. All the Afternoon Avenue offerings were sparse, light and — fun. If you, like me, were still watching Disney Afternoon and Disney’s Saturday morning cartoons.

        But Superstar Limo has no competition. None.

      • waltons

        Stayed at the hotel once when it was the Pan Pacific. It was such a bad experience, we vowed to never stay there again.
        A few years back we booked a room at Paradise Pier with DVC points because there was no other Disney lodging available with points. We were quite surprised with what Disney had done with the hotel, both inside and out. The pool area is lacking compared to the other DLR housing, but that too is better than before Disney took over the hotel. My grandson likes the beach theme of the hotel and my husband likes the ease of getting to DCA entrance from Paradise over DLH. (Shorter walk.) Of course, we all prefer to use our points at VGC, but that’s not always possible.
        So, even though it is a real ho-hum property for Disney, Disney did do some nice improvements over the original. Although, we have wondered why Disney hasn’t taken over some of the surrounding parking area to due a major refurb to the hotel and make it a true Disney resort. Lost parking spaces could be made up by building a parking structure.

  • KingEric

    I applaud Disney for finally tackling a tough issue like GAC. This new system seems more fair.

    • Cuddlymom

      Maybe you should spend some time in a wheelchair, sitting in the sun, and I’m not talking about for a few days, try a month. Or maybe try being the parent of a child with autism or some other life-changing condition, or maybe their sibling.
      Going to Disneyland and utilizing the Exit was one of the ONLY “benefits” to my other children having a brother with special needs.
      There were other options to “fixing” their broken system. I wish I would have known about this before purchasing airline tickets so my kids could see their NAVY Dad in Florida and celebrate his 50th birthday. The idea of going to Disney World like we planned is very discouraging. 🙁

      • holierthanthoutx

        Disabled assistance should be about equal access, no special access. It’s certainly not about rewarding siblings of disabled people.

  • LoveStallion

    Here’s a question, though – what if the person in the wheelchair is more than physically disabled? What if there are mental issues at play and having them wait in a queue with everyone else might cause problems or outbursts? The easy answer is to say that that person probably just shouldn’t come to Disneyland, but guests are guests. Heck, I have a cousin with slight autism and he gets super antsy in queues and such. He can walk just fine, but making him wait for stuff causes problems.

    Glad the GAC thing is being resolved. Just thought I’d posit that question for you.

    • That person would likely qualify for a DAS.

      • LoveStallion

        Dusty, forgive my ignorance with the GAC stuff. I was under the assumption that with the new rules, GAC would only be of use on attractions that lack a wheelchair-friendly queue. Isn’t the overall mission to make every ride’s queue wheelchair-friendly, thus rendering GAC a moot point? If so, my original question still stands.

    • johntodd

      Yeah… here’s the thing. My son is autistic with Sensory Processing Disorder, Tourette’s Syndrome, ADHD and is prone to frequent, violent outbursts. He’s been to Disneyland -four times- and has had a great time with the assistance of the GAC. Now they’re changing all of his expectations, and asking him to wait in hour-long queues?

      I’ll just let the cast members deal with him when he has a meltdown because it’s too hot, or he’s too wet, or it’s too noisy, or there’s a smell he doesn’t like.

      Getting him on and off the rides quickly is important to his comfort and safety, and the comfort and safety of others. It sounds like they have focused the new program on physical handicaps, not mental disabilities.

      We’re going in the first week of December… I hope it’s not as big a disaster for us as it sounds like it’s going to be.

      • Goin2DL

        I believe that he would qualify for the new card.

      • We don’t know everything about this program yet. I’m sure that Disney has made provisions for guests with needs such as your son’s. We’ll share more when we have the full program details. We are painting with a broad brush above based upon what was explained to us. Don’t become alarmed just yet. I have a feeling you’ll be just fine.

      • ranman101

        I understand your frustration, but why be mad at the cast members. The people who screwed the system up by abusing it are the ones you should be upset with.

      • Quentin

        He would most likely qualify for DAS, which as described in the article gives you FP return times so you can use FP queue or exits. It’s just not unlimited like before, you can only do one at a time, and always collect FP while you wait for your return time on the DAS card.

      • stitch1085

        The DAS card would serve the same as a FastPass for all attractions, from my understanding. You just have to wait your turn doing other activities and you and your son won’t be restricted to having to wait in a queue line. The DAS card is a happy medium, they actually have a similar system in place at Universal Hollywood. We have used it several times and it’s wonderful and FAIR! Everyone waits their turn it just depends on where you wait (whether in line or not). My cousin has violent outbursts (ADHD and Tourette’s) and my uncle avoided bringing him to theme parks because he was worried what might happen in line. We utilized the GAC card with no problem. If your son is fine while using the GAC card he will be fine using the DAS card. The only difference is you will no longer be able to just flash the card and walk on to an attraction.

      • LauraQPublic

        I completely agree. Those with hidden disabilities are going to be the most affected.

        Until families of typical children are affected by the massive meltdowns of atypical children having to wait in line with all kinds of sensory stimuli (these are not temper tantrums due to children not getting their way, people), every parent of a typical child is clapping their hands and shouting “It’s FAIR now!”

        Once they start realizing how unpleasant it is to wait in line with a child thrashing his body down on the ground or screaming at the top of his lungs due to sensory overload… perhaps because someone got too close to him, had on strong cologne or another child started singing joyfully and it bothered him… then maybe they will see and feel compassion for the parents of atypicals with hidden disabilities. Then maybe they will finally see why your atypical child who may appear physically “normal” needs that separate line.

        Until that day, that day when the disabilities of our children begin to infringe on the rights of typical children because they are in too close proximity… these parents of typical children will rejoice that things are more “fair” this way.

        It’s so sad that the abusers of the system have ruined it for those who truly benefited from the GAC.

      • LauraQPublic

        Also… it is a hindrance for those with a physical disability (mild or otherwise) to have to walk to the kiosks every time they want to go on another attraction before then walking to the ride. It is like people with disabilities are being punished for all those who abused the system beforehand.

      • jewels1328

        I am very disappointed with Disney for the elimination of the GAC. My daughter has cerebral palsy, ADHD, and vision problems. Disneyland is her favorite place to go. The card was a god send at the park. Lines for her are impossible. We also use the vision impaired stamp for shows and parades. It is a wonderful thing when she can actually see whats going on. I am ashamed that Disney would do this to the thousands of genuinely disabled people. I feel like they are discriminating against a very large population of people. I can’t believe this would fly with the disabled persons act.
        They need to figure out how to adjust for mental disabilities as well.

      • slomike

        Several people have mentioned having to wait in line. With the new DAS, if you can’t wait in line, then you will NOT have to wait in line, you will still have to wait, but not in line.

        For people who can’t wait in line, it is like there is a “FASTPASS” for every ride in the park. You can only have one “FASTPASS” at a time.

      • Cuddlymom

        We just booked airline tickets for WDW in February so my kids could see their Dad who is stationed in Florida. I probably wouldn’t have done that had I known about this change.
        I’ve been to a park that uses this same type of “system” It is by NO MEANS “Fair” or “Equal”. We had to get a “return” time and then go find something to do where my son would be comfortable. Keep in mind that there was not enough time to go wait in line and get something to eat and then walk all the way back to the attraction. I swore I would never go back to that park because of the way he was treated.
        This past weekend, we went to another park, having been there a few years ago, I felt comfortable that we could get some benefit out of going. However, they have implemented this “system” as well. I generally avoid this park because of the terrain and the difficulty getting him and his wheelchair up/down steep hills. So if the “return time” wasn’t bad enough, they “double-booked” us and had someone else showing up at the same time, and then someone crowded! He didn’t get to ride that ride. 🙁
        This just breaks my heart, especially for families with smaller children. Fortunately my son is 22 and is pretty strong, although, I wish some of these people who think it’s fair, try sitting in a wheelchair for a month.

      • sept12

        This is really sad and I don not see me being able to my son to Disneyland again. My son has some severe disabilities both physical and neurological (7 diagnosis) but is not in a wheelchair. Usually 3-4 hours is his max before having to leave. While I do support adding a picture to the pass so that it can not be used by others, doing away with the whole program is not the answer. With the new program, not only would I have to take my severely disabled child to stand in line a kiosk but then get him to the ride to wait and guessing wait again with everyone else who returned. Then go all the way back to a kiosk for another stamp get him to walk all the way back the way we came to stop and wait again. It already takes me 5 times longer than most people to get him to walk through the park. It is really hard for him to walk through the park without freezing up or stopping with his limited mobility. What may be a 10 minute walk for some is a good 30 for us. Disneyland is already a TON of walking for him and now going back and forth from kiosk-ride-kiosk-ride in crowds will not be tolerable at all. If warmer at all he will then become very sick due to certain medications. His challenges already scare many people waiting in lines, which we do when he can. Because he is also non verbal his meltdowns are the only way he has to communicate. The worst part is that it appears my husband can not even go to the kiosk and get the stamp while I go wait indoors with our special needs child and his sibling. We have to drag him with us back and forth to wait at the kiosk. The 1 hour wait will be the time it takes to walk back and forth to the attractions. This makes me very sad because my son already misses out on almost EVERYTHING, he doesn’t get invited to parties, and the one thing he still enjoyed was Disneyland a few times a year. Upon our last visit to Disneyland I was told by a cast member when she saw my son was that “every child deserves to enjoy the magic of Disneyland” but that won’t be the case for him any longer. It won’t be the Happiest Place on Earth for sure.

      • DobbysCloset

        I want Disneyland to be fun for everyone and feel sure that by the time of your visit the new program will have a safe way for you guys to enjoy the park.

        Waiting in an hour-long queue alone makes me a little panicky what with my anxiety disability. The Service Dog can’t go on all the rides; he’ll get to stay behind in a crate on some of them and have his own meltdown. The CM’s I am sure will do their best when they alert to your son’s needs, just as they’ll watch Dobby for me for four minutes so I can go on Indy.

        Change is hard but if people were abusing the system we do need to change it to protect it for those who need it.

  • Larry Parker

    I’m surprised no mention was made of the closing of the Court of Angels in New Orleans Square.

    • We’ve covered it multiple times in multiple columns. It’s very sad, but old news.

  • DisneyLoon

    Don’t know why but when I read the section on GAC being out to pasture I starting singing on my head “ding dong the GAC is dead the GAC is dead ding dong the GAC is finally dead lol, I like the new concept of the DAS

  • Badger

    Thanks for the update.

    It is interesting to read (here and elsewhere) about the different takes on how well Friday the 13th went off on either coast.

    The new DAS sounds so incredibly fair that I hope management doesn’t back down from the changes. Kudos to Disney for spending time to come up with a reasonable replacement for GAC.

    I have been eagerly waiting for news on a Tomorrowland update for years now, and waiting another month isn’t too bad… although it feels like it is.

    And like Mr Parker, I too would have liked to have seen something about the closing of the Court of Angels: far and away this change is one of the most disappointing things I’ve heard from DL in a while.

  • Lobot

    “…the rest opening after the 60th and bookended by the Monstropolis opening in early 2017”

    2017? 4 1/2 yrs to build a fancy roller coaster? That’s ridiculous. Universal will outbuild them many times over in that period.

    • stevek

      Does this really surprise you? We know that WDI works on very long timelines, the Seven Dwarves mine coaster is a prime example. Meanwhile, Uni will likely open up a few new things in much less time.

    • WannaCub

      Harry Potter should be open by then, or around the same time.

      I really hope Monstropolis doesn’t happen.

