Disability Access Service Coming to Walt Disney World

After months of research and discussions, the Walt Disney World Resort was able to come up with a completely new system to allow Guests with a disability to have a great time while visiting the Disney theme parks in Florida.

The new Disability Access Service (DAS) will replace the old Guest Assistance Card (GAC) starting from October 9, 2013 (date subject to change without notice). Here you are some important information regarding this completely new system, which aims to stop Guests that do NOT have a real disability to abuse this system:

INTENDED GUESTS. First of all, it is essential to understand who should use this new service. The official description of the new Disability Access Service (DAS) is the following: "DAS is designed for Guests who are unable to tolerate extended waits due to disability. This service allows Guests to schedule a return time that is comparable the current queue time for the given attraction."

HOW CAN A GUEST GET ONE? The person/s with the disability and the ENTIRE PARTY have to go to Guest Relations and expose the situation to a Cast Member. After that, the Cast Member will issue a card that is similar to the old GAC, with some major differences. 

HOW DOES IT LOOK LIKE? The new DAS card will include the following information (ALL TYPED):

Not an actual DAS. For illustration purposes only.

  • Terms and conditions;
  • Signature (by hand, not typed);
  • Date;
  • Name of Guest with the disability;
  • Date range (the number of days the card will be valid, which can be UP TO 7 DAYS UPDATE: The card will now be valid for up to 14 days. After that, the entire party will have to go back to Guest Relations to request a new card);
  • Park issued;
  • Number of Guest (no limit; however, it is important that ALL those accompanying the Guest with  the disability are present when the card is issued!);
  • Photo of the person with disability (the card cannot be used by anyone else, unless accompanied by the Guest with the disability;
  • Two separate tables (with the same information on both sides) that include five (5) different columns:
    • Attraction name;
    • Current time;
    • Current wait time;
    • Return time;
    • Cast Member.
HOW DOES IT WORK? Once the Guest with the disability gets a card, he/she can explore the park. Once the party chooses an attraction, two things can happen:
  • If the attraction has a wait time (stand-by) that is 10 minutes OR LESS, the Guest and the entire party will be granted IMMEDIATE access to the attraction;
  • If the attraction has a wait time (stand-by) that is MORE THAN 10 minutes, one of the Guests in the party (the Guest with the disability does NOT have to be present in this case) will give the card to the Cast Member standing in front of the attraction's entrance. The Cast Member will then fill in the information in the back of the card (see above). The return time should be scheduled considering the amount of minutes of the wait time for the stand-by line MINUS 10 minutes (example: Let's say it is 11 a.m. and you and your party would like to ride Peter Pan's Flight. The stand-by wait time is 60 minutes. Your return time would be after 50 minutes. You should then return to the attraction at 11:50 a.m.).
  • Only ONE (1) attraction can be scheduled at one time (example: If you have a ride scheduled for 11:30 p.m. and it is 11:00 a.m., you CANNOT schedule a second attraction, otherwise the new system wouldn't make any sense). You CAN use the FASPASS and/or FastPass+ system too, though. Also, you can choose to wait in the stand-by line as well during that time.
WHAT IF I CAN'T MAKE IT IN TIME?: You can manually cross out a return time for an attraction you don't want to ride any longer. That way you may be able to go up to another ride's Cast member and get a return time for another attraction. Once a return time has been crossed out, it will be considered VOID!

WHAT IF A GUEST INPUTS A RIDE'S NAME AND RETURN TIME TO TRY TO CHEAT ON THE SYSTEM? That will not be possible. Cast Members filling out the back of the DAS card will use different-colored pens to write. In addition to that, every attraction will be given a specific "password" EVERY SINGLE DAY that will be written in the "Cast" line (back of the card).

UPDATE (April 3, 2015): Cast Members now use stamps that are unique to each location.

