Disability Access Service brings change to Disneyland as the holidays continue to quietly move in

Written by Andy Castro. Posted in Dateline Disneyland, Disney Parks, Disneyland Resort, Features

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Published on October 14, 2013 at 5:05 am with 55 Comments

About Andy Castro

Andy is a Southern California native, raised with Disneyland and a life-long fan of Disney theme parks and animation. Andy writes the weekly Dateline Disneyland column, which can be found every Monday on MiceChat.

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  • JCSkipr79

    hmmm Walt’s own daughter is unhappy with them selling a “piece” of her father. Yet there are some Disney fans who think it’s “cute”………Guess who’s opinion we should respect and take more seriously…………

    • BradyNBradleysMom

      Do you have an article or source on this? I’d like to see a quote from Diane where she says this. Those mustaches are not really a “part” of him…they are novelty items made of plastic and artificial fibers, not his cremated remains from Forest Lawn.

      Walt Disney had a sense of humor in life and enjoyed jokes. I think he was also a really simple man, who didn’t put on airs and used to eat canned chili for lunch every day because he loved it. He did absolutely everything he could to promote and sell the park and was tireless in his efforts to build the Disney brand.

      I don’t think he’d have a problem with the mustache thing. In 2013, it’s reintroducing the man to a generation of hipsters who’d buy this product….people who never think of Walt Disney and were born long after his death. I don’t think he’d see this as making fun of him or as being disrespectful at all.

      • The Lost Boy

        Well, you have just opened up Pandora’s Box to find that it’s full of cans of worms. Time to reap the whirlwind.

      • Disneylandguest

        I have to agree.

        Now, it’s definitely not the kind of merchandise that interests me, but Disneyland has had goofy (no pun intended) merchandise for years. It’s not necessarily a bad thing.

        I have to doubt the claim that Diane dislikes it. That came out of nowhere.

    • Westsider

      I would have been more impressed with the Walt moustaches had they come out in 2011. These were hipster gift items in 2009-2010, and if Disney had jumped in fast and gotten them on the shelves by early 2011 it would have been fun and impressive.

      But being several years late to the party on a fad item just shows how fuddy-duddy and bureacratic the merchandise team in TDA is. It’s like introducing a Rubik’s Cube for sale in Tomorrowland in 1986 instead of 1983. Or selling Pogs in 1997 instead of 1994. Or Beanie Babies in 2001 instead of 1997.

      The hipster moustache fad is over, TDA. And did you know there’s a thing called the iPhone now?

    • DisneylandTraveler

      When it comes down to it, what Walt Disney’s daughter thinks of selling fake Walt mustaches is pretty irrelevant. As the decades go by, and corporate Disney marches to a very different tune than the one started by a couple of brothers with their interest in animation and story telling, Walt Disney has pretty much been relegated to being more of a marketing character than a real visionary. To find Walt Disney in California, you need to go to the Disney Family Museum in San Francisco, not Disneyland.

      • Disneygayguy

        Sad but true.

      • Haven

        I am afraid you may be right. There is about as much real Disney family left in the Walt Disney Company as there are Knott’s at Knott’s Berry Farm anymore. After Roy’s departure from the company and then passing, is anyone aware of any genuine Disney relatives still involved in any branch of the company? Would be interesting to know. Disney is now an international corporate giant, just like Coca-Cola and McDonalds.

      • Disneylandguest

        DisneylandTraveler–

        I think you are being overly-dramatic. Disneyland still honors Walt Disney as a person in many ways.

      • Marko50

        Haven, Disney’s been an international corporate giant long before the last Disney left the Disney Company.

    • airick75

      The mustache would be the lightening rod in this update, wouldn’t it? It’s the very thing that caught my attention and made me want to comment! With all due respect to the DAS system, I understand that and I am hopeful it is all ironed out soon. But after that – the mustache!! haha – I thought it was funny! Even though I think the whole mustache craze is goofy and there’s nothing more unattractive than a female with a mustache for her profile pic (why do girls like to do this!!???). But still, a trend is a trend, and a Walt Disney mustache? Awesome!! Now – do we really know that Diane Disney-Miller had something to say? That’s a rather bold comment in the update. I sympathize if she doesn’t like it. But in general, I think it’s a funny, novelty item. What on earth could be in poor taste about it? A Walt Disney popsicle mold might be in poor taste…but not a mustache. Actually the popsicle mold would be funny too even though we all know here at micechat that Walt is NOT frozen. HA – speaking of “Frozen” – what a tie-in! What synergy!

    • Disneylandguest

      I find it odd that you automatically assume that what Andy said is true.

    • Disneylandguest

      JCSkipr79–
      Oh? So anyone who happens to like this merchandising is automatically wrong just because Diane may not agree with it?

      Let’s say FOR EXAMPLE;
      WHAT IF, Diane Disney Miller just happened to agree with the decision to close the Court of Angles? Huh? What then? Would you disagree with her? Or would you blindly agree just because she’s the daughter of Walt?

      Not every decision that the Disney Company makes is going to be liked by the Disney family, and that is not necessarily a bad thing.

      Food for thought.

      And like BradyNBradleysMom said, it is NOT selling a “piece” of him. It’s a novelty mustache that is supposed to be a representation of Walt’s.

  • StevenW

    The DAS system is off on the wrong foot. It seems like there is a line for those who can’t handle lines. What’s up with that? They should give out appointment times. Come back later and then we’ll figure it out for you. It would seem like the only way for the “disabled” to get their way is to overwhelm the system, thus forcing Disney to go back to the old ways.

    My solution is frankly to get people to use the Fastpass system for fastpass rides with a separate entrance for wheelchair access. For those who can’t wait no matter what, have a DAS kiosk in each land that allows an user to dispense Standby return passes at the rate of one at a time. When the park is especially busy, the Standby return times will be lengthened.

    • Westsider

      Yeah, the long line of people (who look healthy, young and fit in those pics) waiting to get their DAS card so they don’t have to wait in line makes one chuckle. I know, cue the outraged comments, but just the pictures of those folks waiting in line for their DAS card is chuckle-worthy.

      DAS isn’t done. Management will be clamping down harder before Thanksgiving. People writing in multiple return times on their cards this weekend is hastening the stamp system being put in place. Next up, those QR codes will be activated with all tickets in a party attached to one DAS card to prevent the other fraud that kicked up this past Friday night and Sunday.

      The DAS roll out went “soft” on purpose, with further restrictions and fraud prevention measures on the way. So far, executives and management are standing strong behind the front line CM’s making Guests stick to the rules. And it’s working great so far.

    • JFS in IL

      Yes, I am not looking forward to the next time I bring my adult son with autism to the resort, and have to steer him into a long line when he is all excited about entering one of the parks. There has to be a way for the folks who truly need the DAS card to get it in advance – or get it outside the main gate? I dunno – obviously the system still needs tweaking.

      • stitch1085

        I just went to Disney yesterday with some friends to celebrate my birthday, I have Tourette’s and just avoided getting the new DAS card and avoided rides completely. We just had lunch and walked around posing for photos. The lines were long for city hall AND for the attractions and rather than risk hurting someone due to an involuntary muscle spasm I decided I would just enjoy the day with friends and keep clear of being in close proximity with others as much as possible. I was worried that I would not qualify for the DAS card since I don’t have autism and I’m not a child after reading some of the postings about the system. All in all I had a good day yesterday but I felt really badly for those waiting in line to acquire times to revisit attractions. Those kiosks had severe lines and I was glad I decided to just avoid the new system. All I can say is good luck to everyone involved in the change over.

  • bayouguy

    I just realized how deaf Disney execs are to its costumers and it’s not mean as a pun. The DAS system and the Court of Angels highlight this. It’s still on Eisner management model.
    And wasn’t it hilarious to read how the management is firmly behind the frontline CMs demanding that they stay the course on the DAS? I’m hoping that the system does play out and/or get tweeks to better help the folks.