      • The Lost Boy

        Even the Harry Potter kid is tired of being Harry Potter. It will be interesting to see how long Harry Potter remains relevant.

      • CaptainAction

        Lost Boy,
        Maybe as long as Snow White, Pinocchio, Star Wars, Little Mermaid, etc. Harry Potter already outlasted Avatar. WDW is still really going to try to push that corpse up the hill.
        I know it is embarrassing trying to defend WDW the last 10 years but you can’t make them better by wishing Universal didn’t exist.
        Imagine how bad WDW would be treating you if Universal didn’t exist.

  • disneychrista

    With the new DAS system replacing GAC if the only thing I need to do is to avoid stairs do I still get a “return time” or can I wait in line, like I currently do, and then tell the CM at the front that I need to use the elevator? This works for all but I think 3 attractions (BTMRR, Spalsh, & Space).

    • If you can’t do stairs, you’d need a DAS. Rides without stairs won’t be a problem for you and you won’t need to schedule them. But, to ride an attraction with stairs in the queue, you’d need to visit one of the DAS kiosks (at least from what we know so far).

  • Big D

    So I’m a little confused on the DAS, if people in wheelchairs don’t qualify, then who exactly does?

    • Westsider

      If you are in a wheelchair you don’t qualify for special treatment at rides with wheelchair-accessible queues. Just enter wheelchair-accesible Standby line, or get a Fastpass if the ride offers it. This is mainly at all DCA rides, and newer or remodeled stuff at Disneyland.

    • Plaiditude

      Children with autism, people with Crohns Disease…a ton of disabilities that the GAC accommodates that don’t have a thing to do with mobility.

    • ilda

      People that can’t stay in line for long periods of time, qualify for DAS. Example, crohn’s, autism, mental disabilities, others.

  • pluto

    Hoping the new DAS works well and does not cause people who really need it more difficulty. For those confused about why someone without a wheelchair would need one, many people with varying types of disabilities need them. My son has autism, and standing in a crowded line of people causes unbelievable anxiety and over-stimulation. For some kids and adults with autism, this is almost unbearable. I would ask people to consider that it may seem “unfair” to you for people with disabilities to go to the front of the line; however, is it fair that something as simple as standing in a line is so difficult? Also, most individuals with autism cannot handle an entire day at Disneyland–the hours have to be cut short. We are paying full price, but there is just no way that our kids can go the hours that others can. I’m frankly disgusted that people were abusing the system the way they were, so I’m trying to be optimistic that the new system will work. Fingers crossed!!

    • I don’t think any of our readers would begrudge you the access you need. The issue that Disney is trying to address is the abuse of the system by people who don’t need it and making the system more fair for those who do need it. You’ll still be able to access attractions without waiting in lines, you will just have to visit that attraction at the time they tell you.

      If someone who is not disabled is able to ride approximately 5 or 6 attractions on a busy day, it would reason that someone with a disability should be able to ride the same number (more or less). That means creating a time for disabled guests to return to the attraction to ride with no wait. That’s fair. It’s almost like Fastpass.

      While I’m sure there will be LOTS of little issues that need to be worked out with the new system once it goes live, I’m THRILLED that Disney was able to create a program which is an honest attempt to fix a very broken system but still address the needs of the folks who honestly need assistance (like your son).

      • pluto

        I agree that the issue needed to be addressed, but I have received many glares from uninformed guests in the parks for using the GAC in the past. I had noted several comments above wondering “who else” would need a GAC other than those physically handicapped, so was just trying to let people know that not all handicaps are obvious/visible. I applaud Disney Parks for being accommodating and do hope that the new system works well for all.

      • Cuddlymom

        It really isn’t like FASTPASS. If you aren’t a person with a special needs child you have no idea how hard it might be to go do something else, and then make it back at your appointed time. ESPECIALLY in a wheelchair on crowded days. I hate to say it, but most guests are very rude and usually walk right in front of my son or place their butt in his face. 🙁

      • Brooke2773

        The problem is that these people with special needs don’t get to ride the same 5 or 6 rides as the average healthy person. No under the new system they will not have to wait in line for the registered ride and can therefore in theory do something else while they wait. The problem is, they can only register for one ride at a time. So, yes they could ride the same number of rides in a day as a healthy person, in the same amount of time. But most special needs people can not spend the same amount of time at the park as a healthy person. For example: My special needs daughter would only be able to physically handle being in the park for maybe 3 hours, and with the heat that would be pushing it. So if you go by their example when we got there we would go to a kiosk, register her for a ride, find some way to kill time for about an hour, then go back to the ride to wait for her turn to ride. taking up approximately 75 minutes. After the ride we go back to the kiosk to register for another ride. If the wait time is about the same, that would mean we have spent around 3 hours for her to ride two rides. At that point in time we would have to leave so that I could take care of her physical needs, give her her medications, and get her out of her wheelchair for a bit (too much time in her chair at one time creates other health issues). Which basically means I would have to pay full price for her and myself to get into the park, pay for parking, and spend a small fortune on water to keep her hydrated all so she could ride two rides. So I would spend 202.36 for her to get to ride 2 rides. I am sorry but the park and their rides just are not worth that.

    • stitch1085

      My grandmother once told me “You don’t owe ANYONE an explanation.” If you need assistance then ask, no, demand it! I started noticing that several people I knew were getting this card that had no ailments (admittedly so) but because they knew a guest relations cast member or lied about why they needed it and were able to get it! I was livid and disgusted with this realization.

    • charleen

      My daughter also has Autism and can not tolerate the long crowded lines, she also has hip dysplasia and can’t walk long distances so we use a wheelchair at Disney, if we see a line is not to long we don’t use the pass and have never taken advantage of it.
      We are also paying full price and some days she can only tolerate maybe 3 hours in the park and we always go when it’s not a busy time of the year so who are we hurting?? To have to go sign up for a ride and come back at a certain time is most likely not going to work for her.
      I must say that the abuse of the pass certainly also lays upon the Disney staff and or policies because every time we have got a pass I have always brought a Doctor, Therapist note and diagnosis paper work and the staff barely even glance at the first note and never even flip the page to see the others. You can not tell my daughter is disabled by just looking at her and we have had enough grief from the park visitors over it and now Disney wants to make it impossible for her to enjoy what typical children do, it is so unfair.
      We have been buying annual passes for 15 years (before she was even born) but this will certainly change that.
      SHAME on you Disney!!!!

      • slomike

        Just a comment that Annual Passes are not the same as paying “full price”.

      • ilda

        I don’t see a problem with the DAS. You don’t need to stand in line. You’ll return to the fastpass return line at the indicated time on your DAS. Disney thought about your type of cases too. Will you give it a try before you say bad things about Disney?

      • cindylou

        I agree with you. I think the people who think this is a great system for people with autism really don’t know anything about autism.

        We took “proof” with us to WDW as well until we figured out that they aren’t supposed to look at it, or ask for it, but what they’re asking from us now is much worse than having to bring medical records or a doctor’s letter.

        A few people are saying that we should just give the new system a chance and that we won’t have to wait in line and we’ll have our alternate wait, so what’s the problem?

        There’s no point in explaining to anyone who doesn’t understand autism. How could they understand it? I just hope that Disney has someone helping them make decisions who does understand.

      • dcaguy

        If you are staying in the park only 3 hours I bet you are not paying just a days admission. I bet you have an annual pass that allows you at least 200 plus days per year.

    • ilda

      I’m sure it will work out for you. It will be just like a fastpass. No waiting in line. You’ll return to the fastpass return line at the time indicated on your DAS. Seems simple to me.

      • DobbysCloset

        I agree that it will work out fine for her. I would guess at the Kiosk a Friendly CM will help you choose among different rides, evaluate the waiting time and the “commute” and plan a special day for a special child.

        As an Adult with a non-visible disability that makes me react to Stimulation and Crowds, I advocate for myself. I’ve gotten a lot of flack over the Service Dog despite the value I get from it when I get panicky on my own.

        Federal law spells out the definitions of and needs for equal access for physically and mentally disabled people. I would guess that like Service Dog civil law there’s no need to present documentation of one’s disability — in fact, under the law, asking for it is a violation of one’s federal civil rights. When one asks for a Reasonable Accommodation for a Disability to allow one to use a public facility in the same way of others, one does have to give a reason and documentation. So my guess is that Disney’s lawyers have something in mind here to make this project work for those who need it.

  • stevek

    Wasn’t tracking entirely on the whole SW Cantina discussed above. Would this be something that would replace Red Rockets (please say yes) or would it be integrated into Tomorrowland Terraces…or someting completely different?

    Will be interesting to see what the SW presences is in TL. I’m a massive SW fan but not entirely keen on any franchise having too large a presence in a single land. If we ultimately have a restaurant, a show and 1-2 rides themed to SW, it does seem a bit much. I can see where that would work at DHS but not at DL.

    As for the parking discussion, there are areas that are ideal for Disney but I’m assuming the price is just too high for them to buy out at this point i.e. the large area at the corner of Ball and Walnut & the smaller parcel at the corner of Ball and DL Drive. Also, does anyone actually occupy the space behind the the parking lot on Disney Way (the old Grand Hotel site)? That’s a massive space.

    • The Cantina thing is for Disney Hollywood Studios. Though, it would reason that it could be implemented at Disneyland if they choose to do so.

      • DobbysCloset

        I was actually looking forward to going there instead of wondering what was going to happen to Starcade…

      • DobbysCloset

        I was kinda hoping I could go there and spend lots of money instead of wandering by Starcade and a 3-D Theatre and wondering why all that Space had to be empty.

  • gimackenzie

    Glad so many are gleeful to see the GAC being done away with, regardless of the effect it has on those of us who used it to get a full Disneyland experience. I have a severe bleeding disorder and standing too long in those lines can cause my joints to start bleeding, or the arthritis I have from a lifetime of bleeding related damage to flare up, necessitating leaving the park to treat or finding a place to sit for a while until I can walk again. Having an accomodation like the GAC enabled people like me to get directly on the ride, enjoy it, then spend the time we would have been standing in line sitting and resting instead and avoiding the risk of a bleeding episode that can ruin an entire vacation. Now it looks like I’ll be able to enjoy far fewer rides and run a much higher risk of injury by having to navigate and wait in lines while I’m waiting for my one or two “return times” I get per day, and that is very saddening. I understand the able bodied folks resenting those who abuse the system without having any real need for it, but there are those like me who it greatly benefited and helped compensate for limitations that others don’t face. I’d certainly never take any of this out on the fine castmembers at the park, but it’s disappointing nonetheless. I hope all of you who celebrate its demise are kinder to those of us who will now be waiting in line with you, in pain and at risk of injury. We may need some patience as we limp along those queues with you.

    • johntodd

      Let me add this to your perfectly stated comment. If Disney were to offer a front-of-line pass at a premium price, as Universal does, I’d gladly pay it to keep my son out of the queues.

      Like everything else they do, Disney developed this program in committee and didn’t put nearly as much though into it as the could have, and should have. I’m wondering if they had any disabled consultants work on the preparation of the new program.

      I’m disgusted by the people who have misused the GAC and have cost us this invaluable tool to allow so many disabled people to enjoy the parks as the able-bodied do.

      • Cuddlymom

        I doubt they actually talked to anyone who actually has a disability or has used the program in the past. I’m heartbroken over this. While you may be able to pay for a “Premium” ticket to get front of the line access, many who have children with special needs are scraping by, and this could be their one and only time to visit the park. Not everyone is qualified for “Make A Wish” which is the only other way to get front of the line privileges.

