In keeping with our long history of providing accommodations for our guests with disabilities, we will continue to provide assistance that is responsive to their needs. – Meg Crofton President, Walt Disney Parks & Resorts Operations, United States and France
Yesterday I was able to speak with Jacquee Wahler, Director, Communications, Walt Disney Parks & Resorts, about the changes that will take place on October 9th to Disney’s Guest Assistance Card and provide an update on Disney’s Disability Access Service. I have received so many questions about this issue that I wanted to make sure that the correct information was getting passed along. Please note that my questions concerned people with mobility issues only since that is what I personally have to deal with at the Disney Parks. Thanks to Jacquee I am able to provide you with the following information.
- The Disability Access Service (DAS) Card is a new tool provided at the Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort theme parks to enhance the service we provide to our guests with disabilities at our attractions.
- The DAS Card replaces the Guest Assistance Card (GAC), and allows guests with special assistance needs to virtually wait at those attractions with a posted wait time. This service can be used in addition to Disney’s FastPass service and Disney FastPass+.
- To accommodate individual needs, all guests are asked to discuss their assistance requests with a Guest Relations Cast Member. The Guest Relations Cast Member discusses available service options with the guest and, if appropriate, a DAS Card is issued.
So what does this mean? If you have mobility disability your first stop at Disney should be Guest Relations to discuss your individual needs with a Cast Member. They will determine if you need to be issued a DAS card. I plan on stopping by on our first trip back once the changes occur. For me, since all I need is a wheelchair accommodation, I probably won’t be issued a card. I haven’t personally used a Guest Assistance Card for many years anyway because there hasn’t been a need. I will continue to either go through the standard queue, get a FASTPASS, or very soon schedule my attractions via the My Magic+ program.
Virtual waits will come into play for me only for attractions that have an alternate entrance. For example, if we want to ride Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, we will visit the attraction and get a return time based on the current wait. We will then virtually wait to go on the attraction and return to the alternate entrance at our scheduled time.
I asked additional questions regarding the availability of accessible ride vehicles and using a stroller as a wheelchair that I will be getting the answers to once they are available.
It is very important to note that Walt Disney World and Disneyland will continue to accommodate the individual needs of all their guests. Your needs may be very different from mine. I am able to wheel myself through the parks with minimal assistance, the stream lined queues are not a problem (switch backs are good exercise), the heat isn’t a factor, and crowds are not an issue (although looking at people’s behinds all day can be interesting ). Make sure your needs are met by visiting Guest Relations. The only way Disney can begin to adjust their system and help you is if you voice your concerns. This new system is going to have hiccups but it will start to get better when we share constructive feedback.
You can find the entire Letter from Meg Crofton via this link. You can also view our original post on the changes to the Guest Assistance Card here. If you have any questions feel free to email me at disneyonwheels(at)gmail.com.