  • Big D

    I’m not sure the people who want to organize a protest of the new DAS system really thought that idea through. If someone is disabled to the point where they can’t stand in line, then how can they stand outside the park protesting?

    I’m very confident that Disney wants this to work and is going to do everything they can to make it succeed. Disney may be shortsighted, greedy to the point of being stupid at times, not care anything about Walt’s legacy, etc. but one thing they have always been is extremely disabled-friendly, more so then almost any other business I know. They have gone to great lengths (and great expense) to make the park as accessable to everyone as possible. Now, maybe the new DAS systems is awesome and maybe not, but they are trying to make it work and make it as befinical as possible for everyone. What they need in order to do this is feedback from actual disabled guests (not people who are offended on behalf of disabled guests, as seems to be so prevelent in this discussion) who have used the system and can let them know the pros and cons that they encounter. There’s no way this systems will start out perfectly because there are too many different types of disabilities to take into account. It’s going to take probably five years or so to fine tune everything and make it as accessable as possible to those who actually need it while still trying to eliminate the abuse as much as possible.

    • Marko50

      Of course, the issue with this is that many actual disabled guests are not able to give feedback – I’m sure there’s many different types, but I’m thinking of autistic guests for instance.

  • churrocharlie

    I love Walt and I love the stache!

  • Klutch

    Anna is my new, favorite face character!

  • BrianFuchs

    In light of a recent MiceAge column where a person with herniated discs was give line passes for his favorite ride – Space Mountain – it seems to me that the new program is still being VERY accommodating to all who ask for it.

    Protesting and demanding even more accommodation is wildly selfish.

    • martinjbell1986

      Agreed, I’ve been on trips with 2 separate people who got the old GAC. Both were using it just because it was available and they didn’t want to stand in lines for that long. No medical reasons other then their legs getting tired.

  • zuliek

    I am not sure what to think about the DAS system. It will not work for everyone. My 24 yr old daughter is mentally disabled and has to use a wheelchair and has all her life for any distance longer than 25 or so feet due to orthopedic problems.. . The thought that we would have to push her around to get return times gives me a back ache just thinking about it. We would rather go thru lines if they are wide enough for wheelchairs. She could get frustrated in the line and act up, but that is something that we are used to, I wonder if anything is going to be resolved with the new system. I remember waiting longer than the general public to get on space mountain as they only allowed one handicapped person on at a time due to evacuation issues. Will this make the wait to ride Space Mountain longer?
    It seems the truly handicapped are going to be punished with having to wait in lines for return times and having to run back and forth between rides.

    • Marko50

      People in a wheelchair/ECV are not affected by DAS.

  • StrikeYerColors

    What I don’t think some posters understand is that people using wheelchairs don’t use the DAS. The DAS is for non visible handicaps. A wheelchair is very visible. If you are using a wheelchair (or say “I can’t stand for long periods”, at which point the accommodation is, please rent a wheelchair or ECV to keep with you during the day), you won’t have to wait in line to get your DAS or return times. You simply go to the regular or designated wheelchair entrance of the ride you want. I noticed this weekend that some rides that usually have long standbys but short wheelchair waits are now asking wheelchair groups to wait the same amount of time as the standby line. But that was only a few rides in Disneyland, it seemed.

    • zuliek

      Thanks for clarifying!

    • Marko50

      Sorry. I commented before I read your comment. Whoops.