      • DobbysCloset

        This has to comply with Federal Access law…

        We sorta get physical disability but mental health/developmental issues are a whole new thing.

        I took a “Tour in Walt’s Footsteps” as a birthday treat. It cost extra but I got to go to the front of the line for the rides. So for those who have extra money, a private tour of some kind might be really grand!

        Everyone has to wait the same amount of time, but how one waits can be different. Sitting in a wheelchair in the shade until one’s Fast Pass or DAS time (people have other issues even in wheelchairs that might keep them from lines) or getting in line in one’s wheelchair, all equal regardless of one’s disability, would be the goal.

    • IndyFan1

      I’m sorry for your condition, that must be rough. But the truth is, GAC’s and DAS cards are so those who are handicapped can have as EQUAL treatment as the rest of the guests as possible. Not better treatment with the ability to skip lines. In most cases, one’s disability does not give them the right to enjoy MORE attractions then anyone else. And because you would potentially be using a fastpass type system, that will simply give you the ability to “rest your legs” (like you mentioned) while you wait for your return time.

      • gimackenzie

        You’re misinterpreting my post, Indyfan1. As I said, with the DAS I will be able to enjoy fewer rides than I did with the GAC, which enabled me to get about the same number of rides in, without risk of injury or increased pain, as those without my issues are able to experience in their visits because they do not have my limitations. The advantage of the GAC allowing me to bypass a line only compensated for me not being able to stand in long lines and needing regular rests or breaks, which equaled out to me still enjoying the same number of rides as I would have if I weren’t disabled. Reading about the new DAS and it’s longer wait periods and limiting to one wait at a time, it doesn’t look like that will be the case now and I will now be able to enjoy fewer rides than a healthy person, or than I did back when I had a GAC. For me, the GAC pass was a field leveling accomodation which I really appreciated and saved me much stress and pain, and cost of treatment if an issue does arise.

        People like me experience limitations and roadblocks as a part of our regular, everyday lives. What has been so great, and appreciated, about Disneyland has been that with the GAC, I could leave after a day at the park knowing that I had enjoyed the same experience and fun as all those around me who don’t suffer some disability or situation like I do. That is a very rare treat that meant a lot. Disney doesn’t owe it to us, of course, but it’s been very nice to experience and is disappointing to lose.

      • IndyFan1

        As Dusty and swrdfghtr have mentioned below, I think you don’t understand what Disney is accomplishing here. GACs allowed you to ride more rides then everyone else in the park. That wasn’t fair, regardless of your condition. the DAS does not make you wait in lines. You’ll still be able to relax and sit in the shade and get food/shop/ride other no-wait attractions while you standby for your DAS return time. You simply cannot overlap those wait times, exactly like a fastpass. All you’re losing is the preferential treatment you seem to have become so blindly accustomed to. The point here is to reach equal ground for ALL guests in the park while still accommodating those who are physically unable to wait in long lines.

      • gimackenzie

        “GACs allowed you to ride more rides then everyone else in the park.”

        You obviously aren’t really reading my responses, as I have addressed this specific mistaken thought a couple of times, so there’s no point discussing this with you any further. Anyone who thinks a disabled person with real limitations was riding more rides than non-disabled people is very mistaken and ignorant. But, you got your way, so I hope you enjoy your visits to Disneyland now, secure in the knowledge that people like me will be enjoying the park less than you do and potentially dealing with pain and injury while doing it. I am sorry we disabled people have caused you such trouble in the past.

      • IndyFan1

        You are aware that the DAS doesn’t make you wait in lines, correct? I’m sincerely hoping you actually did research this on this matter and aren’t basing your ridiculous posts off of one MiceAge article. Please understand, your disability enables you to not stand in lines. That’s it. It doesn’t give you the right to skip waiting in general. You still need to wait for your attractions, like everybody else in the park. You just don’t have to stand in the lines. I’m unclear how this simple matter is escaping you. You claim you need to “spend the time we would have been standing in line sitting and resting instead and avoiding the risk of a bleeding episode”… all dramatics aside, how is this ANY DIFFERENT then getting a DAS/fastpass for attractions and then RESTING like you said you need to. Nothing is changing other then the fact that you lose the ability to cut EVERY single line at EVERY single time you want and you get the luxury of not having to stand in line while you wait for your attraction. If you truly feel you deserve more then this, then it’s becoming clear you were part of the problem that required the implementation of these DAS cards in the first place.

      • pluto

        IndyFan1–Respectfully, I think you are missing the point here. Many people with disabilities not only cannot wait in lines, but they simply cannot endure the total number of hours in a park that others can. If people with disabilities are allowed only one “fast-pass” (for lack of a better descriptor) in say a 75-minute time frame, then it will extend the number of hours they are required to stay in the park to ride the rides they would have ridden and then gone home, back to the hotel, etc. Honestly, I think Disney is doing what they think is fair, and I do hope it works out well. However, I think it might better have been addressed by asking guests to provide some sort of proof that they need a GAC–i.e., a letter from your doctor. This would have cut down on the abuse and solved the problem. Seems like a much easier solution than staffing multiple kiosks per park, and requiring disabled guests to make their way to a kiosk every time they want to ride something.

      • IndyFan1

        Fair enough. I suppose it’s just hard to believe there are disabilities that allow for dark spaces, sudden drops, loops, turns, spins, twists, rapid acceleration, strobe lights, enclosed spaces, screaming people and a general over-stimulation of all of our senses, BUT when it comes to one sitting quietly on a shade-covered bench listening to Mary Poppins music while comfortably waiting for the DAC return time, there’s all the sudden some medical infraction on that same disability.

      • pluto

        IndyFan1–Wow, it’s disheartening that you would choose sarcasm when discussing the challenges faced by disabled persons. Very sad.

      • IndyFan1

        I’m not speaking of those with real disabilities, Pluto. I’m merely calling out the nonsensical defenses of those who try to take advantage of the system. I have nothing but the utmost respect for the disabled and the hardships they go through. My apologies.

      • The Lost Boy

        How does a person whose joints bleed by merely waiting in line survive any ride that induces more stress than the old Main Street vehicles?

      • Cuddlymom

        So sad. The time waiting for the DAS will likely not even be enough time to go eat, or go to the bathroom, both of which take longer with someone who has special needs. Not too mention how difficult it is with rude people stepping in front of my son in his wheelchair, making a walk that takes you 5 minutes, could be 15 for him, especially on crowded days.
        Something needed to be done because of all the “cheaters”, but this is not the answer.

    • I don’t think you understand what Disney is trying to do. They won’t be preventing you from accessing attractions with little or no wait. But they will control how many times you can do that in a day (which is fair) and they want to prevent someone with a DAS from selling it or giving it to others (which is also fair).

      If you can’t wait in lines for a medical reason, you’ll still be able to access attractions as you always have. But there will now be equity in the program. You’ll be able to experience the same number of attractions as any other guest (not more or less), but you still won’t need to wait in long lines.

      It’s a good system and I think you’ll be happy (as long as you aren’t one of those folks who was selling your pass) when you see it rolled out.

      • gimackenzie

        I agree with the pictures on the passes and those kinds of reforms. I was always very shocked that they didn’t do something like that in the past, honestly. And equally surprised when they never wanted to look at my doctors notes or my medalert bracelet. As a disabled person, I’ve never had any issue with showing that I have a legitimate need for something like that, or my parking placard or whatnot. So those measures I certainly approve of.

        What concerns me is this going to one spot to see a castmember at a kiosk who looks something up on a kiosk and then gives out what they decide is a proper wait time, then taking that back to whatever ride it’s for when the wait time is up and then waiting there however long to actually board the ride. I can see that causing issues and risking what I try to avoid by not waiting in lines anyhow, as I’ll now have to walk back and forth to wherever the kiosks are and wait once I get to the ride. I know they need to fix the system. I just don’t think this was the right way.

      • gimackenzie

        By the way, I want to thank you Dusty Sage for discussing this topic respectfully and not making disabled people like me look like bad guys. As is seen in these comments, it is difficult for us in the disabled world to speak up about much without being dismissed as being “overdramatic” or “blind” or any other insulting term that able-bodied people throw at us when they don’t want us in their way. You see the DAS differently than I do and that’s fine and I appreciate that you can be kind and respectful about it. I hope that it is as good a change as you think it will, and not as bad as I am worried it will be.

      • cindylou

        So there will be no more magic like this at the parks, right?

        http://youtu.be/Utzd2i1hnlg

        Pixie dust is a thing of the past unless you are one of the CMs/park-goers who’d like to see less autistic kids at the parks, in which case, this is a huge dose of pixie dust.

        That means no more kudos/news stories/books about how cast members made WDW so special for their special needs child who got to go on their favorite ride with Snow White.

        I’m actually shocked that no one has complained about this story. Everyone knows that this would have been impossible if not for the GAC program, right?

        So while an autistic child won’t be allowed to loop a ride that may be the only ride he has a fixation with, he be melting down waiting in more lines for rides that he may not have a fixation with.

        When this happens, will we see Disney World security come out of the bushes to restrain autistic kids? That’s going to make a special news story. It’ll be on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and everywhere else on the internet as well. Sadly, this will happen only because Disney will view it as an infringement on the rights of normal kids and their special parents. Some of these people need a little infringement so that they can have an appreciation of what the GAC actually accomplished for them.

      • charleen

        Dusty Sage- It does not sound like a good system, A good system would be me sending Disney paper work ahead of time them verifying her disability and issuing her a disability pass with her picture on. That would assure that the system is not being abused.
        My daughter who has Autism does not ride all of the rides and some days she just wants to ride the same one 4 times, she can’t tolerate crowds or long waits and doesn’t decide what ride she wants to go on until we get there I can not simply tell her “we are scheduled for such and such ride at this time so lets sit here and wait” I understand that you can not understand that if you have not experienced it. But imagine a parent that wants their child to have a good day at Disney that is not stressful for the child, the parent and the other visitors in the park. We pay full price and maybe are there for 3-4 hours so who are we hurting?

      • Cuddlymom

        Too bad you couldn’t have been with us this last weekend when my son experienced this type of “non-waiting” in lines, and see just how much the system fails. And even sadder, my son’s special needs aren’t as bad as many others. But, it was still a miserable day and we felt extremely disappointed. I will NEVER go back to that park.
        (This wasn’t Disney, but another park that is already using this “Fair” system.)

      • Tarakeet

        I’m a bit stressed out about the way this is being described, because my issue is being on my feet. I haven’t ever gotten a GAC, though I probably should have, but I know the day is coming when I won’t have a choice. I am a single mom with two small boys and I just can’t be in a wheelchair. They need to have their hands held and stay close to me. First, I am extremely nervous about requesting a pass. I have what essentially amounts to a deformity of my feet, but it isn’t ugly. Walking hurts (and gets progressively worse), standing in one place is excruciating. I wear supportive shoes, but they just stave off the pain slightly. I can walk and jump and dance and don’t outwardly appear to have issues. My last trip to Disneyland, my five-year-old announced he had to go to the bathroom about two seconds before the cast member at Pirates asked us how many were in our party. They were kind enough to allow us to run to the restroom and return through the exit. My anxiety levels ratcheted because I felt like everyone waiting in line was imagining us abusing the GAC. I hate that I will have to use one for real!

