No More Guest Assistance Cards after 10/8/13 at WDW or DL

We Have Done Day One – Watch our Videos on the New DAS system

PLEASE READ for Confirmation:

- CONFIRMED FOR BOTH PARKS MORE

And for SPECIFIC Details on How it will work See:

SPECIFIC DETAILS ON HOW THE DAS WILL WORK from Cast Member Training

Well Disney has done it, they have come up with they think to be a better system for Guests with disabilities.  I say think, because I can spot some immediate issues with it.  I am curious how the rest of you are reacting.

I have a call in to WDW Press and am expecting a call back within the hour to answer some of my questions, which I have listed below.

This was published 09/17/13 in MiceAge – to read the entire article follow that link, I have highlighted the details they present below.

GAC

 

It has been reported that the Guest Assistance Card (or GAC) is set to end and be replaced with a new system on Wednesday 10/09/13 at Disneyland and Disneyland California Adventure.

Reportedly a new program will be launched, called the Disabled Assistance System (DAS)- which just the name alone has me reeling!

From the Mice Chat Article:

[quote style="1"]The DAS will work similarly to the “return passes” issued at popular rides like Star Tours 2.0 and Radiator Springs Racers, where currently a GAC holder gets a Fastpass-style return time hand written on a card based on the current Standby wait time. But with DAS, that concept will be rolled out to several dozen high-wait attractions in Anaheim. Instead of going to the actual ride to get a return card, a DAS holder will report to one of several Guest Relations kiosks that will be set up around the parks, with a current plan to have four kiosks in Disneyland (Fantasyland alone gets their own kiosk) and three kiosks in DCA. The DAS holder will present their card and tell the Guest Relations CM which attraction they want to ride, the CM will look at the current wait time via the official Disney Mobile Magic app on an iPad, and will then write out a return time for that attraction and subtract 10 or 15 minutes to make up for the travel time to and from the kiosk. [/quote]

Now this is a similar system to Universal Orlando, where if you need a special assistance pass you can go to a ride and if the regular line wait is longer than 30 – 45 minutes, you are given a return time.  Which to be truthful, hardly ever happens.  I can only think of three times we have to return to a ride in the past year of around 30 visits.  As for the Kiosk situation, I have made remarks to it below, but I am also wondering about the lines in the hot sun to get these passes.

This new DAS card is also supposed to be very much like the current Fast Pass system in as much as you are only allowed to be “waiting” on one ride at a time.  So if you show up for a DAS card at Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin, and the current wait time is 90 minutes.  You will be given a 75 minute return time.  During this 75 minutes you can not get another DAS card.  You are able to go wait in a regular line, or pull a regular Fastpass for another attraction or figure out something else to go do during this waiting period. (I am trying to not put any emotion or opinions in this… but just know I am screaming in my head about all the ways this is an issue… like my child who can only handle 2 hours at a time in the park….)

Apparently this new DAS system is also going to increase the number of lines you must wait in if you need one.  From my understanding of what has been reported it will look like this:

  • Go into park – Go to Guest Services – Get a DAS (or other you will be instructed to do something else….) – Go to Kiosk for the attraction you want to get your Pass Time – When time go to attraction

So that is three lines we will wait in for the first ride and then two lines for every attraction after that.  But best yet, is that now our park visits will be something like this:

  • get DAS – Go to Kiosk – Wait – Go to Attraction – Go to Kiosk – Wait – Go to Attraction – Go to Kiosk – Wait – Go to Attraction…

Instead of being able to enjoy our day and walk around, we will have to make sure we are heading to these strategically placed Kiosks in order to get a wait time.

Now, to make this system even Better (note sarcasm), the person who is disabled (HATE that we are now going to be telling our children you are disabled) also has to have their photo taken.  I would think this alone violates HIPPA and ADA laws, but I could be wrong (which I wouldn’t be surprised if I was).  I am just trying to figure out how this is going to go over with my son… we have days where taking his picture is no big deal.  But on other days, if I take a picture of him, it is the end of the world.  This is a minor complaint in the scheme of things though.

I know that the idea behind the photo is to prevent others using to ride without the guest who needs assistance.  But this system doesn’t stop people from going through guest services and getting their own DAS card for unlimited Fastpasses.  Instead it just means that a family of five can each get a DAS card and get 5 return times at once, as well as regular fastpasses.  This doesn’t stop abuse it just changes it and from what I can tell, it will make it more prevalent.

Many people didn’t even know about the GAC, so when a Fastpass was gone, it was gone.  With this system, it is being broadcasted that you can get a return time with a DAS for attractions that Fastpasses are gone for.

One of the biggest changes that this reportedly new system is creating affects those in wheelchairs.  If you are heading to DCA in a wheelchair or ECV you will be entering the regular line queues with everyone else.  35 of the 55 attractions that use a ride vehicle at Disneyland have wheelchair accessible queues while at Walt Disney World there are 38 of 46 attractions that use a ride vehicle are wheelchair accessible.  The rides at both parks that are deemed as non-wheelchair accessible, will continue to use the Fastpass lane or exit to guests on wheelchairs or ECVs.  You won’t need a DAS to access these.

As for which parks, and implementation, this is what the MiceAge article had to say:

[quote style="1"]Guest Relations and Attractions Cast Members in both parks have already been scheduled classroom training for the DAS program through late September and early October. The Guest Relations team will get the most intensive training day, as they’ll be on the front lines of this new system as they try and reel in expectations of Annual Passholders used to having a GAC with easy access to any ride they wanted. Staffing for Guest Relations is being beefed up as much as possible beginning with roll-out day on Wednesday, October 9th, and the Security department has also been asked to help staff officers in Guest Relations centers in Disneyland and DCA to help with anyone who may get verbally abusive or threaten violence against those Guest Relations CM’s doling out the more restrictive DAS cards.

The real day to watch will be Friday, October 11th, two days after DAS begins and the first day when 25,000+ Annual Passholders show up in the evening. This is going to be ugly for at least a few weeks, everyone agrees on that. It helps that the exact same program is being rolled out at WDW at the same time, and that finally there are several senior executives supporting the program. It will be interesting to see how strong the executives stand behind the DAS program when the inevitable ugly media stories begin showing up on the local news and online, or heaven forbid if the CM’s in the parks really start taking serious verbal or physical abuse.[/quote]

I have been speaking with representatives at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland to get statements and try to confirm this reported information.  As I do, I will continue to update this article and the update section below.

Now My Questions

  1. I take issue with my son’s picture being taken for this.  He can go into FULL MELT DOWN mode if he doesn’t want his picture taken, and I do it.
  2. Have they thought about Autistic Kids and Young Adults.  How am I supposed to explain to a 3 year old that we are going to the ride to get a pass to come back to the ride.  He melts down when he has it in his mine for a specific attraction and we don’t do that first.  At least with Universal Studios, if the ride queue is less than 45 minutes we can go into the Express Lane, anything longer than that, they right the time on our card to come back.  Since there are only a few rides for him there, we just hang out in the area or let him play in the water near his ride.  I just don’t see how we will get the same Magical Experience with him.
  3. Is it true, as soon as 10/9 we will be switching to this new system?
  4. Doesn’t Disney think that having screaming disabled children in the regular wait lines, will not only take away from the experience of those families, but also of the families without disabled children?  Have the execs ever had to be in those lines with a Downs Child, a Child with Autism or Mental Impairment when they lose it?  I can’t see how this will helps things.

More thoughts:

After I posted this yesterday and started making phone calls to all the appropriate people and getting statements, I came up with more and more reasons why I hope that what has been reported is not true.

The way I see it, this new system would be easier to abuse then the old.  Many families aren’t even aware of the current GAC, but by placing Kiosks in the public eye, Disney would be making it more public. So when a popular ride like Soarin, has run out of Fast Passes for the day, then what is going to stop a family from pretending someone in their party needs a DAS?  Easy access to more Fast Passes… Once word gets out that there are unlimited DAS Fast Passes sitting at Kiosks, I foresee rampant abuse.  This is just one of about 10 different ways to abuse this new system I can think of easily.

Updates:

09/18/13 – 10:58am:  ok Just got off the phone with WDW, the woman who is in charge of this is not in today, but will be calling me back tomorrow – they can not confirm or deny this – I am not going to say anymore on what my opinion is after this conversation (but when do they ever only do it one way at one park and not the others?), I will be posting an update tomorrow morning.

09/18/13 – 12:45pm: a reader just posted in the comments: “I just talked to someone from Disney World, originally she said she had not received any notification at this time but when I pushed the issue she contacted guess services and they confirmed that they are being trained and do not know when the release date will be due to them making sure everyone is trained. I expressed my concern and asked that it be noted that this will be a big problem for individuals with Autism. They don’t understand that they have to wait, they will have violent meltdowns and it will be a disaster for all. I understand the need for change but they better understand that each disability has to be handled differently. Hope Disney gets it right!!!!”

09/19/13 – 12:27pm – Spoke with WDW – I have nothing to say, yet.

09/19/13 – 1:43pm - I have a call into DL, waiting on return call this afternoon

09/19/13 – 8:03pm - A fan on our Facebook Page just posted this:

[quote style="1"] We were at Disneyland last week and they had the Kiosk AT each ride. You showed your GAC and got a callback ticket for 40-min+ later. You could get one for several rides in the area by going to each ride. The person whose name was on the GAC had to be with you to get the pass. LOVED it. But if they move these away from the rides, limit it to one ride (requiring you go back and wait in line at the Kiosk again then go wait in line at the ride) it will hurt families like mine. We tried regular line last week with my daughter (who is disabled). The backpack from the person in front of us broke my daughters leg (ending our day at Disney). Some of us NEED the GAC for safety[/quote]

09/20/13 – 3:25pm - I have been given an official statement which I can now Post:

“Disney has long been at the forefront of making our parks accessible to all guests.  At this time, we are reviewing a number of considerations and remain committed to providing accommodations for guests with disabilities.”  ~ Kathleen Prihoda, Manager, External Communications Walt Disney World Resort

 

There is a petition going around to hopefully stop this if in fact it is accurate.  http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/disneyland-discontinues.fb31?source=s.icn.fb&r_by=8794908

 

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Comments

  1. says

    Hi Auntie J,
    Thank you for the great information! Please remember while a child has Autism…a child has Down Syndrome….not a Downs child. My guy has both…still just a child :). We are heading for DLand in January ….SeaWorld is discontinuing their “escort pass” . We now are allowed to pay per day for our therapist to come..at a 40 percent discount of a regular day priced ticket. Yikes!

  2. says

    My 41 years of Disney Magic were erased today. The new Guest Assistance program for handicapped guests is no help or assistance at all. My dad is in the Magic Kingdom today with my daughter who has cerebral palsy. She has a somewhat mild version of C.P., meaning she is not wheel chair bound and does not have any cognitive issues. She has a right sided weakness, she doesn’t have use of her right hand and she wears a brace on her right leg.

    They went to City Hall to request the new guest assistance accommodations explaining that although she walks on her own, she can lose balance and fall and that she fatigues easily. Waiting in long lines would exacerbate her issues greatly and put her in danger of getting hurt. They had NO SPECIAL ACCOMMODATION with fast passes whatsoever!

    The information Disney released had said that the new changes would mean they could get multiple fast passes and would be given times to return to rides. They did not have anything like that available. They told him they had to get a fast pass for each ride and gave a complimentary stroller to MY EIGHT YEAR OLD so that she could use it as a wheel chair. They gave her stroller as wheelchair access and told them they had to wait in line with the stroller with everyone else.

