Back in April of 2013 I wrote an article defending Disney’s now defunct Guest Assistant Card program. The program was met with significant (and justifiable) criticism because of abuse. Disney saw the writing on the wall and made changes, replacing the old system with the new Disability Access Service in October of 2013.

When Disney developed the new system, they consulted with an organization called Autism Speaks. While that organization has received its fair share of criticism, the intent of the consultation was well founded.


I do not have a disability that justifies using the Guest Assistance Card or the Disability Access Service card. However, my brother Matt is autistic and is fully justified in his use of either service. The new program is largely designed for guests with mental disabilities but it has been met with criticism (and lawsuits) by those that favored the old system.


Usage of the Guest Assistance Card (GAC) was limited to six guests. On a trip to the Magic Kingdom in 2011, my family of nine included seven adults, one child and one toddler that didn’t have a ticket. We were told to supplement the GAC with Fastpass, as needed. This meant we used eight park tickets, combined with the GAC to have anybody that could go on an attraction do so with little or no waiting. Our day began as follows:

All 9 of us (8 tickets+ toddler under 3) entered the park.
Two adults each took 4 park tickets

  • One adult acquired two Jungle Cruise Fastpasses, one Splash Mountain Fastpass and one Big Thunder Mountain Railroad Fastpass
  • One adult acquired two Peter Pan’s Flight Fastpasses and two Winnie the Pooh Fastpasses

We started at Pirates of the Caribbean where we used the standby line. By the time we exited the attraction our Jungle Cruise Fastpass was active.

After Jungle Cruise we traveled clockwise through the park taking advantage of the GAC, Fastpasses, and the lack of enforcement of Fastpass return times.


Since then, several things have changed. We were certainly getting the most out of the system because we knew how to use it. Having said all that, we were at a touring advantage because of the GAC. More importantly though, we avoided meltdowns from a 200 pound autistic man while the rest of us enjoyed an efficient family vacation.

Having said all that, I understand that while families like ours are few and far between, this was an unfair advantage. These accommodations were far too beneficial relative to those being offered to other guests. We would never make Matt wait in a line that we didn’t think he could handle, and thankfully all of his favorites had alternative entrances that we could use as needed. But we have yet to take him through something like Enchanted Tales with Belle. At the time of his last trip (January 2013), the attraction did not accommodate GAC usage. While the lack of GAC usage was odd at the time, our conscious choice was to avoid the attraction because of the line.

Matt hasn’t returned to Walt Disney World since the change from GAC to DAS. However, we have experienced similar systems at Universal Studios and Radiator Springs Racers in Disney California Adventure. The latter approach to GAC is more or less the same as what’s being employed across all attractions now at Disney World and Disneyland.

On paper, I view the Universal Studios approach as more favorable than the DAS, but I expect the difference will be negligible when Matt visits next. To the unitiated, the bullet points of the two system are as follows:

Universal Studios:


If the standby wait is 30 minutes or less, disabled guests can enter the Express Line without a return time.

If the standby wait is more than 30 minutes, disabled guests will be given a return time as far out as the standby time with a small return window.

Disney World/Disneyland:

If the standby wait is 10 minutes or less, disabled guests can enter the Standby Line.

If the standby wait is more than 10 minutes, disabled guests are given a return time as far out as the standby time, less 10 minutes. They can return anytime after the return time, but cannot have more than one attraction reserved at a time.


Currently at Disney World and Universal Studios, a member of the disabled guest’s party must check in at the attraction in order to get a return time. At Disneyland, in park kiosks can be used to make selections for any eligible attraction. This eliminates back tracking and would be a welcome addition to Walt Disney World. For that reason, I suspect that ultimately the DAS system will be integrated into My Disney Experience, fully automating the system and alleviating any operational concerns that arise from the 10 minutes or less restriction. If and when the Disney World system gets integrated with the mobile app and in park kiosks, the system will be more than reasonable for most disabled guests.

