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Disney to debut new Disability Access Service Cards, replacing Guest Assistance Cards

by Banks Lee

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In order to help make attractions at Walt Disney World and Disneyland more accessible to all guests including those with disabilities, Disney will be replacing the current Guest Assistance Card on Oct. 9, 2013 with the new Disability Access Service Card.

The current Guest Assistance Cards are free to guests with disabilities, and allow them to skip most regular attraction lines and enter the attraction from a faster access area immediately with their families.

With the new card, guests will receive a return time for a certain attractions based on its current wait time and enjoy the attraction with little to no wait when they return. Guests who cannot wait in a traditional queue due to a disability, including non-apparent disabilities, will be eligible for the new card.

Although not officially announced, the new cards are thought to be more secure in preventing fraud, as was reported on by the New York Post and Today show. Some for-hire unofficial “tour guides” were exposed using their ability to get Guest Assistance Cards to help their non-disabled clients skip the lines.

Disney reports they have been working closely with disability groups and Autism Speaks for feedback into the new process. Disney provided this statement: “We have an unwavering commitment to making our parks accessible to all guests. Given the increasing volume of requests we receive for special access to our attractions, we are changing our process to create a more consistent experience for all our guests while providing accommodations for guests with disabilities.”

Those with questions about the new Disability Access Service Card should contact Disney’s guest relations to discuss their assistance needs. Those visiting with a wish-granting organizations will have access through a separate program.

Disney Letter_Final[2]-page-001 UPDATE (10/5/13): Meg Crofton, President of Walt Disney Parks & Resorts Operations, U.S. and France, has sent out a letter to guests about the changes, which can be read by clicking the image on the right. Also, Disney has provided guests with a fact sheet on the Disney Parks Blog which can be seen below.

• What is a Disability Access Service Card and how does it work?
The DAS Card is designed to accommodate guests who aren’t able to wait in a conventional queue environment due to a disability (including non-apparent disabilities). A Disability Access Service Card will be issued at Guest Relations main entrance locations and will offer guests a return time for attractions based on the current wait time. As soon as the Guest finishes one attraction, they can receive a return time for another. This service can be used in addition to Disney’s FASTPASS Service and Disney FastPass+ service.

• What will Disney Parks do if a Guest is concerned the DAS Card doesn’t meet their needs?
Disney Parks have long recognized and accommodated guests with varying needs and will continue to work individually with guests with disabilities to provide assistance that is responsive to their unique circumstances. Guests should visit Guest Relations to discuss their individual needs.

• Who will be eligible for a Disability Access Service Card?
Disney Parks’ goal is to accommodate guests who aren’t able to wait in a conventional queue environment due to a disability (including non-apparent disabilities). Guests should visit Guest Relations to discuss their assistance needs.

• How will guests get a Disability Access Service Card?
A Disability Access Service Card will be issued at Guest Relations main entrance locations. Guests will participate in a registration process, which also includes having their photo taken.

• Why is Disney Parks doing this?
Disney Parks is modifying the current Guest Assistance Card program so it can continue to serve the guests who truly need it. The new program is designed to provide the special experience guests have come to expect from Disney. Disney Parks also hopes it will help control abuse that was, unfortunately, widespread and growing at an alarming rate.

• Does the DAS Cardholder have to be present to obtain a return time at an attraction?
No. Another member of the DAS Cardholder’s travel party may obtain a return time but the DAS Cardholder must board the attraction with his or her party.

• Where do DAS Cardholders go to receive return times?
At Disneyland Resort, guests will go to Guest Relations kiosks located throughout the parks to receive a return time. At Walt Disney World Resort, guests will go to the attraction to receive a return time.

• Does a DAS Cardholder have to ride the attraction at the exact return time listed?
No. Return times are valid until redeemed by the DAS Cardholder.

• How long is a DAS Card valid?
A DAS card is valid for up to 14 days depending on a guest’s ticket entitlement.

• Is a DAS Card issued at one Disney theme park valid at other Disney theme parks?
Yes, the card will be valid throughout the resort at which it was issued.

• Why doesn’t Disney Parks ask for proof of disability, such as a doctor’s note?
Disney Parks takes Guests at their word and there are legal restrictions around asking for proof.

• Is this the only service available to Guests with disabilities?
Disney Parks offer a variety of services to guests with disabilities, such as Disney’s Handheld Device that offers assistive listening, captioning and audio description. Additionally, Disney Parks has developed a “Guide for Guests with Cognitive Disabilities.” This serves as a tool on how best to experience its theme parks and is expected to be available online by mid-October. Disney Parks will continue to provide excellent guest service and accessible experiences. Guests should visit Guest Relations at any park should they feel they need assistance due to a disability.