    Sure, that will help her not get fatigued, but way to go in making her FEEL singled out and handicapped. She doesn’t use a stroller or a wheelchair any other time. Previously, they always gave us an alternate entrance pass and we were able to see everything she wanted in Magic Kingdom before she tired out.

    I told my dad to speak to a supervisor, but he does not want to spend their one day there waiting to talk to people since he will evidently have to wait in line too. We live in Florida and usually visit Disney World several times a year. I have gone to Disney World at least once a year for all 41 years of my life. In the last 4 years since we adopted our daughter, we have been thankful to be able to have the guest assistance card so that she could experience the same magic we felt growing up. We went to the parks in Orlando several times a year, every year and never saw any abuse of the previous system when we were using it, which leaves me wondering if the change was even necessary.

    Regardless of whether the change was necessary or not, there has to be a better solution so that you could continue accommodating guests that need assistance. Until I have confirmation of better accommodations for my daughter, sorry, Mickey, we won’t be “seeing you real soon”.

  3. elizabeth says

    I had to stop reading the comments, some of you are just out of line and rude…

    I plan on visiting with my family Oct 9, perfect timing!!! We are used to the GAC…
    I saw the comment a few days back about the family visiting and getting the “fast pass” at each ride. She noted they had a kiosk at each ride. Have they not implemented the 4 kiosks per park yet? If it is the way the lady is saying, it sounds like it might not be that bad. Have you heard anything??

    I emailed Disneyland over 10 business days ago…I got the we received you message email, and nothing since…they people on the phones are no help…

    THank you!

  4. Carissa says

    I am so sad. I as well have a 6 year old son on the spectrum. We don’t get the opportunity to go out in public that often because of meltdowns and sensory issues. Even going to the grocery store can be a huge issue and sometimes we end up leaving with nothing. Disneyland has been the one place where my son can be himself and not get pointed at, given stares and be forced to hear whispers. So we invest every hard earned penny to make sure we can pay for our passes. It gives me great pleasure to see him being a so called normal happy child, getting to do things other kids take for granted. My heart is broken, im not sure we are going to buy passes this year. What people don’t get it that parents of special needs children deal with stresses of raising kids like mine on a daily basis. Who cares if my son gets to ride more rides, or doesn’t have to wait because it gives both parent and child a time to believe that DREAMS DO COME TRUE, and that we can truly be happy in the HAPPIEST PLACE ON EARTH.It a break from the real world which gives up the hope to keep pushing forward. There are times when I wish my life was a tad easier but when I see my sons smiling face of excitement to go to Disney I wouldn’t change it for the world. However now some rotten rich apples are changing it for us!PLEASE DISNEY I BELIEVE THERE IS A BETTER WAY!!!!!!!

    • zachary says

      USE not ABUSE forced Disney to change it’s disabled access system! I encourage all to read the statement from Theme Park Insider written on September 30th. It will open all of your eyes to what really was going on….thanks!

  5. sistermoon1977 says

    Thanks so much. I have read the other posts on this topic and they have been helpful, but I am still trying to pin down the specifics for the Disneyland version. It sounds like it my be handled differently at the respective parks. I still welcome any additional info as we head into our trip next week. This site has nbenn the most informative link I have found. Thanks again…

  6. Buttons says

    Waiting is a part of life. EVERYONE has to wait. Even people and children who don’t understand the concept of waiting have to wait. This monster called autism is on the rise. A few years ago it was 1 in 110. Now it’s 1 in 88 children are on the spectrum. It’s everywhere. So practically (and I’m using the word practically) every kid who is on the spectrum are getting GACs (whether its needed or not). Include their 6 family members. In 5 years I bet autism will be up to 1 in 60. That’s alot of autistic kids!! Pretty soon the “alternate entrance” IS the line. Standby goes out the window because the only way to get on a ride at disney is if you have a disability. How much longer was disney suppose to let this go on?

  7. me says

    To many take advantage of this. I’m glad they are making changes. but why not just allow the handicap person and just one guest to go to the front of the line & accompany them on the ride. instead of the whole party of 15 cut the line. they should wait like the rest if us.

  8. sistermoon1977 says

    I am headed to Disneyland with a 21 year old severely autistic young man and my mother who is wheelchair bound. We are travling with our extended family in a group of 15. We have been planning this trip for over a year and have worked very hard to be well planned and prepared in order to make this a successful trip. We only get to do a trip like this every 5 or 6 years, and it has been more than a decade since our last visit to DL. I am terribly concerned about walking into an unknown, untested system as we are booked to arrive on Oct.11. Does anyone have direct contact information for someone who could help us prepare. I have been combing all the sites and blogs, but the info is limited and somewhat vauge. So far call to the general guest assistance line have resulted in blanket statements and referrals back to the sites that I have already reviewed. If anyone has info that could help us I would be eternally grateful!!!

  9. Ellie says

    Forgive me, but I don’t understand why people are upset about this. Guests who get the DAS are going to be getting exactly the same access as every other guest who can get a fastpass and only have one at a time. Actually, DAS holders get more in that respect because they can get return times for non-fastpass rides and they don’t have to wait two hours to do so. I’m sorry, but no one should be getting special treatment and under this system no one will be. It isn’t Disney’s job to plan your entire day or manage your kids. They can give you resources but ultimately as parents you need to be handling your kids. I mean, what do you do at home when you need to deal with these issues? Do you find a way to deal with it? Or do you look around the grocery store/bank/mall/whatever and demand that other people fix it for you?

    • Hope says

      You are so ignorant it’s not even funny. You obviously have never had the privilege of having an autistic child. Please educate yourself on conditions such as autism, etc..before you start making stupid comments. This isn’t about managing or handling ones kids. Also no one needs to deal with “these issues” in their own home obviously, unless you know people who take up residents in them parks.

      • thalia-asant says

        Her ignorance doesn’t lessen your ignorance of the law, though. Disney is fulfilling its obligations under the ADA. As a parent it’s now up to you to take care of your kids.

        • Scott says

          Thalia and Ellie,

          Obviously neither of you have the awesome Privelge of having a child with Autism/Aspergers or other spectrum disorder or know anything about it! As for your blatant ignorance Thalia no one is questioning Disney’s fulfillment of the ADA guidelines it is about these kids who have no control over there behavior/emotions/actions at times so it is not about taking care of or controlling “our” kids. As for Ellie I wish someone could “FIX” my child you ignorant, arrogant,individual! The GAC or DAS gives my son a chance to be normal not be stared at waiting in que lines with ignorant people like you Ellie while I stroke his arm to keep him calm. So just because you two most likely where selling trips for money (now that is a statement like yours I know nothing about you yet make an ignorant statement) don’t punish the whole bunch for a few bad apples!

  10. Lottie says

    Gah!!! If you are going to go mental and start petitions and web pages at least get the right information!!!!
    No1.you do not have to queue to get on a ride, you get given a return time during which time you will be able to do what ever you want!! Even go on another ride with a small queue or get a regular fastpass for a different ride, or the same ride, if multiple rides are an issue!
    No2. You do not walk directly up to ride you walk to a nearby kiosk to get the ride.
    I don’t understand how anyone could have a problem with that! Yes it’s not an unlimited fast pass but you can basically get twice as many fast passes as everyone else! It just goes to show all those idiots who were posting the gac is not an unlimited fastpass, when we all know it was and you are angry.

  11. says

    The guest assistance system has needed changing for a while, especially because of individuals who have abused the system, but the problem I see with this new system is the same one I see with the current kiosk system. There is no way to plan your day for any of the major attractions. You have to go all over the park getting fast passes for the major attractions. Although the new system may allow more overlap for guests with disabilities the guest will still have to visit each kiosk, all around the park for passes and times. This involves a great deal of leg work just to plan your day. For someone with a disability this seems contradictory or am I missing something? How about putting a kiosk at the front of the parks for guests with disabilities so they can get their passes and plan their day without adding extra mileage to someone who can’t handle the mileage in the first place.

    • SN adoptive mom says

      Bottom line NJDisDad, You do NOT indeed know what you are talking about because you do not HAVE a SN child or SN yourself. You are very immature in your thinking. I can say that to you because before I had children I thought much like you. I spent my young life HELPing my sister raise her 5 children, I thought I had an edge on it and I could judge and tell others how it should be done and ya know what??? That was totally wrong. When I finally had children of my own I found out that 24 hour a day responsible parenting is WAY different that exposure from time to time, even if that exposure is more than that of someone else. It really puts a bur in my butt that you tout your very limited opinion because your relative has an autistic. How about we step back and give credit to those of us that drive these children to therapies, sit there and absorb what therapists and specialist are doing with them to try and retrain the brain and help them find more normalcy or balance in life and then we painstakingly translate that into their everyday life. Some of us homeschool because our children need the one on one, have been abused by the system or we can control their access to subject they really understand and change it up as necessary so the child receives rounded learning. We study curriculum all summer in order to get that “just right” curriculum to help give our child the best edge possible. Most of us are talking to many different people that are put in our lives to “help” us that are “professionals” and we are still constantly weighing what we are told in order to find the right balances, schedules, accesses etc for our children and it is a constant learning curve for us by the way. Most of us are still getting diagnosis even though our children already have 10 or more. This is not as you suggest, a finite journey, that anyone can just “understand by subtle exposure. I beseech you to take time to really think about your harsh opinions and what you “think” you know based upon “exposure”. Maturity and wisdom dictates that one with lesser knowledge bow out to one that clearly has more, IF you can admit you are that person. I am not saying that you don’t have a say at all, but you argue these boards, yes I have seen you elsewhere touting your opinions, as though you know something and quite frankly, you don’t!

      • NJDisDad says

        It’s nice that you feel that my thinking is immature. I have been polite. I have not resorted to belittling anyone. I suppose the people on here who are freaking out over a new system they have not even tried yet are not immature at all? There is a change coming. People have been made aware of the change in advance. No one is forcing anyone to go to a Disney park. If you choose to vacation there, you need to put the same planning skills you describe in your comment to use. You state that “Maturity and wisdom dictates that one with lesser knowledge bow out to one that clearly has more,” but you have no real world knowledge of how this new system will work. Disney has a history for fixing problems in their systems. It is not always easier than the old system, but they make it work. People on these boards signing petitions and threatening lawsuits for a system that is not even fully in place yet, that would be what I call immature. The fact that Disney has to worry about the safety of the CM’s because they know people could become violent is crazy. Some people on this board are concerned, and that is fine. That makes sense. Something new is coming and it worries people. Other people on this board are angry and making threats about lawsuits. How are these people who are angry on the internet going to behave in a park?

  12. Dan says

    I’m glad they are getting rid of the Guest Assistance Cards, and to say no one knows about them is completely untrue. This is a response to the rich people who where hiring the handicap in order to use their GAC’s, guests who didn’t need GAC’s getting them and guests that would get a GAC for a single member and if that member was with them or not use it. Guests have been abusing the system for some time. This is a much better system because it takes away some of the incentive for the individuals who were cheating the system, they won’t have instant access to the rides. I like that the make a wish children still get the green light cards. It’s new so undoubtedly it will have flaws but something needed to be done.

  13. says

    I am always willing to give people the benefit of the doubt, including Disney, but in the past Disney’s changes, just like government, don’t always work the way they plan. My question to Disney is “Did you establish a study group which included parents of special needs children, advocates and consultants for people with disabilities or did you do this all on your own?” When we have had problems with certain rides (staff people) and have talked to Guest Services we got the same old run around as any corporation in denial. I have been a consultant for children with disabilities for school systems in the past and have advised them on assistive technology, etc. for individual students. When we have had problems at Disney which stem from policy or staff training, I have offered to help them evaluate the situation, the policy and procedures, etc. but I have never been contacted by anyone from Disney. I know Disney employs many people with disabilities and perhaps that makes them feel as if they have a large enough pool to consult from but in my opinion that is a mistake. As I said before I am willing to give the benefit of the doubt but my gut tells me there is going to be a lot of problems.