Recently, a lawsuit was filed by multiple families that argued the new system did not accommodate their needs under the Americans with Disabilities Act. One of the complaints made in the lawsuit was that the new “catch all” accommodations don’t satisfy every guest. The reality is, Disney has been willing to accommodate many special circumstances within reason. I have seen examples of Disney accommodating an autistic guest that wishes to ride the same attraction over and over with Fastpasses (or an equivalent) to be used on just that attraction.

I reached out to guest services and received a phone call over my concerns and was more than satisfied with the answers. My primary concerns were as follows:

Does the DAS card have the same six guest restriction as the GAC? Combining it with Fastpass+ for a family of nine would be a difficult scheduling issue to the extent that bringing Matt would be a problem.

Jungle Cruise is Matt’s favorite attraction, would we be able to have one time instant access to Jungle Cruise?

The cast member that I spoke with pointedly told us that the six guest limit can be lifted if all guests are present at the time of issue. She didn’t specify what the maximum was, but my guess is that it would be in the 10-12 range. This alleviated any concerns of combining the DAS card with Fastpass+ as it would prove to be unnecessary. If needed we could supplement the DAS card with Fastpass+ and make the entire system transparent to Matt.


With the Jungle Cruise, the cast member indicated that they can issue a return time for the Jungle Cruise at City Hall that would more or less accomplish what we would be looking for. Failing that, we can utilize Fastpass+ to schedule Jungle Cruise as the first attraction of the day.

All told, the most important issue with the DAS card is whether or not it’s transparent to the individuals that need it. For our purposes, I fully expect that to be the case. The card addressed one of the bigger issues as well which was over distribution. By limiting distribution to guests with mental disabilities it significantly curbed the abuse. By changing the benefits, the demand meets the needs of most guests while not being so appealing that it promotes rampant abuse.

I look forward to Matt’s next trip. Behind the scenes there will be more scheduling, but Matt won’t know the difference. He’ll continue to enjoy the attractions that he’s grown to love while utilizing the reasonable accommodations provided.

Have you used the DAS system at Disney World or Disneyland? Do you have thoughts on how theme parks can best address the needs of disabled guests? Let us hear your thoughts below.

  • Susan Hughes

    One of the new features of DAS that I like is having the guest’s photo taken. Just like roaches running away when the lights are turned on, having their photo taken (hopefully) scared the abusers away.
    I don’t know how it was over in Orlando, but under the old GAC system, abuse was BEYOND rampant at The Disneyland Resort. And those abusers not only lacked ethics and morals, they had an arrogance towards CMs that was disgusting. They certainly lived up to their nickname, “Annual Passholes”, as the CMs called them.
    One enforcement I would like to see added to the new system is a penalty. If a Passhole is using the DAS because they found a loophole to abuse it, they should have their pass revoked…for life!

    • Hi Susan,
      Abuse was definitely greater over in California, but I will say that the one time Matt visited prior to the DAS changeover we had no issues acquiring the card. The exception was that they put the “cannot do stairs” tag on the GAC which is far from true. Matt is the most physically fit amongst us. All this did was make us go through the back entrances at Space Mountain and Splash Mountain where backups can occur. He did have a bit of an issue waiting for Splash Mountain in Disneyland, but thankfully it was more or less isolated from the rest of the crowds.

  • mj88jm

    As a father of an Autistic son, I applaud Disney for reworking the GAC/DAS…the misuse and overuse of the old system was sickening. The DAS is not without it’s shortcomings though. Just a quick example is that my son, as most other children, enjoys going to the Studios and riding Toy Story Mania. So after our FP+ has been used and he wants to ride again, say the wait time is 90 minutes, now I’m forced to keep an autistic boy occupied for 80 minutes in the heat, when all he wants to do is ride TSM. I can’t use his pass on another ride until after we return to TSM, so if we go to another attraction he’s forced to stand in a line and wait (as I pray there isn’t a meltdown) which is the thing we’ve got the pass for to avoid.
    It’s altered the way our family heads to Disney World now. Instead of going during Spring Break or in the summer when he was out of school, we’re now pulling him from school and going during March and Sept when crowd levels are low and you can almost walk right on most attractions. I think we might have used the card maybe 5 times during the week on last visit in March, which is nice.