• Does a Guest whose disability is based on the necessity to use a wheelchair or scooter need a DAS Card?
No, a Guest whose disability is based on the necessity to use a wheelchair or scooter does not need a DAS Card. Depending on the attraction, the Guest will either wait in the standard queue or receive a return time at the attraction based on the current wait time. For some attractions at Disneyland Resort, these guests will go directly to an alternate entrance. Guests with additional needs should discuss them with Guest Relations.

• Will Disney Parks continue to provide a service to wish-granting organizations?
The change will not affect those who are visiting on trips organized by wish granting organizations. There is a separate program for children with life-threatening illnesses.

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44 comments

Stevey G September 23, 2013 - 2:39 pm

What good is this system going to do?

Disabled guests will just ride around the entire park on their scooters and collect returns for all the rides… then they’ll just go to every single ride and not have to wait.

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Kathy Kelly September 23, 2013 - 3:07 pm

Don’t look now, there’s a troll under the bridge.

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Dawne migre September 23, 2013 - 3:15 pm

This is truly a disadvantage for those of us with autistic children. We do not know when a breakdown will occur. The current system works because we can approach a ride and use fastpass wait lines. With this new system – if given a return time and my child is needing to leave a park we will miss doing this ride. It seems like this new system is exactly the same as fastpass. Which we have tried and failed at.

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Candy H September 23, 2013 - 3:36 pm

This has really upset me! My 6 yr old autistic son has been saving his money to go to disney and when we are finally ready to book this comes up! I will not spend a good $5,000 to go if my child will not be happy and this new system will NOT work for autistic children!! Very sad! Guess we will stick to six flags

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Dianna September 23, 2013 - 5:19 pm

Disney this will not work for kids with autism . I will have to spend money else where. This will just stress my child out to much.

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Alison Giangregorio September 23, 2013 - 5:41 pm

Our family does not leave the Disney properties because the needs of my family WERE met with compassion and dignity. Our last trip this past September, cast members tried to engage my child in conversation and when I tried to answer their questions they continued to try and address him. Finally I was so annoyed, I said in a no so nice tone… He does not speak however here is communication device but he most likely will not answer you!!!! Really Disney!! You were our destination of choice, we are vacation club members and have been to
Your park 17 times in 14 years for 2 weeks at a time. Only because our family was able to be a family through out your parks. I guess now there is reason to go to sea world, universal and Lego land since the guess assistance pass is not as accommodating and stress free. So now families will have MORE stress trying to get to all of our fast passes on time. We only had to worry about our character meals reservations since that was the only way to see characters since GAP did not apply to see the characters!

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Alexandre Motta September 23, 2013 - 6:12 pm

Does it mean that an autistic person won´t take the fastpass line anymore? That was our garantee that our kid would enjoy the rides whenever he wants before a meltdown occurs (caused by anxiety, along with waiting, crowd and noise). With this novelty, it´s imposible to tell if we´ll be able to wait somewhere entertaining the kids and go back to the ride on time.I foresee stress.

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Liliane September 24, 2013 - 12:39 am

So exactly like in Universal Studios? Who still didnt give a return time but let us go through the express lane? Meaning no change?

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b September 24, 2013 - 1:50 am

i appreciate that they are working with Autism Speaks…. and maybe they’ll put signs up “please don’t stare at the meltdowns” as we try to explain to our autistic kids that we’re going on the ride…. but in an hour…. because they already have troubles waiting in the lines, and now we’re going to be waiting right outside the ride for our time? yeah, that makes complete sense. the fast passes have limits as to how many you can pull at a time and i would guess these would too. and here i am, getting ready to go to disney in 3 months… and now i’m not sure i want to even attempt it with my 6 year old autistic son. disney magic down the drain.

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Kathy Seaman September 24, 2013 - 2:17 am

How was one suppose to get a disability card? I never heard of it before now? My husband is in a wheelchair because of parkinson’s disease. We were never even offered one. Was it something they were suppose to offer us or were we suppose to ask? I couldn’t ask when I never knew about it.

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Rob September 24, 2013 - 2:57 am

Perhaps everyone should wait and see how it unfolds. Oh and news flash most 4 and 5 year olds have temper tantrums from time to time even without autism and no child enjoys lines.

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Sherry Weber September 24, 2013 - 3:44 am

I agree with Alison. I am also a passholder and disabled. I have a muscle issue and can’t stand for long periods of time and also a lung disease from a job. So what your saying is, I have to walk twice to get to one attraction?? I also go 4 times per year and always been satisfied with the help from Disney, but now, they are just like Universal. Couldn’t give a rats ass about helping the disabled who actually need the original card. Sure hope something else changes in the next 2 weeks or I don’t think I will be renewing my pass.

