Reader's Opinions: DAS Card Experience at WDW

The Disability Access Service (DAS) is now fully integrated in all four of the Walt Disney World Resort's theme parks. Many of the experiences of Guests using this redesigned service are positive, but there are some occasional complaints. One of our Readers, Shari, just recently shared her story with us. Here it is:

"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”."

Have you had the chance to use the DAS during one of your latest trips? If you did, feel free to share your own experience with us. This will give us a clearer idea regarding this service, and may help us understand if it could be improved.


  1. my last Disney visit was at the end October 2013 / start November 2013. It was a family holiday, with my niece who was suffering from damage to her knee, and had trouble walking.

    In many of the parks, she preferred to use crutches when walking / standing became tiring. Although we never got a DAS card on these occasions, no efforts were made to ease her obvious discomfort, or any suggestions made by cast members with regard to DAS.
    At Magic Kingdom we hired a wheelchair, deciding the long day would be too much for her. Cast Members couldn't be more helpful! a special fastpass and a wheelchair accessible boat was provided on the jungle cruise, and assistance was offered when queuing for other attractions (most times she preferred to switch to crutches, and wait as normal, but the option was there). we did not have a DAS card, nor were ever asked for one.
    At Epcot we also hired a wheelchair, but rarely needed to ask for queuing assistance.
    It appears cast members still prejudge a persons disability - someone who obviously looks disabled (ie: is in a wheelchair) seems to get treated far better than someone who's disability is less obvious, but who requires DAS as much, if not more. Cast members don't seem to even be aware of DAS, merely using their own judgement, which at times may be misinformed.
    Disney urgently need to reassess the DAS. Disabled people suffer enough prejudice in everyday life without having a dream holiday spoiled by suffering more prejudice in the parks

  2. I completely feel for the person with this letter and comment... however, I like the new system as it has been described by others. No one get any advantage, and no one gets a disadvantage. I don't see any reason why someone get to avoid the wait. I hate waits, and sometimes the waits keep me off of a ride, but there is nothing that makes me feel that I should be backdoored onto a ride because of a wait. She says she doesn't want to be treated special, then complains because she wasn't treated special. The system as I understand it, gives the DAS holder a return time, based on the current wait times for the ride. That way they still have the same wait time as everyone else, but without the effort of having to wait in the line itself. That way, if you need AC, or food, or to sit during that time, then they can do this, without losing their "place in line". And if the line is short enough (15 minutes I believe) then they get put directly on the ride.

    Someone please explain to me why that isn't good enough?!?!?

    (as for prejudice in the parks, some of that is natural human reaction, and some of that is the fact that Disney cannot legally force you to reveal your medical situation.)

  3. I am in need of a knee replacement which I can not afford. With luck I can spend two hous in the park at a time before I have to go home. I can not stand, walk or sit for any length of time without being in pain. Most of the rides my family and I enjoy have lines over an hour most of the time. The new pass only let's us get one ride at a time. This basically means that my family and I can do one ride each time we come to the parks. With the price of admission and food for this day trip it hardly seems worth it. I tried using a wheel chair but got dirty looks from people because I did not have an obvious disability. The new cards should have the ability to reserve at least three rides or shows so that my trip down there is worth the money spent.

  4. I think that the new system is great and long overdue.
    So many people either scammed the old system of felt entitled like the person complaining.

    Disney offered you a solution that would have worked. But you didn't want it because you had your mind set on skipping lines.

    Your daughter could wait with all of the other guests and not be tired if she were seated. Or you could pace your day to accommodate her condition. But you have you're mind set on skipping lines.

  5. Just to clarify: any fastpasses we received for my niece while she was in the wheelchair had a return time based on the current standby wait time.
    no advantage was gained, it wasn't a chance to skip lines, merely a way of preventing her from having the discomfort of waiting in line (although i do admit we went and rode pirates of the carribean while waiting our jungle cruise disability fastpass time)
    If the DAS is implemented so a disabled person gains no time advantage and doesn't skip queues, then it will be a useful aid in helping those less fortunate to avoid the obvious discomfort of queuing.
    my concern is that cast members seem unaware of the DAS and are still implementing what they feel is the best policy for each situation. DAS is supposed to bring about a standard procedure to aid disabled guests yet at present there appear to be no standard procedure.
    I agree that Shari did appear to have misinterpreted how the DAS worked, and was expecting more than the DAS is designed to offer.
    I can understand why Disney have introduced DAS, as the old system was open to abuse. It just needs to be implemented universally across Disney by all cast members.
    Finally I sympathise with the various readers who have experienced any prejudice within the parks regarding their disability (either from other guests or inadvertantly cast members). The recent negative press about the abuse of the previous disability privileges hasn't helped: hopefully a fully implemented, correctly operating DAS will stop this as no one will be seen to be gaining any advantage

