It has been a full week since Walt Disney World changed their old Guest Assistance Card (GAC) program to Disability Access Service (DAS). We here at the Temporary Tourist have tested this new system over three parks and four visits. We showed you how our first day went of using the DAS at Walt Disney World and as we reported then, the same thing occurred on each of our visits. All the cast members we had to interact with regarding the DAS and any accommodations were wonderful. They were nice, respectful and courteous.
We went to Magic Kingdom twice, Epcot and Animal Kingdom. I am not going to go into details in this summary of each of those visits and experiences, we do however go into all the details in the videos in this post, if you want to hear more about how our experiences went.
The overall theme of our experience with using the DAS is inconsistency. Every time we went into a Guest Relations office we were instructed in something different. We found that we received a lot of push back at MK on day two when requesting accommodations, but ended up getting the accommodations we needed for Carson. Epcot was the park we got the most push back from, and we were told they were out of reAd passes. It was challenging to get what we needed for Carson, but in the end we did get accommodations. I do want to make sure I note, the CM we dealt with at Epcot was EXTREMELY friendly, and even said she was sorry at one point that we were having to go through this.
On day two at MK, when requesting accommodations they asked for my Drivers License and had me fill out a form. She then went to the computer and entered some information before giving us reAd passes. I remarked to Pat that I would like to know why she wanted my Drivers License, but then didn’t think too much about it after that. Well today we headed over to Animal Kingdom, and as what is now a part of our visits to the parks, we headed first to Guest Relations. Once it was our turn, we again got a wonderful CM who patiently answered my questions. When explaining to her what our situation was, and what accommodations we need, she asked me if I had an id #. I had no idea what she talking about, so after a little more investigating, she asked for my Drivers License and was able to pull me up in the system and see what accommodations we had previously received at MK. She explained that they have this system so we don’t have to keep repeating our needs when going to the parks. That the CM at the Guest Relations we are visiting, should be able to pull us up and take care of our needs.
Ok while this sounds WONDERFUL, it hasn’t been what we have experienced being done. Nothing was said at Epcot in regards to it, and it was so difficult getting accommodations when we were there, so I was really surprised to be told this today. Again, inconsistent….
For exact details on how each of these visits to Guest Relations went, be sure to watch the videos.
I would prefer the GAC over this DAS any day of the week. I am finding that I am constantly having to advocate for my child at guest relations even though Disney said all we would have to do is let them know our situation and accommodations would be made. Yet every time I go into Guest Relations I am told different things and have yet to have the same thing said to me twice.
This new system requires much more work and stress on me. I find I dread having to go into Guest Relations because I am not sure what to expect, or how much push back I am going to get when requesting accommodations for Carson.
I am disappointed in Disney, that they now have a system in place that is far below that of the other two large theme parks in the area. When Universal and Sea World can offer a system that is better than WDW, I would think that they would take note and make changes accordingly.
Now, while I am not a fan of this new DAS, I will say this. It is NOT the end of Walt Disney World for families with disabilities. Yes, it will take more work and you will need to be prepared to advocate for your child’s needs or the needs of the disabled person in your party. The system is doable, but it will take planning and it will take patience on the parts of the non-disabled persons to make it work.
I do believe Disney is still tweaking the new system, and I am hoping to be able to report differently on it in the next couple of weeks. I am hoping that as time goes by we will start to see some consistency throughout the parks and that they do use the computer system they have in place. I really dislike constantly having to explain what accommodations we need and why. It seems so invasive after the first two or three times.
These are my opinions based upon my visits using the DAS for a child on the Autism Spectrum. These are SOLEY my opinions.
Aunesty & Patrick Discuss their thoughts on the new DAS and how it has worked for them over this first week
The videos are being published – as they are published I will post them below. (I am NOT wearing any makeup and we have the kids running around, so we did have to take “intermissions” when we Becca needed help with them)