Disability Access Service Goes Digital at Walt Disney World

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.

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