    • billyjobobb

      How is your experience different than other parents with kids who want to ride the same ride right NOW?

      I’ve been there with a child in meltdown because he can’t have what he wants. Should I get to take my kid wherever he wants to go too? Or are there reasonable limits? We’re not in a situation where Disney isn’t bending over backwards to accommodate you. You just want more than the already generous options they are giving you.

      Nobody is getting the perfect vacation. We all have something that we have to deal with while we’re there.

      • Plaiditude

        Comparing an Autistic meltdown to the typical temper tantrum of a neurotypical child gave me a good laugh just now, thanks!

        I don’t have a child with Autism, but I am a special ed teacher who has worked with Autistic children. I am also a former Guest Relations Cast Member at Epcot who gave out GAC cards. I STILL think that these new “accommodations” are not very accommodating at all to many children with disabilities.

        We aren’t talking your normal “my toddler isn’t getting their way” temper tantrum, here, my dear; we’re talking full blown meltdown, often by children who are much larger than toddlers (and in some cases, the same size as adults). How do parents of children with Autism deal with this in the real world? Rigid schedules, avoiding situations and scenarios that are overstimulating, etc. This is not a matter of a child not getting their way and being a brat. You think that it is? Let’s trade places for awhile.

        It’s not about having the perfect vacation, it’s about actually being able to TAKE a vacation in a place that accommodates the very special needs of your child who is often exempt from such things due to their disabilities.

        And I’m saying this as someone who used to give out the GAC cards and yes, witnessed abuse from some guests. HOWEVER, the good outweighed the bad. Sure, these guests could often bypass the lines…but you know what these parents can’t do with their kids? Take them to the movies. Enroll them in swimming, karate, dance lessons, etc. Go GROCERY shopping. Run any errands. Attend birthday parties. Many of the things that you take for granted with your kids and just daily FUNCTIONING and running a household with a child with Autism is 10,000 times more difficult.

        If you think I’m exaggerating, I can show you pictures of my bleeding wounds and talk about my sprained back after a particularly lovely meltdown. This is all with a behavior plan in play, support staff, rigid routine, picture cues, etc. in the classroom. These parents aren’t getting special privileges, those cards afforded them the opportunity to do what you do with your children…take a vacation and be able to FUNCTION in the real world.

    • billyjobobb

      How do you handle it when your child is at school and all he wants to do is ride Toy Story Mania?

      How do you handle it when he wants pizza, but you have hamburgers? An autistic child will have these times, why should the fact that you’re at Disneyland change things? Do you expect McDonald’s to serve you a pizza just because that’s what your autistic child wants? Why should it be any different at Disneyland? They already made a system that allows you to ride the ride without having to wait with a kid that doesn’t want to wait. At what point is it enough?

      If you were arguing that your child is unable to ride it, I’d be there with you. But arguing that your child isn’t getting everything they want…. well that’s an entirely different story.

      Everyone should be able to have the same experience. That totally means that people with a disability should be able to ride a ride, that there should be REASONABLE accommodations made so that can be accomplished, but nobody is able to go straight onto a popular ride just because that’s what they want.

      • mj88jm

        You’re completely right Billy, you’ve shown me the light. I just cancelled our upcoming vacation and had to explain to him that he isn’t special, or any more special than Billy’s kid. He can’t have everything, and his life will be full of disappointments, so we might as well start now.

        My point was this, we try to not use the pass as often as we can. I hate using it because of the looks we’d get from people like you when we had to pull it out. He has a disability which severly limits his ability to stand in lines, I’m not looking for a front of the line pass, but it would be nice to be able to use the pass at multiple locations while waiting on a longer wait time so that he doesn’t have to wait in line at another attraction and can wait in an alternate entrance area.
        I also stated that in order to accommodate our family and the way we see the parks now we go during off times to avoid having to use the pass at all.
        Sorry you’re so bitter and I’ve offended you so deeply. Maybe my son can buy you a Dole Whip if you’re ever in the parks at the same time and try to cheer you up a little.

