Disney’s new Disability Access Service (DAS) at its domestic theme parks debuted last week and brought big changes to how disabled guests will experience Disney’s theme parks. The debut of the new system brought long lines to Disneyland‘s City Hall and included the addition of new information kiosks around the parks for guest assistance and so DAS users could schedule ride reservations using the new system. Meanwhile, Halloween Time continues as nets of Christmas lights are now up on trees in Disneyland’s Central Plaza while Disney prepares for the upcoming holiday season. The first signs of holiday merchandise are slowly starting to pop up in shops around the parks as new merchandise for Disney’s upcoming animated film “Frozen” also hit store shelves.
Don’t miss your weekly Disneyland Resort crowd forecast — provided by our friends at MouseAddict — in the Weekly News and Information Roundup at the end of today’s update!
Get a closer look at today’s update!
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There’s a lot to get to, so let’s get started.
|Welcome to Disneyland!|
|Disability Access Service brings change to Disneyland|
Disney’s new Disability Access Service (DAS), the replacement for the troubled Guest Assistance Card (GAC), is now in place at Disneyland and was put through its paces for the first time last week. Long lines have been forming early in the day at City Hall in Disneyland and the Chamber of Commerce in California Adventure with guests looking to obtain a new DAS Card.
Disney has prepared for the initial roll-out by scheduling extra Guest Relations Cast Members and security in the park and so far the transition appears to have largely gone without incident. Of course, there are plenty of folks that are unhappy with the new changes, including parents and families of special needs children who say the system is simply incompatible with their children’s needs.
A Facebook event has now been created for a public demonstration outside of Disneyland to protest the new DAS system. The demonstration is currently scheduled for this Saturday, October 19 at 10:00 a.m. As of this writing only 22 people have RSVPed to attend.
Guests using the DAS System must visit kiosks located in both theme parks to request return times for attractions they wish to ride. In Disneyland, the kiosks are located in the Central Plaza, New Orleans Square, Fantasyland and Tomorrowland. Below, the Central Plaza Information Board is now even busier with guests getting DAS attraction return times.
We’ve included the Disney-released Fact Sheet for the new Disability Access Service below for reference in case you are expecting to use the new service during an upcoming visit. If you’ve already used the new Disability Access Service please share your experience in the comments section at the end of today’s column – do you think it’s a good change? Is the system fair? How was your overall experience with it? We’d love to hear from you. If you haven’t yet used DAS but will be using it during an upcoming visit please be patient with Cast Members. This is a difficult change for everybody involved and patience and kindness can help make the overall experience a lot easier!
- What is a Disability Access Service Card and how does it work?
The DAS Card is designed to accommodate guests who aren’t able to wait in a conventional queue environment due to a disability (including non-apparent disabilities). A Disability Access Service Card will be issued at Guest Relations main entrance locations and will offer guests a return time for attractions based on the current wait time. As soon as the Guest finishes one attraction, they can receive a return time for another. This service can be used in addition to Disney’s FASTPASS Service and Disney FastPass+ service.
- What will Disney Parks do if a Guest is concerned the DAS Card doesn’t meet their needs?
Disney Parks have long recognized and accommodated guests with varying needs and will continue to work individually with guests with disabilities to provide assistance that is responsive to their unique circumstances. Guests should visit Guest Relations to discuss their individual needs.
- Who will be eligible for a Disability Access Service Card?
Disney Parks’ goal is to accommodate guests who aren’t able to wait in a conventional queue environment due to a disability (including non-apparent disabilities). Guests should visit Guest Relations to discuss their assistance needs.
- How will guests get a Disability Access Service Card?
A Disability Access Service Card will be issued at Guest Relations main entrance locations. Guests will participate in a registration process, which also includes having their photo taken.
- Why is Disney Parks doing this?
Disney Parks is modifying the current Guest Assistance Card program so it can continue to serve the guests who truly need it. The new program is designed to provide the special experience guests have come to expect from Disney. Disney Parks also hopes it will help control abuse that was, unfortunately, widespread and growing at an alarming rate.
- Does the DAS Cardholder have to be present to obtain a return time at an attraction?
No. Another member of the DAS Cardholder’s travel party may obtain a return time but the DAS Cardholder must board the attraction with his or her party.
- Where do DAS Cardholders go to receive return times?