  14. Darlene DiMattia says

    I was told the exact same thing when I called today 9/22/13, to get some direct and true info. I’m going with my 8 yr old Autistic son for the 1st time from Oct 20 to the 24th and want to know where I stand with all this before our arrival.

    • says

      WDW and DL both confirmed this information Yesterday. If anyone told you otherwise when you called in, it’s because they haven’t been briefed. Call back and ask to speak with their manager if you told this is not true, as ALL salaried staff were notified of these changes yesterday, After the Media was given official statements

  15. says

    What about my son who is 6ft 3inches tall and is special needs! Trying to explain to him why he has to wait in line! He’d have a MAJOR MELTDOWN about that! Doesn’t sound like this has been well thought out! With the old Handicapped card all they have to do is ask for ID!

    • Annette says

      Aren’t you the lucky one Susanne. No one knows what it is like to see your child have a meltdown until you have that special child. I pray you never get the chance to experience it.

  16. says

    two minutes ago I got off the phone with CSR for Disneyworld and he seemed very knowledgeable and was ready to talk about the situation. He certainly was not in the dark about it. He said that yes, Disneyland is starting this program in October. It is a pilot program and most likely will not begin in Disney World until after the first of the year. They are trying it in a smaller location first and it will probably go through lots of changes. Kiosks will be available for the DAS card and also all the old fastpasses are in effect until all the new fastpasses are in place and they will be starting up soon. We will have access to both of them. They said they are certainly not looking to make it worse for guests with disabilities but to make it better. I’m willing to give them a chance. He said they are fully aware of having a great record with their special needs guests and are not looking to do anything to tarnish that and for it to be a great time for all. They are tired of the fakes taking away from those that truly deserve the extra assistance and will make sure that we are not denied a good time.

  17. Teryl says

    This saddens me. My child cannot safely wait in a line due to risk of injury from backpacks and other bags. She overheats so cannot be in direct sunlight for long periods of time. Having these available at only a few “popular” rides (many of which disabled kids like mind cannot ride) means they are significantly limited on options. Alice in Wonderland is not considered a “popular” ride so will not get the return pass option. It is my daughters favorite ride yet 35 minutes in a queue that does not have decent access and can pose a threat to my child (she broke her leg in a regular line when someone carelessly swung a bag last week). I see lawsuits in the Disney future for placing kids like mine at risk because they do not see the need for them to have a “safe” access because the ride is not considered “popular” We are not asking for a front of line pass, just a safe line with equal access.

    By the way…. how will this reduce abuse? Everyone can get these passes PLUS ride regular ride lines. When fast passes are gone people will go for these instead. In other words they just increased the abuse potential!

    Will certain Kiosks issue for certain rides? If so how do we know what Kiosk to go hunt down? Why not issue them AT the rides?

    • NJDisDad says

      With the number of people that stated their child would have a melt down if they went to the ride and could not get on, getting the pass at the ride might not be such a good idea.
      As far as lawsuits go, I’m sure Disney has followed all the laws regarding access to their attractions. They also have a team of lawyers that I’m sure have had to review the policy. They worked with outside groups, such as Autism Speaks, to help create the new policies.
      I understand change scares people, but this is out of hand. People are freaking out and they have not even tried the new system out yet. Disney always makes modifications to systems that do not work. This will not be any different. I’m sure there will be some growing pains at first, but once everyone gets used to it, they will be fine.

  18. angela says

    Inside Edition just aired a segment where they had a family secretly video tape two people out of many they found on Craigslist selling secret front of the line magic. One guy said he was a costume character at DL and his sources helped him get all the GAC’s he wanted. He sold it to the family for $280. The second guy showed up at the park like the first but had his own personal GAC that he said he lied about having a disability to get. He said for $200 he would spend like 4 hours going with them on the rides. They confronted him afterward and he got combative I am wondering if this coming out and them saying it is a huge problem for DL is why they have no choice but to try and prevent this from happening. It would stop the selling of GAC’s but not the second case of meeting and going on the rides with families.

  19. says

    The ‘official statement’ you posted is useless, even less than. It is an official statement of obfuscation. It is a non statement that someone is holding out as a statement. As someone who has tickets in hand, complete packaged booked for a 10/14 arrival in the park with my autistic son – this is infuriating and I am as in the dark as I ever was. I will not risk showing up to be the guinea pig for their experiment. If even half of what is being reported at the ‘cheerleader against the disabled blog’, aka MiceChat or MiceAge is correct, then this policy is a non starter. If I don’t have a *useful* official update from Disney by mid-week 9/23, I will have no choice but to cancel the trip my family has been looking forward to all year. This rumor has already cast a pal over the pre-Disney festivities that had been going on in my home in anticipation of our journey. We are not locals, we travel far, plan well in advance, and invest much in a visit to Disneyland, and to not have anything to hang our hat on with respect to the treatment and experience that our disabled son can expect in the park, is nothing short of unprofessional and disrespectful, and falls fall short of the standard I expect from a corporation like Disney.

      • says

        New
        Official From Disney –

        Disney has an unwavering commitment to making our experiences accessible to all Guests. After careful consideration, we will be replacing the Guest Assistance Card with the new Disability Access Service Card on Oct. 9 to create a more consistent experience for all our Guests while providing accommodations for Guests with disabilities. Until Oct. 9, we will continue to use Guest Assistance Cards. We look forward to sharing more information about the Disability Access Service Card as we get closer to implementation.

        Frequently Asked Questions:

        How will the new program work?
        The Disability Access Service Card will offer Guests a return time for an attraction based on the current wait time. Guest Assistance Cards will continue to be in effect until Oct. 9. We look forward to sharing more information as we get closer to implementation.

        Did you ask for feedback in developing the Disability Access Service Card?
        We are engaging disability groups, and Autism Speaks was instrumental in providing feedback as we developed this new process.

        Why are you doing this?
        Given the increasing volume of requests we receive for special access to our attractions, we are changing our process beginning Oct. 9 so that it creates a more consistent experience for all our Guests while providing accommodations for Guests with disabilities.

        Who will be eligible for a Disability Access Service Card?
        Our goal is to accommodate Guests who aren’t able to wait in a conventional queue environment due to a disability (including non-apparent disabilities).

        Will Guests on wish trips also use Disability Access Service Cards?
        No. Guests who are visiting through wish-granting organizations will have access through a separate program.

        What should Guests do if they have concerns?
        Guests should contact Guest Relations to discuss their

        • Augostina Reyes says

          My wonderful and loving husband came back from Iraq with one leg, 6 fingers and a 3 inch hole in his skull from being to close to an explosion. His nerves are shot, his balance is off, he cannot stand for more than 5 minutes and has a very difficult time wearing his prosthetic leg so he usually goes without it and rides a scooter. He has depression so bad that everyday I go to work I worry about him giving up and taking his own life. So we moved last year to Florida to be close to his parents so they can check on him through out the day. When we arrived, they gave us Annual passes to Disney World for us and our 2 children. I thought in the beginning what good was this going to do, but I decided to go and give it a try. On our first trip there his parents took us to Guest Services and we got the GAC card for him. The noise and the crowds were very stressful on him and there was no way that we could stay for the fireworks as the noise would be impossible for him to handle. But for the first time in 3 years, he sat on a bench at Epcot and smiled from ear to ear when Goofy came by and gave him a big hug. When we got to Magic Kingdom later that day, he was even more excited and so happy to see that he did not have to suffer any lines, fast passes or hoops to jump through, as he says, which he had already, sadly, admitted to us that he could not manage. Each time we go, and we go at least 2 to 3 times per month, he has not been able to ride many rides, but he has so much joy to see his kids having a wonderful time and the beauty of all that is around him there, that I am starting to see a little of his old self come back. This has been possible for us because of the magic at Disney, because of the GAC card. I am begging you Disney, please do not change this for all of us the truly need it and truly benefit from it. You will never have any idea how important this one service is to so many.

  20. says

    Simple: No GAC, no AP. Not even a question. With the limits I now deal with, it simply is not even close to be worth it.
    Another issue no one seems to have brought up that is actually very bothersome to me, and has become a quite serious matter in considering a visit to a park is this new thing where my ECV is not allowed in the lines- I am told I have to switch to a wheelchair. I do not have the arms for a wheelchair. Aside from I find it embarrassing. This is NOT because the lines can’t handle it (not driving one of those huge of-road ECV’S! LOL) for I am talking about rides that previously did take ECV’s and are set up for it. First was Alien Encounter, then Space Mountain (which I don’t do that much and usually after getting a manager on the scene, I have been okay’d to proceed, then RnR, and also denied the alt entrance on that even though I carry the alt entrance card, and now, shockingly, Buzz Lightyear!
    UNI is also a problem on this, forbidding ECV’s to Dueling Dragons and that is a long way! And the Unicorn Coaster, again, a long line.
    Bottom line is in realistic terms, these rides are no longer accessible to me.

  21. JL88 says

    The thing that bugs me about this the most is that, when all is said and done, people can still abuse this system. It’s not like this does a single thing to address the issue. Disney cannot, under the law, ask for proof of need for the GAC or for this new DAS system. So, ultimately, there is nothing they can truly do to block the cheaters from using it. People who would lie about needing a GAC aren’t going to suddenly back off because they need to get their picture taken for it. They already have zero shame.

  22. Sarah says

    So, I just got an email from a valuable source and they said that their person reached out to their contact at Disney World and they told our source that Disney world does not have anything like this on the books nor are they talking about it. He would check around and get back to them October 1. What do you make of this?

  23. says

    I think u need to consult with a lawyer. There is no lawsuit here. Trust me Disney has lawyers working full time just for them. As for the poster who complains fast past distribution is easier or faster than the kiosk, why not just get a fast past. It’s important to remember u have the benefit of using both. Should u plan ahead there is really no reason u can’t enjoy your vacation same as always.

  24. JL88 says

    Well, no, you don’t have to go to multiple rides, but you do have to keep going back to the kiosk every time you’re in your window to get a new pass, and then go to the ride.

    • Jrob says

      I wonder what the legal ramifications are for those that bring up the fact that they have tours that do move you to the front of the line (at least in Disney World I’m not sure about Disneyland). I would think that some lawyer sees this as a reasonable accommodation that could be made based on this tour. I also wonder how long until this lawsuit comes up and the class action that could be certified later with it.

  25. JL88 says

    For one thing, each ride with a Fast Pass has multiple machines. These kiosks will, from the sound of things, be handling multiple rides (technically they’ll be handling every ride in that park, but one would assume that most in line would be there for the rides in that kiosk’s general area). And this process isn’t going to be as simple as swiping your ticket and getting a Fast Pass.

    • AT says

      But it also sounds like you don’t have to go to multiple ride locations to get your pass stamped. The one kiosk can handle at least multiple rides. Perhaps in the future they will implement machines where you scan your DAS and it spits out a FP type ticket, but it seems like they are trying it this way to see if it can work. I’m sure they will tweak it.

      Let’s face it, no one knows for sure how it will work until they try it.

      • Tracy says

        But that seems to be part of the issue that I foresee… One kiosk for multiple rides means that everyone has to go there to get their times. So that means one or two people have to handle all of the rides versus 5 machines for one ride.

