As most of you may or may not know, Disney caught a lot of heat for their previous guest assistance policy and have begun implementing new policies in both Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort. Part of the issue was people receiving cards who did not need them. We are certain most who really need the new DAC card would gladly explain to anyone who would listen why there is a need and because Disney did not require documentation (proof) of a disability the old system was abused. Those who were abusing, will claim privacy and HIPA- and hence, the new Disney Parks policies. It just grew so out of control and Disney saw that and is changing, which is a great thing. The most reprehensible was that some were taking advantage of the policy and even making money off of it and hopefully these new policies will eliminate that.
One of Castle Dream’s Travel’s owners is testing the new policy this week in Walt Disney World. Tricia has said before experiencing this new system with her family that there will always be those who abuse the system, but if it is made harder on them, it benefits those who NEED it. She has also reported that typically when she has gone to get her daughter’s GAC – they would wave their hand as if to say “I can’t hear it”. The last time they visited this past August, the woman actually let them explain what we needed and why.
“What is a Disability Access Service Card and how does it work?
The Disability Access Service 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 Disability Access Service 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 Disability Access Service Cardholder have to be present to obtain a return time at an attraction?
No. Another member of the Disability Access Service Cardholder’s travel party may obtain a return time but the Disability Access Service Cardholder must board the attraction with his or her party.
Where do Disability Access Service Cardholders go to receive return times?
At Walt Disney World® Resort, Guests will go to the attraction to receive a return time.
Does a Disability Access Service Cardholder have to ride the attraction at the exact return time listed?
No. Return times are valid until redeemed by the Disability Access Service Cardholder.
How long is a Disability Access Service Card valid?
A Disability Access Service Card is valid for up to 14 days depending on a Guest’s ticket entitlement.
Is a Disability Access Service 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 Disability Access Service Card?
No, a Guest whose disability is based on the necessity to use a wheelchair or scooter does not need a Disability Access Service 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. 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.”
Here is the official Disney statement published on the Disney Parks Blog: