Disneyland’s Halloween Time continues, but the big scare this week was the introduction of the new Disability Access Service (DAS), the replacement for Disneyland’s much abused Guest Assistance Card program. Disney prepared for big lines at City Hall for the roll-out of the new program which has seriously changed the way disabled guests will experience the park. Meanwhile, refurbishments and construction projects continue, including the Candy Palace refurb on Main Street, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad’s ongoing overhaul, the new Fantasyland fall safety additions and new Starbucks construction in Downtown Disney.

DAS Your guide to the magic

The Disneyland resort rolled out their new Disability Access Service program on Wednesday.  The reason behind the change is clear.  With over 2,000 Guest Assistance Cards being issued on busy days over the two parks, and roughly 10% of the crowds being back-doored onto rides, there was a big problem.

While it is a shame that it took so long for Disney Management to tackle this issue, they are to be commended for addressing it now.  The goal of the new DAS system is simple; weed out those taking advantage of the system.  The execution, however, is far more complicated than the old GAC.

To help those who legitimately need Disabled access, we offer these helpful tips on how the system works.

When guests requiring disabled access enter the park, they should go directly to either City Hall in Disneyland or Chamber of Commerce in Disney California Adventure.

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When guests speak with the Cast Members at these locations, they will need to explain their reason for needing more than the usual access.  Impatience is not something that will get you an assistance card.  Instead, they will ask you specifically WHY you cannot wait in the line with regular guests and will assign you a card according to your needs.  Unlike the GAC card of the past, guests requiring this assistance will need to stop by City Hall at the beginning of each visit.

Once a guest is assigned a DAS card the rules will be explained to them.  In short this is how it goes.

  • The card you are assigned for the day will allow you and your party to make a reservation time to return to a ride without a wait.
  • The return times you are assigned will be given to you based on current wait time.
  •  You will only be able to hold a return time for one attraction at a time.
  • You can get reservation times for any ride in the entire resort, from any kiosk in any park.  The kiosks are not location specific.
  • Any member of a DAS user’s party may obtain the return time from the kiosk, however the actual DAS user MUST ride the attraction with the rest of their party for all to ride.

There are five different locations throughout Disneyland Park that one can obtain these reservations.

GUests assigned DAS cards are given this location card.
Guests assigned DAS cards are given this location card.
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The Tomorrowland location.
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The Haunted Mansion location.
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The Fantasyland location near Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride
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The Central Plaza Location.

There are also three different locations inside Disney California Adventure.

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The location near Little Mermaid
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The Cars Land location where the Radiator Springs Racers kiosk was.
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The information board on Buena Vista Street

Recently, MiceChatter TiggaPlease visited the park and decided to share his experience.

Once we made it through the line at city hall, our cast member greeted us and asked me what my concerns about their rides were. I explained my disability (2 herniated discs in my lower back have caused nerve damage and chronic pain in my legs).

After my concerns were heard, she explained the new DAS system cards were only being distributed to parents of children who, “do not understand the concept of time” while people with mobility issues are given the recommendation to rent a wheelchair.

The next part was a bit confusing. She explained that they are allowing cast members at the rides to let people in at their discretion. When I asked her to clarify, she only repeated herself. She was nice enough give us two return passes for the rides we wanted to do most, but suggested we utilize the fast pass system and plan out our day. She then attempted to give us an actual fast pass for Space Mountain (one of our chosen rides), but her system had a problem. She asked if we wouldn’t mind going to the ride ourselves and just waiting in line, or did I have concerns with its queue. I let her know the upwards incline of the queue irritates my sciatic nerve. She then went into the back office to ask her supervisor for a fast pass.

After a ten minute wait she returned and stated, per her supervisor, we would receive a DAS given my concerns for the Space Mtn queue. She took down my name, took my picture, etc. and printed out my DAS. We received the flyer with the DAS kiosk location to get our card signed and filled out out first ride based off the latest queue time and took off the time it would get to the ride from City Hall. The overall experience took about 25-30min.

The new DAS card system is a confusing monster of corporate double speak and veiled questions.  It is all constructed to essentially allow the front of the line cast members to handle things on a case by case basis, as opposed to the blanket rules from before.  There are a million variables happening each day that the plaids are having to deal with.  But it all boils down to trying to create a more acceptable experience for everyone.

Is it fair?  No, not at all. But, it’s a tough call and one that Disney is currently grappling with.

Our advice at the moment is simple.  Be kind, patient and understanding with the cast members having to roll out this new system.  They are not the ones that created it, but they are the ones that have to administer it, and they are the ones that will convey your concerns.  This is an evolving story and one that will take a while to play out as there will no doubt be many adjustments made to the system in the coming months.

Starbucks in Downtown Disney

The new Starbucks location in Downtown Disney continues to percolate slowly behind yellow construction walls. Progress may seem iced from a guest perspective, but in addition to the notable visible changes to the storefront’s facade, there’s plenty of work going on inside to convert the space from a retail store to a food service location. This project will be fully caffeinated soon enough.
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Starbuck on Main Street doing well

Meanwhile, on Main Street, the new Starbucks in the Market House is doing well. No matter how you feel about this big change to the Market House, the addition is proving popular with regular guests and is undoubtedly a success story for the suits at Disney who approved it.
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Candy Palace Progress

The facade refurbishments at the Penny Arcade and Candy Palace continues as the October off-season heads toward the start of the hugely popular holiday season.
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Monorail Track Work

A portion of the Monorail track near the old Motorboat Cruise dock is under refurbishment.

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Fanta-safety-land

Not far from the Motorboat Cruise dock, the rooftops of Fantasyland continue to see new fall safety protections installed. So far, the fall safety here in Fantasyland has turned out rather nice, whether it be seamlessly extending existing castle walls or adding new turrets, the additions are mostly well-done and address Disney’s Cal/OSHA issues.
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Haunted Mansion Holiday updates

Last week Disney announced new additions to Haunted Mansion Holiday that celebrate its 13th anniversary. The additions are part of the on-going “Limited Time Magic” promotion and mostly amount to simple decorations that feature the number 13, to commemorate the anniversary.
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Yet another Jack face has been exposed in the advent gingerbread house.

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Ribbons on attic presents feature a “13” pattern.
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one of the gifts which follow you home is a 13.

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Court Closed

It happened a week later than fans originally expected, but the Court of Angels is now sadly closed. The space will now begin its conversion into the new private lobby for Club 33, which includes enclosing the courtyard’s gated entrances with opaque glass and installing a new elevator.
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Another victim of this Club 33 expansion is the small L’Ornament Magique shop, which will now act as the new front door of Club 33.
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And that’s the Disneyland week in review. Let us know your feelings on the various projects. We hope to see you again soon. . . In The Parks!

Oh, there’s a little matter we forgot to mention . . . Beware of hitchhiking ghosts!

If you have about an hour of time, sit down, put on your headphones and enjoy a REALLY unique podcast episode from Window to the Magic. It’s a Halloween themed radio drama in the classic style. Best of all, it takes place in the Haunted Mansion!

Direct Download | iTunes Link

  • eicarr

    I’m down with DAS. Happy, and hope this helps lines like Radiator springs. Hopefully they can tackle the stroller issue next.

    Sad New Orleans will seem smaller without a courtyard to walk by. The masters put it there for a reason(depth and atmosphere). Those courtyards are an essential part of an authentic representation of New Orleans. Hopefully 20 years from now,,,

    • JFS in IL

      This past late May I had my adult son with autism/hypotonia at the resort and Radiator was down in the morning and no passes being given out (no idea when it would be working). Later that day we went back into DCA from D’Land and RSR had been up and running for a while and all FPs were gone – there was a small kiosk giving hand-written passes for GAC folks to come back later – exactly what the DAS is now! Anyway, we had an hour to kill and walked into It’s Tough to be a Bug – I had no idea what it was and it was not on our radar. Just a time-killer. 😉 Guess what – Joe LOVED it! I think the DAS will help steer folks into stuff they otherwise might pass by. This was the only ride (at the time) doing what is now the overall DAS system and Joe coped just fine. How this will pan out over the course of an entire visit remains to be seen, and I will be reading posts from DAS-users with great interest.

      • QPerth

        what terrific and positive feedback! Thanks for sharing this story, I hope it inspires other people in similar situations to adapt and find new wonders also. =D

  • Malin

    From what I’m reading it is sounding very much like Disney are planning to make the DAS difficult for people who are wishing to use the service. Including the ones like the above who genuinely need it! Its still in the opening phase but its sounding like Disney are going to do there best to discourage people from using DAS. Again I’m in favour of the changes but not if its going to cause a great deal of hassle and time for the genuine cases. But at the same time this will make it very difficult for the few individuals that are taking advantage of the system.

    Sorry to say I honestly don’t care that Court of Angels is gone… And since I’m not a member I also don’t care what’s going in its place.

    • Susan Hughes

      Do keep in mind that the rampant abuse and exploitation of the GAC system was the reason for the change. Disney in no way wants to make it difficult for the “genuinely” disabled. There wasn’t a law that forced Disney to create GAC. They did it to be helpful.
      So don’t be upset with Disney. Be upset with the thousands who have no morals or ethics. They caused all this. And sadly, they may still abuse DAS.

      • johntodd

        I think it’s fair to mention here that it’s been determined that the a major portion of the abuse at DL was coming from Disney CMs and Executives.

        Thanks, Disney!

      • ranman101

        I beg to disagree partially with johntodd. Yes there were many CM’S and Execs. abusing the system. However, there were a lot more people who were not employees of Disney abusing the system. I also know many who are disabled that didn’t need the GAC, but used it any way. It’s a sad society we live in.

    • Once all the cheaters learn that they can’t gain special advantage from the system and overall usage drops, this will be a great system for disabled families. Cast members have been given additional power to help folks in need above and beyond the power of the DAS card itself.

      It is NOT Disney’s intention to make things difficult for disabled folks but rather to make the system more functional by getting rid of the abuse and fraud.

      • TRONAlex

        So in other words, the power will go to the CM’s head and they will feel like Gods?

    • DobbysCloset

      If a person actually has herniated disks already, what are they doing riding thrill rides?

      Sorry, my late husband had herniated disks and sciatica when I first met him. He also didn’t exercise and spent most of his time moaning on the couch. He was also ten years older than me, so one day I came back from the store without some special can of soup and got chastised — I said, “I’m sorry, but I may need to find someone younger, who can actually walk through a grocery store.” The next day we embarked on an exercise program and, a year later, he no longer had sciatica. Of course it totally helped that he was no longer driving a stick shift in rush hour traffic from Fullerton to North Hollywood twice a day…

      The Cast Member was right. If one cannot stand, one sits in a chair. One can sit in the chair or push the chair if one needs a break from sitting. I once pushed my husband all through the San Diego Wild Animal Park because of his complaining that he couldn’t walk and he found it quite embarrassing.

      Having a bad back or being overweight are not the point of equal access for the disabled..

      • jjw69

        I totally agree with you bout the person having the bad back should not ride let alone Space Mountain. They have signs for each attractions that state persons with back problems shouldn’t ride. Especially having two herniated disc!

      • TRONAlex

        My Mother has a bad heart, herniated discs, and a cage in her back.
        She has trouble waiting in line as well.
        She doesn’t ride the E-ticket rollercoasters.
        She rides the simple rides like Haunted Mansion, or even Jungle Cruise.

      • TRONAlex

        I forgot to mention, my Mom’s 5’9″ and about 150 pounds.

  • parker4fm

    Last weekend was the first time I noticed the motor boat cruise loading area. It’s quite a big space that is going unused. With a little creative theming, it could be a great character meet-n-greet location. Anyone heard if they are ever going to utilize this space?

    • Looks like a future Ewok village to me.

      • majestros23

        I hope not….

    • Big D

      Isn’t it currently one of only two smoking locations in the park?

      • TodAZ1

        There are 3 smoking areas in Disneyland. Walkway under the Monorail track on the Autopia fence, across from the Matterhorn, another on the Big Thunder Trail and another in front of the Haunted Mansion, along the ROA.

      • daveyjones

        the motor boat cruise platform is a former smoking location; late 90s / early 00s.

  • JFS in IL

    Leaving it up to individual Cast Members to figure out each and every potential DAS user’s needs puts too much pressure on them, and make it even harder for folks who NEED the DAS to anticipate and plan for their day at the parks. I NEED to KNOW that I can get a DAS for my six-foot tall adult son with autism and hypotonia BEFORE I go (hey, Disney, autism and inability to understand the concept of time is not limited to “children”. Folks don’t magically outgrow either, alas) or I won’t try to take him there in the first place (unless that is what the suits hope I decide?) And don’t tell me I need to put Joe in a wheelchair (hypotonia is muscle weakness – Joe tires very easily) as he is 1. too heavy for me to push all over the park 2. Joe in a power chair, sounds like a recipe for disaster 😉 and 3. he doesn’t not use a chair in “real life” so why would I try and MAKE HIM LOOK DISABLED now? I try and plan Joe’s day to keep him happy and walking and fitting in as much as possible.

    Whether a GAC or a DAS, if I have one of those and space out times when Joe must stand (character meet and greets*) with frequent rests (but he’ll only sit if I get him pizza or soda) I can let Joe have a fun day without him flopping down on the ground cranky and exhausted (and he is not a toddler I can pick up anymore).

    Well, I am sure they mean well. It is just going to take feedback from both Cast Members and the folks needing DAS for all the kinks to get ironed out of the new system.

    Irony is, when I first brought Joe to Disneyland a couple years ago I asked for a pass that would let him wait somewhere out of full sun (yes, he wilts in heat easily too) where he could SIT instead of trying to stand for long periods in line (crowds do not bother this guy – inability to sit does). Sounds like the new DAS is just what I wanted in the first place. Just PLEASE guarantee in advance that I can get one for Joe – don’t leave it up to the whim of an over-worked Cast Member when I al already with Joe in the park!

    * I read one mom’s comments elsewhere that the DAS can be used for the long character lines like for Mickey in his house – is this true? I sure hope so – Joe loves the characters but those lines wipe him out (ever seen a grown man try and sit on a railing or squat on the ground? That was Joe.)

    • FerretAfros

      It sounds like your son is the exact type of person that the new system is designed for. If you’re really concerned about his accommodations, I’m sure you can call DL prior to your trip and they will be able to let you know what to expect

      • DobbysCloset

        I think that this situation is indeed difficult. The time Joe can’t wait in line for a ride will have to be spent waiting at a kiosk getting a return time.

        The situation calls for a third person to be added to your party, so that you can be focused on Joe and someone else can run back and forth for you…

  • FerretAfros

    I’m confused by how you spent a paragraph explaining that DAS is intended to be a personalized approach to deal with person’s individual needs, only to follow it up by a blanket statement that it’s inherently unfair. It seems to me that they are approaching this in a very appropriate manner to accommodate those who need accommodation, while also trying to cut down on abuse.

    • Norman Gidney

      Good point. I should clarify that statement. The system is attempting to be fair. But what is unfair is that those who truly need said system are being made to go through this screening process do to rampant abuse in the past.

  • Susan Hughes

    I’m more than happy to see GAC cards gone. DAS should help. But keep in mind that Disney “legally” cannot ask for “proof” of a disability. And that’s the loophole that the lowlifes were aware of when they abused and exploited the GAC system.
    For the truly lazy “fakers”, this just might be too much for them to go through, especially now that it’s no longer a “cut in line free, anytime” card. Also, like roaches when the lights go on, having to have their photo taken could scare them away.
    But for the die-hard abusers, they’re still going to be able to take advantage and get a DAS card. That bothers me.

    • BradyNBradleysMom

      I think having their pictures taken will be a big deterrent to people who don’t really have disabilities. People who actually are disabled won’t object…but the fakers will not want to be on any kind of record, for fear it will come back to haunt them. This is a genius thing being done. I like the “light on the cockroaches” line. That’s really true.

      • Susan Hughes

        Those GAC cards were a joke. Cheap card stock with no identification whatsoever. They were passed around and used by numerous people because no ID was needed to use them.
        So having a photo taken, cards being scanned, and records being kept is a HUGE improvement over the easily abused GAC.

    • Tinkbelle

      I think, too, that this won’t deter people who are dead set on abusing the system. I’m sure the above mentioned really had a problem with herniated discs… but someone could fake the same issue and get a DAS card.

  • poohmeg

    I’m assuming the young lady in guest services does not have children of her own, and hasn’t spent much time around children in general – no child really “understands the concept of time” at a young age – I’m assuming the intent is not to give a DAS to every parent with children under 6 or 7 years old – although I’m sure that would be a popular “limited time magic” idea! 🙂 As many have said before, I’m sure it will take some time for staff to be trained and kinks to be ironed out – I feel for everyone on both sides of those conversations right now.

    • DobbysCloset

      Based on 58 years of personal experience, many adults don’t seem to understand the “concept of time” either…nor the concept of the “value of time.”

      I agree, this is going to be a rocky experience. Doesn’t look to me that the spaces designated to facilitating it will be adequate, either, considering the wheelchair and stroller parking involved using the kiosks.

  • dgo33

    While I applaud Disney for recognizing the abuse of the GAC program, it just seems like any other “security” measure where it’s a constant game of cat and mouse. Soon, the abusers will learn the proper sequence of phrases to be granted a DAS card and once again giggle with entitlement. Although they won’t be able to come in at 5 pm and ride every attraction before the fireworks. Mouse – 1, Cat – 0. For now.

    Regarding The Court of Angels, I was recently re-reading the 1996 book “Imagineering A Behind the Dreams Look at Making Magic Real” and gosh golly, right there on page 22 is a Herb Ryman drawing of The Royal Court. “Walt Disney asked Herbert Ryman to draw up some sketches that would capture the romance of New Orleans. The Royal Court, seen here, would become a central focus of New Orleans Square when it opened in Disneyland in 1966.”

    I’m assuming the Ryman drawing of The Royal Court would become The Court of Angels, giving us a background slice of the intention for the space from Walt, Herb, and the Imagineers.

    • holierthanthoutx

      You’re right that people will eventually catch on and figure out how to gain access to the DAS when they don’t really need it, but the system is designed so that those abusers can’t just walk onto any ride — they still have to wait to ride due to the “return time” they are given.

      The whole point of the abuse of the GAC was that people never had to wait to ride anything they wanted, so they could go from ride to ride and get on immediately. This new system prevents that, while still allowing access to people with legitimate disabilities.

      • red barchetta

        Yes, but it still allows you to ride twice the amount of rides potentially, as you can ride an attraction while waiting.

  • GothicManor

    Based on the report of the one guest the DAS system seems to be a total failure completely, I was shocked that the reaction of the CM saying to the women “just try getting in the regular line”. Also I think Disney was mad for even trying this at the holiday time period. And right away in your description of how it works there was a problem as you see in your pic the line to get the DAS as city hall goes up steps! So the CM was say the DAS was ONLY for children with no sense of time???!!!! and was turning away others telling them to get in line or get a wheelchair and get in line??? Madness!!

    • DobbysCloset

      Excellent point about the steps!

      I went to City Hall just once, to get a Birthday button, and it isn’t exactly a large space. But access accommodation includes making spaces the size needed to accommodate larger people. People are huge these days! (I am small — wonder if there’s a need for a five foot tall Ewok?)

  • StevenW

    The DAS system should be tied to the Fastpass system with a separate entrance for the DAS user. Also, there should DAS kiosks with Fastpass machines for rides that don’t have Fastpass, which will direct them to the disabled entrance. This will simulate the Standby wait times for the disabled.

    The problem for Fastpass rides is the Fastpasses can run out for the regular guest. Then, the regular guest will take a chance and wait in the Standby queue. This disabled must use the DAS as their option instead of the Standby queue. Why not just adjust the Fastpass system to issue Standby tickets for the DAS users? This will be the option that’s not currently available and it will remove the unknowns and mystery of the DAS system. It will also give the company a true idea of how guests are using or abusing the DAS system and make quick adjustments.

    My feeling is if the regular guest is waiting 90 minutes in the Standby queue, the DAS guest should wait a bit longer outside the queue. Heck, that’s what Fastpass does anyways. Thus, the DAS guests is encouraged to do the less crowded rides during busy times.

    • Country Bear

      I think your idea has a lot of value StevenW. It’s a really good premiss for managing the process easier.

  • stevek

    So wait, the reader has herniated discs in his/her back but wants to ride Space Mountain? Huh?If I were the CM, that would have been my first red flag with this particular guest as I believe that for most of the coasters or rougher rides, you need to be free from back issues.

    • stevek

      This is what I find incredibly challenging…what truly qualifies for DAS? This person has herniated discs…is this “legally” considered a disability? Would the damaged cartilage in both of my knees qualify? And let me clarify that I’m not calling the original DAS posters back issues into question, I’m sure they do have problems. I’m just not sure where Disney draws the line on what is considered a disability. They are truly fighting an uphill battle on this one.

      • DobbysCloset

        The bad knees definitely qualify you to wait in line in a wheelchair.

        Thanks. Our whole society is fighting this battle at the moment.

        Disabled people of all sorts are becoming increasing mobile and less stigmatized. They’re out in public now rather than being hidden away in care homes. And they all deserve a chance to feel the Magic of Disneyland, maybe even are specially deserving.

        But we are unhealthy as a whole in this culture. When does poor health become a disability?

        There are government definitions and there are other definitions but what matters is Disney’s definition, of course.

        I have visions of lines full of wheelchairs…every third or fourth person in a wheelchair…Fantasyland completely gone because we need the space for wheelchair queues…

    • Qnity

      Excellent point – you beat me to it. Interestingly, physical therapy is also the mainstay for sciatica treatment. Perhaps some ramp walking is exactly what the doctor ordered in this case…

    • BrianLo

      I definitely agree, the story provided in this article was an example of someone who SHOULDN’T have received a DAS. A mobility device would have accommodated their needs.

      For all this talk of abuse, I legitimately think half the problem is over- and misappropriated-use.

    • ranman101

      Standing ovation stevek! This is what I’m starting to notice on here. People having a negative reaction seem to be making excuses. Seems to me if Disney approves a DAS card to this person ,and said person uses it on Space Mountain and gets hurt, Disney could be held liable.

  • Algernon

    No more throwing a kid in a wheelchair and going to the front of the line…

  • Badger

    Great and informative update — thanks!

  • dbres

    I have a family member who had used plantar fasciitis as a reason for the disability access. Complete and total BS. I’m glad that they are finally doing something.

    I don’t feel sorry for the people that have back problems, heart problems, leg pain, foot pain, ingrown toenails, etc, that can’t ride the very rides that specifically warn people with back problems, heart problems, leg pain, etc, not to ride. Ridiculous.

    The main problem is that the people who truly need the assistance are getting lumped in with the chronic fakers.

    • ScottOlsen

      “I have a family member who had used plantar fasciitis as a reason for the disability access”

      You’re right. A couple of Aleve would take care of that.

    • Pinrar

      Plantar fasciitis is enough to get you a handicap card. My girlfriend gets it and her doctor recommended her to get a placard. She used it for a month only though then stopped. But she also has the flattest feet ever and can only walk for less than a half day before being in excruciating pain so it might be different.