        • Suz says

          Exactly, Tracy. Plus, we just bought passes in June. I’m not okay with spending that much money on 5 passes and being their ginea pig.

          • Edie says

            I totally agree. We are not annual pass holders and have not been to Disney in nearly 2 years, but at this point we have non-refundable airline tickets and our vacation is booked for December. The cost of our trips to Disney mean that we (me and two sons) have to cut back throughout the year. All of this adds up to – I don’t want to be part of them tweeking, ironing out or anything else you want to call it involving implementing this. And just to put it out there, I am a single mom with 2 kids with disabilities and in the past was able to take my kids to Disney on my own. If something goes wrong I have no net and it will be disastrous. Oh, and I always just got the GAC for 3.

  26. AT says

    Why does everyone assume these kiosks are going to have a huge line? I have never waited more than a few minutes for a FP (not counting RSR). I imagine that at any given time that fewer people will be going to these kiosks than the Space Mountain FP line.

    I think everyone needs to let Disney give this a try before criticizing it, honestly, it hasn’t even been implemented and the masses are complaining already. In the past Disney has always “done things well”. Why should this be different?

    Just because the process is “different” than what you are used to doesn’t mean it is “worse”. I realize people are looking at worst case, but you won’t know until some people actually experience it. I understand that change can be difficult, but you never know, it could be better.

      • AT says

        You have no idea how many CM will be staffed at the Kiosk. And the benefit of having a CM is that they can add more, they can’t add more machines to the FP distribution area. I’m just saying we need to know all the facts before assuming it will be a horror show.

        Unless you are doing that so you will be pleasantly surprised at the end? ;)

    • Sarah says

      Obviously you have not been around AT for their failures then…lol. Seriously, The kiosk as explained or outlined will have a live person with an Ipad type device and will have to look at an app to see what the present supposed wait time is for that ride.. which by the way is not always correct and then write you a time supposedly. You don’t just walk up, put in your ticket and walk away smiling!! And I have seen lines for FP before! Several times!

      • AT says

        I agree that the app is not always correct. But the time at the line isn’t always right either….it says 45 minutes and 60 minutes later I’m still standing there, not on a ride. LOL. Like I said above, they can add more CMs when it is busy, they don’t add more FP machines if all are being used.

        It’s not perfect, but no one is giving it a chance, that’s all I’m saying. The thing hasn’t been implemented and people are all over it.

        • Jason's Mom says

          GREAT comments. Everyone is shouting about the sky falling before anything has even happened. I’m sure Disney is following the law. They’d be crazy not to look at this from all legal possibilities. If you don’t like the LAW, pleeeeease address that! Write letters. Make new petitions. “Autistic children/adults must never wait for anything” is clearly a need based on what I’m seeing. Make it a law, if you feel it’s so needed. I didn’t realize how impossible it truly must be for some to be dared to wait for any length of time. Changing this could make life amazing.Think how much better things would be if you didn’t wait in the grocery line, the McDonald’s line, no waiting at your child’s doctor’s office, for that Disney bus, special parking spaces at the library open just for you, etc.. Yes, I’m being silly, but it is what you’re asking Disney to do, right? Never make them wait because they can’t comprehend it. Why only Disney and not Target?

          If this cuts down the abuse, those people won’t be in the lines. If mobility issues can be addressed with accessible lines, (Isn’t nearly everything at WDW accessible?) those people won’t be in the kiosk lines. If it’s not an unlimited situation, you can only have one at a time so that will stagger the lines. Give it a chance before you grab the pitchforks.

  27. JL88 says

    Another thought that occurred to me – if so many people are using the current GAC system, as to make it a huge issue that they need to re-do it this way – what are the lines at the kiosks going to be like? (And if the lines would be negligible, then that tells me that there aren’t nearly enough people using the GAC program that they need to worry about re-vamping it in this manner.)

  28. Sarah says

    Good work all!! Good thoughts. I feel like we have a chance with all of you working on this with me!!! Thank you Aunesty for giving us the heads up!

  29. says

    I have called both resorts and they both cannot confirm or deny any changes. WDW representative said that they do not follow Disneyland’s changes. This will get national attention quickly as they are getting flooded with phone calls regarding this. I have to pay my balance as of 10/14 and will be cancelling if this goes into effect as we will not be able to go without accommodations of the GAC. Disneyland Rep said the only official news would be on the Walt Disney Park Blogs website. 1-174-781-4000 is the Disney Land Number 1-407-939-5277 is WDW number

  30. says

    Aunesty – thank you so much for posting this. It’s such a critical change. And I’ve re-pinned your post to help spread the word over at GreatWDWTips. Questions are starting to pour in there, too. Do you by any chance have a number people can call for answers to their questions? Thanks so much! –Linda

    • says

      if you read through the comments, you will find contact information for both parks. I understand that they are in fact being hounded with calls right now, so I would wait until more information is passed on. I am expecting a return call from DL this afternoon.

  31. mandi kelly says

    here is the email i just sent………… It has been brought to our attention that the GAC is changing. I for one will tell you that the changes that have been described will make Disney World and Disney Land the least happiest most un-magical place on earth for everyone. My 11 year old with ADD, bi-polar, sensory integration disorder, Aspergers, occupational defiance, vision problems and a few other issues, will not understand the whole lets go get a fastpass wait in line for that to ride a ride that want then, then explain now we have to wait for 30 plus min to go back to that ride to wait longer in that line to ride a ride he know no longer wants to ride because we have had a melt down if no 2 and now our happy place and time has turned to down right pissed off and we must leave the park. Please advise how this makes special needs assistance better. I come prepared with a doctors letter explaining what my child has and why we can not wait in crazy long lines….your company boast to be the place where dreams come true….well that will not be the case any longer it will be a place of nightmares for all special needs parents and all normal families as they will have to see and hear all the meltdowns and fit throwing and some kids can get violent during the melt down\fits of rage. So you have know made our magical vacation that we love and need every year to not happening after this one probably all because some people cheat the system….well let me advise that people will find ways to cheat this system as well….that is just how some people work. You are punishing a majority of your guest for a few “poison” apples. And your parks were already so big that walking them was all we could do but know you all have added even more walking again bad on all special need families and any family with young children.

    • Stan says

      Overentitled to not waiting in line at WDW much? I’m assuming Disney’s new policy meets all ADA requirements — and getting moved to the front of the line because your precious snowflake would otherwise freak out is, you may be surprized to learn, NOT a civil right.

      Theme parks are loud, hot, crowded, overstimulating and have really long lines… if you have an easily overstimulated kid who doesn’t like crowds, noise and waiting go someplace else for your vacation! Disney is basically hell on EARTH for your kid.

      • mandi kelly says

        Ok u can be a smartacle if you wish but we do not do this for our precious snowflake as you choose to call them we do what we do to help you normal family’s to not have to be witnesses to the craziness of their disease they did not ask to be born with the malfunctions that they have but hey its life and just like the real precious snowflakes that are god made just like our precious snowflakes and they are all different so we do what we do for our wonderful children to give them as much of a chance of a normal life as possible…not to get a hand out or to first in line trust me it does not put you first it has a less wait time in a quiter area with less normal families for our broken children to disturb or maybe hit in a line of crowded people….so its people like you who make life even harder for children who are not born perfect but are perfectly perfect in our eyes and deserves everything your kids deserve.

      • Sarah says

        I think it was a great letter that demands the attention necessary for a REAL problem.
        Stan, you are not a nice person presuming upon everyone your own thoughts and opinions. Do you yourself have a child that will more than likely NEVER leave your care? Never drive? Never be able to do the normal everyday things YOU obviously take for granted (presuming stings doesn’t it old man?) Most of us here have children with REAL everyday issues that are quite life altering. Some of us even have invisible illnesses ourselves. Our family is an adoptive family with 3 special needs children. I myself have Fibro which causes flare ups that are quite painful and making walking for long periods or standing difficult at best. I do take my DOC/CP/ADHD/AD child to his 5 therapies a week, homeschool 4 hours a day, and take him to any and all other appointments he needs despite my various and ever changing pains. I guess that his struggles and my struggles has made me look forward to traveling to Disney as that was a “safe” place despite your thoughts on Disney being a loud and noisier than anywhere else amusement park. You deny your own intelligence by not absorbing the many comments stating that they are just as concerned about the normal child/parent witnessing our children’s melt downs or in my child’s case “pass outs” due to anxiety which rarely happens but we work hard as a family to discipline wisely, adjust him to things wisely, and take our time with new situations until we see his reaction as beneficial. oh what’s all this? Intelligent parenting so that our kids can access as much “normal” as possible. By the way,accessing a park like Disney is not ideal but it is something that most or all of our many Drs and therapists tell us to do and HOW to do it. This is why they are all willing to give us notes because they are excited to see their “work” blossom and grow so to speak. Now does this mean that our children will magically become normal or don’t need things in place to help them? NO, not at all. I am offering this to you as brain food to chew on so that next time you want to blast a little one out of the water, take his or her wish away, try to tell us all how to parent, or just continue to be cheery self you may draw from TRUTHS instead of half truths and made up things. As you can see our family has various issues. This is not about going to the head of the line although, I think that all of us will admit that helps because if we do get a serious melt down or need that middle of the day break that “normal” people don’t we now have luxury to take care of our children as we know is best instead of feeling fevered to finish and get our money’s worth. See, there is MUCH that you along with Disney is not seeing in this equation. For instance, we were going to take my parents on their first Disneyland trip in a year and a half. They are both in mobility carts due to age, Polio for dad and COPD for mom (yes, she brought that on herself for the most part but don’t you dare go there). I have Fibro, my sister has a horrible back that she will more than likely fight until she can’t anymore, my son has the DOC Syndrome/CP/AD, and my niece has Autism, ADHD and possibly Bipolar. How in the world is this family going to work in a line??? A regular line? Seriously? And don’t start that “well don’t go because we don’t belong” because Disney was built for everyone young and old, normal and broken! Disney would absolutely die again if he knew they were going to hurt these Disney goers this way. So please sir, LISTEN to what is being written and stop assuming.. it only makes… oh you know the saying I’m sure.

        • Stan says

          What I’m hearing you say is that you, your child and several members of your family have disabilities that make your life hard and therefore feel 100% entitled to skip lines at Disneyland. To make up for how hard you feel your life is.

          I agree Disney was built for everybody. But I just don’t get why you’d subject a crowd and line hating kid to the most lines/crowds imaginable when its pretty much guaranteed to make your kid miserable.

          • Suz says

            Stan, you need to leave this forum. You admitted to not even having a special needs child, but you”know someone that does”. So, that makes you an expert? Until you’ve walked in someone else’s shoes, DON’T JUDGE. You are a miserable, sad and rude human being.

        • STanfan says

          I do agree with stan. Sorry. There is n need to be rude but fibro is made up ms and not all spectrum kids are time bombs. You have no right to skip lines. Disney are not stupid.

          • Kim says

            S Tanfan – You are a doctor? Wow! What other illnesses are “made up”? Amazing how rude people can get, because people with disabilities get a little “extra” help maneuvering a Disney park. Shame on anyone who judges other people’s illnesses/disabilities.

          • JL88 says

            Really, Fibro is “made up”? Please, share that information with the dozen or so doctors who diagnosed me with it. I’m sure they’ll be relieved to know that all of their years of med school and experience has led them to a place where they can, finally, be schooled by some bitter schmuck on the internet, trolling a message board as his own fan.