        Beyond my combination of embarrassment and worry that they will think I am lying when I request a pass, I’m also concerned about having to make a trip back to wherever the kiosk is over and over, and then wait in THAT line. I am just imagining a day where I get a pass from the kiosk…walk to Space Mountain…walk to kiosk…walk to Star Tours…walk to kiosk…walk to Autopia…walk to kiosk…walk to Matterhorn…walk to kiosk…walk to Alice in Wonderland…walk to kiosk…walk to Peter Pan…and so on. And how long will the lines at the kiosk be? I don’t mind the waiting the same amount of time as the line. I’d be perfectly happy to be put into a holding pen where I could just sit down until my time was up.

    • swrdfghtr

      I think you’re being a bit unreasonable. The new DAS system would allow you to experience the attraction without physically waiting in line – you’d get a “get on immediately” return time. So you’re not skipping the line – you’re just waiting in a virtual place in line. It seems extremely fair. Your physical needs are accommodated, but the system is less ripe for abuse, and you’re not getting “special treatment” (a la, the right to skip everyone else who has been patiently waiting). It is, essentially, a FastPass.

      Yes, it does mean you’ll be able to perhaps enjoy fewer rides per day – but you’d be able to enjoy as many rides as a typically-abled person, meaning as many rides as an average guest. Disability deserves accommodation; it does not deserve additional privileges. Having a disability does not mean you should be able to ride more rides in a day than an average park guest; the DAS system simply enforces prevailing wait times without making you physically stand in the queue for that duration.

      You’re overdramatizing, a bit. You’re not being asked to “limp along those queues.” You can remain comfortably seated, or perhaps enjoy an air-conditioned shop, while you wait for your place in line to move toward the front.

      I think what everyone is gleeful about is the elimination of a much-absed system of **additional privileges**, and the introduction of a system that provides a reasonable accommodation (as required under the law) to help those with disabilities enjoy the **same** level of privilege as those without disabilities.

      This of the DAS as having a cast member go stand in line for you. When their “turn to ride” comes, you step in and ride instead of them. Someone waited in line – but it wasn’t you. It doesn’t seem like an unfair system, nor does it seem like an unreasonable accommodation. It is certainly less privilege than you were offered in the past.

      It’s still early days; we haven’t yet seen if Disney will offer the DAS system to those who have mental disabilities instead of physical. The way the system is designed, it seems perfectly reasonable to expect that they could do so, and it seems like it would be a fair accommodation for those with such disabilities. Again, their immediate need – not being able to endure the queue – is met, but they don’t get additional privileges. They’re not “skipping the line,” they’re waiting in line by proxy, rather than directly.

      I think it’s important to first understand what the system is, and secondly wait until Disney actually begins to implement it and collect guest feedback – at which point, they’ll no doubt tweak it. In fact, the idea of using kiosks (rather than getting a return time right at the attraction entrance) seems designed in large part to make tweaks easier to roll out (fewer people to re-train).

      I’ve seen this exact system used in other parks (Kennywood in Western PA, for one), and it works admirably. As the partner of a handicapped person, we felt we received a very workable accommodation. We weren’t out to “skip lines,” we simply could endure physically standing in them. Being given a return time equal to the current wait time proved eminently fair.

      Don’t forget that the new DAS doesn’t in any way prevent you from ALSO making use of FastPass, ALSO riding attractions that have shorter queues (which you feel you could endure) while “virtually” waiting in another line, or enjoying a shop or meal while “virtually” waiting in line. You’re still being given privileges not accorded to the average park guest, while also being given what seems, on the fact of it, to be a very reasonable accommodation.

      I realize there’s an argument, “my child can’t make it through an entire day, and having to wait the entire queue time means we get to ride 3 things before he runs out of steam and we have to leave.” That’s true of many non-disabled children as well, and something all parents struggle to manage in their Disney trips. I’m not entirely certain that is something Disney can *reasonably* accommodate in a way that is equitable and not subject to rampant abuse. Tough to say; perhaps they’ll come up with something in the future to handle that specific case.

      • TRONAlex

        I am lucky if I can do 2-3 rides in a day at either park considering both of my kids are autistic and just getting there is a big production.

      • cindylou

        If the return spot is the fastpass line, it’s not getting on immediately. I’m sure you’re familiar with TSM and other rides where the fastpass line is actually very long at times.

        Regarding your last paragraph, I think you are confusing the impatience of a typical child waiting in lines and working around a touring plan and the problems that are caused by an actual disability which Disney can and should accommodate. They have, in the past, with the GAC system.

        There are a lot of people who seem to think that autism is not a real disability and that any accommodation is special treatment. Some even suggest that we keep our children at home if they’re not happy standing in line. This kind of whining and complaining is exactly what leads to discrimination.

      • charleen

        You obviously don’t have a clue!!!

      • DobbysCloset

        As a disabled adult it confuses me that people would want for their children an experience in excess of what I can achieve on my own.

        If I wait in a line for half an hour and “panic attack” out of it, so be it. I don’t get a card that lets me go to the front of the line. I get permission to have a Service Dog and wait in line like everyone else. Some rides I couldn’t ride because I couldn’t handle the queue. Maybe now I’ll be fine.

        If one has children, autistic or just normal run-of-the-mill cranky toddlers, and chooses to take them to Disneyland, one doesn’t get a discount or special services other than what all disabled guests get — a way to make it possible to wait one’s turn.

    • ranman101

      If you can’t wait in line because of your condition. Why not get a wheel chair that will allow you to rest while waiting? Sad to say, but I have several people in my family that are handicapped with different issues. Yes they do need assistance, but over the years they have started expecting preferred treatment at places like Disneyland.

      I have been to Disneyland with them and have ridden many more rides in a day with the old GAC, then I ever could with me and my kids and no Gac. The system was over abused by everyone, and yes even by people with disabilities. Disney can not make a perfect system based on current laws, but they did a great job in what they came up with. I’m sure there will be some tweaks to it after they implement it. Just my point of view, no disrespect.

    • Westsider

      I’m curious why you wouldn’t use a wheelchair if your condition causes issues by simply standing for too long?

      • gimackenzie

        I can walk and am mobile, just not for long periods or things like long stairways. Perhaps one needs to be a disabled person to understand, but wheelchairs do not present the independence many like me strive for and we avoid using them unless we have to. There certainly are times when I must use a chair due to injury or a particularly bad episode, but I should never have to submit to a wheelchair simply to manage lines at Disneyland or any amusement park, and especially not so that able-bodied people feel like it makes things “fair” to them (not saying that directly to you Westsider, just others who think along those lines). I know that most who suggest things like “Well, just use a wheelchair” are well meaning and have their heart in the right place, but you need to understand how that is in reality a very insulting and dismissive thing to say to a disabled person. We already have to deal with a difficult life and obstacles that able-bodied people never imagine, and it is demeaning to be told to just get in a wheelchair when we simply wish to enjoy life the same as others who aren’t disabled. It’s almost as annoying as seeing perfectly able people getting a wheelchair just TO skip lines, and taking turns switching in and out of it between rides. Something I have witnessed myself and why I understand and support the move to restructure the program. I simply worry that this will be too much in the other direction and people like me will suffer for it, which is disappointing as Disneyland was one of the few places where we didn’t have to worry about that.

    • WannaCub

      My mother can’t stand or walk for long periods of time. She, does however, LOVE Indy! Always asks to ride Indy, so you can assume she is physically able to ride, wait, and enjoy the parks. I have always used a GAC for her becuase she can’t stand in Indy’s 1/4 mile long queue for extended periods of time. The few times I didn’t get a GAC for her, I used fastpasses and had a meal while waiting for our ride time. This sounds like what the new DAS will be like. We still wait like everyone else, yet, do get to walk to the front of the line.

      BTW, using a GAC DOES get you on more attractions than those who do not use the GAC. Trust me, I’ve done it and would always love taking my mom to the park because we could do almost everything in less than 8 hours!!

    • DobbysCloset

      Why can’t you use a wheelchair to wait in line?

  • bayouguy

    Not too happy about the new DAS system. Disney is certainly punishing the disability populations for the past abuses. This is a heavy handed punitive punishment move designed by Disney execs, no attempted inputs from organizations who help the disabled populations. It’s about weeding out the people who are disabled, pulling the welcome mat out from under them. It’s about making Disneyland a safe haven for Disney execs to exclude those who are disabled.
    I love Disneyland and probably will always do so. At the moment, I’m seething at those who run and lead the company.

    • TodAZ1

      Wow. I’m curious, bayouguy, tell me how you are interpreting the new DAS to work. I’ll bet you that it’s not nearly as bad as you think it is.

      • bayouguy

        Personally, I would like to have had some input, any input, to help develop a new disability support program. I didn’t really frame my opinion properly. This problem was framed to the fact that there was abuses to the GAC system. I was afraid that there would be a “top-down” decision and it was certainly so. The first poster spoke it well when he wrote no more
        unlimited fastpasses. That’s what I feel Disney was feeling too. It broke my heart when I read that. I would like to have had the opportunity to explain to Disney execs about disabilities, about autism.
        OK, this is rather difficult to explain. I did my best to be objective but too much emotions got in the way.

      • Cuddlymom

        I can tell you it is as bad as people think it is!! I went to Magic Mountain with my son who is in a wheelchair and it was horrible!! They already do this. I usually avoid this park, but a band was playing that he loves, so I spent a small fortune and we went. First of all, the wait time given is usually not enough time to go to another ride with a short enough line, or even eat (lines there too you know), and if that’s not bad enough, the ride attendant “overbooked” and put us at the same time as another guest! And then someone crowded. He didn’t get to ride that ride because by that time he needed to make his way back to the concert area. We made our way up to Superman, because my niece and son really wanted to ride it. We used their people-mover ride to get to the top of the hill. Well, made it on the ride, but then guess what?? The people mover shut down (even though several other rides were still going) and we had to make our way down a VERY steep hill. This is not only difficult, but dangerous for us, and other park visitors! The handles to push on his chair, which are rarely used by us, are not meant for this. 🙁 All the while I’m thinking, we’ll never come back here, THANK GOD for DISNEYLAND and the fact that they accommodate special needs with more grace! That’s just a fairy tale now. Wish I wouldn’t have just booked tickets for my family to Orlando for a trip to WDW and to see their Navy Dad who is stationed in Florida.

    • WannaCub

      I think it’s just too early to tell what Disney is going to do based on an article on a Disney fansite. We all really need to wait and see what happens.

  • ScottOlsen

    I’m not sure of the advantage of using a GAC so you don’t have to “wait in line”. They make you wait in line with a GAC. Anyone seen the GAC line for Pirates or IASW? I would have gladly pushed my son through the regular line than wait in the GAC for either of these, but his wheelchair doesn’t fit or there’s steps. I’ve also pushed him through the 45 minute line for Toy Story Midway Mania. That’s a long time but that’s the way it goes. On the Matterhorn, you only skip the switchback section–you still have to wait in the part of the line that goes around the mountain.

    • Westsider

      If your GAC stamp is a “wheelchair stamp”, you wait in wheelchair-accessible lines. If your GAC stamp is “alternate arrows” or “green light” you don’t wait. Yes, Pirates and Small World are two rides built in the 1960’s without wheelchair accessible queues, although Disney has gone to great expense lately to rebuild stations and boats to accommodate wheelchairs fifty years after the rides opened.

      There are 50+ rides at Disneyland Resort with full accessible queues. Pirates and Small World are two old rides that have limited accessibility. Two out of 50+.

      • Tinkr57

        Not sure where you get your queue info but, I can tell you there are much more then 2 rides at Disneyland that are not fully accessible queues. There are at least 20 I can’t think of. I have been taking my wheelchair bound daughter for many years and your assessment is completely wrong.