  6. There is no real solution here. Not having any disability, I cannot say whether the new system is good or bad. What I do know is that Disney is one of the only amusement park businesses that go out of their way to accomodate for special needs. No system is perfect, and our anger should be directed to those jerks that cheat the system, and not those who try to help. I have watched people cheat the system, and it disgusts me. I have also watched Disney employees go out of their way to accomodate those in need. There are a lot of parks out there that the employees don't care. I am sorry that it is not working for everyone. Those of us who are abled bodied should go out of our way to criticize those cheating the system, and then maybe those who deserve the special treatment will be recognized. I have no problems waiting in line if it means someone who has more difficulty gets to enjoy their day. Those with special needs face challenges everyday; those who are abled bodied can be inconvenienced for a couple of hours!

  7. All parks except Disney offer disabled people accommodation. Most offer the ability to purchase fast pass like tickets at a reasonable price. Disney has the free fast passes only for those with enough money to stay at their hotels. They get three fast passes each day they stay there. Give the disabled people the same option. Three passes for their group. That would quiet a lot of the people complaining.

  8. The 3 Fastpass thing is part of Fastpass Plus. It's currently only open to guests staying at hotels. All other people can still get Fastpasses at the machines, which depending on the time of the year may be MORE than 3 a day easily. It's not unfair, it's just new(and somewhat unpopular in the fan circles where people prefer the old way.) The old way is basically exactly what they are giving disabled people now. You can get as many times per day as the lines permit. If the line is 1 hour at each ride and you're there 8 hours a day, you can get about 6-7 passes, depending on how quickly you get your next one after riding. Now what is FAR FAR better is Disneyland's system. It's the same idea, but you go to guest relations kiosks located around the parks (4 or 5 per park) and they can give a time for any ride at any park. In Florida you have to go to the actual ride itself which is a huge pain if for example you ride Big Thunder and then want to do Space Mountain, or even worse if you want to go to Epcot and do Test Track. If they simply made that change I think the new system would work out much better for people in Florida instead of forcing you to go traipsing from one end of the park to the other just to be given a time.

  9. Ugh.
    To say that one bad incident made "41 years of Disney Magic" go away makes me sick.

    Really? One bad incident at one specific time is going to ruin your whole memory of Disney? Instead of crying about it "ruining" everything... be diplomatic. Bring the issue forward so policies can be adapted for everyone.

    Next time you go, I'm sure things will be different.

  10. If you need a knee replacement, and can't afford it, then why are you wasting the money by taking day trips to Disney? Save your money and fix your knee!

  11. obliviously the second poster DOES NOT understand what it is like to be disabled. Just because someone doesn't like long waits DOES NOT mean they should be able skip the line like a disabled person.

  12. I think the essence of the new system is good, it has some kinks, but it essentially, is a virtual que...

    No skipping line for anyone.

    You go to the ride (Agree it would be better if this was at a kiosk or guest services as the parks are so spread out) and get a the time based on the current wait to come back...

    Although I am not disabled, I did have foot surgery a few years back that was shortly before a trip to a local theme park for a day trip, I tried walking the first hald of the day, buy by lunch, I was wheelchair bound, and didn't have any option to skip lines in either situation, i had to sit in the ques.

    The new system allow you to get out of the sun, or standing, or sensory overload, or whatever the issue is that keeps the guest from being able to stand in the que, and allows them to return and ride without having to stand in that...
    The point of the system was to cut down abuse, and not allow what the GAC was basically a front of the line pass to all rides all day long.

  13. I have recently visited from the UK with a disabled person and have also experienced bad service in regards to the DAS service. This person also doesn't have much movement in the left side of her body, can not use her left hand and has what can be described as a very bad limp...this means waiting in long lines is unbearable and also leads to fatigue.

    We visited Epcot and always try in any park to get fast passes so we do not need to rely on any disability service. However test track was a 2 hour wait and no passes were available. We therefore went to customer service to see what could be done and can only explain the response as terrible and not typical disney fashion, the attitude of the employee was rude and i don't think he really knew how to deal with such an issue. He sent us away and said the ride attendant would deal with such an issue, we then had to return as this was not a ride attendant issue but a customer service issue.

    They did not offer any DAS type pass where we could be given a time to return (which we would of been more than happy with), his attitude was just to put someone in a wheelchair who does not usually use one. In the UK this is deemed bad practice, we are suppose to integrate anyone with any disability into society and with progression, putting someone into a wheelchair who does not need one is a step backwards and totally knocks a disabled persons confidence and independence.

    i hope disney sort the problem for the better. We are DVC members and love disney.


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