WDW Disability Access Service Card – DAS – Day One, How it Went

disability-assistance-service-card-walt-disney-wroldSo we got up and headed out to Magic Kingdom this  morning so we could trade in our Guest Assistance Card for the Disability Access Service Card (DAS).   We videoed several parts of the day in order to show everyone how it works.

After arriving inside the the gates, we immediately headed over to Guest Relations, inside of City Hall.  The line was really no different than most days at guest relations.  I would say it was a 5 to 10 minute wait.

When it was our turn, we found the cast member assisting us to be VERY helpful and pleasant.  She offered loads of information and was going out of her way to make sure we knew of all the accommodations for our specific needs.  I wasn’t prepared to have to answer what our needs would be in the park though, that was new for me.  Instead of asking what was wrong with our child, they word it with, “what accommodations does your child need?” – which is good and bad.  I like the respect and kindness she showed, but it took me by surprise as I felt that I had disclose his diagnosis, even though she didn’t ask.  (Truth be told, I don’t think I have ever had to mention his diagnosis as much as I did today.  Seemed like every ride required some sort of explanation for something.  I felt like I had to keep telling CM’s my son is on the spectrum….).  My recommendation to others would be to come prepared to explain what your specific needs are.  Once I explained our situation, she even offered additional assistance.  In the video you will hear that I said yes he like to ride rides multiple times, but that we don’t encourage it.  But there is something in place for children who do need to ride a ride multiple times in a row, they are called “reAds” the guest services person will give you as many of these as you need in order for your child to not have a meltdown.  We did receive the start off Fastpasses to help get our day going.  But we didn’t end up using them this morning.

das-wdw-guest-assistance

As for taking his picture, Carson was not going to get out of his stroller, period.  He also had us pulling the stroller umbrella down so he was in his “cocoon”, so I was nervous how the picture would work.  But, it ended up being fine!  She walked around the counter and with her iPad, took a photo of Carson while he was still in his safe spot.

Here is the exact experience we had with obtaining the DAS:

Now of note, we also use our Stroller as a Wheelchair and we weren’t sure how this was going to work any more.  But it was fine.  She issued us a new Stroller Tag and we were still able to use our stroller as a wheelchair for Carson today.

Next we headed out to Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin to get a return time.  While the Standby time read only 20 minutes, the line looked like a 40 minute line.  So I am not sure what was up with that, but because the standby time was only 20 minutes, we got a 10 minute return time. (WARNING for some reason I am REALLY loud in this video!!!!! turn the speakers down)

Carson had all ready selected the “car ride” to drive as what he wanted to do.  So I knew our first stop to ride was going to be the Speedway.  So we headed over there with our stroller and walked up to the CM who standing near the wheelchair entrance and asked how it was going to work.  He asked for my DAS card to write a time on it, but I told him we can’t do that as we all ready have Buzz Lightyear on there.  So I pulled out the 4 fastpasses that guest relations gave me, as there was no way we could walk away from this ride, Carson would have melted down and he was all ready on thin ice.  The CM manager that was standing there beside the CM we were speaking with, spoke up and said on no, you don’t want to use those here.  There will be worse lines in the park today.  I told him we don’t have a choice, that our son is on the spectrum and he chose to drive cars as his ride, so walking away from it would be disastrous for us.  He then told me to put away the fastpasses and had the other CM use a different white card (which we learned more about later) and fill it out for a return time of then.  So he handed it to us and told us to go ahead and continue on in.

DAS-WDW-Wheelchairpass

Of note, when we got off the Speedway, the standby line was out into the “walkway” but the standby time was still listed as 20 minutes, when I know for a fact that was a 40 minute line.  Again, I just thought that was weird.  That was the second line that I noticed was “miss-timed” but again by less time than what it was really going to be.

Next we headed back to Space Ranger Spin and showed them our DAS card with the return time on it.  The CM grabbed a pen and crossed off the times and sent us through the Fastpass line.  Again the same procedure took place at the next CM, we showed him our DAS and then were lead through the line.  (of note, because we use the stroller as a wheelchair, we were then moved into the wheelchair line and lead to the exit of the ride, where we get on).

After leaving Buzz Lightyear, we headed over towards the Tea Cups, We had been in the park now for just over an hour and a half and Carson was starting to melt down.  When we got to the tea cups, the same thing happened there, a 20 minute wait (we were noticing a theme).  We went to the CM at the Fastpass line and asked her what we needed to do as we usually use the Wheelchair entrance for this ride.  She pulled out those little white cards (same one as from the speedway) and filled it out.  She told us that it would be for immediate access as the wait time was short right now.  But that rides that have a seperate wheelchair entrance use these little white cards.  Which in some ways makes sense.  So no more just showing up at the wheelchair entrance and waiting there, you go to the first line, get a card and then go wait at the wheelchair line for rides that have a separate entrance.

We didn’t end up doing the Tea Cups because by the time I was done getting our little card and talking to the CM, Carson was done.  So we decided to go look for Katelyn and Becca and say hi!

We found Katelyn working at Poohs Corner and said hi to her and then contemplated using our 4 fastpasses to ride the Pooh ride, but the fastpass line was going to be at least 20 minutes and he was all ready on edge.  We decided it was better to not push our luck.

The one really positive thing I learned today; After walking away from Pooh’s Corner we headed into the Courtyard of Fantasyland to look for Becca, someone had said that the DAS would work for Character Meet and Greets, so I wanted to test that.  As the old GACs didn’t, I was a little apprehensive.  I walked up to Princess Fairytale Hall and the cast member wrote a return time down for us come back and meet Rapunzel and Snow White!  That is a HUGE positive for this new system.

Sadly, at this time, it was roughly 12:30pm, we had been in the park 2 hours and Carson was done with a capital “D”.  So we said goodbye to Kathy, Scarlet and John and headed out with a return to Princess Fairytale Hall, 4 fastpasses and a Wheelchair return time for Tea Cups.  I am hoping things go well enough today that we can head back over there this evening and see the Princesses and ride the tea cups.  But this was normal for us.  Two to Three hours, one to two rides and we are done.

I am holding off on stating my personal opinions until I have thoroughly tested the system.