      • billyjobobb

        Like I asked.

        At what point is it enough?

      • Ravjay12

        Billyjobobb, unless you have an Autistic child, you won’t ever understand. I used to work for Disneyland and saw often just a piece of what these awesome parents have to go through each and every day. It’s not like some poorly behaved kid who doesn’t get his or her way. These awesome parents who have Autistic children deserve to be treated special and should be able to get in front of the lines each and every time.

        Mj88jm don’t ever let people’s ignorance get to you.

      • daliseurat

        I work with children with special needs. We deal with the tantrums that come from not giving in to what a child wants right that second. We try to teach them to wait. We try to teach them to choose something else. It can be a very long and frustrating process for them. Some children will simply not eat anything if they don’t get what they “want”. Sometimes it’s not really what they want, it what they are used to. Some children have a very difficult time with change. It’s not their fault and helping them to overcome this is very difficult. Sometimes a tantrum can last a very long time. Hours. And they are sometimes dangerous to the child and others around them. So tantrums are something we try to avoid. We can do that in a school environment. But in the real world it’s far more difficult. And out in public…So, it’s really very different from a tantrum that a typical child might present. It’s the sort of thing that can lead to a parent taking the child back to the hotel. After maybe being in the park for 30 minutes. Parents of special needs children try their very best to provide these experiences for their children and not cause anyone else any inconvenience. And trust me, it’s difficult.

      • mj88jm

        You know Billy, are you the same guy that lobbies against handicap parking spaces as well? I mean, good grief it must be totally unfair in your short minded world for these folks to get preferred parking spots up close right? Nevermind that blue card with the wheelchair on it, their everyday experience shouldn’t be any different from yours!!!

      • second blue teacup

        Oh look, trotting out the same tired lines…
        “Unless you have an autistic child yourself…”

        Followed by the hyperbolic overreaction…
        “Lobbying against handicapped parking!”

        I swear sometimes the parents are farther off the rails than the kids. We get it, your lives are difficult. It must be tiring playing martyr all the time.

      • teacup and others,

        You’re not making friends.

        Speaking personally, we’re not looking for sympathy from the other 40K people in the parks. What we’re looking to do is enjoy our vacation without drawing attention to Matt. Decreasing the amount of time in line helps this significantly.

        The system is in place for a reason: People with cognitive disabilities have different needs than other people.

        I understand that in today’s over diagnosed, hyperbolic, and hypochondria fueled society we’re quick to dismiss “disabilities”, but for truly autistic people, these things are necessary.

      • billyjobobb

        Let me tell you a story.

        The city of Portland Oregon allows anyone with a placard to park in any spot downtown for as long as they want, for free. And over half the spaces downtown filled with cars that had placards.

        Sound familiar? Give generous benefits and people will abuse them.

        Now the city of Portland has created roughly 150 new handicapped spaces and they are enforcing the parking times and requiring payment from EVERYONE starting July 1st.

        Wanna bet the number of cars using the placards goes way down?

      • daliseurat

        That’s nothing close to the same thing. The city should have been expecting payment and enforcing times from the start. No one’s getting into Disneyland for free because of a disability.

  • fcanfield

    I do not use a GAC or DAS card but because of physical (not Mental) issues, Im use a scooter at Disneyland and Fairs. Also since I mainly travel alone, I do use “Single Rider” lines where available. At some rides in Disneyland I do get a return time card which I tthink is an advantage for me since I can get multiple return times for as many rides as I want at the same time. I think that this should be addressed.

  • Ormly

    As you mentioned in your article Tim, the GAC was a really nice benefit to those of us who suffer from various disabilities such as my brother and I. And while that card is greatly missed I agree it was abused too much by those who simply either didn’t need it or by family members that took advantage of it. The only workaround that my brother and I have found is that instead of using one DAS pass, we now register for two. One for him and one for me. While the FastPass helps complement our DAS passes, the use of all 3 makes the day once again more enjoyable. The DAS system works quite well for the two of us.