  • DCACM

    So much repeated misinformation and speculation regarding DAS. “Case by case basis at the discretion of the front line CMs” is the complete opposite of how DAS was trained to the front line CMs. For those that truly need it, it will help.

    • NotTheHappiest

      Sadly my disabled son will no longer experience enjoyment at the Disneyland Resort due to their new DAS. Despite an email received from Debbie Bellavia-Hart stating “Our relationship with you is very important to us. We have long recognized that people may have different needs, and we will continue to work individually with our Guests with disabilities to provide assistance that is responsive to their unique circumstances.”, we were told yesterday that my son would get a reservation time to get on a ride but that when he returned at that time that he would have to stand in the queue and still wait. My son’s special needs include sensory integration disorder, which makes standing in the queue impossible. After over an hour of discussion at Guest Services at DCA with a CM, who just kept repeating the same corporate script he had been taught, I voluntarily turned in our Annual Passes to cancel our contracts. It was the worse day ever….

  • disneychrista

    First ObamaCare and now DAS. Both are completely un – understandable.

    I may or may not need a wheelchair when we visit in January, but I will need to skip stairs. So for most I can use the stand-by line until the stairs, then use the alt-entry (elevator/lift/etc). I am really hoping that someone will have information about what I need to do. Do I need to get a DAS or just take the the CM in line and what about Space, Thunder, Splash that used the exit.

    Then wheelchairs don’t need a DAS, does that mean they still skip the lines in most of Disneyland, since they are not accessible or do they get a return time at the attractions. Can’t this, then, still be abused

    • DobbysCloset

      This is a great question. It would be great if someone would go to Disneyland and visit every single ride and attraction and describe its physical accessibility. Are there not guide books out from this perspective?

    • oo_nrb

      If you use a wheelchair or have other mobility concerns, you do not need a DAS. Instead, you go through the stand-by queue in your wheelchair, with the exception of certain attractions inside Disneyland that are not wheelchair-accessible. In those cases, you can receive a return time card where you wait outside the queue for a certain amount of time before returning to a wheelchair-accessible area. During the time while you’re waiting for your return time card to become valid, you can go do anything else in the park, just like a Fastpass.

  • bayouguy

    DAS just got off and the problem seems to be that Disney created a hydra of a problem: too many front line people who have to serve the disability population. I’m sure the problems will deminish, which is the hope for the clueless suits that produced the DAS.

  • WDW FAN 88

    What about People with Vision issues where do we stand?

    • DobbysCloset

      Golly, hopefully folks will watch out for you. That would be another great story, Disney viewed from your perspective. Do they make it a good experience for the visually impaired?

    • ScottOlsen

      My son has vision issues.

      I assume someone would be with you if you had vision issues.

      Maybe I’m missing something, but I’m not sure what a vison issue has to do waiting in line.

  • MainSt1993

    I don’t mean to sound indelicate or insensitive here, but if a person’s medical condition does not allow them to slowly walk on a ramped walkway, what in the world are they doing riding a roller coaster? From both a legal and guest service point of view, once Disney was made aware of a back problem significant enough to require special assistance, shouldn’t they advise that the guest forego such a turbulent attraction?

    • Don Duncan

      I agree.

  • Don Duncan

    I’m sympathetic towards people who have special needs or requirements but waiting in line for Radiator Springs and watching the queue barely move because of all the people with cards cutting in front of us was frustrating, ridiculous, and made me feel like I was Magic Mountain dealing with the disrespectful teens that seem to overtake the park. While some certainly needed this, it was very apparent that most of these folks running and laughing and playing as they looked us like we were idiots for having to wait, were abusing the system. It had to change. Had to.

    Last year is the first year we skipped DL Resort for MM and Knott’s because to be honest, the crowds were about the same. A bunch of disrespectful jerks (would like to use a much stronger word but don’t want to offend) who abuse the system, cut in queues, and don’t watch their kids. Why not pay a whole lot less to have as much fun? I love DL but as my kids hit their teen years and prefer MM to DL and I’m dealing with the same crowds, I figure I might as well save a few bucks.

    We had a better time at MM and Knott’s than we’d had in years at DL. It’s the sad truth. Love Cars Land. Love!

    • waltons

      You are right about the disrespective teens on Radiator Springs. If you had a GAC card, you went through the fast pass line. When you get up to the CM they ask you if you can do stairs or your card has “no stairs” posted on it. If you can do stairs you go into the regular queue with the fast pass holders. If you can’t do stairs you go to the handicap line that has a seperate loading area that take a single car off line into the area after tons of cars go into the regular loading area. My husband can’t do stairs so we are in the handicap loading area and have waited an hour or more to board. Mean while, while we are waiting in line, you see the obnoxious teens that were behind you with GAC cards and didn’t opt for “no stairs” because they have learned what the real deal is, sailing past you having done the ride, into the regular unloading/loading area and as you say, running and laughing up the stairs.
      So, the abusers at times laugh in the faces of the legitimate GAC users too because don’t do stairs.

  • Amanda949

    I have a couple of questions about DAS. Are concierge at the hotels or anyone working at the hotels, really, able to provide guests with the needed information about DAS? Is there any way a guest can get his or her questions answered or receive a DAS card outside of the parks, like near the stroller distribution? If the answer to these is “No” then TDA needs to get on the ball about helping guests as much as they can even before they step foot into the parks.
    I’ve never had to deal with GAC and I pray I never have to deal with DAS, but I just feel horribly for those people that TRULY need it who and don’t know what they’re getting into when they come to the parks. And, no, I’m not talking about AP’s and SoCal residents. I’m talking about that family flying in from Wisconsin, who may never be able to bring they’re kids to DLR again, and will have to deal with all this added confusion. The gentleman’s experience said it took about 25-30 mins, that is way too long for a family who are trying to enjoy every moment of their once-in-a-lifetime-trip.
    I hope things become clearer and easier as time goes on.