Things I noticed or my takeaways from today:

  • ALL cast members were very attentive and willing to provide personalized assistance to meet my sons needs
  • It is a learning curve, but the CMs are all ready doing a great job
  • I don’t think today worked as a true test, as every ride was at 20 minutes for standby…. so we will let everyone know as we test this system with “real” wait times

For those in Wheelchairs – you will not need a DAS if you don’t have any other issues other than mobility.  You will go to the alternate entrances and receive the white cards with a time to return or be let in immediately, based upon stand by time.

 

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Comments

  1. Chris says

    We gave up our Annual Passes after being loyal to Disney for 5 yrs straight. After the changes my husband was not able to get a card any longer. After several knee surgeries he’s in severe pain after having to walk and stand and wait for long periods of time. I have had hip surgery but try not to complain about the pain. Mine is more from standing and not walking. He’s had to start taking pain pills just to make it through a day and turned into a complete zombie which didn’t make it worth it. Wheel chair out of the question since we had a stroller to roll around as well. So sad as it is for those that abused the program they have ruined it for those that truly need it. Matter of fact he only started using it over the last year when he couldn’t take the pain any longer. If they can get things under control and find a system that works then we may consider coming back.

  2. jane says

    I saw your videos on youtube and it lead me here. You have so much good advise, thank you!! I am going to Disney in 2 weeks. I am an adult and have Aspergers and have sever panic attacks in confined, crowded places. I am worried about facing discrimination getting a DAS because I am a disabled adult, not a child. Do you have any advice about talking to the CMs and getting the pass?

  3. R. Vinson says

    I just wanted to thank you for the post and videos!! My son has autism and we went to Disney World last month. We watched your videos before we left and it made our trip easier and we knew what to expect. Thanks again.

  4. Tammy says

    http://temporarytourist.com/author/admin/
    I’m very glad to see locals testing this out in your case living close by and only doing up to two hours each visit. My question is have you seen out of staters that only go every 5-7 years n have no way of knowing what park they will use each day, get 4 day hopper passes only have 7 days to drive or fly to the area see the parks n fly/ drive home? I have MS, GI issues n many many more DX I do have anxiety about back tracking but more so each time I see your videos of going to a kiosk etc I see my energy dwendle before my eyes. I am a mom needing assistance from my kids n hubby which is such a guilty thing on its own then trying to be normal as possible n doing this trip it is a lot. I’m asking because in one of your videos you said people relaying they won’t go again. I’m one of those (until I know I will get my money’s worth) when I was healthy we would be there open to close we usually seen 98% of the parks. When I went in 2010 it was first time we used the pass we spent from 11am-12pm to about 5-6pm n seen about half of what we normal do with the good pass they just took away. But skipped out on our fourth day I n my son with kidney disease just couldn’t handle another day. Now you probably spent a couple grand on your tickets but for us it would be at least 12k for everything if we drove about 20k flying. So that’s y I’m asking maybe you can get some of your folowers that r in my shoes do a blog or interview. For us to spend the money is hard so to get there n not be there for 2hours each day would be, well just wrong. I love u r able to have such great attitudes n tu because some of the stuff is very bad!! I pray it will have kinks worked out by spring it’s our last summer with our son before he goes off to college. (He had a 1 in a million chance of surviving birth, n still at some point will need kidneys!!) so to have this time with him is so important!!

  5. Claudia Cruz says

    I’m a former MAW guest( MAW trip was in 2011) and have returned to the parks after my wish trip using a regular GAC. However, every time i’m asked “what are your accomadations?”, I stutter in the sense that I really don’t know how to answer without them understanding what I’m explaining since they don’t know the diagnosis! and it’s kind of awkward when you do say your diagnosis and it just confuses them even more. I’m 18 now and when I would go to city hall to ask for a GAC, I’d get looked at badly, like if I were a teen cheating the system. Then, I’d show them my WDW Green light GAC, and they’d take away the “look.” I get really nervous for accommodations , because I feel embarrassed. I have a pacemaker now ( implanted less than a year ago) and recurrent syncopal episodes that occur out of the blue or may be triggered by continuous standing and stress. It is soo awkward when I mention any of that to CM’s..how can they believe me? I can’t show them my scar because that would be even more awkward. Is the DAS system, would you say, more difficult? Can you actually be denied one?

  6. Noreen says

    It’s funny that Disney says that they can’t view dr letters because of Hippa however you need to explain the reason you need the card. Someone mentioned an advance sign up – I wonder if Disney explored that before going to this approach. I would gladly waive my Hippa privacy to be able to go back to a system that worked so well for so many of us.

  7. says

    Hopefully they will have all the bugs and kinks worked when my Wife and I go next September. We had a lot of success with the GAC being that she is extremely heat sensitive and agoraphobic. Curious to see how it will work next year.

  8. Sara says

    Thats wonderful that they could accomodate your family. I think all parks should be more accomodating to guests with disabilities!

  9. Nikki says

    Thank you so much for this information. I have a mobility issue due to multiple surgeries and an injury to my back. I was really worried how this would work and if my family would still be able to go and have a good time. This puts my mind at ease a little and I will definitely be checking back for updates as our trip gets closer.

  10. Mary says

    My best friend’s boyfriend has sever Autism. We got our DAC at Disneyland. IT is a super easy system to figure out!! we did not have a problem. He won’t have a problem since it’s for him. The only thing was that he had to remember to go to the kiosk to sign up for a new ride, that was a bit overwhelming for him but he did okay. I went along with them to see how this process works after reading Autism Hippie’s bad experience and your good experience, and i agree with you! IT was easy! I think that \ this new system will take some time to get used to but it seems to be working just fine at Disneyland and the wait time to come back was slick! He waited no time at all for Radiator Racers maybe 10 min. tops, on his card the actual wait was 90 min.. I don’t get how AH had such a hard time. She is all over the internet trying to get her ten minutes of fame.

    But Aunesty, thank you for your blog!

  11. Debbie Frame says

    I am new to your blog and I love it! Your info is very helpful , I’ll keep checking back to see how your next visit to Disney goes

    • says

      Becky, I have sent you a Facebook message in regards to your comment post on that awful Facebook Page –

      For my readers this was her comment: “I didn’t watch enough to see too much of her child. Perhaps he isn’t even disabled? I think once a person proves herself to be dishonest (saying she doesn’t work for Disney when there is a whole lot of info pointing to the fact that she does) makes me doubt everything that person says. I really can’t stand a liar and I think that is exactly what she is!”