WHAT IF THE RIDE IS UNAVAILABLE DURING MY SCHEDULED RETURN TIME? No problem. Something like this could happen at any time. In that case, just present the DAS card to the Cast Member standing in front of the attraction that you were scheduled to visit at that particular time. They will cross out that attraction's return time and will give you the possibility to choose another attraction. We need more information on this particular subject, though.

CAN MY DAS CARD BE REVOKED? Absolutely. If the card has been altered in ANY way, it may be revoked instantly. This should discourage anyone trying to input false information.

WHEN WILL THE DAS REPLACE THE GAC? October 6, 2013 (as always, dates may be subject to change).

WILL GUESTS FROM "GIVE KIDS THE WORLD" RECEIVE A DAS? No. They will receive a separate card (we heard that it includes the Genie holding a heart, or something like that) that will allow for IMMEDIATE access to any attraction.

IF I HAVE A WHEELCHAIR, DO I NEED A DAS? No. In that case, you will be given an Attraction Return Card which works like the DAS, but is given out at EACH attraction that does NOT have an accessible entrance (examples: Big Thunder Mountain, Space Mountain, Spaceship Earth, etc...).

If you have any questions, feel free to write them in the comments section. We will try to answer them to the best of our abilities, even though we may still miss some important pieces of information. Also, this new system is said to be improved in the future, so policies may change soon. We will continue to keep you up-to-date.


  1. We had our first experience needing this card at Disneyland last year. It was a lifesaver for us and proved to the person that needed the card that they could still do Disney. I was disappointed when I found out some people were "scamming" the system which forced this change.

    After reading about it, its not an awful change except for one thing. Having to walk around to each ride and then still have to wait around is going to be a problem. Walking and standing for any extended period of time is the issue. Now, if we want to go ride say Test Track and the wait is 120 minutes, what are we going to do for 110 minutes? We can't go ride something like Soarin' because the wait would not be possible and we could not walk over there to even get another return time. We basically just have to find a bench nearby and wait for 110 minutes or ride Spaceship Earth over and over again...but again walking from the front of the park, to test track, back to the front, and then back to test track might be to much.

    Now, at Disneyland the main Cars Ride used this system. When we showed the card, we were given a return fastpass that was the length of the current wait. We had no issue with this because we could still do other things nearby. This new system doesn't allow that and I am worried about a LOT of downtime were we are just sitting there.

    What I really hoped they would do is have one or two locations set up inside the park where we could bring the card and basically schedule our whole day. For example, we would show the card and the CM would tell us we could pick 6 rides (it would change per park and time of the year. Busy season=less rides). We would then tell the CM we want to do Pirates at 11, Haunted Mansion at 12, Peter Pan at 2, Little Mermaid at 3, Space Mountain at 4, and Buzz at 5. We then would have our whole day planned out without having to walk around the park more than once. We could plan breaks, lunch, dinner, and have everything planned without ever needing to wait around a ride for a return time.

    This new system is basically like an extra Fastpass and will not help the people that really need it like the people that can't physically stand around and wait for a return time. I'm sure during the planning of this new system that was taken into account but the bean counters saw a chance to get people to wait around the ride (since if they can't wait in the line they most likely can't walk around the park and wait in another line) so they will find a restaurant and hopefully by some food or a drink to make more money.

    I started writing this comment thinking the changes would not be so bad, but the more I think about it, the more I see this as a way for them to get more money out of us without really providing much assistance. Its a glorified Fastpass.

  2. This works at DLP Paris and I find it fair .
    I do think that a better idea would be to have the disability recorded on your entrance ticket and you get automatic fast pass .

  3. This seems fine for GAC users that can't stand in line. But what about GAC users that need different accommodations? For example - visually impaired who need front row show seats, kids who can't stand in pre-show holding areas, etc,. Current GAC cards cover a lot more scenarios than the one described.

  4. @Terri: It may be different for shows. You will still have to approach a Cast Member at the front of the theater, and explain the situation. They will help you in trying to make your visit as pleasant as possible, we have no doubt on that.

