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  1. #1

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    Any news on upcomming "major" changes to GAC program?

    Hi everyone, long time lurker. Went ahead and registered so I sould search and ask questions

    Yesterday when my family and I visited Disney, we went to renew our GAC for my child. The CM told us there was going to be "major changes happening soon" but had absolutly no details. I hate when people do this, it's like getting a message on your answer machine from the doctor's office to please call them about your lab results. Ugh. Does anyone know what they might be? I am somewhat aprehensive about renewing season passes at the end of this month (a VERY significant investment for us) if it is no longer going to be available or changed to the point of not being able to assist us.

    I realize this is a touchy subject, but I can't tell you how much I appreciate Disney offering this and how much it improved our experience vs before we were aware of it (we were going to drop our passes and not be able to return when someone told us about the program).

    I am aware of and disgusted by the abuse being reported, and how it seems to make some feel entitled. Just yesterday while waiting in the designated area for a slow attraction, a group from behind us walked up and argued with a CM about how they were interspersing us too slowly with people from the standby cue, and how he was having to wait and had a card etc. It made me embarassed to even be holding a GAC. I did not mind waiting, I was happy to be off to the side with my child where they would not affect the other guests. It's people like this that give all of us a bad reputation.

  2. #2

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    Re: Any news on upcomming "major" changes to GAC program?

    I just hope they remove the ability to receive unlimited entry through Fast Pass lines. That is where I think the most abuse happens. You just say the right things and bam, your group can enter through the FP lines all day.
    Last edited by Quentin; 09-03-2013 at 03:16 PM.
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  3. #3

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    Re: Any news on upcomming "major" changes to GAC program?

    I've certainly noticed the CM's being more informative (dare I say, trying to deter) to people with the GAC's regarding the wait times, basically letting the GAC holder know that it doesn't constitute immediate boarding. In fact, as we exited POTC I heard a CM telling guest's that the GAC line was a 30 minute wait, while the regular line was only 15 minutes.

  4. #4

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    Re: Any news on upcomming "major" changes to GAC program?

    When I renewed my GAC on Friday (I can do everything except stairs, and the GAC I have just allows me to bypass stairs), all the CM told me is that they are now issuing the cards for two weeks only. I asked if I would be able to keep renewing the card if I needed to, and she said yes. I'd brought along my doctors' note/documentation in case they now needed it, and she said that it still wasn't required.

    So...no changes yet. However, I'd really be surprised if they did something to eliminate GACs altogether. I wonder if the changes would be more along the lines of lowering the number of guests a person can bring (I usually go to the park alone so I just have me on my GAC).
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  5. #5

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    Re: Any news on upcomming "major" changes to GAC program?

    Quote Originally Posted by moregumboplease View Post
    In fact, as we exited POTC I heard a CM telling guest's that the GAC line was a 30 minute wait, while the regular line was only 15 minutes.
    Isn't that the part that is technically against the law? Maybe its not against the law to tell people its a longer wait when in fact it isn't, but definitely against the law to make disabled folks wait longer than everyone else.

  6. #6

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    Re: Any news on upcomming "major" changes to GAC program?

    They only renewed ours for 2 weeks as well. I have read rumers that they may only make it valid on the day of entry, and only valid for the number in your party that day, and that the entire party must present at city hall. It would be ok if they did, it is no big deal to stop there first and show our family, I just hope they don't drop the number, my family is 5 (me DW and 3 kids) and it would not be feasable to split up.
    Last edited by dragondad; 09-04-2013 at 07:40 AM.

  7. #7

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    Re: Any news on upcomming "major" changes to GAC program?

    Quote Originally Posted by Malina View Post
    I'd brought along my doctors' note/documentation in case they now needed it, and she said that it still wasn't required.
    I've never understood this. It doesn't seem any different than requiring a handicapped placard to use handicapped parking spaces. The placard doesn't reveal a condition, just that the bearer has displayed a handicap and had it verified through a qualified third party. I know that system can still be gamed but to a much less degree than "You're going to Disneyland tomorrow? Go to City Hall and say X, Y and Z. No, they can't ask for any proof."

  8. #8

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    Re: Any news on upcomming "major" changes to GAC program?

    There are also safety laws on how many disabled persons can be on the ride at a given time for evacuation purposes, they are not allowed to exceed this. So they cycle the disabled persons through as fast as they can, but since Pirates is accessable and popular the disabled persons line is often longer. Same thing for Small World. On rides like Pirates, Small world, Little Mermaid and such where the standby lines are constantly moving we just go through the regular lines.

    The HIPPA act prevents them asking, I hope they can figure something out. It's funny, us and others I know who truly need the assistance would have no issues presenting proof, it's the people gaming the system that would raise the biggest stink.

  9. #9

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    Re: Any news on upcomming "major" changes to GAC program?

    Quote Originally Posted by MrLiver View Post
    Isn't that the part that is technically against the law? Maybe its not against the law to tell people its a longer wait when in fact it isn't, but definitely against the law to make disabled folks wait longer than everyone else.
    I don't think it is--and it's the nature of the ride. They can only have so many GAC users (ones with serious mobility issues) on the ride at one time, which sometimes pushes up the wait time. It isn't something that they can really control in regards to wait times.

  10. #10

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    Re: Any news on upcomming "major" changes to GAC program?

    Quote Originally Posted by bettiebloodshed View Post
    I don't think it is--and it's the nature of the ride.
    Actually I think you might be right. The ADA does required equal access, but due to its age, I believe Pirates may be exempt from complying with the ADA.

  11. #11

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    Re: Any news on upcomming "major" changes to GAC program?

    Quote Originally Posted by dragondad View Post
    The HIPPA act prevents them asking, I hope they can figure something out.
    I can imagine its a pretty tricky problem for them. Even if they could ask for proof, how would they verify it? If they wanted to implement some kind of verification process/ background check, it would add time to the GAC process and reduce capacity at an already crowded city hall. I doubt that would help much, and probably make it easier for someone who "knew somebody" to cheat the system and find a doctor who had no qualms about writing a note for a theme park.

    The DMV has a more more stringent application process and that is pretty widely abused too. I always wondered why Disney didn't use the DMV documents as proof, but I am guessing that too might be against the law if Disney isn't already doing it.

  12. #12

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    Re: Any news on upcomming "major" changes to GAC program?

    Quote Originally Posted by MrLiver View Post
    Isn't that the part that is technically against the law? Maybe its not against the law to tell people its a longer wait when in fact it isn't, but definitely against the law to make disabled folks wait longer than everyone else.
    Nobody is making them do anything. They chose to wait.

    In that case they were encouraging and able to, to go to the shorter wait in the stand by line. There are many in a GAC entry that have the choice of how to enter, not all need the wide girth WC entrance.
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  13. #13

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    Re: Any news on upcomming "major" changes to GAC program?

    One of the more informative posts on Disney's requirements under the ADA is this one from July of last year:

    Quote Originally Posted by Westsider
    Federal law says they have to make facilities built after the 1990's wheelchair accessible with no incline greater than 12 degrees. They have done that in all of DCA, and have made big strides in retrofitting Disneyland rides to accommodate that. Disneyland rides built before the 1990's have to send wheelchairs through the exit, or are simply grandfathered entirely and don't have to do anything further to meet federal laws (See: Canoes, Columbia, Treehouse, Tom Sawyer Island, Storybookland Canal Boats, Sleeping Beauty Castle, Submarine Voyage, etc., etc.)

    The GAC process is not mandated by any federal or state laws. A GAC card is simply a customer service that Disneyland offers, a nicety offered out of the goodness of Disneyland's heart, or at least the goodness that existed 10 years ago before rampant abuse and fraud set in. The GAC offering is increasingly abused and subject to fraud. The opening of Cars Land and the continuing 45 minute long line at Radiator Springs Racers for GAC Guests, who theoretically are people who claim they can't wait in line but are suddenly cured if it means they only have to wait 45 minutes to get on Racers, has exposed this fraud for every executive who steps foot in Cars Land.

    Facebook Friends who work Racers report that Guest Relations has taken over the Fastpass Distro area near the front of the ride, and are issuing return passes three hours later for GAC holders. Then the GAC holders come back and wait in a 45 minute line to board the ride. All of this is being recorded daily in a big report sent to executives, although George K. and Mary Niven have observed this whole thing from the sidelines several times now in Cars Land.

    Disneyland could stop issuing GAC's tomorrow, and make all current GAC's invalid and worthless, and there is absolutely nothing that anyone could do about it. No federal or state law mandates that such a GAC courtesy be extended to any customer, in any industry or public facility. The ADA laws on the books only address physical barriers to buildings and facilities built after a certain date, that is all. And even then, those laws state that they only allow "equal access" to said facility. Radiator Springs Racers and all of DCA meet or exceed that standard by having all Standby queues fully wheelchair accessible with no incline greater than 12 degrees.
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  14. #14

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    Re: Any news on upcomming "major" changes to GAC program?

    The "informative post" is a bit misleading in one respect - there are "alternative experiences" for Sleeping Beauty's Castle and Finding Nemo.

  15. #15

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    Re: Any news on upcomming "major" changes to GAC program?

    Quote Originally Posted by MrLiver View Post
    Isn't that the part that is technically against the law? Maybe its not against the law to tell people its a longer wait when in fact it isn't, but definitely against the law to make disabled folks wait longer than everyone else.
    Not really. They are required to have accessible rides, but on some rides they only have a certain amount of accessible vehicles available and you have to wait until one of those comes through to load. There is no way for Disney to predict how many GAC v. standby people will be in a line at any given time and so expecting them to maintain a consistent ratio would be asking them to see the future. As long as the line isn't an unreasonable length (e.g. 2 hours) they are well within the guidelines of the law. The ADA is aware that there may be slight differences and just asks that consideration be made to the best of their ability.

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