      Your statements are rude, mean and out right cruel. You are busy name calling me, a mom of a child on the spectrum, like you. Or should I stoop to your level and call you a liar? I do not work for Disney, NEVER have. I belong to more than 30 FB groups that are for Disney CM’s and GUESTS as you clearly posted the name of one, and it includes GUESTS… go ahead and join it yourself.

      But as another mom with a child on the spectrum, you should be ashamed of yourself for attacking me, another mother who is battling with the same diagnosis in my child as you. How would you feel if someone were posting these things about you, without even knowing you?

      I am also emailing my response to your posts to you as well, as I think you should have to face the person, ME, who you are so rudely bashing online. Are you proud of yourself for insulting and name calling another person whom you have never met? Do you feel powerful being able to cyber bully someone because they didn’t bash a system that worked fine for them on day one? I hope you aren’t teaching your children to treat people the way you are treating me.

  12. JFSinIL says

    If they let you use the DAS for characters then I am so happy! My adult son with autism LOVES Mickey and Princesses (although all he does is grin at them) and waiting in line up to an hour has been hard on him (nothing like a grown man flat out sitting on the ground because he had had enough standing).

  13. says

    From parent perspective, do you feel comfortable having to explain/disclose so much/so extenive of exceptionality/disability information to this many cm’s & do so in front of your children/family with disabilities/problems? My children are very self conscious to begin with over their various problems-we had an incident a month ago that one of mine is STILL apologizing over & STILL upset each & every time he thinks about what happened even though we keep explaining & trying to reassure him that it isn’t his fault & that we understand what happened wasn’t intentional (medically certified klutziness that resulted in sister having 7 stitches in her chin, 2 adult loosened teeth & a jaw fracture on top of her already existing tmd) My spectrum son doesnt really understand spectrum & what all it entails, but he SURE knows people equate the word “autisim” with negative feelings/thoughts/words & he knows its the word sister uses when trying to defend him from what she feels is unjust treatment(they are only 7 so its not taken well by adults but she has a strong sense of self & stands up for herself as well as her brothers) I dont really want to slap scarlet “A’s” on the front of my spectrum children’s shirts & forheads for all to see-I dont see where it’s any of their business or why it warrants disclosing over & over & over again just to be able to protect our kids/family from potentially negative experiences (used term to be general, but asd families know the proliferation potential) when this whole system seems like we have to go over & beyond even our day to day planning & juggling just to get seemingly mundane tasks accomplished-how far is too far in all of this? we shouldnt have to jump thru hoops just to ride a ride because somebody sold gacs to the highest bidder…Thank you for posting/documenting everything Aunesty…I truly appreciate what all you are doing

    • says

      That was one thing that I didn’t like about yesterday, I did feel like I had to keep saying it. I am hoping that was because yesterday was the first day though. We are going to do more video tonight and test a few more things and try to address some of the questions our readers have had.

      • says

        I live near WDW. When I have gone in to get the new card, I had to specifically express what accommodations he needed. So, I explained that he had trouble with personal space in a line. I may have disclosed his dx at Guest Services, but not at the rides themselves. As a matter of fact, when going to the ride to get the return time, I did not have to have him with me, just when we got on the ride. We no longer use the stroller, so we no longer use that access point.

        Have you ever done the fastpass plus? We are going to try it for the very first time tomorrow.

    • Aut says

      Mimi- Perhaps while you are in GR getting the pass you can explain the issue w/ repeating diagnosis in front of the kids and see if they will write it ON the pass somewhere that will be noticeable. Or, print out in 2 short clearly worded sentences on avery labels the issue, and put a label on a post-it note inside the DAS as they seem to fold closed and write in pencil on the front “Please open and read post-it for explanation” Perhaps “Child is Autistic, gets emotional when we talk about it. Issues w/ X Y Z”. This way the staff can do their job, you don’t have to repeat the issue over and over, and handwriting issues are resolved by using the labels, and the postit keeps it stuck in w/o tape etc…

  14. Devri says

    Thank you so much for your article. It really gave me a good idea of what it will be like when we go in Feb. I have one question though, were you given the “start off Fastpasses” because your son is autistic and likes to ride multiple times or is that standard when anyone gets a DAS card. I have severe mobility issues and was curious if we’d be given the same start off package. With the new system we are really having to plan out or visit.

    • says

      They don’t come with the DAS. But I knew for our family, we might not be able to wait for a come back time as my son only does one or two rides and if the come back time was too long, then he wouldn’t make it to a ride. We don’t usually last more than 2 hours in a park.

  15. iamdollie says

    Unfortunately, we were not treated with the same expediency at Epcot. It took us just about an hour to walk out with the real accommodations we needed for our daughter, and had to talk to THREE CMs! Our daughter started to have a meltdown after 15 minutes so my husband took her to a companion restroom to calm her – it’s what works for her. We spent over 30 minutes with him explaining our daughter’s special needs (and mine as I’m also legally disabled and had to give way more information than I felt necessary – our daughter is DOWNS and it’s obvious) until my husband mentioned that Meg Crofton’s letter had said “we will continue to work individually with our guests with disabilities to provide assistance that is responsive to their unique circumstances”. THEN the CM asked if we’d like to speak with someone else!! The final CM had us fill out the same form, but said specifically that what he was giving us was a ONE TIME ONLY ACCOMMODATION! He gave us 2 sets of FastPass tickets, then THREE certificates for Priority Entrance To One Attraction of Choice, so it looks like we did receive a bit more than most, for which I was truly grateful. As it turned out, lines were super short at three of the attractions, so we only used 2 of the certificates.

    CMs at the rides where the wait is under 10 minutes also handled the DAS differently each time. One waved us through, another said he had to check to see if we had a wait time because he’d have to cancel that. Um, I don’t think that was how it’s supposed to work when the wait is under 10 minutes.

    We experienced a different kind of process at several of the rides we do at that park, too. It was if just because our daughter was in a wheelchair they made the waiting process, while in line, longer, on purpose. It was either in the name of “safety” or the stand-by queue wasn’t wheelchair accessible. THAT was bogus at it was plenty wide enough for a wheelchair to pass, especially with the new digital turnstiles. We had to walk 100 feet MORE than the other guests just to meet up and funneled into the same line as they! And we felt we were being sent to the “back of the bus” at one attraction in particular. We went on it twice, it was the same both times and there was no “inclusiveness”. It just seemed that some changes are anything BUT helpful to someone carrying the DAS.