    • billyjobobb

      not trying to start a fight here, but the point of the passes aren’t to make a good day a great day, they are to allow people to be there in the first place. It is to allow people to have an equal experience as the other paying guests. It isn’t “make a wish” where it’s making your dreams come true and treating you special.

      It is to allow a parent with a child who cannot stand in lines to skip the lines and still enjoy the attraction. They are not meant to be free passes to everything. That’s why Disney had to make these changes. Too many people were using the old passes to get the perfect vacation, to ride the popular rides 20 times in the middle of the day, in July.

      The passes are so that people with mobility issues, elderly, and other problems get the opportunity to experience the Disney parks

    • disdad

      And this is how the abuse will start. People will start getting 2, 3,4 or even 8 passes saying they are all need them and then we are back in the exact same situation. The only way I see disney fixing this next level of abuse is by having all members added to the card and they can only be on 1 card at a time . But the technology/infrastructure for that is still not implemented so until then I think this type of abuse (multiple DAS cards) will start to ramp up.

  • danielz6

    Billyjo, you’ve identified a bigger problem that exists in America. Where a group of people seeking equal treatment eventually get special rights and preferential treatment.

  • tgdiver

    I had hoped this discussion wouldn’t turn into a rant-filled one. The point of the article was a look into one family’s experience, and comments on the differences between old & new Disney passes. The acid comments about “entitled attitudes” and so on have been beat to death on various threads already. While I agree that there are those who feel they should have VIP/front-of-line treatment all the time, I also feel that they are rare – just loud. The writer simply made a few comments about changes his family had to make, and was, IMO, very favorable and reasonable.

    • Marko50

      Why should this discussion be any different than any other one? Seems to me that most Micechat articles end up this way. It might be time to consider closing the comments.

  • grizzlybear55

    I doubt that any of us object to helping those with special needs enjoy to the fullest their time at the happiest place on Earth, and I support any system designed to do that. But the problem was the abuse of the system — and the outright arrogance of the abusers. I can speak only about the situation at Disneyland, where it became so ridiculous that you couldn’t get through a ride without it stopping mid-way through, and it was customary to see a large family actually trading grandpa in his wheelchair around from one family member to another — laughing all the way as they ran to the front of the main gate or the entrance to Pirates of the Caribbean, reveling in the special treatment that grandpa in the wheelchair got them.

    I was pleased to see Disneyland finally address the problems the bad apples were causing in the park, but so do I, like so many others, sympathize with those “legitimate” folks who have had trouble with the changes. By the same token, however, those same “legitimate” folks — and the organizations that represent them — should have spoken up long ago when they saw the system that was designed to accommodate their needs being gamed and abused by scumbags who would go to such disgraceful and disgusting lengths for their own selfish purposes. Silence never gets you anywhere, folks, and this is a sad example of that.

    • Hi Grizzlybear55. This very site had several articles mentioning the GAC problem and how it was being voiced by management on behalf of legitimate guest complaints. This was being otherwise ignored by upper management who feared the PR nightmare that would result from Disney changing their guest assistance offerings. It took the “Manhattan Moms” article for action to be taken. If that article (or something similar from a major news source) doesn’t get written, I would think the GAC would still be in place.

    • billyjobobb

      unfortunately, there is a crossover group here. Some of the people abusing the system had someone who could legitimately use it.

      Like the poster a bit up who complained that they weren’t able to ride the same ride over and over just because the kid wanted to. How many kids could stay on toy story mania all day?

      And the other poster who claims they get multiple passes so they can split up and get times for different rides so they can ride ride ride all day while everybody else stands in line. Is that fair?

      There is a balance and we all have rights. ALL of us. Including the people who have to stand in line for hours to get on a ride.