      • Teryl says

        For some kids, like mine, the lines pose a physical risk. 1. She over heats so being in the sun waiting can send her to the hospital. 2. She has brittle bone and last week got her leg broken in a regular queue because the able bodied person carelessly swung their backpack (I guess you are OK with this?). 3 None of us asked for “front of line” we simply asked for a SAFE line. We are Ok waited in the shaded exit line for the allotted time where no bones get broken, no over heating, and we too can enjoy Disney. Your comment is very typical of someone who selfishly cannot see the needs of others. I suggest Disney make everyone (yes everyone including you) go wait in a line at a Kiosk to get permission to ride each ride, just as they are asking the disabled kids to do.

        • Sarah says

          STANFAN, how dare you!!! I am not even going to validate your comment further with an intelligent reply as I feel you lack any intelligent ability to listen and comprehend what is being said at this point.
          Teryl, Nicely said and I am soooo sorry to hear about what happened to your daughter. That is so so very sad. So many take these children and their conditions for granted because they can’t see the infliction and that is simply ignorant on their parts.
          JL88, thoughts exactly, thank you!!!! I would give anything to NOT have Fibro, I hate not knowing which monster would like to have at me today and the med trial after trial just makes you feel worse most the time. I am sorry to you for having the same gamut of issues as they are truly not pleasant.

      • zachary says

        Mandi Kelly, you are so misinformed about the changes. Not only do you get a return time, but you may also obtain a fast pass. USE not abuse forced Disney to change the policy. Too many people needed GAC’s. I can’t stand, I can’t wait, I can’t be in the sun, I have diabetes, I have adhd, autism, a heart condition, asthma, etc. Where do you expect Disney to draw the line? Does a grocery store, mall, etc. have special “I can’t wait” lines for every medical condition? NO! Disney is a theme park…noisy, loud, crowded, sensory overloaded for anyone! I have a question for you. How do you travel to Disney? Drive, fly? How does a child who can’t wait 20 minutes wait for that. Do you stay on Disney property? How do you wait for buses, boat, monorail? Or what about going through the security line to get into the park, the long walk down Main Street to hit the attractions? And before you judge me, you don’t know my situation. I’m not the one spilling my childs problems to the world over a possible 20 minute wait. Yes your child and many others, not just children have medical problems, but Disney is a BUSINESS…they are there to make money! Do you honestly believe that this billion dollar corporation didn’t look at every legal aspect? They go above and beyond ADA regulations and I think you and every other person complaining on here knows it. You just got used to “the front of the line”! You and others are freaking because your not going to get what your used to. A little more planning may need to be involved, but then again the new system may surprise all of us and work better than the old one! And yes, I’m all for the change!!!!!!!!

  32. says

    We are DVC members and Annual PAssholders. I have brought letters form my son’s doctor confirming that we need a GAC and I’ve been told that Guest Relations does not need to see it because they are ‘not medical professionals’. Well it doesn’t take a medical degree to ‘read’ a note on medical letterhead.
    The nasty looks from those waiting in line are troublesome, but even more so are the attitudes from CM who treat our our family as if we are scheming to get our “normal looking” son to the front of a line.

  33. Angela says

    I didn’t read every comment but bet that they are planning to do it like they are doing it with the magic band testing where you get to pick a fast pass for a ride every hour or two throughout the day when you get the new GAC (or whatever they are calling it now) They could schedule you for the fast passes at certiain times through the day right when you get the pass with a chip in it like the bands that can be scanned at entrance to the ride. That would eliminate the need for those meltdowns and/or for those with mobility issues from having to go from ride to ride for a different pass at each ride while finding things to do between times. I am sure for children or those who don’t like their picture taken one of the parents/adults in the party could have their picture on it instead too. Just some thoughts.

  34. says

    Contact address, phone, and fax for the Corporate Office for the Disney Leadership, both Executive level and Board of Directors.

    Corporate Headquarters*

    500 South Buena Vista Street
    Burbank, California 91521

    United States

    Phone: 818-560-1000
    Fax: 818-560-1930

    This is a link to their leadership which has a tab for both the Board of Directors and Management:

    http://thewaltdisneycompany.com/about-disney/leadership

    We’ll be sending letters to all of their Management and BOD members. We will also be ccing each to the individual in charge of Parks and Resorts Mr. Thomas O. Staggs:

    http://thewaltdisneycompany.com/…/thomas-staggs

  35. Sarah says

    That is also a thought I had Kim. That and what about multi special needs families? We have 2 special needs kids (cp/adhd/DOC and FAS/mutiple joint issues) and I have Fibromyalgia. When we travel with my parents Polio and COPD (can’t walk more than a few steps without breathing issues) and my sister with her autistic, who pushes who in the wheel chairs? There’s no one left thus the reason we choose to use GAC. Most of us can’t stand for long at all or we are miserable for the rest of the trip. My son’s legs start to hurt awful after a few minutes and God help us if it is cold out. I mean… I just don’t think this is thought out well at all. We end up doing more work than the normals, we don’t get to see most the park but the normals do… it’s not a good thing at all.

  36. Kim says

    My question for Disney is what happens at a lower interest ride, such as Casey Jr’s Train or any ride with a ‘shorter’ wait such as 30 minutes? Do guests still go to a kiosk every time they want to ride something? If so, that is making us do more than the typical guest and that is discriminatory.

  37. Barbara says

    Earlier this year I visited my dad and step-sister. During my visit, we had to go to his cardiologist for a check up. Their policy is if you are not on time for check in, you are to reschedule, no exceptions. We are in this crowded reception area waiting on the greeter to call his name. Then all of a sudden a nurse comes out and starts checking on a patient who had an appointment after us. He complained of chest pains, the nurse indicted that his vitals were fine. But, because of liability, they were immediately taken back to a room that, I believe, was being prepared for us. My step and I looked at each other and realized that we were now about 1 hour later in seeing the doctor than just a few minutes before. I heard someone in the reception area make the comment “how convenient, wonder how real those symptoms were”. By the way, the staff heard that comment too. My step then went back to the check in and demanded my dad’s file be faxed to another doctor who we had already planned on dad seeing. The secretary told her it would only be a few minutes. Funny, we had been there almost an hour already.

  38. snsmom says

    I am very sad if this turns out to be true. We went to WDW for my son’s wish trip and would never have been able to do it without the special card. We really wanted to be able to take him back someday if possible but can’t if they don’t have the pass. He has complex congenital heart disease.

    • zachary says

      snsmom- Disney is NOT changing Make A Wish, there is still an escort to the front of the line. I hope your son get’s a chance to go back to Disney!

  39. Sarah says

    I am posting this posts link along with the address to contact. We need to take this viral and hopefully make Disney sit up and listen and fast!!! We can’t allow this to take place. Do they really want to be responsible for my son having an anxiety black out and falling on their property? Or do they want other children to witness this? How many of these “normal” families want to see a true Autism melt down? What are our families suppose to do? go to each ride and wait each time out in order to ride something? We don’t belong in regular lines!

    • Sarah says

      You are the pathetic person BeeGees. It is not about entitlement it is about the limits of the diseases in question, but I won’t go into this further as I am not sure you are able to follow anything I would say. This is not a funny topic and the fact you just wrote what you wrote, shows how absolutely uncaring and rude you are! Do not speak to me again!

    • zachary says

      Sarah, are you serious? It’s Disney’s fault if your child has a meltdown? GET A GRIP LADY! If your child has a melt down and throws their self around that’s YOUR responsibility! I’m not knocking any disease, but your comment is pure stupidity! We ALL need to handle our children disabled or not and it is your job as a parent to do so! You say you “don’t belong in regular lines.” Do you request a regular classroom? Do you request a special line when you go shopping…the answer is NO, because you wait for everyday things. Disney does NOT have to give you the perk of front of the line. How many non-disabled children have melt downs and throw themselves around? A lot…no child likes to wait Miss Entitlement!

  40. sa scrap says

    I am also very interested in how this will come to pass. My dd needs the card, WDW is the best place to vacation with her and we go as often as possible. It is a real shame that someone used the card/service as a way to further their own greed.

  41. Shanna Sabet says

    This is the only way that we have been able to visit the park with my special needs daughter. Now, this will be so complicated a process that it will not be worth visiting any of the Disney parks which we do often.
    I’m hugely disappointed that they are changing the process. Can a Change.org petition be started to urge Disney executives to change their minds?

  42. JL88 says

    I think one of the unintended consequences Disney is going to see from this change is potentially an increase in the number of ECVs in the parks each day. I’ve seen a few people here and other places saying things along the lines of “the GAC has helped me avoid using a wheelchair or ECV in the parks.” The added process of going back and forth to a kiosk is going to add walking onto everyone’s day. Some who are managing to push right up to their limits under the current system might find they need to go the extra mile and get the ECV. As someone who has to use an ECV in the parks (or my doctor will kick my butt), I can tell you a couple things – first, they’re a giant pain in the butt to use. Whether you’re parking them outside the ride and walking the line or maneuvering them through the lines, they’re just an extra added hassle. Second, the walkers and ECV users are, at times, barely restraining hostility, on both sides. I don’t think that adding even more ECVs into the mix is a good idea. And that situation only gets worse when it comes to transportation. If more people are renting them from outside companies (which is far more economical than renting in the parks and guarantees you’ll have one at your disposal for the length of your stay), then more people are going to be loading them onto buses, boats, and monorail cars. Not only does that take up space, but it makes the transportation process take longer. Especially on buses, it really slows the transportation process down.

    I said this on the Facebook page, and I’ll repeat it here- I think Disney has always known that there were a certain number of people taking advantage of the GAC card or outright lying to get one. But, they considered it a necessary evil in order to provide the service to those guests who truly need it. That story in the spring about the wealthy families buying access to a GAC embarrassed them, and they were determined to do something to be able to say “see, we took care of that!

    This might not be a popular opinion, but I think that they need to go back to that attitude of “well, we can’t stop the cheaters, but we feel this is necessary to do for those who do need it.” As someone else mentioned here already, I’d rather see a few people who don’t need it using the GAC than see families who need the GAC no longer able to use the same level of service it has previously provided. I truly don’t think that there was an out of control number of people abusing the GAC. I think that a lot of people think they’ve seen large numbers of people abusing it, but you really don’t know, by looking, who does and does not need it. My son’s doctor insisted we get one for him, and if you saw us using it, you’d likely say “they don’t need that, they’re cheating the system.” I think the anecdotes of how frequently people are seeing someone legitimately cheating the system have become kind of like the urban legend of the woman in the checkout line with a new phone, new expensive purse, etc, paying for her steak, alcohol and cigarettes with food stamps and heading out to her new Escalade when she’s done.

    • Sarah says

      It will increase the EVC use by far and can you imagine their lines are suppose to support that load of a mobility cart per person taking up 3 walkie spaces and where are they going to park them all while we all ride? They can’t accommodate their own ideas!

  43. angie says

    Disney’s response is one of the many reasons I will and cannot take my children to the parks. I would love to go but the wait time even now is still too much to handle with both of my ASD boys. They become a danger to those around them with their antics and behaviors and this needs to be addressed by the parks. LEGOLAND has an amazing program for special needs children, they get it, as do SeaWorld and Knotts Berry Farm. Those who are making the policy need to do their parks with a special needs child just once to understand the extra stress that is placed on a parent to operate under normal conditions. I’ll volunteer mine if they want to see, I promise it will be an experience they will soon not forget….

  44. Jason's Mom says

    I thought the GAC was never meant to be “front of the line” access, but the responses sure seem to indicate it worked that way. The only people having real issues are those concerned with having to wait in the future.

