Maybe you heard about the rumor that Disney now hates disabled people and is getting rid of the program. This is obviously not true on either part of those statements. I would say some of the information being passed around is more misleading than a blatant lie. Such is the case with a lot of articles, stories on the news, and internet. I do know what is true according to Disney representatives, their website, and Disney Park President Meg Crofton who has stated repeatedly “We have long recognized that people have different needs and we will continue to work individually with our guests with disabilities to provide assistance that is responsive to their unique circumstances.” This means even if you don’t like the new changes, they will still work with you. You will have to ask.
The old Guest Assistance Card (GAC) is a thing of the past, this is true. Due to abuse of this program, they would have to get rid of the cards to keep the non-disabled people who bought their way to using it, from using it. But this doesn’t mean Disney left you out to dry. Instead it is replaced with the Disability Assistance Card or (DAS) this card works nearly the same way with a few perks and few changes. To prevent the abuse the person needing the card (or parent) must be photographed for the card, there is a time limit for use of 14 days (if your trip is longer you get another card) but this keeps the phonies from being able to hold the card and use it later. And surprisingly yes, the disabled person actually needs to board the ride. I will post a link to the bottom of this article for more information or you can click here.
New perks are in the way of the FAST PASS+ system. This is designed to work with the DAS card, and is a benefit to all guests whether or not they are disabled. You can now pick up to three rides per day, per park (if you have park hoppers) to register a timeslot so you can avoid waiting in line. This system is included in the price of tickets when you purchase through the Disney site and use the My Disney Experience. If you have a trip booked in the next few weeks or months you can start scheduling once the full system is fully rolled out which is due to happen in late 2013.
Fast Pass+ will also allow you to schedule meet & greets, and parade and firework viewing. You can change your reservations at any time. Cast members are armed in the park with iPads, or if you carry your own device you can download the free Disney Mobile App, which works for apple products, Google and android products. This app gives you a GPS enabled map of the park with all the ride wait times so you can best judge where you want to go, and which rides you may want to use your fast pass+ on. It will also help with the use of the DAS card to determine ride times. The best feature is if your child loves say Space Mountain, you can book this before you ever even leave your home.
My Magic+ is going to give guests the opportunity to make their experience better than it was before by being more organized, and have less time for waiting around. This is a place if you have to make changes to any reservation for a ride if needed. This is especially useful for parents of disabled children, particularly autism, who know things can change with the wind. You will be able to coordinate with other friends and family to make your ride or dining reservations and look into the new magic band program that has been testing in parks part of 2013. The band (for resort guests only) will be an all-in-one that can unlock your room, include your dining plans and work the new FastPass system. Designed to give you less to worry about and carry around the parks. You can find more information on My Magic+ in the My Disney Experience of their website.