    I’d be interested in how it went at Animal Kingdom and Disney Hollywood Studios….

    • iamdollie says

      I also used my best “intelligent speak” as I explained what was needed, but the guy who actually gave us the passes said, after I asked what we’ll have to do upon our next visit, that we’ll either have to use the DAS in it’s original form or we can choose whether or not we want to visit the parks at all….

      • says

        That should have NEVER happened…. I know for a fact, you are supposed to go back to Guest Relations and let them know what you need to make your day successful. I know for us, that each trip to the park will now HAVE to start with a visit at Guest Relations. I don’t like it, but if it means a smoother visit, then I am willing to do it.

    • says

      hmmm, I would be interested in going with you to the parks. And hearing more of your experience.

      I think that there is a learning curve going on at the parks, and I am so sorry you got stuck in guest relations for so long. We were there for about 20 minutes. I to did feel like I had to give WAY MORE information then I have ever had to before. As the morning went on, it felt intrusive at times. But I am waiting to see if that continues as the CM’s get used to this new system.

      • iamdollie says

        Sorry I haven’t replied sooner. I’ve been overwhelmed with writing my own take on the experience for my blog on OrlandoInformer, Special Needs Are Universal. I didn’t go into GR with the intent of being angry or difficult, and I didn’t even mention I was a writer. I just wanted to see how the average guest with an adult disabled person would be accommodated, based on the special needs of that person. I guess I see things a little differently because my daughter is 31 and I’ve been fighting this fight for so very long. And it’s only gotten worse since she’s no longer a “child”, even tho she’s the size of a 13 yr old. Because she wears a floppy hat, we’re constantly asked if she’s a Make A Wish kid. But that’s AFTER they tell us what she can have, only to have them back peddle once they learn she’s NOT.

        I would love to meet up with you some day at the parks, but we live 2 hours away and only go about every 5-6 weeks. We’re certainly NOT a family who is abusing the perk. But I’ll stay in touch and we’ll see what we can do. Okay?

        I was totally exhausted by the time we got back to the front of Epcot and for our daughter, it was time to go home. It would have only made matters worse if I’d have gone into GR again. Now that I have my column finished (we have been on the wait list for 10 years for state funding for our kid, so we don’t have any extras, respite or a caregiver that can take her for while so I can work), I plan to write to several people at Disney how I feel about their change. We were lucky on Weds, but we won’t be afforded the same the next time we go. I’m sure it’s in the computer what we were given and were told it was a “one time only” accommodation. We’ve been through over 50 teachers and therapists trying to get our daughter to understand wait, and at 31, that just is NOT going to happen now! It bothers me that in order to get their attention, I had to keep giving more and more private information to a stranger. I really feel, that in trying to make the Disney experience inclusive, they are, in fact, NOT understanding there is a group of people who will never be included without special accommodations, and the DAS is not that. I keep hearing that regular guests have been so upset by seeing those with the GAC going into the FP lines. The way to change that is not to make the pass “stick out” like it does. We receive a Guest Assistance Pass at Universal. It looks like a ticket. No one knows that we didn’t purchase their Express Pass because it looks the SAME! And that would be an excellent way of weeding out the people who are abusing the system. Although at the present time we are EACH given a card (so other party members can also go on things our daughter can’t), they could take the name for EACH person receiving a pass (with ID – hey, they demanded our daughter’s!) and placing that in a data base. Now, when they realize the handicapped person making the initial request is the ONLY constant in the group, they would be able to see something fishy going on! No one has that many family visiting at one time!! But that’s too easy, I guess. It was easier to take the wait time benefit away from all who really need it and let them figure out how to make it work for their family member. Less work for them, LOTS more for us.

        I am so sorry that some are bashing you for what you have done. I think it was excellent and would have done the same for OI if I owned the proper equipment. We only have a tablet that isn’t 3 or 4G. Can’t afford that connectivity. We don’t have a smart phone, either. All our extra $$ goes to the care of our daughter’s needs. We’re retired and living on Social Security. Our daughter LOVES riding rides – doesn’t matter what park it is. She just wants to feel that sensation of movement. At the present time, she CAN ride, but it may not be long before she is no longer able. I just want to be able to give her this as long as we can. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that….

        • L.Lee says

          BeeGees….I don’t have a disabled or on the spectrum child, however, I do work for a children’s hospital in the therapy department that helps disabled (physically, mentally, visually impaired, hearing impaired), Trisomy 21, PDD, behavioral, Cerebal Palsy, Traumatic Brain Injury children (really the list goes on and on) “try” and learn daily living activities and “try” to live in this, at times, chaotic world. Some children were born this way and some due to a horrific accident. I guess what concerns me about not only your comment but any derogatory comments made about these families is WHERE IS YOUR COMPASSION????? Yes there are people out there that take advantage of the system, but really lets be honest no matter what system it is whether Medicaid, Welfare, Food Stamps, Unemployment, etc, etc, there are people out there that take advantage of the system. By no means do I think it is ok but THOSE people taking advantage of the system need to be reprimanded. Everybody else should not have to suffer. Have you ever once been around a child with Sensory Integration that “craves” the feeling of being in motion (so of course rides make them happy) but large crowds, loud noises, long waits and the sort puts them over the edge. Not only does the pass keep people like you happy so you don’t have to listen to the meltdowns and the tantrums since a lot of those children will NEVER comprehend what it “means” to wait and in turn end up “ruining” your day. But it allows those families for once to try and have a “normal” day and take their children to experience what Walt Disney wanted EVERYBODY to experience, the happiest place on earth. I think you should spend a day with every single one of these families, since every child is different, and walk in their shoes before you judge and assume that everybody is “screwing the non-disabled”.