  • CasaFamilia

    Our first experience with DAS was Saturday. Our first day experience was great. We have twin six year old daughters both with Autism. We were very cautious when the change away from GAC was announced but hoping that the amount of fraud would be diminished. Of course there is still opportunity for fraud but we saw less of it, at least on that day. I won’t get into the specifics on how people could misuse the system, I’m sure they’ve already figured out how and if not it won’t be long. The way the system worked it was perfect for our girls. We could get a pass for some rides, use the stand-by cue for some rides and we visited the Island, Big Thunder Ranch and did lots of “shopping”. There have always been some lines they have been able to stand in so we have always tried to use that line rather than the assistance entrance. All of the CM we interacted with were very friendly and helpful-hopefully they can maintain that level of staffing and accommodation.
    We arrived to City Hall about 9:30AM and waited about 15 min. We were able to immediately get a boarding time for two attractions(Mansion and Star Tours) because we had one card for each girl. One of my girls will not go on every ride her sister is willing to ride. We did the following Tiki Room, Adv. land shopping, Jungle Cruise(stand-by), HM(DAS), got pass for Nemo, visited the Island, Columbia, Star Tours(das), got a pass for Alice, Nemo(das), Alice(das), Mad Hatter Shop-I got a pass for Matterhorn and Dumbo while family was in the shop, Small World(stand-by), Small world shop, Matterhorn(das), Dumbo(das), Big Thunder Ranch, Main St. cinema and shopping before leaving. We definitely had to plan more out than before and lost the chance for the spontaneous “do you want to ride…….let’s go” but the girls handled it great and had their usual tremendous day. If the system can be this rewarding in the future then we say thank you Disney for all of your efforts! You have gone above and beyond again. I sincerely hope that it can be equally beneficial to countless more special needs families. We could never fully put into words what a joy it is to spend such a great day with the twins away from some of the day to day issues. Whenever we go to “The Park” we always feel that “Welcome” that Walt extended on Opening Day.

    • JFS in IL

      Glad you had a good day! Mixing the DAS with FPs and actual lines (when not too long) is what I plan to do, too.

    • DobbysCloset

      Hooray for parents doing great parenting!

  • SpectroMan

    “The grand finale of ‚ÄúDisney ¬°Viva Navidad!‚Äù will be the special celebration of Three Kings Day (Dia de los Reyes) Jan. 3 through 6, 2014 in Paradise Garden.”

    I believe you meant NOV 3 thru 6.

    • SpectroMan

      No you didn’t; I was thinking of Dia de los Muertos. My bad!!! LOL Sorry.

    • SpectroMan

      Woops! No, you didn’t. My bad, I was thinking of Dia de los Muertos!

      • OprylandUSA

        You *do* know what Three Kings day is, right?

  • QuiGonJ

    If they can do Chinese New Year and Faliz Navidad, they can do Merry Christmas.. at least I think they can. Seems if it isn’t “ethnic” in some way but simple mainstream American Christianity, they tend to act as if that’s offensive. Namely, I still remember the Easter Egg hunt that they called a Spring Egg hunt this year and was told the Resurrection of the Lord might offend people. And the word was they are scaling back the Candlelight Procession this year to it’s old pattern of one weekend.

  • oo_nrb

    I posted this on the In the Parks update on Friday, but apparently it needs repeating here as well. That is NOT the Guest Relations kiosk for the westside of the park by the Haunted Mansion. That is a separate kiosk for Haunted Mansion CM’s to give out return times for guests using wheelchairs. The actual Guest Relations kiosk is staffed by Guest Relations cast members, and is on the other side of the Haunted Mansion near the exit to the attraction. Please, MiceChat, do your research before posting inaccurate information (twice!).

    • brdwydisneyboi

      Thank you for this comment!!! I am a cast member at the Mansion and we’ve been approached numerous times thinking this is the guest relations kiosk. We all know guest’s don’t read signs and maps, so we depend on social media to help us clarify what is needed to be said. We’re happy to direct our guest’s, but please Micechat post a correction so our guest’s will know where to go! :)

  • waltopia

    Tom Hanks has been sporting that Walt ‘stache all year. Think of it as (cheesy) merch. for “Saving Mr. Banks”.

  • Disneylandguest

    Hey Andy,
    You might want to see this. The Disney Parks Blog has a Q&A with Imagineer Kim Irvine about the refurbished Market House;

    http://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2013/10/imagineer-qa-kim-irvine-on-the-new-market-house-at-disneyland-park/