At Disneyland Resort, guests will go to Guest Relations kiosks located throughout the parks to receive a return time. At Walt Disney World Resort, guests will go to the attraction to receive a return time.
- Does a DAS Cardholder have to ride the attraction at the exact return time listed?
No. Return times are valid until redeemed by the DAS Cardholder.
- How long is a DAS Card valid?
A DAS card is valid for up to 14 days depending on a guest’s ticket entitlement.
- Is a DAS Card issued at one Disney theme park valid at other Disney theme parks?
Yes, the card will be valid throughout the resort at which it was issued.
- Why doesn’t Disney Parks ask for proof of disability, such as a doctor’s note?
Disney Parks takes Guests at their word and there are legal restrictions around asking for proof.
- Is this the only service available to Guests with disabilities?
Disney Parks offer a variety of services to guests with disabilities, such as Disney‚Äö√Ñ√¥s Handheld Device that offers assistive listening, captioning and audio description. Additionally, Disney Parks has developed a “Guide for Guests with Cognitive Disabilities.” This serves as a tool on how best to experience its theme parks and is expected to be available online by mid-October.
Disney Parks will continue to provide excellent guest service and accessible experiences. Guests should visit Guest Relations at any park should they feel they need assistance due to a disability.
- Does a Guest whose disability is based on the necessity to use a wheelchair or scooter need a DAS Card?
No, a Guest whose disability is based on the necessity to use a wheelchair or scooter does not need a DAS Card. Depending on the attraction, the Guest will either wait in the standard queue or receive a return time at the attraction based on the current wait time. For some attractions at Disneyland Resort, these guests will go directly to an alternate entrance. Guests with additional needs should discuss them with Guest Relations.
- Will Disney Parks continue to provide a service to wish-granting organizations?
The change will not affect those who are visiting on trips organized by wish granting organizations. There is a separate program for children with life-threatening illnesses.
- Disney Parks Disability Access Service Card Fact Sheet
Disney Parks have an unwavering commitment to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment and accessible experiences for guests.
Disney Parks is modifying the current Guest Assistance Card program, which provides access to attractions for guests with disabilities, so it can continue to serve the guests who truly need it. The new program is designed to provide the special experience guests have come to expect from Disney. It will also help control abuse that was, unfortunately, widespread and growing at an alarming rate.
The new Disability Access Service (DAS) Card will replace the Guest Assistance Card on Oct. 9. Guests at Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort can request a Disability Access Service Card at Guest Relations. DAS Cardholders will receive a return time for attractions based on the current wait time.
Disney Parks has long recognized and accommodated guests with varying needs. Guests can visit Guest Relations to discuss their individual situation, and Disney Parks will continue to provide assistance that is responsive to their unique circumstances.
Frequently Asked Questions
Last Monday Disney finally closed the Court of Angels in New Orleans Square. The quiet courtyard has been a source of notable controversy within the fan community for weeks now which we’ve discussed here on this blog. Twitter user @ElizabethNDP broke the news of the court’s closure late Monday morning with a cell phone photo taken in the park.
— Elizabeth (@ElizabethNDP) October 7, 2013
The space will now be walled off by opaque glass and become a private open-air lobby for Club 33 members. Whether you like the idea, are apathetic about the loss, or upset at the change – Disney is now moving forward with the plans and a space previously open to all guests will now only be accessible by an extremely small perecentage of Disneyland’s nearly 16 million annual guests.
The L’Ornament Magique shop is now behind construction walls. This small shop will become the new front door to Club 33, replacing the existing front door between the Blue Bayou Restaurant and Le Bat en Rouge.
|Stringing up the Season|
Last week Disney announced a significant new holiday offering which will be available in Disney California Adventure’s Paradise Garden area.
The new ¬°Viva Navidad! offering will celebrate Christmas “inspired by the warmth and joyous spirit of the Latino culture.” The festival will take over the Paradise Garden area with live music, arts and crafts, The Three Caballeros and special food offerings.
Below, a list of the offerings from Disney’s official press release:
- Disney characters participating in “Disney ¬°Viva Navidad!” include Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and Goofy in their festive costumes along with the Three Caballeros: Donald Duck, Panchito Pistoles from Mexico and Jose Carioca from Brazil.
- Paradise Garden will be decorated with holly, banners and Latino cultural icons, including traditional “papel picado” hand-cut paper art decorations.
- The exciting “Disney ¬°Viva Navidad! Street Party” takes over Paradise Garden several times daily, featuring the Three Caballeros on a festive holiday float, Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse transported on colorfully decorated street tricycles, flag-bearers carrying papel picado banners, Mexican folklorico dancers, samba dancers and drummers, plus giant “Mojiganga” puppets, including representations of Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus.
- At the Paradise Garden bandstand, guests will enjoy performances by traditional mariachi, Norte√±o, and other regional music groups. Also at Paradise Garden, community music and folklorico troupes will perform throughout the day.
- “Disney ¬°Viva Navidad!” guests will find opportunities to enjoy fun arts and crafts, storytelling and face-painting, and they may also discover a selection of unique merchandise in the area.
- Dining locations in Paradise Garden will add an array of popular Mexican food options for “Disney ¬°Viva Navidad!” Menus will feature Mexican dishes that are often served for the holidays, such as pozole (hearty stew), chicken mole drumettes, pescado (fish) Veracruzano, champurrado (Mexican-style hot chocolate), sweet tamales, torta al pastor (pork sandwich), bunuelos (deep-fried sweet treat), choco flan and, for the Three Kings Day celebration, Rosca deReyes bread.
- 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.
|Gods and Queens|
Meanwhile, as the icy Sleeping Beauty Winter Castle lights go up in the trees in the hub, Disney will soon bring more snow to Fantasyland with a new meet-and-greet for Elsa, the Snow Queen, and Anna, her sister, from Disney’s upcoming animated film “Frozen.” Last week Disney released the first image of the in-park characters, which are set to debut in the parks in early November.
Fans expect the new meet-and-greet to replace the still-popular Rapunzel meet-and-greet in the space next to Pinocchio’s Daring Journey but Disney has yet to confirm where the “Frozen” characters will go.
|Limited Time Magic|
[center]Enjoy a Jack Skellington cookie
in Disneyland Park
October 14-20, 2013[/center]
This week’s Limited Time Magic offering is a cookie. Yes, a cookie. Only available in New Orleans Square, the Limited Time Magic Jack Skellington cookie is only available this week.
Enjoy the Pumpkin King of Halloween Town in an entirely new way with your very own limited edition cookie at the Disneyland Resort! Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas is celebrating its 20th anniversary, and as a special Limited Time Magic offering, you’re invited to ring in the occasion at Disneyland Park with a frighteningly tasty treat inspired by Jack Skellington himself! So go ahead and give into your sweet tooth this Halloween season‚Äîscare up this cookie while supplies last, only in New Orleans Square!
[center]Celebrate Oktoberfest at Bayside Brews
in Disney California Adventure
October 14-31, 2013[/center]
For the next two weeks you can celebrate Oktoberfest in California Adventure with Karl Strauss Oktoberfest Beer or Hofbrau Munchen Beer and special food offerings.
Celebrate Oktoberfest in style at the Disneyland Resort, courtesy of a little Limited Time Magic! For 2 weeks, you’re invited to don your finest lederhosen and join the fun at Disney California Adventure Park where Bayside Brews is kicking off the festivities with a special menu. From best to ‘wurst, savor the flavors from a host of special offerings, including bratwurst sausage, served in a Boursin-garlic brioche with hickory-smoked bacon and sauerkraut, and accompanied by potato chips or apple slices; a Bavarian Pretzel with your choice of mustard; and gingerbread bundt cake. Plus, be sure to top off your stein with a tasty Karl Strauss Oktoberfest Beer or Hofbrau Munchen Beer.
[center]Discover New Surprises at Haunted Mansion Holiday
in Disneyland Park
Starting October 4, 2013[/center]
On Friday, Disney announced that as part of Limited Time Magic, new surprises had been added to Haunted Mansion Holiday to celebrate its 13th anniversary. Details below:
Celebrate the 13th season of Haunted Mansion Holiday at Disneyland Park as the denizens of Halloween town add a sprinkling of Limited Time Magic to their fiendish festivities! For a limited time, the Haunted Mansion has been gifted with a ghoulish bounty of frightfully fun delights. The Pumpkin King himself‚Äö√Ñ√Æa.k.a. Jack Skellington from Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas‚Äö√Ñ√Æhas placed 13 surprise objects inside each area, from the foyer and the attic to the ghostly graveyard below. Climb aboard your Doom Buggy and keep your eyes peeled as each turn reveals yet another treat. Can you spy them all? Visit Haunted Mansion Holiday to find out for yourself. And don’t forget to scream with glee when you do!