    As long as DL/WDW are following the LAW, which I’m sure they’ve done, I think it sounds like a better situation. Ask Disney that. I’m sure their biggest concern before any change is avoiding “I’m going to sue!” being shouted in guest services and ending up in the courtroom. I have a feeling they’re probably OK. Until this, I really believe WDW has gone above and beyond what they legally have to provide for those with special needs. Some of us got used to this when we probably shouldn’t have. At some point, we do have to take responsibility for our situations and maybe adjust our expectations in life. My son would have a meltdown if we dared try to ride Space Mountain or stood in a 240 minutes TSMM line. So, we just don’t do that. My friend’s daughter has a tough time with big crowds. So, she doesn’t take her to a place where crowds are a given. (You know the place!) We all have to make accommodation for our situations in life.

    What is the law concerning those who just can’t wait for things anyway? If having autism means you don’t have to wait, I can see an endless number of businesses around me that are just asking for lawsuits! That might be where your concerns should really be, not with the park following the laws. I truly feel for those that will be negatively affected, but it’s just a theme park. Close your eyes and count to ten. Open them and say it. “It’s just a theme park.” You do have alternatives on where to spend your money.

    FWIW, I’ve been going to WDW regularly for years now and I’ve never had to wait beyond typical FP line wait times, unless I chose to.

    • ginger says

      WELL SAID JASON’S MOM!!! I totally agree with your post and even though our family also needs to make special arrangements to see that everyone enjoys what the park has to offer we do not expect special treatment.

    • JL88 says

      Nobody is saying that Disney wouldn’t be following the law. I have yet to see that be an issue. Personally, I think it’s rather judgmental to tell those who are concerned about this change that they need to “accept responsibility for our situations.” People are doing the best they can to provide a fun family vacation for their entire family when dealing with one (or two) family members who have special needs that affect how the whole family enjoys those vacations. Disney is all about telling their guests they want them to have a “magical” time while there, and their GAC program was one of the ways that families with special needs could ensure that the whole family could have that “magical” time.

      If you or any other family is able to make things work without the GAC, then good for you. Some families have a more difficult time and that GAC has been a Godsend for them. There’s no reason to judge them as just “not wanting to wait.”

      • zachary hayes says

        Are all of you aware that Disney has had major input from “Autism Speaks” about the changes? They are not a billion dollar corporation for nothing. The program changes are not in effect yet and all are in an uproar. I feel that Disney has gone above and beyond for disabled guests, but where do you draw the line? Any child can have a meltdown at anytime when there is waiting involved, people get sunburn, can’t stand, can’t walk, etc. When you move all of these conditions to a GAC plus 5 guests, how is that fair to the other patrons who spent their money and want to enjoy a vacation. Do you ask for special passes when shopping, visiting Santa Claus, etc. I don’t think so. What about traveling to Disney? Do you fly? How do you sit on a plane or in a car for hours? If Disney opened a theme park for disabled quests only, guess what, you would still have to wait. How would you decide who can ride first, who’s disability is worse? Before posting misinformation…Make A Wish is NOT changing and does NOT get passes from Town Hall. They are ESCORTED! For those with mobility issues, rent a wheelchair and use that line or they put you through the exit. The Disability Act was not created for “NO WAIT or FRONT OF THE LINE.” I do not mean to sound cold or harsh but that’s what these forums are turning into. I believe Disney is trying to be fair to all guests. Give it a chance before you knock it…most changes have glitches, but I’m sure Disney will work it out!

      • says

        Agreed, JL88 and Danielle. We never look at the GAC as a way to skip lines…we figure that a more quiet, less crowded space to wait helps our Autistic Son AND everyone around him. Nobody wants to be near him when his nine-year old, 110 lb body goes into full meltdown mode…most importantly, they don’t want to be near him when he physically vomits because of being overwhelmed, in a tight space, with sounds and lights that he is not used to.

        Yes, Jason’s Mom…it is “just a theme park”, but it hurts my heart to think that he would not be able to enjoy all the theme parks have to offer “just any other kid”.

        We have adjusted plans because of lines/waits (we always visit during off season) but things come up. Should our son be denied the ability to ride a ride because of how he processes things? Absolutely not. One of the first times we used the GAC, was at Soarin’ where the lighting, music and walls terrified him. We weren’t even going to use the GAC, and did our best to work him through it…but a CM noticed and took us aside. She asked if there was anything she could do to help, I told her we might come back when the line was shorter. She smiled and said “good luck”. She asked if we were familiar with the GAC, and I said that we had one. She gently said, “this is when you need to use it”. As the mother of a son with an “invisible condition”, I needed to hear that it was “okay”.

        Of course, this is countered with the time that our son was waiting in queue at Peter Pan’s Flight; he became overwhelmed by the close proximity to others and started flapping and getting anxious My husband, son and I stepped out of the queue, gave the FP attendant his GAC and was asked why we couldn’t wait in the regular line. My husband and I were stunned, but I said “Our son is on the Autism Spectrum, he has Aspergers; he tends to become overwhelmed easily”. She rolled her eyes, and went to wave us in…where our son promptly threw up right in front of her. We walked away, made sure he was okay…then marched right to Guest Services to express our displeasure.

        Through years of hard work and therapy, he handles situations better than he used to, but nothing is guaranteed. One of his favorite lines to wait in is Toy Story Mania, and he usually doesn’t have a problem…however on our last trip, he kept hearing a “buzzing sound” that, even with headphones drove him into full blown meltdown mode. He has waited in this line dozens of times over the last few years. We were so glad that we were able to make an “accommodation” to take him somewhere to calm him down, then bring him back…using his GAC for his needs. He was upset that he missed the fun of seeing his favorite toys and characters in line, but still couldn’t knock that “buzzing sound” out of his head.

        It may not necessarily be about the amount of time it takes to wait, but the environment in which the child {or adult} is waiting.

        • Stan says

          If your child does not like crowds or loud noises or queuing as he becomes “easily overwhelmed” perhaps you ought to rethink Disney as a vacation destination — pretty much everywhere is less crowded, less noising and less over-stimulating than a GIGANTIC THEME PARK.

          • Lisa says

            With accommodations, many children with autism CAN enjoy the theme parks, despite the crowds and noise. The GAC worked to reduce the overstimulation. So now they want to take it away, and we’re told maybe we just shouldn’t bring our kids to theme parks anymore.

          • mandi says

            i beleive you are a rude and heartless man….thats like saying ok you lost your leg in war protecting us but you need a special accomidation so we dont want you here…..that is how rude and stupid you sound!!

      • Jason's Mom says

        You still have the ability to find a quieter place to wait with this system, ya know. You don’t even have to approach the ride and risk a meltdown when your little one can’t immediately access whatever will make him/her happy in that moment. You get to go to a kiosk, away from said ride, and then choose whatever you want for your wait spot. You can even choose to get additional real FPs, or use your FP+. (FP+ is heavenly, btw. You know you can nearly walk on to a several rides before you even wake up! I’ve tested it multiple times.) You could get a snack or simply watch a parade or enjoy the shade or some shopping with the new system. This is really giving MORE options for those that simply need a quieter place to wait. The only thing this is going to end is immediate and unlimited GAC access at everything. That wasn’t giving us equal access. That was giving us preferred access, above and beyond what is legally required, IMO. Yes, showing up at DHS in late afternoon and expecting a FP wait for Toy Story Midway Mania is just not going to happen anymore. But be real for a moment. Should it have ever really happened that way? That wasn’t making things fair for our special kids, it was making things better for them than a “normal” child.

        • NJDisDad says

          I could not have said it better myself. I do not have a special needs child, but I do understand. I know people with children on the spectrum. I take part in my local “Ride for Autism”. I believe these children should be able to take part in the Disney magic just like other children. I also believe that the GAC was just too easy and taken advantage of. Disney has the tough position of having to work to accommodate ALL guests. While I don’t mind waiting a little longer so that children with special needs and enjoy themselves, I also believe that their parents need to do some planning to determine what works best without jumping tot he front of lines. I have seen large families\groups come in with a GAC. It would seem to me that there should be a way to limit a group of 10 or 12 people from all jumping to the front of the line. The buses say they limit you to a party of 6, but I have seen larger groups than that get on the bus with one wheelchair.
          The system needs to be fair to everyone. Waiting in line for an hour with any small child is not an easy thing to do.

          • Hope says

            I read the sentence “I do not have a special needs child” then I just stopped reading. Unless you have one for YOURSELF you can not truly understand what its like and don’t have any grounds for commenting. Also, autism isn’t the only “invisible” condition you know, and even then, there are varying degrees of the severity of a child’s autism. I’m not going to completely knock the system because I haven’t seen it in action yet, but it sounds severely flawed. Universal studios system is awesome, and its not a front of the line pass either.

          • NJDisDad says

            Hope – I’m sorry you stopped reading. In order for a person to be fully engaged in a debate/conversation, they really do need to hear the other sides full thoughts. I have read almost every comment here. Some people are being reasonable and willing to give the system a chance, and other people are ready to call lawyers and tear down Cinderella Castle. My issue is with people that are not willing to try the system before they condemn it.

  45. christine newman says

    I have Diabetic Neuropathy, which causes numbness along with a tingling feeling (up to sharp stabbing pain) in my feet, on which I stand for my Disneyland/DCA experience. I am fine with a pass for the current wait time, as long as I can sit for that time. I always get fast passes for the rides that need them.
    The Toy Story madness ride never lets me sit on the handicapped benches and avoid the stairs at the end of the ride, even when I wait the time that everyone else is waiting, and even with my current pass, so I never ride that attraction. I have talked to managers, supervisors, etc, but the operators of the ride always think they know better than the people who determine my eligibility for the pass.
    With the pass, I usually stay at the park until it gets really busy, about 6 hours, after the 1.5 – 3 hour drive to/from the Parks. I rent ECVs when I am at an all day/night event, and wheelchairs for those moderate days, so I can use it as a walker and sit when there are no chairs.
    As for World of Color, I could never see the performances if I had to stand. Please ask about my situation…

  46. Diana Lawrence says

    I have a hard time standing and walking too much as my ankles and legs swell really bad. I have tried to ask the doctor for some kind of note and they refuse to give me one because they just tell me I need to lose weight. Because of this if proof is required by a doctor I will no longer be able to ride any rides as I cannot do all this walking to go back and forth every time I want to ride something and I for sure would not be able to stand in a 45 minute line every time I wanted to ride something. I stand for the shows that are there but can only do that because they have breaks in between the sets where I can sit. I also cannot afford to buy my own wheelchair or electric scooter and sometimes going to Disneyland cannot be guaranteed on renting any as they are out of them. I will have to rethink renewing my pass with these changes.

    • NJDisDad says

      Maybe you should follow your doctors instructions. If a medical professional says there is no medical reason you need assistance, you are part of the PROBLEM. You are abusing the system. You are not disabled. I put on weight and knew I would have problems with the restraint systems on some rides for a trip to Ceder Point a few years ago. Instead of complaining about them not accommodating me, I bought a gym membership, changed my diet, and lost almost 40 pound before my trip. You have the solution to your own problem. If you don’t like the situation, you have the power to improve it.

  47. Carol says

    Forgot to add. Since they will only allow ONE ride to be set up at a time, that means that the person has to go to the Kosh, to a ride, back to the kosh, back to a ride….. That is a horrible waist of time and physical drain on a person.