        • L.Lee says

          Well I am sure we can agree to disagree. Unfortunately there is no one pass that will help all of these different families since each family has a different circumstance. I am sorry that I also have to disagree with making an exception for only “MAW or similar programs”, only because I know first hand there are families that “abuse” even that system. I have personally met people that are not terminally ill, do not have a “life-threatening” condition, not physically or mentally disabled (honestly not even sure how they even got approved) and are even more capable of standing in line then most elderly, that have been granted their “wish” through MAW. I only hope that Disney can come up with a more individualize approach to help each family that comes to Disney that won’t upset or offend “non-disabled” families but also be compassionate and helpful to families that really DO need some accommodations. I really don’t think that is to much to ask for. And again I don’t think it is too much to asked for “non-disabled” families to have a little compassion for these families. Honestly if you had to walk a day, just one day, in some of these families lives I am sure you would think much differently about the whole situation.

        • iamdollie says

          Oh, but it DOES make a difference! When you go home you have a wealth of opportunities available to you. My daughter doesn’t. She’s literally been “screwed” (to use your terminology) out of the same kind of life you are afforded. We have to take our fun and enjoyment where we can find it. All you have to do is pick up your phone, walk out your door, walk into a shop, etc. etc. etc. Aren’t you even able to comprehend the incredibly difficult daily life those of us who have been blessed to raise these remarkable human beings have?? I have already spent what I would have if she were able to go to college just on what you probably think is a normal expenditure. When she was in school, Latch Key cost 3 times what it did non-disabled children. We have to pay 20 times MORE for a dental cleaning than a non-disabled child. She had open heart surgery when she was 3. Have YOU been through that with a child?? And it cost us, out of pocket, $12,000 when that was my husband’s yearly salary back in the 80s. Due to the remarkable skills of a gifted surgeon in the 80s, our daughter now has a “normal” heart. Where’s yours?

          You obviously don’t get it, do you? The fact that for just a few hours, one day every 6 weeks, our daughter could be treated like a princess meant the world to her, and to us. That Disney seemed to really care about her and gave us a break, too, Hey, it was their idea to welcome us, we didn’t demand it. What we go home to is more difficult than you can even imagine. My daughter is experiencing her monthly gift right now, stared when she was 11. For 20 years I’ve had the “pleasure” to take care of that. She can’t give herself a shower or wash her own hair. Can’t even wipe her own butt. We have no services from the state for a caregiver or respite. Disney WAS giving us a respite. Disney did have compassion – I just wonder where it went?? The extra accommodations we have been afforded these last few days will dry up in the near future. And because of that, we will no longer be able to go to WDW. We waited in lines with her until she could no longer do it – a normal 3 yr old will learn to cope. My daughter CAN’T – there truly is a difference.

          My life’s goal has been to educated those around us, not take rights away. Like I said, when you leave Disney, your life is perfectly normal – my kid’s isn’t. And if anyone got screwed, it was me. I wasn’t given that perfectly normal little bundle of joy that non-disabled come to expect upon the birth of a baby. My road has left the interstate and became a dirt road without a GPS.

          Let’s put it this way – when the ASD or DS raisin hits you or a family member, will you be equiped to accept that responsibility? It takes an estremely strong person, and if you can’t even see that, you, dear, are not in my league.

        • Debbie says

          Its very easy to say” I’m sure I would deal with whatever I’m dealt ” when you so obviously don’t have a special needs child. I sure am glad you are not one of my friends. These special needs passes help make something sort of normal for our families.

        • iamdollie says

          Aunesty, I apologize, and this will be my last post to this most uncaring individual…..

          To begin with, we have NEVER had front of the line access nor do we skip them. We waited in the FP lines with all the others who had the passes, sometimes entering the line when it was completely full of other returning passholders. Ive never even TAKEN a regular FP because there is only a limited number and I didn’t want to take them away from non-disabled guests. My daughter has never needed the “re-app” cards and never needed to re-ride, but I understand there are people who NEED to or they’ll fall apart. She rides a ride ONCE, unless, of course, a CM has seen the joy in her face and has OFFERED to let her ride again. I have abused NOTHING. My daughter was BORN disabled.

          I am not a martyr, I am an educator and a problem solver, and I’ve not been this involved in something like this in over 15 years. I’m not trying to die for anything, but I will use every ounce of my intelligence to try and help others understand that there is a whole group of HUMANS who need help in this hard world and if I can help them gain that, then so much the better. What are you doing to make life better for someone other than yourself?

          Disney OFFERED the GAC to us, encouraged us to use the open FP and are now taking it away without any explanation or compassion other than making their parks inclusive. THEY built more and more hotels and invited more and more guests into their parks, and with those came more and more with disabilities. These disabled were told they had a place to feel safe and wanted, where they didn’t have to worry about the stress of their “real” lives for just a really short while. Is offering the disabled a shorter wait in a shorter line really any different than offering discounted meal plans to Disney Vacation Club members or vacationers of longer stays but not to AP holders? Free parking for AP holders but not other guests? And if you have the finances, hiring a Disney guide to literally put you at the front of the line? Aren’t you upset with them because they have more money than you so they can do that when you can’t?

          As I said before, someone who thinks as you do is not in the same league as myself and all these other remarkable parents here who are raising our wonderful kids and trying to help them accept the unacceptable. We’re learning lessons we didn’t expect to learn every single day and we’ve learned to really appreciate, celebrate and be grateful for the little triumphs that happen that most non-disabled miss with their children!

    • says

      Iamdollie, pleas make sure to send int a letter or by email your experience with all you were told by the CM’s to Disney….a formal complaint should be made. Please, please, please do this.

      • Aut says

        “iamdollie”-
        Based on the round table interview you took part in before the DAS roll out I feel you had already decided this system would not work. Your wording and approach and defensive stance in the podcast proved that in the interview, especially as you announced to the world on the podcast your child can not wait in lines, but then announced even louder on the podcast that you planned on making her wait while you ripped through as many managers at GR in Epcot on roll out day as you had to, even making up managerial titles, until you got your way that morning. That by the way is one of the attitudes/planned approached that caused the parks to increase security in the GR offices that day and they will continue to be there for an undisclosed period of time to help prevent verbal/physical assault issues in GR.
        When you walk into a situation with a negative attitude and insistent belief something won’t work or will be horrible, of course it won’t work and will be horrible because your key focus is to hone in on every single miniscule negative thing that occurs and then attach it to the next and next and next, while blocking out any possible positives. Perhaps you should give the GR/CM staff and system time to adjust to this new system, and then give it another try with a more positive outlook like “this WILL work, we WILL make it work, I WILL look for the positives and not focus on the negatives” and see how it goes.
        Also, on a personal note, your need to very graphically try and point out whose child is “more or less disabled” and thus more entitled/deserving to xyz is sad. It also in several ways helps support my belief you walked into GR with a negative attitude to begin with and had no intentions of giving this system a chance to work for you period.