  • a-mad

    Great update guys…

    As far as the Star Wars changes to TL are concerned – it mentions two phases of “placemaking”, but what does that entail? I know we don’t have exact details… but were the prior rumors of a Speeder Bike attraction on all or a portion of the PeopleMover tracks still in the works? Dusty mentioned that the Cantina experience was expected for DHS, but unsure on DL – so if the Cantina is NOT in the works, what else do they have planned? I realize its all speculation at this point, but I’m wondering what portions of TL they’ll be ripping out, and which they’ll be keeping. Months ago there were wild rumors that Autopia and the Lagoon would be replaced (which I doubt would ever happen…) Are we talking more of a Captain EO/Starcade/Red Rocketts type of replacement, or something larger? (Innoventions…. please?)

    I can be patient for a few more weeks I guess 🙂 … but while the news on Monstropolis seems pretty solid and specific, the news on TL/Star Wars still seems quite speculative at this point.

    • LOL. We are holding off on the specifics for the moment (waiting for the start of the fiscal year just to be safe). But there are hints in the article 😉

  • Epcyclopedia

    Note..

    Guests at WDW would have had essentially zero access to DHS for several hours on the 13th if not for Epcot and their operational staff. First off, the parking lot. Entering traffic was redirected to park at Epcot (where it’s easy to park in the giant lot and it was well staffed) and then Epcot opened up its backstage roads to WDW traffic once Buena Vista Drive came to a complete standstill for over 2 hours. Buses essentially just had to go through Epcot and then cross the road – not go down it (and into the nightmarish traffic.) Also, Epcot was bustling along shuttling guests in via the Friendships to DHS’s entrance, deploying more boats once they realized how bad things had gotten at DHS itself.

    If it wasn’t for Epcot, DHS would have been totally screwed.

  • Epcyclopedia

    Oh, and Cockerell is from Epcot.. I’m not saying EVERYTHING that’s good about WDW comes from Epcot.. but.. ya know.. it’s true.

  • Susie63

    I think the new DAS program is great…..and yes I use a GAC. I always thought that RSR offered the best solution for everyone. I know people will be annoyed but I am very happy they found a solution that is fair for everyone.

  • pluto

    DustySage–I’m wondering if you might be able to answer a question for me. Using the new DAS system, will we be able to send a “runner” with the DAS card to the Kiosk to get a return time, or will my son have to be there to get that? I know he has to be present and riding the attraction, but I am hoping I can save him the aggravation of having to go back and forth to the kiosks. Thanks 🙂

    • I can’t be certain, but the purpose of putting photos on the new DAS cards is to ensure that only the cardholder and their immediate guests use the system. It is my understanding that the DAS holder would need to present the card at the kiosk. But one thing to keep in mind is that the way the system is being rolled out and what the parks end up doing to refine any problems which may pop up may be two very different things.

      I do think that one potential pinch point in this new system may be the kiosks and efficiently handling a potentially large number of guests using the system all day.

      • TRONAlex

        What about the privacy in all the photos being taken?
        What will happen to all the photos?
        Knott’s uses a similar GAC.
        Except their GAC is limited to 4 guests, not 6 like Disney.

      • LauraQPublic

        I definitely agree that expecting those who would need the DAS to begin with to go to a kiosk every time prior to the ride is really inefficient, not to mention excruciating for some.

        My friend’s child can stand but cannot do so for any length of time. Another is allergic to the sun. The GAC allowed them to wait in a separate queue. Yes, at Disneyland the wait times for them were often shorter. However, being out of the sun and being able to sit down were two huge accommodations.

        What people do not seem to realize is that the proposed new system makes it HARDER for guests with disabilities. It makes it harder for them because they have to seek out a kiosk after already having to get a card and photo. Then they have to wait in line to get a pass for an attraction so they can wait until their time to go to that attraction.

        What Disney should do instead is require a doctor’s note from those needing assistance. Will some people still find a way around the system? Surely. But why punish the many for the sins of the few?

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  • bespinally

    Aloha community,

    Super stoked about any Star Wars additions in every and any park! That will drive me back to the park in a big way for years to come if done in a proper (and hopefully big) way.

    In regards to my understanding of the GAC/DAS discussion I see pros and cons:

    PRO
    1. I see the benefit of requiring photo ID to curb abuse,
    2. It appears on the surface that wheelchair accessible queue will in a fair way reduce the numbers of those using the system in DCA (and possibly in DL as well)
    3. Those who are in a wheelchair but also have mental health or developmental disorders, or other disabilities which limit ability to wait in line will still have access to system,
    4. The intention for the median guest is to provide the same number of rides per day through a regular fastpass-like system w/additional accommodation.

    CON
    1. DAS guests will have to ambulate and interact more going back and forth from KIOSK (unless a runner is allowed while the disabled guest may rest). This can aggravate the symptoms of Autism, and many mental health, or physical disabilities,
    2. While the above amount of walking might seem minor to many people, it is important to consider how difficult these actions may actually be for a disabled person. I am 36 and 200 pounds in decent shape and only slightly feeling the effects of age, but I know what pain is and believe me brother it is a real thing.
    3. It is true that some people as GIMMACKENZIE noted above might be only able to stay in the park for part of a day or really have actual limitations which limit their ability to ride as many rides as you. For these people it will be a real reduction in enjoyment possibly below the expected minimum. I for one know that I ride more than 10 rides per day because of my ability to hustle my family around.

    I think it is clear that Disney’s driving intention was to reduce use of the system overall and eliminate blatant abuse. They modulated that with the need to have the system and in a relatively fair way moderated the amount of usage. I can see how a guest who used the GAC could fairly say that this is extremely disappointing for them, and how at the same time it could be very fair for another guest. Thanks for your time.

    All the best until I arrive for New Years,
    Cedar

    • gimackenzie

      Thank you for your exceptionally well spoken/typed summation of the changes. The hassle of running back and forth to kiosks manned by castmembers who will just write down a return time is my chief concern in this. I hope that before I am able to return to the park the system gets refined a bit and this is not an issue.

      Aside, you can make ten rides a day?! Even back when I first started going to Disneyland and I got a SAP that was a straight front of the line pass, I have only ever made about six to eight a day, depending on how busy it is and how mobile I am. Ten rides a day would be so awesome!

      • Not My Real Name

        You do know about the Gumball Rally, don’t you, where people ride EVERY ride in the park in one day?

    • pluto

      bespinally–I also thank you for this open-minded assessment. As I have said in other posts–I am hopeful that this system will work well. I’m sure there will be bugs to work out. We’ll have to wait and see.

    • DobbysCloset

      I am 58 and just feeling the effects of age…a couple years ago I felt 38!

      Being 58 I would be fascinated by more Star Wars, especially since I see so many new generations of fans coming along.

      DAS does seem to make it hard on parties of two where one is disabled and the other is obviously doing all the caretaking. A party of three could manage a trip to a kiosk…still, lots of time scurrying about.

  • bespinally

    Another good point I saw brought up, is that this should reduce the wait times in the actual GAC/DAS lines. In accounting terms, you have to net that decreased wait time with the other increases in waiting.

    • bespinally

      Oh yeah, one final con is that it does not seem to limit someones ability to just lie about being disabled. I believe they do not ask for diagnosis information because of HIPAA and ADA laws.

      • gimackenzie

        HIPAA actually would not apply as it is a set of laws barring providers from sharing your medical information with anyone other than you or who you authorize. As Disneyland isn’t a medical provider, HIPAA has no authority over it whatsoever. I believe that what the company fears would be potential lawsuits under the ADA, which would be very weak suits but defending them until they’re dismissed would still be costly, so it’s easier to just forbid castmembers from looking over medical info. I was shocked when I first handed over a doctors note and medalter ID in city hall and they were given straight back, and I personally wish they were required, but I understand now why they aren’t.

  • Dusty,

    Thanks for putting this out there. Is October 9, the live date for WDW as well or just Disneyland? I assume the cards will work similarly at both resorts?

    Tim

  • fravitmonk

    cotton candy and a pumpkin spice latte is NOT a balanced breakfast.

    • The Lost Boy

      But a caramel apple and an eggnog latte certainly is.

  • Tinkr57

    As the Mother of a wheelchair bound child, I applaud Disney for finally doing something about this issue. Thank You. However I do see one problem I am afraid they will see. It is an issue I have complained about before……Wheelchair Rentals, I see people renting wheelchairs just so they can get on a ride thru an exit and get special seating a parades and shows. Look around next time you go and see how many you can find who rented a chair and obviously does not need one. I feel this new plan since it does not confront this issue, you will, I guarantee see an increase in Wheelchair rentals. As the new rules states clearly, ” A person in a wheelchair doesn’t need a DAS card to get access at attractions where it is not accessible by wheelchair” IE: Pirates of the Caribbean . Once they figure this out, they will be renting chairs like crazy. Keep working on it Disney, finish it don’t leave it half done, Please.

    • A person in a wheelchair wouldn’t need a DAS at DCA (where all the queues are ADA approved). However, at Disneyland they would likely need one on many of the older attractions. If you want to enter an attraction from anything other than its regular standby line, you’d need a DAS.

  • Nland316

    Regarding Tomorrowland; What are they planning on doing with Autotopia/the subs? Are they still planned for demolition? I’ve also heard on another website that Star Wars was only going to take over a smaller area of Tomorrowland, and that the Tron themed light cycles were back on track. Can anyone shed some light on this?

  • EC82

    Man, oh, man — what a disaster on two fronts. First, why are any executives happy with crowds that are nearly SEVENTY PERCENT non-paying guests? I just don’t get how, as a business, Disney can justify the operational expenses of catering to non-paying guests. Now I understand why every INCH of the park seems to be about retail, because they’ve got to get those people to spend more and more money to cover their costs. But I’ve never understood the emphasis on the annual pass program. My own view has always been that they should phase it out over a five-year period and then keep admission prices STABLE, so that within five years they can have prices that are more in line with the marketplace and at least 60% of guests will actually pay for admission on any given day. The result will be shorter lines, smaller crowds but higher per-capita spending. Disney’s business model is very weird, indeed.

    Regarding the disabled guest system: why can’t Disney just require an able-bodied person to stand in line for the guest, then notify them when it’s time to enter the vehicle (through a restaurant-style pager system)? I believe more strongly than I can tell you in the rights of those who are disabled — but I draw the line at special treatment. Everyone has to wait in line. Until 10 years ago, Disney had better ways of helping these guests, until the whole thing just got out of control. Let’s go back to the way it used to be: Almost every ride is accessible to those who are disabled. If they genuinely cannot wait in line for whatever reason, then someone in their party can. And if all guests in a group are disabled, then there should be special assistance. But doing more than that is just asking for the abuse that has been heaped on the system.

    Like I said, I really don’t understand the way Disney works.

    Oh, and fix Alice in Wonderland already.

    • TheDude

      Well, I’m not too sure that AP’s are considered “non-paying” to Disney. Have you seen the AP prices? APs are now a major cash source for the resort. The APers who went on the 13th, paid for that right. (even if it was $20 a head based on total pass price divided by the number of trips to the resort.)

      I know a lot of people on here hate the AP program, as it’s basicly just a park filler program. However, you can’t ignore the numbers. Last I remember reading on here, they had just under a million APs. Even if they were all the $279 passes, that would be more than a quarter billion in revenue. If the 400K number of premium APs mentioned by Al in an old update we’re still true today, that number would look more like a half a billion. that It’s guaranteed revenue for them, if the APer shows up or not. Disney just wants to do anything they can to keep that $500M right where it is.

