A few days ago, we reported that the current Disability Access Service (DAS) being used at the Walt Disney World Resort is changing. While at the time we could only confirm that some changes were expected to be coming in the near future, today we can finally give you a much more detailed overview of what will be done to make this process even easier to use. The new, digital version of the Disability Access Service will go live starting from Monday, April 27, 2015.

VERY IMPORTANT NOTE!: While the information you will read in this article is, as of today, official, this does not mean that some things will not change again in the near future. The Walt Disney World Resort is constantly making adjustments to ameliorate even further all the services that are offered to Guests; therefore, don't be surprised if there are more minor changes by the time you visit the parks.

Additionally, this post DOES NOT replace the information you will receive at Guest Relations at the time of your visit. While we hope this post will help you to gain a general understanding of how the digital version of the DAS will work in the future, you have to be sure to pay very close attention to all that is said during your brief meeting with Guest Relations Cast Members, as they are the only source of up-to-date information about this and other in-park services. Thank you for taking note of this.

Getting ready:
Before starting, be sure to also note that most of the changes coming to the Disability Access Service are mostly operational. The policies that apply to this system will not change. This system is still solely reserved to Guests who have actual disabilities, not to Guests who just want to "skip more lines." Those abusing this system only make things even more difficult for other Guests.

Let's now discuss the updated Disability Access Service process using a simple step-by-step approach.

Even after April 27, 2015, Guests will have to visit the Guest Relations located at any of the four Walt Disney World theme parks. There, the Guest(s) with a disability will have to take a photo that will be linked to the MagicBands/tickets of ALL the members of the party.

Guests should be sure to mention the correct, updated party size, as the individual attractions cannot change any of the information linked to the Disability Access Service. (i.e. if a Guest stated that there are 3 people in his/her group and then another Guest joins them, they will have to go back to Guest Relations to update the party size). The maximum number of Guests that can be included in one single DAS is still 6 (six).

Since the new DAS system will no longer use paper cards, it will be valid for 60 (sixty) days starting the first day of use. This applies to ALL Guests, even if they are not Annual Passholders. Additionally, the photo of the Guest with the disability will be linked to the MagicBand for an entire year.

Returning Guests will also no longer have to restate the needs of the Guest with a disability. All the information will be kept in the system and reused only in case a Guest returns to the parks in the future.

After setting up the digital version of the DAS (the Guest Relations Cast Members will do all for you, don't worry), Guests will then be able to proceed to the individual attractions to get return times (NOTE: return times do not affect the ability to get three FastPass+ reservations. The return times will be counted as a "fourth" reservation).

Once Guests arrive at the attraction's entrance, they will have to go to the Stand-by Cast Member, (not the FastPass+ entrance Cast Member). The Cast Member will then scan the MagicBand/ticket of only one of the members of the party. The Guest with a disability does not have to be present when requesting a return time, but will need to be present when returning to the ride. Not all Guests in the travel party have to necessarily ride. Guests can single out specific members when getting the return time.

After scanning the MagicBand/ticket, the system will automatically assign a return time based on the current wait time of the attraction. As stated earlier, the policies have not changed; therefore, the return time will be the current wait time minus 10 minutes (i.e. if the attraction's wait time is 60 minutes, the Guests using the DAS system will have to come back in 50 minutes). While the Cast Member will give a specific return time, Guests using the DAS system may come back anytime after their return time window has started (i.e. if the return time was 12:30 p.m., Guests may come back from 12:30 p.m. to the closing time of the attraction).

As always, Guests using the DAS will only be able to have one active return time (for example, if a Guest has a return time for Space Mountain and then decides to get a return time also for Pirates of the Caribbean, the unused return time for Space Mountain will be dropped).

After having received the return time (which you have to remember, so write it down somewhere or take a photo of the display that the Cast Member will show you), Guests can just enjoy other attractions (using the FastPass+ service or Stand-by lines) or just sit down and relax.

In the meantime, Guests using the updated DAS system may check their return time on the My Disney Experience app or using in-park FastPass+ kiosks (NOTE: the return time CANNOT be modified by Guests or by FastPass+ Cast Members and will be displayed in view-only mode). 

It is finally time to ride! At this point, all Guests that were selected when getting the return time have to present in front of the attraction's FastPass+ entrance (NOTE: The 5-minutes-early grace period does not apply to the Disability Access System).

WARNING: This is a very important step. The first MagicBand/ticket to be scanned at the attractions's FastPass+ entrance has to be the one belonging to the Guest with a disability, who has to be present to ride. If the Guest with a disability chooses not to ride, the rest of the party will be unable to use the return time and will be directed to the Stand-by line.