      • mj88jm

        Are you this clueless Billy? Not once did I say my complaint was not being able to ride over and over, I even said I didn’t want a front of the line pass and in fact I hate even having to use it, which is why we changed when we go to the parks now to AVOID using it altogether.
        When we were there in the summer and HAD to use it on a long wait, it would have been nice to have been able to use it at another attraction because he is physically and mentally unable at times to control himself in a line. I’d rather not go that route and be subjected to the points and stares from everyone else waiting in line with us. I don’t mind the wait, it would just be nice to do it in an alternate enterence away from everyone else. It’s not a hard concept to grasp.
        The fact that I have to go to Disney and get a pass at all kills me more than you’ll apparently ever understand, believe me I wish it was the other way and I didn’t even need to use one.

  • BigBobxxx

    I’m a firm believer in empowering the frontline castmembers the discretion to make the right decisions regarding this, and many other issues.
    Have two more guests in your party than the “maximum”?
    OK, so you’re all here ready to go?
    The right answer is, of course, to allow the entire handicapped party to enter as a group — with a minimum of disruption to themselves and others.
    After all, they’ve already made some arrangements with Disney so that we know they’re not scamming the system. Let people do the right thing, already!

    I am shocked that some people have such difficulty with cutting those with legitimate needs some slack. You know, perhaps even more than the handicapped person(s), the caregivers need a break too. They live their lives having to jump through hoops to do the best they can for their loved ones.

    Probably 10 years ago by now, I encountered a situation on the monorail.
    Being a local, and knowing the system, I always made it a point to ask to “ride in the point” (back when guests were still allowed to ride up front with the driver). I enjoyed this.
    One day, I was the only one (of four maximum allowed) cleared and waiting for the point, when a family of four arrived and asked to ride up front in the point.
    The castmember had obviously explained to them that only four people at a time were allowed to ride in the point, as I saw the mother and two children coming to ride in the point — and dad sending them off and heading back to ride by himself in another car.
    I had it in my power to fix this situation.
    So, I called the dad back and offered to let him take my place (so the entire family could ride together). I still feel good about having done this to this day.
    FYI, no one in the family had pitched any kind of hissy-fit, and the castmember never said a word to me. In fact, if I had not been familiar with the rules and being observant, I never would have known anything was going on.

    It’s called paying it forward.
    I suggest trying it once-in-a-while.

    • disdad

      That is great to hear and you probably added to the magic of the park that day. Now if everyone was so thoughtful the world would be a much better place.

  • daliseurat

    Tim, it’s really great to read about this from your perspective. I will be very interested to read how the new system works when you go back again and utilize it.

  • eynsteinp

    I know this is probably a bad tome to respond as I just spent the last hour plus calming my 12 year old down over a meltdown over something that I still have not been able to figure out. This after last night when at 4 in the morning he woke up not feeling good and melted down for several hours. However, I will try and explain the need for the DAS so people who are fortunate enough not to have to deal with autism can understand. Just using my son as an example, there are several reasons why waiting in the regular line is nearly impossible many times. First, we have to worry about him melting down due to the wait. While this has been discussed, it is a real problem for longer waits. Next, my son cannot control his need to spin or flap, especially when excited (in a positive or negative way), which is disruptive to other guests and can even be dangerous. While in line it is nearly impossible for him to spin and this can lead to many issues for him. Next, he also suffers from OCD and has a obsessive fear of germs. Many times when he starts seeing what he perceives to be germs or unclean areas, he can obsess and meltdown in an very severe way and become detached from reality to the point that you cannot calm him. When this happens it is scary to see as a parent and I do everything I can to prevent it. Long lines can lead to him obsessing over germs, especially when he is not moving for extended periods of times. These are just a few reasons my son needs the DAS system. I have used both DAS and GAC and quite honestly feel that DAS is just as effective for us. I think that there were many times that the abuse of the GAC led to even longer waits than the standby lines and defeated the purpose of the pass. I think that Disney meets at least my needs in that I can keep him out of line and away from his triggers before going on rides with the DAS. I hope that the individuals that do not understand the reason why DAS is needed can appreciate the fact that in spite of their perceptions, the reality is that there are families that need it to not only make their day manageable but prevent their disabled family member from disturbing or interrupting their day as well.

