The controversy surrounding the abuse of the previous Guest Assistance Card at Walt Disney parks has created the need for revisions to the program to avoid abuse. While the subject is still hot topic for many on various fan forums, Disney is doing its best to be forward with information on the new program and how they intend it to function.
While I'm sure there will be a trial and error phase, Walt Disney Parks and Resort have provided the following answers to frequently asked questions and issued this statement:
Walt Disney Parks 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
• 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’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.
Walt Disney Parks & Resorts Commitment to Guests with Disabilities
Disney Parks has long been at the forefront of making its parks accessible to guests and has received the following awards:
• 2012 United Kingdom Autism Foundation - Gold Autism Award • 2011 Center for Independent Living in Los Angeles
• 2011 Access Award from the American Foundation for the Blind • 2010 NSPE New Product Award Mega Company Category
• 2009 Honors Award “Corporate” - The Invisible Disabilities Advocate
• 2008 Hong Kong Government Caring Environment Award - Hong Kong Disneyland
• 2008 Accessibility Award – National Association of the Deaf
• 2007 Disability Matters Award: Work Life
• 2007 Media Access Association’s Outstanding Achievement Award – Walt Disney World “Signs”
• 2004 The New Ability Award – Best Product or Technology