        • Aut says

          ” Is offering the disabled a shorter wait in a shorter line really any different than offering discounted meal plans to Disney Vacation Club members or vacationers of longer stays but not to AP holders? Free parking for AP holders but not other guests? And if you have the finances, hiring a Disney guide to literally put you at the front of the line? Aren’t you upset with them because they have more money than you so they can do that when you can’t?”
          Just to point out something in your response that you seem to think is a validation point….
          DVC doesn’t receive a dining plan discount. In prior years they were guaranteed the “slow period” price vs “peak period price” but as of 2014 DDP pricing there is no variation in pricing meaning DVC members pay the same as any visitors at the resorts all year long. DVC members also promise to give Disney hundreds if not thousands of dollars in monthly payments and maintenance fees. Something most park visitors don’t do.
          AP holders are given free parking by almost ALL theme parks in thanks for handing over large sums of money and perhaps only going a few times a year. This is also is not a perk given to all levels of annual passes.

          “As I said before, someone who thinks as you do is not in the same league as myself and all these other remarkable parents here who are raising our wonderful kids and trying to help them accept the unacceptable. ”
          There are MANY parents who are wonderful and raising special needs children who do not share your opinion on the system changes, that being said are you implying you are in a league above them because they don’t agree with you?

        • iamdollie says

          Golly, Aut, you certainly misread my intentions. I never said I was going to “rip” through anyone and that’s unfair. I said I would work my way up the ladder, speaking with the next person in charge, which I’ve found, over 31 years, seems to be necessary in some situations. You obviously haven’t yet had the need to do so for your child. If the CM we got responded to us the way yours did to you (when I said nothing differently than you), maybe I wouldn’t have felt it necessary to continue with the really caring conversation we had. I asked for someone in the first 5 minutes and was told there wasn’t anyone. It wasn’t until my husband mentioned Meg Crofton’s statement that HE brought in another CM, and then he brought in another AFTER that one said he understood and would be “more than happy to help our daughter.” Once again, I didn’t rip into ANYONE!!! I just kept explaining every time I was asked another question. I wasn’t any happier than my daughter that the questions just kept coming….

          I worked through an early ESE educational system with all the laws your child now benefits from when they were new and still evolving. My daughter would not have had the programs in her education and IEP without my research and documentation. Even then, counselors and case managers would deny certain programs were available, but I happened to work in the system so I knew what would be of benefit for her and which ones would work with her abilities. And I approached the DAS the same.

          I went in with a smile on my face and I kept that smile, but I had the information to help a CM who had no idea what my daughter or I have to deal with every day. Ours asked me more and more questions and I was willing to help with the objective of having him be able to understand when the next mom came in saying she didn’t think the DAS was going to work and why. That is all. Yes, our daughter did have a meltdown, and my husband removed her. I was focusing on the positives – helping him understand about my daughter and her special needs. And her needs were probably no different than yours. But at the same time I resented having to explain all this to a stranger but didn’t express that. There were no “security” around us because I wasn’t demanding. It was no different that Maureen insisting there were “re-ads” available. You are making me out to be some raving lunatic and that’s not fair – you weren’t there and I certainly didn’t do that!

          Wow. I don’t know how to respond to the rest, except respond to you in a private email. You talked about people bashing you, and here you’ve done it to me when you have no idea who I am, other than a couple comments that you fully did not understand.

          Please delete all my comments. I thought I was dealing with a community that was dealing with the same that I have for 31 years. I am truly sorry.

  16. Karen says

    So my daughter is in a wheelchair and it doesn’t sound any different than a GAC, really. Go to the wheelchair entrance, get a white card. So I guyess the big difference is the rides without a wheelchair entrance. So since she needs minimal exposure to the sun due to meds, we would need a GAC card for that? Thanks for your help!

  17. Becky says

    You do realize that by posting some of these tidbits you are inviting people to abuse. I’ve already seen this linked on two Disney forums telling people how to get to the front of the lines.

    • says

      There will always be abusers, and I can think of ten ways to abuse the new system without much thought… But I don’t think letting abusers determine that others can’t get the information they need so no one abuses the systems would be the right thing to do.

      • Mary says

        About the DAC abusers. They always try to get something for more then they need, one of those people i am sorry to say is Autism Hippie. She is horrible. Like i said in my post before, we did not have a hard time it was a snap.

    • iamdollie says

      Becky, I am so over hearing front of the line. In the 7 years we’ve been ap holders, the only time we have been front of the line is when the park is dead with fewer guests. We normally have to wait 3 or 4 cycles of the tea cups before the CM lets us through the HC gate. We have still waited up to 45 minutes or more for Toy Story in the FP line. And the way the DAS is set up, say, the stand-by wait time is 60 minutes. Time to wait somewhere else is 50. When you return you are placed in the FP line, behind all the other people already in it. That wait COULD be another 20 minutes or more, in essence making you wait LONGER than those in the stand-by line. I really don’t see that as equal, do you?

  18. Autism Hippie says

    I find this experience to be HIGHLY suspect and STAGED! I was at Disney TODAY with my severely autistic son. I had to request 3 managers before I was finally offered passes for my son to repeat the same ride multiple times. By the time the three managers were called, my son was becoming aggressive with me. We are REGULARS at Disney and the waiting was making him very anxious.

    I’m also a blogger and NONE of the Disney employees would allow me to video the process. I was told that they are NOT Disney spokespersons and were not permitted to speak on camera. This response came from the FIRST person I spoke to through the management team.

    My Disney experience was a NIGHTMARE!!! You can check out MY day on my facebook blog page Autism Hippie.

    • says

      I had two other bloggers that were with me as we were all working on a story and I also did it the right way. I called and asked permission from Public Affairs to video my experience. I also went in with the right attitude. If I would have had been complaining and automatically deciding the system didn’t work for me, then I am sure I would have had a different experience.

      But I will say this, I live with two cast members who both have done the DAS training. BOTH of them told me that Disney was doing EVERYTHING in their power to try to accommodate Autism needs. That as long as I spoke with the Guest Relations about what we needed, they would do their best to try to help.