When scanning, the touch points at the FastPass+ entrance will always illuminate blue. This does not mean that something is wrong, but gives an opportunity to the Cast Member to stop for a second and check that the photo showing on the FastPass+ screen matches the Guest with the disability. Cast Members working at busy attractions usually do not look at the screen if the touch point immediately turns green. This updated system will help to avoid having people riding without the Guest with a disability.

And that is all. If you have any questions, feel free to ask us, and we will try our best to answer them. If we do not know the answer, we will not answer it, but you will be able to ask more information at the parks starting April 27, 2015. Do not try to ask anything about this new system before that date, as some Cast Members have still not been updated and may therefore not be aware of these changes.

27 Comment(s):

What happens if you have more than 6 in your group?

Anonymous said...

Like in the old system, only 6 people can use the return time. If you have a larger party, not everyone can use the return time to skip the line.

Peter Henry said...

I know that this is subject to change, but what has been described here sounds like a more efficient (vs. the old paper system) manner to execute the DAS.

For Melissa Ward and Anonymous, I think that it pretty much depends on the CM that you interface with at Guest Relations. Last year, I overheard a man tell the Guest Relations CM that he had a party of 12 (but, that he was aware of the limit of 6). The CM explained that he could make an exception. As I recall, the CM put the number "12" on the DAS and signed his name to the card. The CM just asked the guest to make sure that he had all of the members of the party with him when the Return Time came up. The guest appeared to be very appreciative of the accomodation.

@All previous comments: With the updated system, only UP TO 6 Guests can be under one single DAS reservation. If there is more than one Guest with a disability, then it becomes 6+6 and so on.

Also, each Guest can be under ONLY one DAS reservation at any given time(for example, if you have 2 Guests with a disability and three Guests accompanying them, those three Guests can only be linked to one of the DAS reservations, and NOT both).

Anonymous said...

I like the new enhancements. I will be there in a couple of weeks. We have two little boys on the autism spectrum. We have 4 children all together and a set of grandparents making us a party of 8. How will they divide us? Sorry that I'm confused. Just trying to figure it out. Thanks!

@Anonymous: No problem, thanks for asking! Since you have two children requiring the DAS, you can divide the group in two, however you'd like (based on their likes and dislikes when it comes to riding).

Anonymous said...

Will you need a new das if you have a physical disability? I know before you didn't.

Just to clarify, what do you mean by physical disability? If you mean using a wheelchair, then you are correct, you do not need one because each attraction will give you a separate paper with the return time if the attraction's queue is not wheelchair-accessible.

Anonymous said...

my son has MS....he does not have to use a wheelchair yet but he cannot stand for long periods of time.....can he get a DAS?

@Last Anonymous: You should definitely be able to sign up for the Disabilty Access Service during your visit.

Anonymous said...

Ok so I have two children with autism. Then my husband myself and one other child. I usually get passes for them both and then we can split up to take them on different rides. (One might not want to go on a ride the other does) so this will no longer be possible? Problem is we are not always sure which one of us, my husband or I are going to ride

Anonymous said...

last year I got a das time for midway mania .When I returned the castmember told me I had to get in the fast pass line that was 45 minutes long.What sence does that make.Is it still like that.I didn't get on the ride.The reason was I cant stand that long.The das was no help at all!!!

@Anonymous comment posted at 11:07 p.m.: I am sure that they will accommodate your specific needs in that case. Remember that Guest Service comes first at Disney, so they will be flexible in a few circumstances. I wouldn't worry! Just be sure to share all your questions to the Cast Members at Guest Relations the first day of your visit!

Anonymous said...

Hi. I'm the other mom with 2 autistic children. One very low functioning. Non verbal. 4 but more closely to a 2 year old (or less). @anonymous 11:07...we have 8 in our party and I too am going to discuss the same concerns you have at guest services. OTPN administrator, thank you for all of your informative information. Truly appreciate it!

Anonymous said...

I'm sure the logistics will be worked out, but are we supposed to designate everyone in our party and tie our Magic Bands to our son's MB? Reason I ask is if I run ahead and get a comeback time with my MB, how will the system know it's tied to my son?

Anonymous said...

We are going to WDW for the first time this year. My 5 year old son is sensory processing disorder, my question is do I need to bring a note from his doctor or Occupational therapists? I am confused on what I need to bring to guest relations.....

We would like to thank all of the wonderful people that are sharing their comments with us. Your are all absolutely great. As a reminder, be sure to ask all the questions you have when going to the parks, as the Cast Members will be more than happy to talk to you and to accommodate your request if it's in their power to do so.

Thanks again to all of you!

Anonymous said...

For families with two members needing a DAS, I would guess (and it's just that, a guess) that everyone could be on both DAS, but each person could only be assigned one wait time at a time.