  48. Carol says

    What a sad day. It appears that because of abusers and a large number of whining healthy adults, many with special needs will no longer be able to enjoy Disney. It appears that Disney is lumping everyone into the “wheelchair” user group and removing any real special assistance. Some people have health issues that do not allow them to spend a lot of time in the parks. This pass will be of little assistance to them as they do not have the stamina to wait around all day. (This is just one example. Special need should be addressed individually. ) Personally I would rather see 5 abusers in a GAC line, then one person who really needs it turned away. FAIL

  49. says

    I’ve worked at Universal and I currently work at Sea World. While we don’t have the picture ID to verify who is using the pass, we do give times to come back, which is exactly what Disney will be doing. With Sea World, we also have to look at the front of the pass to make sure that our attraction is on it. If it’s not, the party goes through the regular line because it is not recommended that the person who got the pass ride our attraction. That’s how we make sure people don’t abuse the system as best we can. Frankly, I think it works a lot better than Disney’s system and I’m glad Disney is finally catching up to the rest of the parks.

    • says

      the issue with this, the rides at US and SW are not as geared towards little kids like WDW. Meaning, there isn’t as much for my ASD child to get worked up about there.

      I have to agree that the system at both US and SW works great, but unlike US, WDW has a terrible child swap. For us it’s the Child Swap that makes the park doable for us. There are plenty of areas for him to calm down, have a break away from the crowds, experience the rides without riding them and for us adults to enjoy ourselves as well. If WDW could do the whole thing like US, it would be GREAT!

  50. Faith says

    I am thankful we’ve not ever had to use the GAC system, even though we do have a disabled child. I think with some patience Disney will figure out what works….just like they did with the RFID mugs, Magicbands…etc. It’s a work in progress, and there will be some growing pains while they work everything out and listen to the input of those who use the system. It’s always a hot topic on Disney forums…..especially the scooter usage on the bus systems at park closing……I wouldn’t want to be in charge of making all these changes.

  51. Morgan says

    THE SINGLE greatest thing WDW has done for us is give us that red wheelchair tag on our stroller. Our ASD son cannot understand movie theater style seating during shows (basically anything that can’t strap or bar him in) and needs to know his personal space. I seriously hope this doesn’t end.

    We require a wheelchair tag AND a GAC. I make him leave the stroller to wait for a ride and we have always needed to wait in a separate area as he gets overwhelmed. Will this still be possible to get both the tag and DAS?

  52. Alicia says

    I understand the abuse of the current system had to be addressed and changed however, from everything I’ve read it appears that the people who are truly in need of the passes are the ones who are going to be hurt in the process. I think during the rollout process the executives who are so strongly supporting these changes should join a family that has a child with Autism for their day in the park. The executives need to be educated about Autism and what families experience & what children on the spectrum experience – as opposed to just ‘reading up’ on the topic. I’m SURE the executives will realize that there has to be another option for those on the spectrum. I think it also needs to be reminded that the world we live in today isn’t always subjective, just because someone looks “normal” doesn’t mean that person isn’t suffering on the inside in some way/shape/form. I think it’s a lesson that parents should not only be instilling in their children, but also teaching them through their example. I’m looking forward to your updates on this topic.

  53. mandi kelly says

    well the cast members should always requested proof….that is where the loop hole is…….proof from doctor or no card…period that is it!!!!!!

      • Karen says

        This is where the ADA and the “rights activists” behind it hindered people with disabilities. I have no problem providing proof of my daughter’s disability. I don’t find shame in it. Life is life, people! In fact I was shocked when I found out we didn’t have to provide proof for the GAC. I brought a dr.s note just in case. I see absolutely nothing wrong with requiring proof of a disability to prevent fraudulent use. Those rich moms and the disabled people providing the service should be ashamed of themselves for this mess they got us into.

          • Rae G says

            I completely agree, I went to WDW about 3 yrs ago and brought a letter from my son’s doctor assuming I would need proof that my son had a legitimate reason for the GAC as well as a stroller as wheelchair tag. I have to problem providing proof of my son’s disability. This system does not sound well thought out and it seems like the people that have a true need for the card will be punished because of people obtaining them falsely.

        • lisa castellanos says

          I agree! I would gladly give medical proof. I am not ashamed either. My son Has Down Syndrome/ Fact. it is part of our life. Before he was born we had annual passes. We have had them since they first started. We waited in the lines with our children. That is just the way it is. But when your child has issues that typical children do not it no longer becomes feasible to wait in the lines. When the lines are not that bad we go through them using his stroller as a wheelchair and we were actually told by staff members to use the exit.

  54. Alana says

    As a single parent of three (one with disabilities and one still in a stroller), this is going to be an absolute nightmare. I truly hope that they will come up with a better solution than this. From what I understand they are not legally permitted to ask for medical documentation? Does that sound right?? Correct me if I am wrong but I feel, when it pertains to those with disabilities, and a multi-billion/million dollar company, there has GOT to be a “way around this,” so to speak. Praying for a better solution to be present itself. It is without a doubt my family’s favorite place in the world to vacation!

    • JL88 says

      There’s no way around the legal issue of not being able to request medical documentation. Disney would get slammed if they tried. (And, personally, I wouldn’t want to see a company get away with it just because it’s a multi-billion dollar company.)

      They do need to come up with a better plan than the one we’re reading about now, but, unfortunately, it can’t be as easy as just requesting medical documentation from their guests.

      • NJDisDad says

        These are the same rules that apply to people with service animals. Companies cannot ask you why you need your animal. They cannot ask you to divulge your disability. These rights not only protect you as a patron, but also as an employee.

  55. Lori says

    As a mom of a daughter with cerebral palsy, and seizures, this comes as a blow. Seems like we are being punished because of all the flack raised by those rich moms who were hiring people with GAC’s to get them to the “front” of the lines. And all the people who just plain lie to get one. When we were down to WDW in July, we overheard sooooo many people bragging about lying to get a card. One lady seated next to me near the exit if space mountain was advertising it very loudly and laughing hard about having the ultimate fast pass! Broke my heart, as I only wish my daughter could run around freely and just use the plain old fast pass system. This woman didnt even ride the ride. Got the card then passed it iff to ghe people in group of 12!! Also, we waited in the wheelchair line at rides such as MWM, and HM longer than it took people in the regular line. So for these people to say that we bypass the lines really bothers me. I don’t understand why disney can’t have people bring a Drs note with them in order to get the card. I would have no trouble going to the Dr to get one. But instead they’re gonna make it harder for us to get around. I don’t get it.

    • says

      these people who only see you go through the fast pass line don’t realize that when you use a wheelchair, or a stroller as a wheelchair, you also have another line to wait in and we too have watched the regular line riders go through the lines faster than us in the wheelchair line.

  56. JL88 says

    While I think it is a good idea that you are making the effort to contact Disney and relay people’s concerns, I think it is equally important to encourage everyone who has a concern about this issue to contact Disney directly as well. They need to know that there are a lot of people out there who visit and love the parks who will be adversely affected by this change. The more they hear from guests that this will not work for them, the more likely they will be to make a change. I’ve already emailed them detailing my concerns and the different scenarios where this new system will fail some guests. I encourage everyone to do the same. Be polite, be specific, and urge them to re-think this decision.

    • mandi kelly says

      how do you contact them i certsinly would as this will be a game changer for us…..we are going the end of october and if its crazy like it sounds it will be will prob not go back which is sad cuz my boys love it but we can not do 20 30 min ride lines with a child who is bipolar aspergers add and has sensory integration disorder very sad cuz all they have talked about for a year is going back

  57. says

    I do agree that the people making money on these cards had to be stopped,,,but my problem is I can’t stand for,a long period,of,time ,,,,,but do not want to be pushed around in a wheel chair as I can walk pretty well most of the time,,,,,so it was a big help to me to be able to get on the rides, it there was a shorter then 10 min wait I wouldn’t,use the card,,,,I think,this will be a problem for,a lot,of,people,,,good,luck,to,all

  58. Sharon Shay says

    We are annual pass members as well and my husband uses this. My husband is visually impaired as well as insulin dependent and have gotten the DAS. He can’t be in direct sunlight waiting in line and as some rides entries are dark he needs a little extra time to board the rides. Can you find out what will be different for us?

  59. Trisha says

    I just talked to someone from Disney World, originally she said she had not received any notification at this time but when I pushed the issue she contacted guess services and they confirmed that they are being trained and do not know when the release date will be due to them making sure everyone is trained. I expressed my concern and asked that it be noted that this will be a big problem for individuals with Autism. They don’t understand that they have to wait, they will have violent meltdowns and it will be a disaster for all. I understand the need for change but they better understand that each disability has to be handled differently. Hope Disney gets it right!!!!

  60. Joelle says

    It will be interesting to hear what they have to say. I agree with the others. My son is in a wheelchair, and having to go back and forth between the kiosk and the rides is going to be a pain, and frustrating for a 7 year old. I would probably just get in the regular line with him, but It is difficult to maneuver a wheelchair in a crowded line. It’s also frustrating to those in line around us. They need to consult a panel of people with disabilities rather than just planning this all themselves.

  61. Catherine says

    Awful. Just awful. I would be happy to provide proof of my sons autism. The GAC saves our vacation. Please don’t punish the people that need this and follow the rules!!!

  62. mandi kelly says

    that is why all passes should have to be documented i take a dr. letter stating what my child has and why this would benefit him……..standing in line to get a pass to come back to the ride will not work my child freaks out once he has decided what ride to ride…so this is no good in my opinion…we need to keep the old way and you only get the pass with a documented dr.s note….

    • Jennifer says

      I agree, there needs to be some way of making sure this is fair to those with Autism or other mental disabilities. I understand it is impossible to get them switched off of the one ride they are fixated on. It’s also too much for them to have to wait an hour before they can do another ride, or wait in the line “like everybody else”. The old way did make things much easier, but they need to just make some adjustments to prevent abuse by the “cheaters”.

  63. Jennifer says

    No matter what they do, not everyone will be happy. But making things much more fair for everyone is very important. I used the GAC once when I had broken my ankle. I brought proof (besides the walking boot I was in) of my injury – a doctor’s note with my name & the date on it stating that I was not to be standing for long periods of time – but I wasn’t asked for any proof. I asked for the card & I was immediately handed a card with no questions asked. I could see then how easy it would be for people to abuse the system, which is not fair to those who really need it.

    My issues with this system:
    1. How will the person getting the DAS prove they need it to prevent abuse? Still hard to prove some disabilities, like those with Autism. I understand there is a fine line they have to walk to prevent abuse & also not make those with disabilities feel like they have to jump through hoops to get a pass. However, when asking for a handicapped parking pass, people do have to prove their need for it. There should be some sort of way to do this at Disneyland & WDW.

    2. I like that a picture is required, but I think it would be fine if they allow you to bring a picture & they can laminate it to the DAS for you. This would eliminate problems with some not wanting to have their pictures done.

    3. The Make-A-Wish lanyard makes complete sense. I’m very surprised to find out that they didn’t have this already in place. Disneyland really needs to look into implementing a system like the MagicBands at WDW. Then the DAS could be reusable for permanently disabled guests. They could put an RFID in the DAS lanyard & they can load the amount of days on your park tickets to the DAS.

    Honestly, Disney will need to make adjustments here & there to make this work, and everyone will need to do their part in being very patient while Disney gets the bugs worked out. It’s sad that they have to add security because they know there will be those who threaten violence when told about the new system.

    I am happy to hear that for once, Disneyland & WDW will be using the same system!

    • mandi kelly says

      well the cast member should have requested proof….that is where the loop hole is proof from dr or no card…period that is it!!!!!!

    • Suz says

      I, too, have brought a doctors note, but they didnt want to see it. They wanted my explanation. I found out later it has to do with some privacy act or something. I don’t get it. Doctors note or no pass! Not Dlands fault, I suppose. I guess they aren’t allowed to do that.