      I agree 137% on Alice.

      • WannaCub

        I pay for a Premium pass and I think I’m robbing Disney! I totally agree that I’m a non-paying guest because I’ve already paid for my ticket. I’m all for raising AP prices until I can’t afford it so it can thin out the herd.

    • cindylou

      “Regarding the disabled guest system: why can’t Disney just require an able-bodied person to stand in line for the guest, then notify them when it’s time to enter the vehicle (through a restaurant-style pager system)? I believe more strongly than I can tell you in the rights of those who are disabled — but I draw the line at special treatment. Everyone has to wait in line.”

      I see your logic on this. Our family does this for character meet and greets and other things. But say I wait in line for the rides and buzz my husband to bring in our disabled child when I’m close to the front then I’m not spending vacation with my child, I’m spending it waiting in the lines while my husband is having family vacation time elsewhere in the park. That’s to our son’s disadvantage and he’s being punished for being disabled, in this case.

      To anyone else who may have more info on the new system: I assume that since there will be only a few kiosks scattered around (our trips are mostly to WDW) the parks so there will be a line to get your “come back” time to ride. If the DAS ID is given out daily, there’s the line for Guest services every day. And then, after you come back to the ride at your designated time, you have to wait in the fastpass line? This amounts to more lines for people who have trouble with lines, for the safety of others. Also, the wait then would be equal to the stand-by line plus the actual wait in the fastpass line? How is that fair? If the stand-by line for TSM is 100 minutes and we’re sent away for that amount of time to just hang (so our son who doesn’t understand can get ready for his meltdown) and then we come back and have to wait in the fastpass line for 35 minutes where our son will probably melt down. So this is really meant to be a deterrent. Disney has apparently joined the small-minded folks who think that people with autism should stay home.

      I have a feeling that once the new system goes into effect and people have to actually stand in line with people with autism having meltdowns, because of the new system, they’ll long for the good old days when the GAC got us in and out of line more quickly. It’s an inconvenience to change the system for our child but it will be more than an inconvenience when these kids are melting down and the fairness police have to actually see it close up. As we won’t be paying thousands of dollars for a vacation and not ride the rides that our son wants to ride, a lot of people are going to see first hand why the GAC benefits them.

      • DobbysCloset

        I see a whole lot of kids out in the world and no more meltdowns by autistic kids than non-autistic kids.

        Dobby, being a Service Dog, rides public transportation with me. If he is around a child having a meltdown he can often distract the child from continuing. Bus drivers love it!

        As an adult, if I have a meltdown in line, I take myself out of line until I feel better. That is the Mom’s responsibility when the person having the meltdown is a child. Bring another adult. Hand over the child like parents have to when a child isn’t riding. But threatening to scream and turn blue unless one’s kid gets on first isn’t fair to the people who queue responsibly.

    • TRONAlex

      I agree,fix Alice already. It still looks really ugly.

  • EC82

    Also, I know Disney needs to wring the most bucks out of its overpriced Lucasfilm acquisition, and I know virtually no one cares about fine points like this (that have been made over and over and over by other people on the boards), but:

    STAR WARS DOES NOT TAKE PLACE IN THE FUTURE.

    Period.

    • stevek

      Old argument that really isn’t relevant in today’s tomorrowland. Do Buzz Lightyear, Nemo Subs, Autopia Cars, Iron Man, Thor or much else in TL take place in the future? It’s really a land of Science Fantasy verus a true tomorrowland. It’s tomorrowland in name only.

      • EC82

        No, they don’t. And the Disneyland experience is worse for it. There are few places left to dream at Disneyland anymore, assuming your dreams don’t involve franchise characters and branded entertainment. Tomorrowland was, for so long, a place to consider what the future might be like, or at least celebrate our vision. Even when “America Sings” was there, the simple fact that it was in such a marvelous ride building made it feel appropriate. Now, Tomorrowland is just the dumping ground for rides based on movie properties. It’s a real shame that there can’t be SOME nod to what it’s about, whether as a simple exhibit, a ride that even TRIES to evoke some future vision (Space Mountain perhaps comes closest), or some effort to make these attractions somehow fit. But just because “Star Wars” is set in space and Buzz Lightyear is an astronaut doesn’t make them Tomorrowland “fits.” (“Iron Man” probably comes closest, since at least it has SOMETHING to do with technology and a vision of the near future.)

    • DobbysCloset

      Long ago, in a galaxy far, far away…

  • JiminyCricketFan

    I am excited about the new attractions which are being planned. My disappointment is that there will not be a new attraction for the 60th at Disneyland. While I celebrate the improvement of DCA, I really feel that Disneyland has had to pay a big price. There really needs to be an E ticket planned and promoted for DL. I really hope that the new attraction is not just a glorified movie promotion.

  • lcasa

    Hopefully the requirement to physically go to a kiosk gets replaced by an app — seems like a logical extension to the My Disney Experience app especially since the CMs are checking on wait times using an ipad! That would alleviate the biggest issue I see in the complaints above..

  • TRONAlex

    My son and daughter are autistic. The GAC was a Godsend when we went at the most twice a year.
    Both have trouble waiting in lines. Severe meltdowns. It’s hard to explain to a child who is 7 with a mentality of 3 to say we have to come back to ride Buzz Lightyear. He would get a melt down. Also, doesn’t it bother anyone that Disney will take pictures of the people who will be using the GAC pass? Isn’t there a privacy issue with that?
    I feel like my child’s privacy is compromised. What will happen to all the pictures that are taken for the GAC?

    • cindylou

      This seems odd to me as well. I see lawsuits in the future if customers feel as if they’re being made to jump through a lot of hoops that non-disabled people are not. Disney has been sued before on issues regarding disabilities. We don’t go on vacation to be harassed and singled out. We just want to experience the parks and avoid meltdowns. We do that, with careful planning and the GAC system.

      If Disney doesn’t have a better plan for people with autism then they’re in for a rude awakening.

      In the end, the fastpass+ system will be another way for them to make money. They will probably have a tiered system so than you can buy packages to allow for different numbers of fastpasses per day. They’ll make money from disabled people by doing this as family members will pay more just to avoid the horrors of the new system. We’ll essentially be paying for what used to be a GAC. They’ll wait a while before doing this so that people can adjust to the new systems and then they’ll start offering the new packages. It’ll be deemed fair because it will be available for anyone who is willing to pay for it.

    • 9oldmen

      About the privacy issue, you do know that Disneyland is a public place, right? You’re constantly being photographed and taped by surveillance cameras, on-board ride photo cameras (which EVERY one of the thrill rides seems to feature), and also, cameras, iPhones, etc. being used by guests, who, unlike Disney, may not be following any rules regarding your privacy, or how the photos/videos are used, posted online, etc. They’ve been taking photos of multi-day ticket users also, to prevent those from being…regifted or resold.
      Every time I enter a park with my AP, I know that they are looking at my picture that they have in their database. I’m sure that they respect my privacy, though I know that I’m giving a little of it up by having the pass, and by going to a public place. Unlike the DAS photo, my AP photo is not going to be permanently deleted at the end of the day, which is what I’m guessing will happen with the DAS photos. I think the privacy issue is the last thing people should worry about. Unless there’s something different about the DAS photos that I’m missing.

      • cindylou

        I think you are missing the point. In the case of the DAS, disabled people are being asked to stand in one more line, perhaps every day and have a picture taken that is associated with a disability.

        That’s not the same as being on camera with the rest of the park.

        This is seen as a deterrent for abusers but as a side effect, disabled people are being subjected to more hoops to jump through as well as a photo that identifies them with something negative in the eyes of most cast members. They are a huge part of the complainers, after all, as well as part of the group who abuse the GAC system in the first place.

        Extra lines, photo to identify the disabled person, extra hoops. Not fair. Not equal.

    • stevek

      I don’t think the picture is any different than when you get your picture taken with an AP. It’s not there to compromise the privacy of the disabled person, only to provide proof that the person using the GAC is the person that it has been issued to. I completely understand that you are more sensitive to protecting your child but I truly don’t beleive that Disney is trying to do anything to invade your child’s privacy. If anything, I think they would be more sensitive to protecting it.

      • cindylou

        I’m less concerned personally about the photo than some of the other issues. It seems to me though that if they can take a picture of a child with a disability and then label him/her as such in the system then they could just go ahead and ask for proof of disability. This seems like a better fix for me. I think this would end more of the abuse. Someone else may know more about the specifics of the ADA but they’re both invasive. If it cuts down on abuse so that the system works better for the truly disabled then I’m okay with both. It doesn’t seem as though this is a system that will work for severely autistic individuals though.

    • WannaCub

      I think that you shouldn’t have to go to the ride to get the pass, that’s what the kiosk’s are for. I don’t know anything about autism so all I’ll say is, get the pass, then head to the ride.

      Also, if privacy is an issue, you kinda need to stay at home. Cameras are everywhere. Those with any disability AND an AP have their picture taken for their AP. I say, go to the parks and just enjoy yourselves. If that’s not possible, try something else.

      • cindylou

        Getting your picture taken for an AP is very different than getting your picture taken because you have a disability. I don’t have a big issue with this other than it is something that a non-disabled person would have to do, especially if we already have to go to all the extra lines.

        There’s always someone who says, “If you don’t like it, stay home or go someplace else.” My suggestion to you is the same, as you yourself said that you don’t know anything about autism and you’ll probably be the type who feels inconvenienced when my son meltsdown after having to jump though a few hoops to ride each ride.

        Waiting for the person who always says that it’s abuse to take a child with autism to Disney World, as if they don’t want to go.

        The crowd that wants fewer autistic kids interfering with their perfect vacation (or how they think that website comments should be worded) are just good practice for people like me who need to sharpen our advocacy skills.

        So thanks!

    • Rastuso

      Should all 3 year olds get to not wait in line?

      I’m sure Disney wants the pictures to sell them to people who collect photos of autistic children, and people with no obvious physical problems.

      And do you think non autistic seven year olds don’t have meltdowns? Apparently my son, AND ALL OTHERS, should have had a GAC pass when he was at least 3-7 years old.

      Jason

  • Not My Real Name

    Hasn’t obesity been declared a disability or a disease? Will they have to accomodate people who weigh more than 300 pounds?

    I weigh 270.

  • TRONAlex

    Im glad that Disney bought the Muppets. But I am sad to see the 3-D movie go away to make another Monsters Inc ride. Why did Disney buy TheMuppets if they don’t use it to the full potential.
    It seems like Disney bought all these properties just because they can.
    Disney should have cancelled AVATARLAND at Animal Kingdom and made a full on Endorland.
    Where’s the Marvel attractions? A Star Wars land? Muppets land?
    Everything is all Pixar.
    What next, turn Condor Flats into Planesland?
    They already got rid of the Bell X-1 on the front of Test Pilots Grill.
    At least get rid of Captain EO and make a new Muppet 3-D movie in the place of Captain EO,
    Maybe I don’t know, Pigs in Space?

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  • waymire01

    Regarding the GAC.. my husband suffered a back injury several years ago, and on our last trip to WDW he had no choice but to use a scooter for the majority of our trip (18 days), and while he could walk short distances stairs and long periods of standing were simply not possible. We were unaware of the existence of the GAC, and it was not mentioned to us at any time during our stay, even though we utilized the resort staff to help arrange our rental scooter and provide information on accessibility issues, and also had multiple daily contact with staff members involving accessibility throughout our stay. That said we were astonished every day by the helpfulness and respectful assistance given by every cast member we encountered in the parks, resorts, downtown disney, etc. Many times they went completely above and beyond to ensure he was comfortable and assist in any way possible. Having had a long time friend who is wheelchair bound I know the reality of just how uncompromising and difficult it is to find accommodation in “the real world” where simply finding a bathroom you can access is a bonus some days. I can’t say enough about how well Disney handles it. I hope people keep that in mind when reacting to the new program.

    It also saddens me greatly that the need was there to increase security to protect cast members from irate guests.. so very sad that there is a portion of the population who would go so far as to verbally or physically attack another person over something so trivial.

    • cindylou

      People with wheelchairs will be accommodated. People with other disabilities are being punished and made to jump through more hoops, stand in more lines. This will result in many problems, very few of which are “trivial”.

      One result of this problem will be that many autistic kids will require wheelchairs because of sensory issues, meltdowns (to protect the personal space of others) and will result in longer lines for the wheelchair folks. Some people with autism also have other problems that make the symptoms of autism worse when physically stressed like seizure disorders, heart problems, susceptibility to heat stroke, and gait problems. Wheelchair users are part of the problem for invisible disabilities being penalized since they constantly complain about people on the spectrum needing assistance, which they don’t think is deserved.

      These complaints are related to the new system. The old system worked for people on the spectrum. This is discrimination as it penalizes people who have autism.

      My son needing to use a wheelchair suddenly at WDW because Disney is making things more difficult for him is a further burden for our family.

      • stevek

        Are you 100% sure that Disney will not accomodate your needs? If not, I suggest you take a wait and see approach before condemming them. It may feel like an overcorrection right now but you may find it is actually different once you get there. If it isn’t, I completely understand and sympathize with your frustrations.

      • WannaCub

        Cindylou, are you 100% sure you’ll need to jump through hoops to get this new pass or rent a wheelchair? Just wait and see! The GAC wasn’t just for wheelchair people, right? You’d used one for your autistic child before, so why wouldn’t you be able to use one now?

        Take a deep breath and wait to see what happens.

      • charleen

        Cindlou- I agree with you it is going to make it impossible to get a wheel chair now because people that didn’t need them before will have to use them now.

        My daughter has Autism, weak muscle tone, immune issues and hip dysplasia so she needs a wheelchair when we go to Disney on top of those issues she is a runner so the wheel chair helps keep her safe.

        I also strongly agree that this new system is discrimination against people with Autism. I feel as Disney does not want people on the spectrum to visit their parks because it will be better for their typical visitors.

  • DisneyGeek138

    I would just like to point out that Katella Cast Member lot is nowhere as inconvenient as this article makes it seem. The buses are nice, air conditioned, don’t smell bad, and have comfortable seats. Very rarely do people stand, and if they do, it’s by choice. Lines are never long at all to get on them. Pumba lot is popular for CMs because when you are running law, you don’t have to worry about a shuttle possibly getting stopped at every light. You know exactly how long it takes to walk from Pumba. A shuttle ride can greatly vary in time. The exaggeration in this part of the article is disgusting.

    • Westsider

      How long have you been a shuttle driver?

  • danielz6

    Wow when I saw the 100+ comments I was so excited to read about everyone’s speculation on new attractions at the resort but nearly every comment is about GAC, DAS or ADA…what a snooze.

    • cindylou

      There are plenty of Disney forums/blogs where talk of the GAC / DAS is forbidden and any questions or comments result in a immediate locking of the threads/comments. FYI, if you’re bored.

      • DobbysCloset

        That’s awful, banning talk about disability!

        I’m not bored by the talk of access for the disabled, but it’s difficult trying to make one system work for everyone.

        It’s hard for me to get excited about development at Disneyland because I will believe it when I see it. Alice who?

    • CaptainAction

      Me too Danielz6

  • stitch1085

    Disney should just adopt the same program in place at Universal Studios. You go to guest service, tell them you need assistance, they hand you a rather nifty card with a barcode on it. You take this card to the greeter at whatever attraction you want to ride, they scan it and tell you “Come back at (insert time here).” When your time comes up, you go back to the greeter they scan your card again and like magic you’re in! No muss, no fuss, no walking back and forth (as some are concerned about). And it only allows you this assistance once per attraction, I think, not 100% sure. And anyone trying to beat the system saying things like “oh well I already came by and they told me to come back right now,” is a no-go because they have those scanners telling them when a person first arrived to the attraction. It might be a little costly but I think it’s cheaper than any lawsuit that Disney might get slammed with.

    • Westsider

      That’s about the same system Disney will be using, except without the barcodes and with centralized kiosks so you don’t have to go all the way to a ride and then wait nearby; you could get a Space Mt. boarding time issued to you in Critter Country after you get off Splash Mt. instead of walking all the way to Space Mt. for it.

      And that same basic system has lots of folks here screaming BLOODY MURDER! that it will be too much work for them and that’s it is hateful behavior on the part of Disney executives and hourly Cast Members alike. But it’s fair and equitable.

      Oh well, you can’t please everyone!

      • cindylou

        The difference between Universal’s system and Disney’s is that my family (don’t know about anyone else’s) doesn’t spend two weeks there. We get in and out, doing only what our child likes to do. If we want to spend the extra money and get their Express Pass, which is an all day fastpass, we can do that for two days, or stay at one of their resorts.

        I think that Disney’s Fastpass+ system will eventually evolve into a tiered system that you can pay for extra fastpasses, etc. That will result in negative PR when people with autism have to pay a lot extra to be able to go to Disney parks.

        Whether Disney puts the DAS system in place as described or eventually charges more to make things easier, the result is the same for people with autism. They are making it harder.

        I did read someplace that the DAS program for people with autism will be a bit different. We’ll see.

  • [email protected]

    Wow, lots of passion in here about the GAC. First let me say that I am glad that DLR is revamping the current system. I saw much fraud and deceit from both Guests and CMs. I, myself have a GAC. I don’t use a wheel chair, and to look at me, you would think that there was nothing wrong with me. I have Mesothelioma. I have had my whole left lobe (lung) removed. I am terminal, but I want to spend time with my young daughter at my favorite place in the world. I got my GAC after I found out I could not stand for extended periods of time. I don’t want to use a wheel chair or scooter because I enjoy walking through the park. I am a AP for two years now, and hoping to get at least one more year out of this body of mine. My family (3 of us), used my GAC as it was meant to be used. If there was a longer line than I could stand, we used it. If not we stood in the regular line. I never let anyone else use my card. And, when it came time to get a new one, I told the Guest Relations CM that I only need it for 3 people. There were times that a CM at an attraction would give me a look over, ask who name was on the card, and then ask why I needed it in the first place. I didn’t think it was the CM’s job to ask that particular question, and I told them so. The current system was broke, that was obvious. One example of how it was broken was this. Back on July 4th of this year, my family of 3 went to DLR for the day. I knew I needed to go to Guest relations first to update my expired GAC. I have Disabled parking on my car. at the same time I parked a Minivan pulls up next to me. A family of 6 jumps out of the van and they start arguing on who is going to be the “gimp” today. I was puzzled by this until I saw that they had brought a wheelchair with them. I watched as they kept saying “you got it last time” and “I want to be the lazy one today”. I just shook my head and walked away in disgust. I saw this same family now at City Hall, telling the CM that her son (he must have won the argument) has Vertigo, and can’t stand for more than 5 minutes at a time. Once again, I just shook my head and left. I saw this same family through out the day. Cheating not only DRL, but every other Guest that had to wait for them. I saw them verbally attack and threaten CM’s and Guest alike. After seeing this first handed, I felt sickened and ashamed to my GAC. So yes, I am glad that the are trying to fix the problem. For the wheelchair / scooter people. You are already sitting. You don’t have a reason to cut the lines. If the stairs are the issue, that is one thing, but a good amount of the attractions don’t have stairs. Just my thought.

    • WannaCub

      Thank you for your comment! I tip my hat off to you!

  • John Keola Lessary

    I hope they don’t take away Captain EO before our trip in November. Our kids love that show and were super bummed when I told them it wouldn’t be there. We also wanted to buy a Hooter doll while we were there.

    Any definitive date on when EO will be gone?

    • poohmeg

      I’m also a huge Captain EO fan – if there is a Disney Store Outlet anywhere you can get to, go now – I got one of the full-size stuffed Hooter dolls last week for $10. 🙂 Obviously that doesn’t bode well for the continued presence of Captain EO in the parks, but at least you can get a deal!

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  • dancinboi78

    I am a premium Annual Pass Holder. I have to say that I am in the minority… I believe that the GAC was a blessing for disabled people and people with special conditions. I dont have any problem getting a fast pass and waiting my turn. I also DO NOT have a problem with disabled and special needs guests being able to get on the ride when they want. We are lucky to be able to stand in a line for a ride. I think its terrible that people are worried about ride “fairness”… WHO CARES?! If it makes a special needs/disabled/handicapped persons life better to ride those rides, then let them ride. I think they are entitled to that joy they get from the attractions. I think everyone needs to stop their complaining, and put yourself in their shoes for a day.

    • ComPrt3

      Thank you for your comment!

      My faith in humanity has been restored… God bless you 😀

  • Rushin

    The first time we ever took our Autistic child to Disneyland it was a horrific experience. It is hard to explain to someone who does not deal with it first hand how traumatizing it can be when your child completely dissolves and cannot handle something even if it is a preferred activity that they so desperately want to do. There is a level of comprehension (of lack thereof) that people with typically developing children just don’t have to deal with and cannot imagine.

    My husband and I resolved to never take him back. But then one day we met a Disneyland employee who told us about the Guest Assistance Card. To be honest, we were still very skeptical. But he was so enthusiastic about what a difference this would make for us. And so very, very proud that he worked for a company that went out of its way to make life easier for people with special needs. He kept saying, “Maybe you cannot take him to a supermarket, but you can take him to Disneyland!!” It was infectious so we decided to try again.

    And he was right. The GAC really helped us. It allowed my child to access the park and without it that would not have been possible. Thanks to this accommodation we have been able to go to the park at least once a year. Although I had not thought of that man for quite a while, today’s news definitely brought him to mind. I wonder if he was part of the discussion about this change. I wonder if he is still as proud of the company he works for or if he even still works there at all.

    There are so many potential issues with the new program as it is described that I cannot imagine any consideration was given to those struggling with Autism. A stranger taking pictures of them? Finding a kiosk and waiting on that line before going to the ride itself?

    When the story broke about how a few wealthy people abused the system to cut the line I knew there would be the inevitable backlash against the disabled and special needs groups. Given how progressive Disneyland has been in the past it did not occur to me that they would join the chorus.

    While I understand the need to curb abuses, I would hope Disneyland would do so in a way that does not exclude those who truly need and benefit from the program.

    I can only hope that the new program will not eliminate our child’s ability to access the park. Based on how the program is described above I do not have high hopes.

    • sjkobriger

      Great post Rushin. You hit the nail on the head as far as my thoughts on this well. We also have an austistic son. He looks completely normal and is generally high-functioning, but has a version of autism called Asperger’s syndrome. If any of you have seen the show “Parenthood” he is very similar to the character of Max on that show.

      On our first visit to Disneyland, we had a similar experience to Rushin, a miserable time due to the lack of ability to understand patience, waiting, etc. These are things that he struggles with and we work on him including extensive (and expensive!) therapies and counseling. We try to use everyday experiences to teach lessons (including our first time at Disneyland), but this can be emotionally draining and can physically manifest itself in ways that are unpleasant not only to our family but others in the near vicinity (outbursts, meltdowns).