So, for a family of five with two DAS, Mom & two kids could wait for one ride while Dad and the other kid waited for another ride. If everyone wants to ride the same ride, you could use one DAS, so long as no one was already waiting on the second DAS.

For the poster that asked how to get a return time without your child's MB, it sounds like all the MBs in the party will be attached to the DAS user's MB. So, anyone in the party could go get the return time, since when your MB is scanned, it will show all in the party.

Just assumptions here, based on how MBs work now.

Anonymous said...

There have been reports at Disneyland where groups with 2 people that qualify for DAS have only been able to link their party to one DAS at a time. Make sure you clarify this question at guest services. Don't assume you can link to multiple DAS

Anonymous said...

As a former Cast Member/GR Cast, I can tell you that the process was meant to support the person with the disability and their IMMEDIATE family, who would, theoretically, be the ones who would be providing care for the person with the disability.

T Brx said...

Your article stated: "Returning Guests will also no longer need to state the nature of the disability of the Guest."

We have never had to "state the nature of our disability". We have to state our "needs" and what accommodations we think would be helpful.

Also, if the only issue is a mobility one, such as not being able to stand for a long time Disney will not just issue you a DAS. They will suggest you use a wheelchair or an ECV.

Thank you for the clarification, T Brx. We have changed the wording of the post to make it clearer.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like if you have an invisible disability, you'll have to hope and pray the CMs believe your disabled.

I have sound sensitivity and anxiety, when I tried explaining myself to a CM they yelled at me demanding I explain my needs as I said I had Autism at the time, I now learned what I really had was C-PTSD which can be commonly misdiagnosed as an Autism disorder. I was so shocked I couldn't speak. Thanks to anti-anxiety medication I no longer need a DAS. It was a real wake up call about the venomous attitude some CMs have towards people who appear to be fakers.

I'm sharing this so other people with invisible disabilities understand you really have to PROVE you're disabled under the DAS system. How is putting people who may have anxiety about being denied help as they were so many times before, helping the disabled person? How is making them feel asking for help is only inviting pain and scrutiny, because they don't appear disabled helpful?

You know what would be supportive? Not assuming everyone who looks normal is abled. Understanding that person upset over the inability to provide a doctors note feels complete futility in their ability to communicate their needs. That if someone cannot explain their needs, they must be lying, when they could be overwhelmed and incapable of knowing what to say. However for me, the worst thing was the CM saying my mother couldn't help me, because I looked like someone who knew what to say.

After so many experiences of not saying the right thing, not knowing why asking for help just isn't enough, people stop asking. I don't want someone less capable than me going through this. It's all too common for special ed teachers or teachers in general to be emotionally abusive to those with mental disabilities. These are people who have been ignored and denied help they needed most of their lives because they didn't appear to need it. Some people act aggressive because they think that will get help, others cry because they believe that will get them help. I realized as long as people believe disability has a certain look, there will not be help for people like me. Not without suffering, without feeling acting in ways that create anger in others is how you get help, because if you have a meltdown they'll listen.

Nothing works, knowing to explain your situation instead of your disability is helpful. But it's still dependent on if the person you are asking for help from is compassionate enough to understand people can look normal and be disabled. The digitizing of the system helps with the fear of being bullied for not appearing like someone who needs help. The question remains, what does it take for CMs to understand that those with invisible disabilities shouldn't have to pin all their hopes on if they will be believed.

Anonymous said...

I have kept my daughters paper DAS from our 2014 trip because I was told they could quickly reissue the DAS by scanning the QR code on the back.

Is it still a good idea to bring the old one or do I need to start over?

Anonymous said...

Families with multiple DAS works just as I guessed above; all members of the party attached to each DAS, but each person can only be assigned to one return time at a time.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous April 21, 2015 at 11:43 PM -- Bring the old DAS card. We always bring the old GAC or DAS when go back. It seems to help with the CM discussion at GR.
@ Melissa Ward -- If you have more than 6 people, bring everyone with you to GR. The CM at GR will decide on the number of people to allow depending on your family's genuine need. We did get approved for slightly more than 6 for our last trip.

Anonymous said...

We have brought a Doctors note before, listing our daughter with Angelman Syndrome's heat intolerance, seizures, and anxiety/lack of waiting skills. The Cast Members WILL NOT look at these notes, they say they are not allowed to. I would imagine HIPPA figures into it. We have always gotten a DAS pass and have been treated with the utmost courtesy, but as she is in a chair and usually acting loudly impatient, it's not surprising. I HATE the new system though, bc if you are there alone, you have to battle your way to the front if the line to find the CM who issues your return time, WITH my disabled daughter and giant chair in tow. Then you have to explain why you're leaving her favorite ride without getting on it, and then eventually return to wait in the fast pass line. Waiting...while my daughter acts out and ruins the vacation of the other visitors around us. Yeesh.

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