      • Kristina says

        We also being a Doctors note, but no, they cannot look at it. It all has to do with the Hippa Laws that prevent anyone, other than your doctor, from knowing about medical conditions. Now, I am all for them putting caveats in those laws for situations like these. My son is also autistic (and we suspect our youngest twins might also be on the spectrum), so this is a HUGE help to us and the other guests. We just got back from WDW last week and they said nothing about these changes to us. So, while I am all for change to prevent abuse, Disney really needs to take a second look at the different disabilities.

      • says

        It has to do with medical records and HIPAA. Which makes no sense to me, since you have to have a Dr. sign the form to get a Disabled Placard at DMV. What’s the difference in requiring proof, other than one is a government agency and DL is a private company.

  64. Karen says

    I have issue with the new system for a few reasons. My concern is I use an ECV, but have a host of medical issues. Making me wait in a long line in my ECV would be problematic with my Crohn’s Disease. I use the bathroom right before we get on a ride and right after we get off, I know waiting in line for 60-90 minutes in an ECV is not going to work. I will have to leave that line to use the restroom, then enter the line again and start the who waiting process all over?? This systems seems very poorly thought out.

  65. Ronnie says

    I disagree with this – and where does it say that WDW is rolling this out? My friend I am going with suffers from Polymyalgia Rheumatica and cannot stand for long periods of time – this is def going to be a Debbie downer for our Nov. trip if its in effect by then.

  66. Jennifer says

    This makes me so angry that they are changing it. My son has severe Autism and will not be able to walk past one of his favorite rides without going on it….Not waiting an hour to go back…and the fact that you cant get more than 1 at a time that is bull. What are we supposed to do while we are waiting the hour? He cant go wait in another line for a ride that is an hour long.
    We usually go to WDW 2 times a year. It is the one place we can go where my family can actually have fun all together. This new system though may really change that for us.

    • Stan says

      Waaa waaaa waaaaaah. You can buy a fastpass if you want to move to the front of the line.

      The ADA requires the park (and everywhere) to be accessible to those with special needs — nowhere does it specify that a private company must move a kid with a particular special need to the very front of the line.

      • Jennifer says

        My post never said anything about moving to the front of the line, did it? It said he cannot wait an hour to ride a ride. My son struggles every minute of every day. I wish you could spend a day walking in his shoes then come talk to me about it. You clearly have no clue what it is like living with severe Autism.

        • mandi kelly says

          I wish every normal family could have one day with our special children and see just how much they struggle in everyday life so yes we ask for the card but its more to benefit normal familes than our own family.

      • mandi kelly says

        Do not belittle us just because we feel are kids deserve the same things in life as normal kids….god gave us special children because he knows we can handle them….where as people such as you probably could not from the way you speak…..we do not want front line privelidge we want to be able to enjoy a family vacation just like every normal family there yes we need a few extra accommodations but we don’t want front line star of the show just somewhere less crowded and quiter it is for the normal families benefit that we request this as I have said we can handle a melt down but it seems to really put a lot of normal families in a bad mood.

      • Jen says

        You can’t buy fastpasses at Disney World Stan. Understand how the system works before you start ordering people to work with it.

        • Jason's Mom says

          You can buy a VIP tour guide though. You’ll skip through a lot that way, though they claim it isn’t immediate access (just as the GAC always has – yet it doesn’t exactly work that way)

          • JL88 says

            I don’t think the GAC has been acting as a front of the line pass. From my experience, it gets you into the Fast Pass line, which is not front of the line access. Depending on how busy the park is, it’s still a wait, it’s just not the hour or longer wait some rides have. Honestly, all the GAC does, as far as my experience with it, is to cut the leg work out of the Fast Pass process.

  67. am12pm says

    I will be watching this closely…please keep us updated! I too have two children on the spectrum and we visit WDW for the ease in enjoyment. If this pans out to be a huge hassle, we won’t be renewing our annual passes.

  68. Karen says

    Wow. No consideration for autistic children OR blind people. Disney better figure this out before I plan to go back or we won’t be going! I don’t need assault charges because my kid took down someone else’s in line.

  69. Carol says

    This seems very complicated and tedious for those who truly need it…and doesn’t seem to solve the problem of people who abuse the system.

  70. says

    Like any system, I think it will all depend on the implementation and follow through. On paper (or on my screen), it seems to be a fair system. The way I understood it, there’s still only one pass, linked to one guest, with their picture on it. So unless the family was issued passes for multiple family members, I don’t see how you could get return times for multiple rides at once. Perhaps I didn’t understand or interpret that part the way you did?

    The one hassle, as I read it, will be having to visit a kiosk in between each attraction you want to enjoy. It says they will subtract the time you walk to and from the attraction from your wait, but wouldn’t it be easier to let you schedule multiple attractions in one visit? Not all day, but perhaps in chunks of time, so you only have to visit the kiosk every few hours, or if you want to make a change.

    I look forward to your updates on this.

  71. Janine Solley says

    I have MS and am having serious brain fog issues right now so reading this has me very confused. We are going in January and I’m now concerned. I have an 11 year old with Autism and I have MS. I will be in a motorized scooter but once out of that can’t walk very far or stand to long with my cane. I have to figure all this out. I’m so confused especially about the magic bands.

  72. Tracy says

    We are WDW fans. If I can only get one DAS reservation at a time, that will greatly increase the meltdowns since our limit with autistic twins is about 20 minutes of wait time before they start having fits (first one, then the other). I guess I could get two since I have two kids with autism and could get them each separate DAS cards. I try to go off-season to decrease wait times naturally, but that is tough since I have to take them out of school to do it. I would like to see electronic means of doing the tracking/limiting. Using the MagicBand they could just define a 30 minute wait time/cool-down period between checking-in at one ride, before you could use it at the next ride. It would also keep other people who are waiting from knowing that anyone in the group has a disability. My kids look “normal”, so the staring and huffing can be uncomfortable for them and me when people think that I am abusing the system.

    • Jennifer says

      That’s what I thought too! They need to be able to load the DAS to your MagicBand and it would be so much easier. DL really needs to implement a system like WDW.

  73. says

    The problem is your concerns are valid but many others are not. I am sure the pic can be a family that will be riding with the child. I see so much abuse of this at DL, I have waited and waited in line that don’t move and get sick from being crowded in and the whole time its the CM trying to shrink the GAC line. I need to move and that is why fastpass was created. I skip many attractions due to line and I try to go in off season as much as possible.

  74. NJDisDad says

    There are some kinks that will need to be worked out, but that would be true with any new plan. Closing the loophole that let people make money using their GAC to be a tour guide had to stop. It was far too easy to take advantage of the old system. Just like everything else, too many scam artists take advantage so everyone else pays the price.

    • says

      I still major loop holes and the fact is they have now made it almost impossible for us to visit the parks with our Autistic Child. We were planning on a visit to DL this winter, but not sure that we will continue with this any longer. It really will effect our ability to do the parks without major issues, and meltdowns.

      • Ditto says

        Both of my daughters have autism. In addition, my youngest has OCD and my oldest has anxiety disorder, bi-polar and ADHD. Neither one of them are able to stand in lines for any length of time without a melt down or major disruption to those around them. This will cause a major problem with us visiting “The Happiest Place on Earth” I can handle my daughters, but it is the looks from people around me that say, “Can you JUST handle your child?”

      • says

        I don’t have an autistic child, my son is in a wheelchair. We JUST bought plane tickets to Orlando since my husband is in the Navy and is stationed in Florida. Had I known they were planning this, probably wouldn’t have gone, which ends up being a loss for my whole family. And, I have experienced this “system” first hand this past weekend at Six Flags Magic Mtn and I will NEVER go back. Not only did they overbook the return time for a ride, the other party who got there after my son, crowded and went ahead of him, so he didn’t get to go on that ride. :( Much more to the story, but it’s too long to post here.

        • NJDisDad says

          I’m curious if you have ever been to a Disney park before. I take regular road trips to amusement parks and NONE have a level of customer service that can compare to Disney parks. Disney always goes above and beyond to make things right for their guests. That’s the biggest reason I enjoy going. I live 30 minutes for Six Flags Great Adventure and I have not been there in 5 years. I had a season pass for 20 years, but the service and environment just kept declining, so my family no longer goes.

    • mandi kelly says

      that is why all passes should have to be documented i take a dr. letter stating what my child has and why this would benefit him……..standing in line to get a pass to come back to the ride will not work my child freaks out once he has decided what ride to ride…so this is no good in my opinion…we need to keep the old way and you only get the pass with a documented dr.s note….

      • Suz says

        I agree. I’ve taken a doctors note and they don’t want to see it! I’m sure many people look at my family as we go through the “special” line and assume we are abusing the system. But those people don’t understand what would be happening to my child with PDD NOS if we had to wait any longer – complete meltdowns. He’s happy and doing well because we aren’t having to wait in forever lines or walking around collecting fast passes. He can’t wait. It’s not possible. This new system is going to effect us big time. We just got passes in June and I’m thinking that I may have to get a partial refund because I can’t see this being a change for good. More like a night are!

          • Sarah says

            I can only laugh at this statement. You will come up with any excuse to NOT keep GAC. While it is a chance that someone would have a DR write a note, there are also ways around that in order to make sure i is from a Drs office etc. The fact you said that tells me you know nothing about the new systems. Drs are VERY hesitant to falsify documents these days because malpractice suits are very real and very out of control and many DRs have been under the microscope fairly badly. Out here, they have to document everything, we have to go in for almost any medicine or complaint and “be seen”. Much has changed and it is very hard to get anything you DON’T deserve. I am sure it does happen but FAR less than it use too. I haven’t seen ANY misuse of handicap stickers or hangers for years now out here!

  75. Donna says

    I for one use this pass as I am disabled. I can’t walk or stand for long periods of time so I have used this system. It seems that just because a few people abused it the rest have to be inconvenienced. I am an annual pass holder at WDW if this is the way they are going I won’t renew next year.

  76. says

    Still nowhere noted that WDW is moving to the system on 10.9; and if CMs are already being trained at DLR and DCA and not at WDW, how can it be expected here at the same time?

    Mark.

      • Suz says

        Am I reading this right? Every time we want to go on a ride we have to go to the special kiosk, but we can’t go until we’ve ridden the prior ride?! We can’t just collect them all at once?! My kid is going to freak out!!!

        • NJDisDad says

          It means that everyone waits the same amount of time for rides. Having to go to a kiosk means you don’t have to take your child tot he ride and tell them that you can’t get on yet. You can get your return time, go get a dole whip, and then tell your child it’s time to go ride.

          • Susan says

            So every time I want to take my son on a ride, I have to go “get a dole whip” and wait for our turn? Clearly, you don’t understand the nature of a disability that makes waiting around difficult for a child. Doesn’t matter if we are waiting in a line or waiting while we eat our dole whips….the waiting is excruciating for a child with needs. And just how many dole whips can a child eat in one day?

          • Jule Dragstrem says

            Listen, my child is special needs. If waiting in line is that traumatic at WDW or DL, how does your child function on a regular day? I understand that some disabilities have behavior melt-downs with them. My son screams instead of speaking, so I get it. Still, waiting in most lines he can see hidden Mickeys, fun decor, a glimpse of Mickey himself, etc. He is more willing to wait at WDW than some adults we’ve seen. Even on regular day, Wyatt has to wait for a seat in a busy restaurant, for friends walking slowly down the hall, for Mom to finish in the grocery store, etc. Yes, he screams. I’ve learned that it is just part of life. What others think does NOT matter.

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