    • disdad

      Your situation is a clear example of what the DAS is about and why Disney needs it. And as you have said the DAS is better than the GAC as its less abused at this point in time. The GAC would have been fine had it not been abused. Hopefully the idiots of the world do not start to abuse the DAS (I am talking about those who use it as a front of the line pass with no real reason/disability to have one) so that it continues to be an effective way for you to take your little one to the park.

    • daveyjones

      **i have no sympathy for people who choose to have autistic children.**

      honestly, i’m glad DAS is working out so well for so many people.

      • daveyjones

        that was sarcasm, ps.

    • billyjobobb

      And that is the point of the system. It is to allow you to ride the rides, etc. But some seem to argue that they should get whatever they want. Disney looked at this, looked at it from all guests perspectives and came up with a fair system that likely does not give everyone what they want, but allows everyone the opportunity for a day at Disney.

      Unfortunately we already see how some are trying to abuse the system. And Disney will have to deal with that, making it harder for everyone.

  • Jabroniville

    It’s an unfortunate issue. I can both see the need to allow disabled types (and caregivers) the ability to go on some rides without huge issues (Mental or physical), but also that abuse was rampant (Disneyland was a minefield of SPVs when I was there, and examples of other abuse are prevalent) and that you shouldn’t just let people ride over and over again at the expense of every other guest.

    Disney is in a no-win situation that will annoy everyone just a little.

    • eynsteinp

      I agree that it is a no-win situation. However, I think the new system meets a lot of the needs of people who need the assistance and eliminates much of the abuse. The thing that a lot of people seem to miss is that the people who actually need the help were probably even more angry about the abuse than anyone. Like I said, the abuse at Disneyland was so bad that it often defeated the purpose of the GAC. I don’t think anyone on either side of this issue wants the system to be abused.

  • Timekeeper

    Well, I’m not disabled, but my sister had an roller skating accident during her birthday last April and she had to use a wheelchair at the Disneyland Resort before and during her Grad night on May 21 (she’s only temporarily disabled until the leg surgery and then two months after it.)

    Back on the trip: Got her a rental wheelchair (which was so helpful!!!) Entered Disneyland; I, my mom and my older brother went with her to City Hall; signing up for DAS was painless, she got her photograph, we made our first reservation for Star Tours, I knew about the new enforcement of return times for Fastpass, and I under stood we had to come during a certain time, but the odd part on DAS was we could come anytime, even after the return window (sort of reminiscent of the old ways of fastpass before the return enforcement, c’est la vie); so we had lunch at Plaza Inn (per my sister’s request), saw Captain EO (it was her first time seeing it live, in three words: she LOVED IT!!!!) Afterward, we went on Star Tours, we entered the attraction through the Disability corridor, it was a little plain (retrospectively looking back on it because if it wasn’t plain, it would have been overstimulating, but my family missed out a little of bit of the regular queue action, it was minor.) Went on it, two new words: Enjoyed IT!, (especially when one of the other passengers on board was a rebel spy during my journey.)

    Some time later, we went park hopping and entered Disney California Adventure. I’m probably one of the rare few people who actually enjoyed DCA Ver. 1.0, especially the California Letters, Golden Gate -monorail- Bridge and sweeping side murals, but the new entrance area was certainly new. I was awestruck at the nook and crannies spread across on this new Buena Vista Street, even the Red Car Trolley was amazing (I didn’t ride it, my mom did and she liked it.) Went to the information center, reserved a reservation for Radiator Springs Racers and that was it. My family just walked to Carsland, we saw lots new stuff there, we went on Luigi’s Flying Tires, I, with my brother and my mom with sister through the disabled loading dock. The Cast Members were very informative on the instructions on how to load, ride and turn, and disembark. Overall, they liked it and we all pretty much agreed that unless they changed the loading configuration with a loading dock similar to the disable access loading duck, it’s days are numbered. Later went to Flo’s for Dinner, the Dinner was OK, but boy was it filling and when I had the chocolate mud pie, gracious that was rich (but in a good way.) After we had finished dinner, it was time for RSR and we headed over, the line was listed as being over two hours, entered the fastpass return line, and we had to wait a little bit like ten minutes, but then was directed to the disabled loading zone for RSR. The ride itself was, in a thrill seekers term, AWESOME.

