Newsweek's recent article, "In Disney Crackdown, Disabled Kids are Collateral Damage" outlines difficulties faced by some parents following the removal of Disney Parks' Guest Assistance Card which moved its park visitors with disabilities to the front of the line. On October 9, following widespread abuse of the system, Disney unveiled the Disability Access Service Card. The new program lets families sign up for a scheduled time for each ride and, unlike the old system, does involve some wait times. Now that the DAS Card has been in effect for just over a month, we asked families in our community to tell us their experience using it. Although the majority of responses we received were negative, the consensus remained that Disney parks hold a special place in the hearts of their children.
The Disney Parks website says that if the new system does not meet the needs of guests, staff will work "individually with guests with disabilities to provide assistance that is responsive to their unique circumstances." This is crucial moving forward since it is a wide autism spectrum and no two individuals are the same. When the program was announced we asked families in the community to send us their experiences and we've passed those along to the appropriate Disney Parks people.
“We just went. It was sensory overload. It does not work for my son. We are also annual passholders to both Florida and Ca. I hope they work on this.” -Elizabeth Wilson Haskin
“I've been using the pass since last week. And I'm glad to inform it works. We just stop by the entrance of the ride,and ask for a cast member to give us a time to come back. After he looks on the stand by line time, he give us that time less 10 minutes to come back and just enter using the fast pass entrance.” -Connie Zardo
“We just got back from Disney. I have a son with autism. He actually does pretty well waiting in lines (if not too bad). The new system is much worse for us. He understands waiting in line, however, he doesn't understand walking around while waiting to return to a ride. Plus you end up back tracking and spending more time w nothing to do (another problem). The old way def worked better for us.” -Melisa Timonere Sellers
“We just went to Disney World over Columbus Weekend and we used the new assistance pass for our 10-year old daughter who is Autistic. Honestly, I felt that the new program was very fair. We have used the GAC for our last two trips and we were very happy with it since we weren't able to run around the park with her to get Fast Passes. Now, however, ALL guests can reserve 3 Fast Passes/day on-line prior to arrival (which we did). The new disability pass allows you to go to the attraction and request a return time (if the current wait is 45 minutes, you can return in 35 minutes OR save it for a later time during the day). Once you use the pass for the reserved ride, you can reserve another time for the same or a different ride. My daughter was OK with this since we could always redirect her.” - Amy Arpano Redfearn