[center]Collect an “Iron Man 3″
and “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” Poster
at Disneyland Park
Now, while supplies last[/center]
You can get a free double-sided poster promoting Iron Man 3 on Blu-ray and the new Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. TV show for free at Innoventions, while supplies last. Below is Disney’s official information on it.
Experience the latest Iron Man technology firsthand at Iron Man Tech Presented by Stark Industries, an interactive exhibit at Innoventions in Disneyland Park. This is your chance to virtually “suit up” and test out Iron Man’s Mark 42! Plus, as part of Limited Time Magic, you can take home a special poster celebrating the release of Iron Man 3 on Blu-ray as well as ABC’s new TV series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.‚Äö both debuting September 24th! Enjoy all the action as you go behind the mask with Tony Stark on his latest adventure, and don’t miss the premiere of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Tuesday, September 24, 2013 at 8:00 PM / 7:00 PM Central on ABC.
[center]After-Hours Tower of Terror Event for Annual Passholders Screening
A Limited Time Annual Passholder Magic Event
at Disney California Adventure
October 16, 2013[/center]
Passholders can attend a screening of Tower of Terror and then enjoy the attraction after-hours at California Adventure.
- After-Hours Tower of Terror Event for Annual Passholders
- Registration and wristband distribution for the event will begin at 12:00 PM (noon) on the day of the event in front of the Muppet*Vision 3D Theater in Disney California Adventure Park. Registration and distribution of event wristbands will continue while event wristband supplies last.
- All participating Annual Passholders must present their active Annual Passports to the event Cast Member to check event availability and to register and receive an event wristband. Photo ID may be required.
- Registration must be completed in person in front of the Muppet*Vision 3D Theater in Disney California Adventure Park on the day of the event only; no phone reservations or other registration will be accepted.
- This is an all-ages event. However, all participating Guests ages 3 and older must be valid Annual Passholders on the day of the event. Children under 3 may attend the movie screening and event as long as there is space available and they receive an event wristband during the registration process.
- The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror attraction has a height requirement of 40″ for any Guest, and is subject to other physical considerations.
- It is recommended that all members of your party register together to help ensure that everyone receives an event wristband.
- For assistance, you may contact the Annual Passport Member Services team at (714) 781-PASS (7277).
To celebrate Halloween Time at Disneyland Resort, Annual Passholders can attend a spooky film screening of Disney’s Tower of Terror.
After the film, Passholders can experience the haunted elevator attraction that inspired the film: The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror‚Ñ¢. Annual Passholders can enjoy access to this attraction for an additional 90 minutes after regular closing at Disney California Adventure Park.
Dates & Time
Wednesday, October 16, 2013 at 5:00 PM and 7:00 PM
Extended Attraction Hours: After regular park closing (currently scheduled at 8:00 PM) until 9:30 PM
|Welcome to California Adventure|
|This and That|
Some new merchandise offerings are now available in the parks and in World of Disney. Below, a new 2014 wall calendar is available and is worth picking up if you’re a fan of Disneyland attraction posters (who isn’t?)
|Weekly News & Information Round-Up|
|Weekly Theme Park Hours
October 14 – 20, 2013
|[B]Disneyland Park[/B]||[B]California Adventure[/B]|
9 am – 10 pm
8 am – 6 pm
9 am – 9 pm
8 am – 7 pm
9 am – 12 am
8 am – 12 am
9 am – 9 pm
8 am – 8 pm
9 am – 8 pm
8 am – 12 am
9 am – 10 pm
8 am – 10 pm
|[CENTER]For a complete listing of theme park hours,
visit the Disneyland.com Theme Park Calendar[/CENTER]
|[center]Closure and Refurbishment Schedule[/center]|
|[b][center]Disney California Adventure[/center][/b]|
|[b][center]Downtown Disney and Disneyland Resort Hotels[/center][/b]|
A weekly look at projected crowd levels at the Disneyland Resort.[/center]
A quick look at noteworthy Disney theme park headlines from around the web.[/center]
|OK – That wraps up this week’s edition of Dateline Disneyland. Thanks for reading and be sure to join the discussion below on this week’s big headlines including the new DAS Card system and Gay Days!
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|FTC-Mandated Disclosure: Promotional consideration for this edition of Dateline Disneyland was provided by the Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel & Water Playground.|