    • sjkobriger

      Great post. The fact that WDW issued on 250 GACs a day at four parks versus 2000 per day at DLR suggests to me that out-of-town vacationers are not the problem. To me, given what we know about crown dynamics at DLR vs. WDW, its clear from the evidence that Disney gathered in there GAC issuance data that local CA residents caused the abuse problem at DLR. A shame that their unethical behavior is affecting vacationers with disabilities, who could truly have their rare vacations be much less stressful with a GAC, at all Disney parks.

    • DobbysCloset

      Yes, great post.

      It would be great if guests staying at the resort could get their DAS set up through the hotels. It would give folks an incentive to stay with Disney. Planning a vacation for special needs folks is difficult and Disney is expensive — it would be a bonus to have the system in place at the hotels.

  • sjkobriger

    Reading this message board you would think that there are great hoards of vactioners faking disabilities to try to get to the front of the line at all Disney Parks, but if you read the MiceAge update earlier in the week, the abuse was/is a Disneyland problem. DLR issuing 2000 GACs per day versus 250/day at WDW. At that’s two parks versus four. On a typical day, even at the most attended Disney Park of all, MK, there were on average 100 GACs issued, so only 600 (max) folks could have been using the GAC to wait in shorter lines.

    We used the GAC for son with autism at WDW on a vacation last year and it was wonderful. We only used it maybe 2 or 3 times per park and never to repeatedly ride. Yes, we could have used Fastpass and planned tightly to get the same effect, but having the ability to not have to wait and come back was big anxiety and stress reliever. We never felt like we were part of an abusive system or got dirty looks and frankly I don’t even think we ever saw another person using a GAC.

    The shame of this is that people who may only get to go to Disney ever other year or so and for whom the GAC made life less stressful, now have to deal with the additional hoops, questioning and a less useful system due to what appears abuse due to CA locals. Since Disney went through the trouble of monitoring GAC issue and usage at all 6 parks, I don’t know why they didn’t question the glaring difference between WDW and DLR and dig further into the root cause of the disparity and try to come up with a less heavy handed fix first. I bet requiring a photo, notifying an employees manager of the disability, limiting GACs to 5 days (maybe 10 at WDW)and perhaps a 5 attraction per day limit on usage would have culled abuse substantially.

  • Johnnysuede

    Stupid observation, but should a person with two herniated discs and nerve damage really be riding a roller coaster?

    • martinjbell1986

      And, to wait 30 minutes explaining your condition to get the DAS! You can ride space mountiain 3 times in that amount of time before it starts backing up. We always get a ton of rides done in the first hour that the park opens.

      • DobbysCloset

        You rock! I’m over in Court of Angels daydreaming about Walt and you’ve ridden SM three times!

      • Marko50

        I didn’t see anywhere in that piece that said they were there at ropedrop. It may very well have been after SM started backing up.

  • iceicebergha

    Thank you for the update. I’ve read both positive and negative reports of the system, both at DLR and WDW. Many of the negative reports I’ve read (specifically to WDW) sounds like miscommunication at the forefront; those in wheelchairs/ECV’s asking for a DAS and not getting one right away because the system doesn’t require it for wheelchairs/ECV’s, as well as CM’s asking very particular questions to try and figure out the needs of the guest without pointedly asking what their disabilities may be. It sounds like its a lot of verbal dancing around and challenging for both the CM’s and the guests, but its early yet. I’m sure they will work out the kinks and things will be smooth in a few months.

  • ScottOlsen

    This is my solution for visiting Disneyland with my disabled son:

    Don’t go on crowded days!!!

    Use Fastpass.

    If it’s more crowded than expected, go on the less popular rides.

    So far it’s worked every time.

  • TacAlert

    “I explained my disability (2 herniated discs in my lower back have caused nerve damage and chronic pain in my legs).”

    And you are riding rollercoasters because….?

  • Shin-Gouki

    My Back and knee issues destroy me if I have to stand for prolonged periods of time (Example I had to wait 4 hours at a Convention for Registration, I was ruined for days after that). If they try the Rent a Wheel Chair bit with me my reply is going to be “Give me a Complimentary Powered Chair and we are good, otherwise we need to get your Supervisor here now”

  • Will G

    Wow,
    Reading the negative comments makes it absolutely clear why Disney management didn’t take action against GAC abuse for years until the main stream media picked up the story.

    I think some things we haven’t considered here are –
    Disney are experts in crowd management – not experts in each guest’s specific abilities. They are only required by law to offer equal access to their attractions. if a que is wheelchair accessable, it’s equal to have people in wheelchairs wait in the same line as everyone else. If a person can’t wait in a sunny line, giving them a return time puts them in a virtual line, and grants them equal access.
    Not being a lawyer (or a politician making laws) I’m not sure how you give equal access to the autistic who will melt down if they wait in the same line as everyone else. But I would say that we are fond of using Walt’s term “guest” for ourselves in the Disney parks. And when I’m a guest in someone’s house, I don’t demand particular treatment. If I find a problem with my host’s home or hospitality, I don’t return. I don’t know why any of us feel we are in a possition to demand anything of Disney. If we all pay the same price for admission, we should all get the same treatment.

    Also consider – there are undoubtedly visitors of this website who were a part of the problem.
    Statistics being what they are, that has to be true.

    And consider this, takling a problem is always going to upset people.
    I don’t believe the sharp language helps at all, no matter how idiotic any of us feel Disney management is behaving. If you call me an idiot, I ignore you because you’re clearly not listening to me any longer. I now marginalize you as unreasonable and nothing will make you happy. Even if you are given what you ask for, you will be unhappy that you had to deal with an idiot like me.

    Some things to consider

  • Manybugs

    “2 herniated discs in my lower back have caused nerve damage and chronic pain in my legs,” yet she fine to take a thrill ride. Are you kidding me!? This kind of person is clearly the reason for the failure of the last system. The cast member should have just said, “Have a nice day and enjoy the park, but we will not be able to make any accommodation beyond the normal guest experience.” Also, having the cast members make the call is going to be a train wreck. This will not work. They just need to stop and make everyone get in the same line.

  • FREQDUDE

    As soon as the person mentions the words herniated discs, sciatica, and Space Mountain in the same sentence, that’s when I lose it. If you heed the warnings that are posted all over the entrances to many of the attractions, the mention of back problems being a reason to not ride this particular attraction should raise a red flag or two!! What are you going to do, whine and moan that you can’t stand in a line or walk up an incline, only to be bounced side to side and back and forth, possibly exacerbating an already “debilitating condition” ? Now that your legs have degressed from pain and weakness into partial, or complete paralysis, are you going to hold Disney responsible for your, let’s just say it, stupidity? Too bad Disney can’t be the pragmatists in this whole web of lies and charades by the public, and simply stamp a big red X on the forehead of those that claim such horrible ailments and debilities so that the castmembers working the rides can enforce safety concerns and protect themselves, and the public from itself. There are many justifiable instances that there should be a DAS system in place for those that truly need it, but if you are not an appropriate candidate to safely go on any given ride, THEN DON’T!! I may inflame the sensirtivities of many out there that think they can justify their desire to push their envelopes, I really don’t care what you say. If it’s not safe for you, then don’t!

    • Marko50

      This.

  • waymire01

    They are making it way too complicated. The object was to weed out the abusers. Simply requiring an in person check in at the beginning of your day (or the beginning of your trip in case of longer stays), requiring the disabled individual to be present for the pass to be used, and a photo on the pass would be sufficient to fix the problem. I do agree that they are punishing the intended users. Having to “dissect” each and every ride/experience to determine if you will be allowed a pass, having to go back and get a new pass every ride.. when you have a disability you already get to experience less and have more issues in your day, this adds 20-30 minutes to every attraction not even counting the travel time back and forth to the kiosk and waiting in line. You are looking at 2 hours plus of “pass procurement” for just five rides! Plus it completely ruins any spontaneity, you can’t simply change your game plan on the run, you have to plan out every ride and acquire the pass for each one. I can’t imagine how frustrating it would be for the parent of an autistic child (for example) who already has a pass to one ride but passes by another that they want to ride instead and has to either explain that they can’t ride it or go back to the kiosk (for the fifth time that day) and wait yet again for another pass… then repeat the entire process for the ride the original pass was for when they are done. If the object was to get people to stop using the passes completely (or choose another venue for their vacation that was less stressful) they are on the right path.

  • oo_nrb

    I just wanted to give a heads-up; the location pictured for the Haunted Mansion kiosk is NOT the actual Guest Relations kiosk. That is a return time kiosk (for guests using wheelchairs) for the Haunted Mansion, staffed by Mansion Cast Members. The Guest Relations kiosk in New Orleans Square is located near the Haunted Mansion exit, under the large tree on the right-hand side.

    No wonder we had so many people coming up to us today thinking our little kiosk was where they got their DAS filled out 😉

  • billyjobobb

    I had a thought. So Disney is rolling out the new bands in Florida. Everybody wonders why they would put fastpass on rides that never have a line?

    What if this new system is the future? Nobody would ever stand in line? You’d get a ticket and come back when it was your time, then you could go wander through a gift shop or get something to eat?

    They wouldn’t need to have such huge ques for the rides, and there’s no revenue from someone standing in line for an hour waiting to ride a ride?

  • 4Apples4Disney

    What’s sad, is the fact that most people don’t have a legitimate disability and ruin it for everyone. I have bad discs in my back, multiple knee surgeries, and guess what..I walk everywhere and you’d never know I have any issue at all. Everyone has “issues”. I understand the problem and will gladly hand over my place in line ANYTIME to someone with a disability. My niece cannot walk or move her arms, legitimate disability. How many people flat out lie, or simply are overweight and call it a disability? We’ve become a “me” generation, instead of thinking about or considering others. I was recently horrified when my neighbor asked me if we use the “gold pass”, which I had no idea what he was speaking about. He informed me that he goes to City Hall and tells them his kids can’t handle long lines, and will flip out. Disgrace. Period. I personally wish you had to show a real doctor’s note, but we certainly can’t because of HIPPA. There would be no problem at all with guest assistance, if it wasn’t for cheaters and scammers. Those who have done this, and I’m sure there are some here on these boards..should be banned from the park. End of rant.

  • rstar

    My wife is dissabled, and I’m glad they have made the change to the DAS. I just saw way too much abuse. Including teens swapping the rented wheelchair to go up the exit of Splash Mountain. I just hope the kinks get worked out quickly. It was smart of them to roll it out in the fall, so that it may run smoother durring the busy summer.

  • Malina

    I am still truly confused as to how this system will work for a person like me. I’m totally ambulatory; I have no issues waiting or standing; but I have issues with my knees that make it impossible for me to do stairs. Generally I just wait in the standby or Fastpass queue and then show my GAC where appropriate to be routed to the elevator or disabled loading area, so I am not “cutting a line.” There are a few rides, like Splash Mountain, where I do need to go in through the exit or on a special line.

    The thing is, since I can walk and stand, I DO Need to show the GAC to the cast members or they won’t let me use the elevators/etc. So am I going to need a DAS? If not, are the CMs going to let me use the elevators without one? What about rides like Splash or small world where I DO need a separate exit due to the steps, and have always had to show my GAC?

    • billyjobobb

      I think you’re assuming that this is all something that is written in stone and there are rules that MUST be followed.

      As with everything in life, there will be issues, and then there will be fixes for those issues. It is all a necessary part of making these changes.

      • Malina

        No, what I WISH is that there was more written out. Right now it seems very vague. I’ve read the information Disney has available and there’s nothing there that applies to me, or my situation – I know that since there are CMs talking it out with each guest I will be able to explain things, but my stomach is already in knots thinking of the possibility that they won’t offer me help and I won’t be able to do some favorite rides anymore. There are already a few that are off limits because they’re not accessible (like the Tarzan Treehouse and Columbia – and I’m not suggesting those rides SHOULD be ADA, I just think it’s a bummer for me personally because I LIKE those attractions), and I would hate to have to add even more to that list.