      I didn’t yell, scream, threaten or call names. I didn’t put down a system before trying it. Instead we are going to test it over several days then decide on our opinion. As day one we didn’t have any rides with longer than 20 minute waits, we couldn’t really get a feel for how this system will work when there are longer wait times and we can’t wait 40 plus minutes for every ride and not being able to ride.

      I am not about to say if this system will or won’t work yet, I am saying that Disney is be extremely accommodating and trying their best to take each person’s needs into account.

      • says

        Autism Hippie clearly went to Hollywood Studios on the first day of the change on Purpose clearly with the intent to make Disney look bad. It is fully evident in her video blogs of the day. The fake crying then snarky comments speaks volumes as to her intent. She is a season pass holder that goes many times and is trying to circumvent a system before it has been fully tested. I wish I was the Disney employee dealing with her as spher son “abused” her and she said she’d have to call the police. I would have called your bluff lady. SHAME ON YOU for using your autistic son in such a manner.
        I wish good luck to parents of all the disabled children out there, God Bless

    • says

      We’ve seen your YouTube blog meltdown, but with a 6 foot tall, 200lb plus autistic child it’s untenable if you cannot control him yourself to so he does not present a threat to yourself or others. Disney is trying it’s best to provide an equal experience to you, not a superior one.

      • John says

        ….her YouTube Video comments that her son can become “agitated” …and can hurt someone / himself / her ..should he have to wait long lengths of time and or not get his way …are nothing less than “terroristic threats”. Providing the knowledge that someone was likely to become violent and uncontrollable, should have led to dismissal from the park …and or charges being filed. It was a not so veiled threat and should have been treated as such.

    • Aut says

      As a Parks blogger you should know to record like that you need permission from PA set up ahead of time, and instead of nicely asking how Aunesty was able to acquire permission, you instead of attacked her and accused this of being staged, which just adds to the drama occurring with the GAC to DAS swap over since it leaked out.
      The HUGE factor you seem to be missing in the differences between the two experiences Autism Hippie is you were at DL which has openly stated they would have kiosks in the lands for return times and has already actively been cracking down on abuse of the system for months and has already been using return times in Carsland for the last few months. Where as WDW where Aunesty was, the return time is given at the ride itself, not a centralized kiosk.
      As for repeat ride time passes the only official statement I can find on them from Disney is ” Another potential accommodation, based on a Guest’s unique needs, might include providing access to a favorite attraction multiple times in a row without having to obtain a return time.” Potential meaning possible but not guaranteed or possibly NOT even available yet, and MIGHT as in no guarantee.

      • says

        Thank you for defending me!

        She was at Hollywood Studios in Magic Kingdom yesterday, but her approach was definitely A LOT different than mine.

        Also, they have SEVERAL accommodations in place, if she would have calmly approached the situation, she would have learned that they could have provided her unlimited ReAdmit passes, Fastpasses and her DAS.

      • Aut says

        Actually A.H. it seems you have SO many random people posting on your feed it was hard to figure out which review was yours, and I read one from DL (http://dapsmagic.com/2013/10/10/first-experience-disability-access-service-das-disneyland/?fb_source=pubv1) which btw was a very positive experience for the writer it seems. As a matter of fact I cant even find a direct link to your blog, or review of the pass making it very hard to properly compare the two experiences in full as they were written..
        But on a side note from trying to find your blog/review of your experience I must ask, if this is what you think about this blog, and Disney, why do you go there?
        ” Autism Hippie I just posted a comment on the page – It wasn’t approved! BIG SURPRISE – THIS is Disney propaganda!!!”

      • mary says

        You will get sued Autism Hippie for video taping the process on Disney grounds with out getting a consent. Disney does not like that. Also you will get sued for posting on Youtube and Vimeo with out getting consent and btw Disney has seen those videos.. You are a bit over dramatic and humiliating anyone with Autism. You really should be ashamed of exploiting your own kid. A DAC is to give equal access not SPECIAL access. Your meltdown was hilarious.

      • Autumn says

        So perhaps someone should write the company she is making money off of hosting a CRUISE through, including screen shots and downloads of her horrific videos, to let them see who is representing them cause/business wise…

      • says

        Personally, I am disgusted with the way she is letting her readers treat you. It is so unprofessional and completely uncalled for. She obviously went in to DHS with a bad attitude and that was not going to get her anywhere by acting like that. Thank you for acting with grace and class, something Autism Hippie and her followers know nothing about.

  19. Genette says

    You are so helpful! THANK YOU for your in-depth report and your videos (thanks to your hubby, too). I’m a very type-A person w/a son with Down syndrome and reservations for a once-in-a-lifetime trip to WDW next month… :) I know what you mean about accommodations and getting tongue-tied. I noted that wording (“explain your child’s needs”) when talking to Disney GR on the phone and after watching your videos I created an index cd to take w/me when we go to GR at Epcot our first park day.

  20. ashley says

    So do you have any idea how it works for children that like to repeat rides. My two younger sons are autistic and they love to repeat in fact we only do certain rides. like small world, peter pan and the pooh ride as well as the tea cups.

  21. Cherie says

    I’m just really worried about how they are going to accommodate my 2 kids. My daughter had a stroke and has a hard time with standing around of long periods of time and they both have a clotting disorder and can’t stand around for long periods of time due to the fact that it buts them at risk for a blood clot. I also have a husband who has chronic pain, a bad back and uses a wheelchair. This is really going to affect our time in the park. We just bought a timeshare and now we are rethinking it. Universal is very accommodating to our needs. I hope they don’t change their policy. Do I have to get a card for both kids?

  22. Anita says

    My daughter is 2 yrs and on the spectrum. We have our trip planned for april school break. I want to know what are the fastpasses for? How many do they give you in your group? It will only be my son 7yr, daughter, my husband and myself. do you have to bring any documentation stating what the disability is?

    • says

      Watch the second video, that is where we were given the fastpasses to use at any attraction of our choice. It helps when a child like my son, who knows the parks, and the rides and has all ready been using the old system, has to switch to this new one. He doesn’t understand why we aren’t just getting in line to get on… so this helps us get through the waits and start the process. Also we typically don’t do more than 2 or 3 rides Max per visit.

      You don’t need documentation, just be prepared to explain the situation to Guest Services and they will help you with finding what accommodations you will need.