      Our next effort at Disney took place at WDW a few years after trying disneyland and we heard about the GAC through an autism social group. The CM who provided it to us was extremely kind and accomodating and it was a godsend. We actually only used it 3 or 4 times at each park since all day thrill riding wouldn’t make sense, but the reduction in stress level for our vacation was immense. The current system would certainly add complexity and worry for our son that seems unnecessary. I agree that the system doesn’t really seem to have included mental disabilities in the thought process.

      It seems like a radical change and additional infrastructure to deal with abuse that could be handled with minor change. My guess is that 90% of the abuse could have be stopped with 4 minor changes:
      1) Require a picture of the guest requiring assistance on the GAC.
      2) Limit the GAC use to 4 people including the disabled guest
      3) Match the term of the GAC to the days of admission purchased (AP holders would need to obtain a GAC on each visit)
      4) Limit use of the GAC to 4 times per day

      There would still be some abuse, but I think just the above changes would eliminate much of the lure of the current GAC to the abusers while still accomodating those that truly need it to enjoy their days in the parks.

      • cindylou

        There are several reasons why your suggestions might not work for someone with severe autism but I do agree with the showing ID. That would be less invasive than taking a picture that some small-minded people might associate with something that they view as negative.

  • charleen

    Is there a Disney rep on here answering anyone’s concerns???

    • 9oldmen

      If you have a concern that you want Disney to address, then why don’t you contact Disney?About the able bodied and minded people who are abusing the system: A lot of them are, I take it, APers, who are repeat visitors/offendors. It’s too bad that the company can’t identify them, maybe by noticing that a different member of the family or group has the “disability” on different days, and revoke their passes, or ban them from the park. It is private property, and I think they have the right to refuse admission to anyone they want.

  • Not My Real Name

    Probably not. Very rarely does any current high-ranking CM post on these boards.

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  • Not My Real Name

    If so many able-bodied people hate to see a disabled person go to the head of the line, does this mean y’all don’t like single rider? I wouldn’t ride Splash or Indy without it. And DAS seems worse than single rider.

    I’ve done some reading on Aspergers and I think I have a mild case of it. I find it difficult to make friends, other people’s behavior confuses me sometimes, i don’t like to be touched and I always go to a theme park alone.I also have major depression and take antidepressants. WHEW!

    I think I’ll stick with FastPass and single rider.

    • DobbysCloset

      My situation would be similar to yours; if anyone jealous of me for using Single Rider knew how sad and depressed it makes me feel to watch families enjoying together time whilst queuing, they’d be embarrassed for themselves.

  • TDSTOM

    Leave it to Al to make a pleasant walk to a parking lot into some kinda dangerous hike akin to Indiana Jones trying to trek through the war torn Germany with rapist and killers hiding in the bushes.

    Sheez.

    • The Lost Boy

      Not to mention all the innocent oxen that have been gored.

    • Westsider

      Walk from Splash Mountain to the Pumbaa lot at Midnight (look it up on Google Maps), dodge a few homeless guys bumming change, plus the rap artists selling their new CD for $1 who won’t take no for an answer, and then do that again five days a week for the next few years and see how “pleasant” that walk is.

      But it’s better than the KCML Shuttle and KCML parking fight. If they take away Pumbaa from us, it’s going to be a sad day. And the homeless guys won’t get as much spare change from us either.

  • whamo

    I really enjoy the written updates on the parks in Micechat. Those are well done. But the mindless banter on the Micechat broadcasts is like listening to a book report in elementary school.
    As for the disabled in wheelchairs getting on early. It’s abused. One person in a wheelchair, and a half-dozen guests? I don’t think that’s right. I’m disabled, on dialysis, with heart and liver issues, but I still walk around the park on most trips. I have to admit it’s nice to ride around the park on a scooter. It’s like a ride between rides. It’s kind of expensive to rent a scooter though.

    • DobbysCloset

      I can’t listen to most podcasts at all — men talking to one another I find distinctly uninteresting. I assume that’s because I am female and constantly subjected to men giving me their opinions without asking for mine.

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  • The Lost Boy

    You cannot help but be touched by many of these accessibility anecdotes. I expect some of them are true as well.

    • second blue teacup

      Oh, not too many of them, I expect.

      • Rastuso

        ^like

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  • The Lost Boy

    Too bad Harry Potter isn’t a Disney property like Snow White. Disney’s already gotten 76 years of mileage out of Snow White and will get at least another 76 years more.

    You never know, if Disney sees a potential profit in Harry Potter Company, Disney make acquire it after it’s eventual downhill swing.

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  • Rastuso

    I’m always blown away how every family with a child with 5 different problems, that essentially make it so the only way he can enjoy life is by being able to walk right to the front of the line for everything, find the same website.

    I can go weeks, if not months without seeing someone in a wheelchair. When I go to Disneyland, I see hundreds of people, all amazingly with huge families, in them. Yet, no matter h ow horrible their diseases are, or these stories of children who can’t stand still for 3 seconds, apparently CAN ride the Haunted Mansion just fine.

    I was just at DL, and absolutely shocked by the masses of people with GACs in all the lines, most with absolutely no noticeable problems. I’m sure the teen boys laughing as they went into the Indy elevator all have some horrible diseases.

    If you can’t wait to ride a ride, not even in a line, maybe you shouldn’t go to the park? My wife had her large intestines removed from horrible UC. We have never even thought of getting a disability pass.

    There are HuGE amounts of fraud in these passes, and very few people that truly are so bad off they need front of the line access all day because of it.

    Jason

    • charleen

      Rastuso(Jason) If you can’t act like a decent human being….maybe you shouldn’t comment or maybe YOU shouldn’t go to the park.

      • DobbysCloset

        How is Jason indecent for reporting his observation and offering his opinion?

        Educate, don’t castigate!

      • Rastuso

        I’d love to know how I’m not a decent human, please educate me. Am I wrong that there are tons of fake GAC passes, and that most people who can ride rides don’t need to rush right on without waiting?

        You sure rush to judge me.

        Jason

  • soletrain

    hope all you parents and disney puritans are ready for my girlfriends nephew having a tourette syndrome freak out while waiting in line for peter pan…my next trip is gonna be hilarious for me! not so hilarious for small children and the easily offended.

    • DobbysCloset

      Does he bark? Used to have a neighbor with Tourette Syndrome who would go outside to smoke a cigarette. My dog would bark; the neighbor would respond and the two of them would have a conversation. Fortunately the neighbor had a great sense of humor about it.

      Seriously, if he freaks out, get him out of line. Or don’t put him into line. I wonder, though, if they’ll have all the attractions on some sort of plan…or just the E ticket rides?

    • Rastuso

      I would MUCH rather you take him out of line because he had a breakdown than having him ruin the ride that I waited an hour for, but you and he waited 2 minutes for.

      Surely you get that, right?

      Jason

  • charleen

    cindylou- we can’t reason with ignorant people that have no clue what life is like for a child with Autism and make such rude comments regarding our children. Those are the kind of adults that raise bullies.

    • cindylou

      Sadly, you’re exactly right. They do it shamelessly as well.

      • charleen

        People act as if Disney is giving us some winning lottery numbers by issuing a disability pass. Do they really think that while we are in the disability line we are thinking we got one over on everyone else or we are happy to be in that line?
        I would love for my daughter to not be disabled and for us to be in the regular line but that is not the case and I will continue to make her life as normal as possible and let her enjoy things that other children do.
        THE LOST BOY-My daughter doesn’t need your and anyone else’s sympathy and apparently you haven’t read the nasty comments towards the disabled on here. No one is asking the park to provide anything more then they have in the past for the disabled however I am in agreement that they need to be stricter about who they issue the passes to and that proof and verification should be provided even if it needs to be sent ahead of time.
        I’m not sure who you are referring to when you reference “Guests that are unable or unwilling to control themselves are first asked to leave” and what that has to do with the disability pass.
        And yes I am offended that the current disability pass is being taken away because of those that took advantage of it but YOU do not have any right to tell anyone to stay away…

    • Rastuso

      So, since studies show 2% of kids have autism. Hell, I’m an engineer REALLY good at math. Chances are I’m autistic. Somehow I waited in line at WDW of my whole life. I don’t think every autistic deserves a front of the line pass. I’m sure Ill be called evil for that.

      But tell me, do you expect to go the front of the line at Walmart? Do you skip the line at Toys R Us? Do you expect to be able to show up late at movies right as the movie begins, into your reserved middle of the theater seats?

      I don’t understand how so many people think their ailment deserves front of line access for them and all of their friends and family every time they go to a Disney park. If you add up all the ailments, hell just Chrons and autism alone, you are easily into double digits of guests who deserve FOL access. Throw in really old people, heck lets throw in your average two year, who gets really tired after being on their feet for a few hours.

      When does the GAC group get larger than the normal group. Oh wait, it already happens at Haunted Mansion at Disneyland.

      Jason

  • The Lost Boy

    I think most people have sympathy for the plight of the disabled. Sympathy begins to fade, however, when the zealots insist that their personal understanding is the only one that counts and no one besides them has any standing to comment. Sympathy disappears completely when a disability is used as an annoyance to ostensibly get even with others.

    The Park is required to provide reasonable accommodations, not perfect accommodations. If you do not like or are offended by the accommodations, please stay away.

    What many people don’t realize is that Park security monitors and documents disruptive situations, handicapped or not. Guests that are unable or unwilling to control themselves are first asked to leave. This can escalate to having admissions cancelled, to being banned for life. The Park has been sued by better people than most and usually always wins primarily because of its history of reasonable accommodation (and good documentation) policies.

    This isn’t cruel, it’s life, the trick is to figure out a way to overcome limitations, not use them as a crutch.

  • Damien Nguyen-Tran

    I had a Guest Assistance Card on July 10

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  • Not My Real Name

    Hey, where did pages 5 & 6 go?

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  • pattimarie

    If this whole thing was started by rich people using handicap people to avoid lines–HOW DOES THIS STOP THAT!!! It seems like the same abuses can still occur, because the idea is that the disabled person is given a time to come back but gets on sooner when they come back. Rich people might still hire disabled people to get on sooner. I also have observed teens who seemed to be abusing the system–very annoying when you have real disabilities–BUT HOW DOES THIS STOP THAT!!! They’ve made the system a little harder and more difficult for real disabled people, while not stoping the abuses. When corporations announce things like this, people don’t seem to really think it through and realize that nothing much has changed for people who abuse it–only for those who really need it.

  • spacemn

    According to California ADA discrimination laws it is illegal for any bussiness to ask for any identification or proof that you are disabled. The only time proof is required is by the Federal or State government for monetary/medical assistance or by the DMV for disabled parking placards (as far as I know). My wife and I have attended Disneyland/DCA a few times and at no time were we asked what our disability was nor asked for any documentation. We volunteered that information when asking for the GAC out of courtesy and had my wife’s ID with us but I believe this is why the GAC is being phased out for the DAS. Anybody could ask for a GAC card without any proof and use it for the day. Hence the abuse by non-disabled patrons. I really hope the system works smoothly and everyone can enjoy a day or days at the parks. See you there.

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  • Streamliner

    The craziest thing I learned from this article is that the DIsneyland resort has more ride attractions (attractions with vehicles) than all of Walt Disney World. Is that really true? I would like to see a breakdown. I live for rides, so this is even more reason why I, if given the choice, would choose to go to a Disneyland Park over WDW. It’s just more bang for your buck.

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