    • waltons

      I think if you go to Guest Relations and tell them what your disability is they will give you something that will enable you to bypass the stairs. Clearly, you are not abusing the system.
      When we were there, the CM that helped us really listened to what our disabilities are and then made an evaluation. If the CM you get says there is nothing he or she can do for you, ask for a supervisor because they have a greater circumfernce to evaluate with.
      I’m with ya with your stomach being in knots, ours were too on the first visit with DAS. It wasn’t as bad of an encounter as we were imagining after reading lots of negitives on the threads.
      Bottom line……… if you are really a canidate for DAS, you will get it.

  • ravencroft

    this was a step that was severely overdue. kudos to disneyland management and cast members for taking this on. shame to the cheaters for causing this hardship for the people who are truly in need of assistance!

  • EC82

    The incline to Space Mountain irritates a sciatic nerve, but getting in a small roller coaster car and being thrust down a twisty roller coaster at 25-30 mph doesn’t? Hm. I am all in favor of people who genuinely need assistance being given the assistance they need. I’m not sure everyone gets the idea of what constitutes a disability, though. If your doctor and the state won’t issue you a placard or a letter stating that there is a physical or mental disability, and you can otherwise get around, the issue becomes (in my mind) whether you are seeking true and necessary assistance or whether you’re just looking for some extra convenience.

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  • BrianFuchs

    I apologize for this if come off as insensitive, but as I read the experience of TiggaPlease int he article, I found myself asking why, if the incline of a queue is bad or damaging for his/her sciatic nerve, would they be going on Space Mountain where they would be going up three serious inclines followed by several minutes of twists and turns with high G-forces.

    I imagine that the LAST thing a doctor would recommend to a patient diagnosed with herniated discs would be to go on Space Mountain…

    • BrianFuchs

      One more point – could Disney actually be liable for giving a line pass to a person who clearly stated that they are not medically able to experience that ride? The ride has giant signs stating that people with back injuries should not ride.

      Common sense (on the severe decline in this country) says that there comes a time in a person’s life when they need to give up roller coasters. It’s a very sad day, but something that needs to be acknowledged.

      Personally, I think that every GAC should involve signing a liability release, if they do not already do so…

  • waltons

    The DAS works because you can only get one return time before getting another. The abusers depended on being able to run around getting all the hand written fast passes they wanted after getting their GAC. That way, once the first fast pass time became active and they rode the first ride, most likely the rest of the fast pass times were active and they would just go from ride to ride to ride. Legitimate impaired people don’t have the stamina to do that. When I go with my husband and we would get a GAC we only rode 3 to 5 rides for the whole day depending on how well he was doing and how long we stayed.

    In actual time, legitimate GAC, or now DAS holders usually wait longer to get on a ride than stand by. They didn’t just show up to the fast pass line with their GAC card in hand and get directed in immediately. They have to wait the stand by time before they can return, then wait in whatever fast pass or handicap line there is. When my husband is getting his return time our family members will get in the stand by line. While I wait with my husband for the return time, and then wait in the fast pass or handicap line, they get done riding way before us. But then we use it the way it is intended to be used.

    Also families can no longer use their disabled family member or friend as their perpetual fast pass because of the new system. We’ve seen GAC holders hand off their cards to the family while they went to do something else or just left. Even if the family could still get several return times at one time, the photo of the user is now on the card and it can’t be used without them. The user has to go on the ride with anyone else in the group. If at the last minute the user of card decides they don’t want to ride the ride and wants to leave, the others in that group have to leave with them.

    The abusers were actually cutting both the stand by line and the GAC line.
    Because of the way they used it, they were getting on rides faster than stand by and getting in many more rides than the average guests. And they were making the fast pass lines longer for the legitimate GAC users who had been waiting the stand by times because they hadn’t initially ran all over the park gathering up written fast passes and then waited the fast pass or handicap lines.

    So people, rest assured that the fakers will be eliminated once they know that DAS isn’t a perpetual fast pass, and know that the DAS holders are not getting a front of the line pass. They wait too, usually a little longer in actual time. You will be off waiting for your next ride before they get done with the same ride and go back to the kiosk to get their next return time. They just aren’t standing on the hard pavement as long and believe me, most of those people would rather stand in the stand by line than have the pain or infirmity that they suffer.

    Don’t just assume that anyone requesting a DAS should just get a wheelchair or scooter. Can you imagine the grid lock in the parks if everyone that can walk but can’t stand on hard pavement or long lines for extended times were in wheelchairs or scooters? All those chairs and scooters would make stand by lines extremely long. The DAS people are waiting, just some where that doesn’t worsen or make their condition impossible. Besides, my husband uses a scooter when we are in WDW because there is just too much territory for him to manage, and a lot of people are very unkind to him and have even called him names because they might have to navigate around him. Then there are the people who look right at him, see us coming and step right in front of him and get mad because he ran into them. We really try tobe mindful of those around us when he has a scooter because for many years we navigated around people with them and know the problems from both sides of the fence.

    Stand by people be thankful that you are in good health and that your family members are in good health. Please be patient with those who use the DAS. Their injuries and/or conditions aren’t always their fault and no two injuries or conditions, even seemingly like injuries or conditions, act or react the same to different stimuli. There may come a day that you too will need a DAS when you visably don’t look like you need one. There are all kinds of mental, internal organ, (ei. heart, lung, etc.), bone and muscle infirmities that are not readily visiable.

    Those of you that think you are truly eligible for a DAS and the first CM that you talk to doesn’t want to issue you one, stay calm and composed and ask to talk to a supervisor. Most of the front line people are acting on the way they have been trained and by who they have been trained by. What ever you do, don’t get angry and irate. Be nice, then most likely you will be issued one if you need it.