  5. I am in agreement with Anonymous above, We used the card at Disney last year and it was a lifesaver! I applaud the measures to cut down on the scamming,such as photo id for the person with the disability, and having the entire party present at guest services when the card is issed. However, with a family like ours where standing around is not really an option, we become very limited in what we can do during the wait time. I would suggest that a family should be able to use the card in between wait times if able to find another attraction in between with a shorter wait time. We are definately not scammers of the system, but will be penalized by the new polices in place. If we decide to go again, I am happy to invite Disney execs along with us the next time so they can feel the impact of having to ensure lots of wait time or down time with an autistic child.

  6. Why should someone get to jump the line because of a disability? This system seems fair, if you are unable to queue, then you still get to ride at the allotted time that an able bodied person would have queued for - seems like equality in action to me. And whining about what are you to do for 110 minutes - you're in Disney. If you can't find something to do to fill that time, then you're in the wrong place.

    And what happens when you're in a shop with an autistic child and you have to queue? Don't you have coping mechanisms for such events? If you have a long wait for the ride you want, then surely there's something else you could be doing in this time?

  7. To first and second Anonymous. What do you mean "what are we supposed to do for 110 minutes"? What do you think people in the standby line do? The stand around zig-zagging around a lot of people for 110 minutes. It's a completely fair system. And the fact that you get to roam the park, explore shops, ride another attraction, or go eat instead of standing around like everyone else. They are already accommodating you enough so stop complaining. I WISH I could get a card that allowed me to check-in at an attraction and come back when the line is over. How convenient. The worst part of visiting a park is waiting in line. And one of my favorite things to do is people watch. So being able to sit around and watch others then hop straight on a ride is a HUGE convenience for anybody. Obviously, you can't satisfy everyone...

    Loyal Texan Disney Fan (10 visits to WDW,6 visits to DL)

  8. obviously some of the posters on here DO NOT understand what it means to be disable.some people can't wait in long lines or if they have to walk around and find something to do for 50 minutes or they might be wiped-off and in a lot of pain by the time they can get in line for the ride.also i belive there is an error in the article EVERYTHING ELSE i have read says there will be kiosks throughout each park where the cast member will give you a wait time not at EACH RIDE.also people with disabilities may not be able to handle going back and forth around the park all day like what is listed in the article.

  9. @Last Anonymous: Thank you very much for your input. Regarding the central kiosk with CMs giving you the time, we have to say that it is news to us.

    Like we stated in the post, Guests would still have to go to the single attractions, also because going back and forth to a central location would not be good either for a person with a disability (imagine if you are at the Mexico pavilion wanting to ride Gran Fiesta Tour, and the person would have to go back to the kiosk in Future World).

    That said, as we stated in our article, all of these information are subject to change at any time, as the DAS and its related services are going to be improved with time.

  10. Our son is autistic. On our first visit we did not use GAC - We though he could cope - He could not. Subsequently we used the GAC. It was a godsend for the whole family (no fits, no hitting, no biting). It made the experience so enjoyable we became Disney Club members. The DAS as described is nothing but a complicated/convoluted Fastpass. Austism Speak should regret its involvement with this change

  11. I don't think it is a fair system that allows WHOLE families to ride just because 1 member may have a disability. I suffer terribly from arthritis is my feet, which makes walking and standing for any length of time unbearable, but l would not expect to be given a pass to the front of the ride, nor would l be upset if someone with a genuine disability got the ride with ONE family member. I travel with my wife and 2 boys, l don't think it fair if my whole family get to the front just because l have sore feet.

  12. I've got 2 questions:
    1. What entrance line does the party get into when they return at their designated time? Fastpass line? What if there is no fastpass for a particular attraction?

    2. Our family is confused as to the amount of attractions that the card can hold. Is it 10? (2 columns @ 5 attractions)

  13. 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”.


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