    All in all, we had a great day, but then my sister had to attend to her Grad Night (she choose my mom as her partner and was already chaperone,) so my brother and I headed over to the Little Mermaid dark ride, we both liked it, I personally thought it was/still is a work-in-progress, since it has a unique problem: a reverse Snow White ending. Hopefully, it will have that problem fixed next time when I’m back at DCA.

    DAS was helpful because my sister could go on the new rides/new to her (again per request), instead of waiting two hours and missing out on some of the shows (alas, my family wasn’t able to see Mickey and the Magical Map because of the date of my visit nor see Mickey’s Soundsational Parade because of the precious moments of time to get to DCA and ride LFT and RSR.) But we did see the comedy group in the Golden Horseshoe and see (outside the seating area), the mini-theater production of BatB in the new Fantasy Fair area (which, btw, is really nice, even if your not there for the princess meet’n’greets, it has a lot of fun elements to explore, out of all the fun elements, my sister enjoyed the Hunchback of Notre Dame music box, because she enjoyed watching the first and second movie on Netflix and because it a has a lot of fun secrets.) But back on DAS, didn’t have any trouble.

    I’m in favor of DAS as that has been helpful, in the case of a guest who was wheel-chair bound and after explaining the situation of your condition.

    Side note: I said it then and I’ll say it now: I still don’t like the dropping of the apostrophe and the letter ‘S’ in DCA. Same goes for DHS park in WDW and for every new Disney feature after the “Disney Muppet” movie.


  • OriginalMousekteer

    I started to leave a comment, but deleted it because I think this discussion shouldn’t take place through spontaneous comments. Unfortunately, people end up talking past each other.

    Ultimately, I think Disney is trying to make this work–they have to. Most CMs I know believe it will continue to evolve over time. In my experience using both GAC and DAS I have found that it’s important to understand what these programs are and what they are not. They can help to make the parks more accessible. Unfortunately, it’s easy to think of them as a “Willy Wonka Golden Ticket” that means you never have to wait in line (try convincing my nephews they’re not). And you still get Grad Nite kids renting a wheelchair and trying to bring twenty of their friends with them through the back door at an attraction.

  • pattimarie

    I’m not quite sure I understand the comment, “By limiting distribution to guests with mental disabilities it significantly curbed the abuse.” I didn’t think the use was limited to only those with mental disabilities, even under DAS???

    What did seem to happen was that people with physical disabilities who are not in wheelchairs, who have what may be called invisible disabilities, were denied DAS passes and told to rent wheelchairs or electric scooters. This is an expensive alternative, and for some not practical because sitting or driving an electric scooter can be as painful as standing in a long line. Disney encouraged people to go into detail with what they needed to cast members, but then it was hit or miss what individual cast members would do about it.

    Because of my physical disabilities, I had stopped going on rides if the line was more than 5-10 minutes until I discovered the GAC pass. Finally I was able to enjoy Disneyland again! I was hesitant to ask for the first one, but they were very nice about giving it. There were still lines to wait in, but they were doable. Since they’ve enacted the DAS, I’m afraid to go ask for a DAS and be denied it or flippantly told to rent a vehicle when I have issues with those too. That would ruin my day. So I’m back to just not riding the rides again. I spend a lot of time waiting around while the people I’m with ride rides I could ride if not for the line.

    Is there anyone else out there with “invisible disabilities” who could share their recent experience with DAS? I’m wondering if Disney has thought of a better way to handle these than just telling them to rent something???