  23. Mom says

    Glad things seemed to work alright for you. That Speedway is nuts. My kids love it to the point that they, too, get a little difficult when we can’t ride it. However, they’re perfectly normal, no special needs required, kids. (I can’t handle the waits with all the fumes, but I’m not “special” either, just a person who likes oxygen!) Since we don’t do GAC/DAS, we’ve simply been unable to ride it for years. Thanks to FP+, you can now schedule this ride, but you still don’t really skip the wait. Too bad for us!

    Being someone that visits the parks often, I was a little shocked that you picked it as the second ride. This system is really going to require that a little advance planning be done. I can see how you could really work this to your benefit and avoid waiting.

    (MK was dead today, wasn’t it?)

    • says

      I can’t tell if your tone is one of kindness and questioning or if you are being sarcastic, but I am going to respond as if you are just asking about how we do the parks.

      Speedway was actually our first ride. We went and got our return time to Space Ranger Spin first then were planning on using our fastpasses on the Speedway to ride it. Since we are Annual Passholders, we don’t get to use the FP+ system. A luxury of scheduling times to ride isn’t available to us yet.

      As for how often we visit and what we ride. I can’t remember the last time we rode an “adult” ride. Carson selects the rides we do. Typically it is Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin or the Speedway. Then if he is still doing ok, we try for a second ride. His choices are usually It’s a Small World, Little Mermaid or the Tea Cups. Very rarely does he select Peter Pan. We get to MK about once a week for about 2 hours, HS 2 a week, but generally don’t ride anything. He gets to go to the Car Show as a reward, he is obsessed with it. We haven’t visited AK in over a month and when we head to Epcot, we MIGHT do Nemo or Spaceship Earth or Gran Fiesta Tour. But typically it is a ONE ride thing and we sit in the Test Track end of the ride area and let them play on the cars.

      MK wasn’t dead at all – today was busy compared to the last 5 days. The others we were with today were even making comments about that.

      • Mom says

        Glad you took it the right way.

        I was sincere about the Speedway comment. We both know you have to wait for that one, unless you get to the park at opening. The way your post is written, it didn’t sound like you approached that ride with intent to use the freebie FPs you had. It seemed like you walked up, asking for accommodation instead and then presented the FPs when you weren’t able to use DAS somehow. (Although it sounds like you were ultimately accommodated, despite the pending DAS?) That’s why I questioned why you didn’t use DAS there first is all. Apologies if I misunderstood what happened!

        We’re passholders, too. If you have the financial ability, have a fun overnight at one of the values. The MagicBands will be good going forward. It could be wonderful for your needs and make things easier until Disney decides to figure this out for passholders. Going so much, it might be well worth the slight expense. It sounds like he spends so much time “on thin ice” that Disney must be very frustrating to visit! Good luck!

        Your experience really does open doors for abuse. (repeat rides, what to say for immediate access anyway, etc.) I hope those that don’t truly need it, don’t abuse it.

        • says

          I think the difference in the way she approached the speedway was that she was using the “stroller as wheelchair” tag /alternate/hc entrance for the first time-THAT would be the approach difference-buzz is regular das regardless (wheelchair/stroller accessible line) the pending DAS card write-in procedure wont apply at the speedway because the hc access entrance isnt the main line essentially…if that helps

          • Mom says

            “We went and got our return time to Space Ranger Spin first then were planning on using our fastpasses on the Speedway to ride it.”

            That reply kinda contradicts the idea of using the stroller as a wheelchair though. IDK.

            I’m done commenting here anyway. Best Wishes with the DAS. :)

  24. Lori says

    Sounds like a great deal more work and also alot of stress for our children. I have always had to explain what accommodations he needs. I always explained that being too close to people would set off meltdowns. That he likes to touch people. That he has a hard time with standing too long because he has slight CP and fatigues very easily. Too big for a stroller and won’t do a wheelchair. He also gets very anxious when he must wait for something or if something changes. Should have seen him freak out when Pirates of Carribean broke as we were boarding! OMG! They can’t control that, though. LOL! A big trigger are babies/toddlers crying. He will scream at the child and the parent!!!! And, he starts to breakdown. So, if they are behind or in front of us in line, we have to leave. Oh, the list goes on and on and on!

    • says

      wow, lori, your child sounds much like my asd kiddo-same touchy feely & anxiety thing & mine has ALWAYS screamed at others to be quiet even when he was nonverbal (did it in the nicu which was funny at the time but in retrospect fully understandable given the autism factor-he screamed for their roommate to be quiet because she was always crying for her nurse! they were infants) we had a 3day stay in the room over repeat ride breakdowns our last trip when mine convinced himself that mickeys rides were no longer safe & the what-ifs got to be too much to fathom…guest relations did NOT like our quandary at all over this one but we tried addressing it anyways (nicely)

  25. busyyellowbug says

    So, it didn’t sound like you had to go to a special kiosk to get your return times. Is that correct? We will be using the new system at Disneyland in November – Thanksgiving week when the crowds are insane. We don’t use a wheelchair/stroller, but my daughter is on the spectrum and many of her favorite rides 1) don’t have a fast pass, 2) have really crowded queues even if the line isn’t very long, and 3) we’ve always been able to use the wheelchair entrance. Not sure if we’ll be able to do that with this new system, since her issue is more with the close, crowded confines especially if the line is long. We will be thrilled, however, if it helps with character meet & greets. The line at Pixie Hollow is often the hardest for her to bear, but since Tinker Bell is her favorite character, we usually just have to try our best. My daughter is 11, by the way, so she has a little more maturity in terms of meltdowns, etc., but if we want to experience all the park has to offer (including nighttime entertainment), then she needs some accommodations.

  26. says

    Thanks for the update, this sounds like more work for everyone! I’m anxiously awaiting your report on a day where the wait times are accurate plus your experience for having to come back and then wait in line in the FP line (for example TSM which tends to have a long wait in the wheelchair line!)

    I’m glad the CM at Guest Relations was very accommodating. I know when we went before, we just kept the group under my mother’s card. She has a wheel chair and because we went on almost everything together, we didn’t spend the extra time getting two GAC cards. We just got the extra stroller tag.

    We will have to look at what rides we tend to ride often and figure out what accommodations we need to ask for when we show up!

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