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shelly September 24, 2013 - 5:01 am

IF you are really working together, Autism Speaks, but does Disney LISTEN?? No, this will NOT work Disney/Autism Speaks! Learn from SeaWorld, Universal and the rest. “Return Times” don’t work for Autistic children. My family has been to Disney 3 times (currently 10 and 8 years old) and the GAC works. We used the “old card” during our first trip to SeaWOrld and it worked. This past summer, we tried to use the “new ” card-which is just like the one Disney now wants to use and it created MELTDOWNS! No, my son doesn’t understand how to look at the bstamp and see what time to come back. We left SeaWorld unhappy because of their change and do not plan on returning (despite the fact that my son wants to be a whale trainer when he grows up BECAUSE of SeaWorld!). We can not add this stress to an already stressful vacation (so much stimulation, so much to do, see, hear smell, etc). The GAC was the only way that my children could enjoy the experience at Disney World (despite the fact that it wasn’t able to be used for character experiences). Bad idea Disney. Bad idea. Why not ask real PARENTS who actually have used the card and experienced your parks? We know our kids best. I, for one, was always happy to spend the money on 2 weeks at Disney because I knew my children would have a positive experience. Now, I don’t know when our next trip will be. 🙁

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Tom September 24, 2013 - 5:57 am

Rob

Temper Tantrums are not meltdowns. Temper tantrums are child’s reaction to not getting their way. Meltdowns are a coping mechanism to a child’s inability to cope with sensory overload. A child who throws a tantrum is mad for not getting their way. A child who throws a meltdown is in pain. Please educate yourself more on autism/sensory integration before you judge and don’t take your typical kids for granted.

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hellosunshine September 24, 2013 - 6:29 am

If you are not the parent of a child with Autism, you do not have a clue how devastating this decision is, so please don’t negatively comment on it. The same people that complain about our kids getting “special treatment” will soon be complaining when our kids are having a meltdown on line right next to them. Or when one of our kids – during a meltdown – bumps into them or throws up on them. It’s not about discipline, as many ignorant masses would like to believe. It’s about children that are not neurotypical being physically unable to process the sensory overload of long, hot, loud lines. Big mistake Disney. You should be ashamed of yourselves to turn your back on the very resource that makes you a successful brand – the CHILDREN that love (and need) you most.

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Cara Bostock October 16, 2013 - 1:04 am

Our holiday has been ruined we used the we system today in Hollywood studios we had 2 major meltdowns. We will never return to disney again, I cannot put my 9 year old through this again. We have a two week pass I can’t imagine he magic kingdom would be. We have been saving up for a while for the trip as last ti e we came in 2011 the old system was great, all that was needed to stop people fraudulently using the system was to put in correct checks in place like a proof of diagnosis which I carry with me at all times. Disney is no longer autism friendly I’m so sorry to say

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Anne Kannenberg September 24, 2013 - 9:24 am

This won’t work for us: mom is in a scooter AND my son is autistic. In the past under the old system: We usually didn’t go right to the front of the line, we just had a much shorter wait…Which is what persons with autism need. Last time my son was in a ‘regular’ line, his behaviors were disturbing to the other guests and everyone felt embarrassed. I wound up crying…not our most cherished Disney Memory. For what it costs to go to Disney Parks, I will be rethinking our Theme Park Selection for the next Florida Vacation. To be honest: I would think that even “Regular” Guests will be overly limited with the new fastpass system imposed on them. If I understand correctly, the new electronic system Limits them to just 3 events (dinners or attractions) per day? And I dont know anyone who wants to micro-manage their daily vacation plans. Like if an unexpected rainy day happens on vacation, we switch from Epcot to Magic Kingdom where we are more like to stay dry.

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Augo Ryes September 24, 2013 - 10:27 am

This is not going to work for most disabled people, especially those that can not walk much, in a wheelchair or EVC Scooter as we are already at a disadvantage with mobility problems. We can’t always go back in forth across the parks as easy as most people. My whole family and I are annual pass holders and plan to move here to be able to enjoy the disney experience. Its the one place many handicap people can have a good day, but THANKS DISNEY, as this is completely over now! There are many rides that i cannot ride already as I cannot walk or go through the normal lines, at most rides, the guest workers will not (on purpose or poor training) will not show me the alternate line. I usually end up asking for an attraction manager to get me on the ride. I have had my children retaliated against by the same ride guest worker after the manager disappears. Quite frankly, I do not believe Disney’s excuse for the change, there is maybe 1 handicap child or adult to like 100 healthy people in the parks, we do not take up that much space or time from the rides or guest services in asking for help or assistance. All we have asked for is to be able to have as much of a stress free day as possible and be able to get through the crowds onto rides as stress free as possible. THIS WILL NO LONGER HAPPEN!

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Tarra September 24, 2013 - 7:07 pm

I’m usually pro Disney but I’m p*ssed at this. The GAC somewhat helped us (though my son still had a few meltdowns) but this is just not going to work. It turns my stomach that the people with disabilities are being punished.

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Heather September 25, 2013 - 7:56 am

We are truly disappointed with Disneys decision about this change to their pass. We have had many wonderful trips to Disney with our 7 year old Autistic son because of using the pass. It really punishes the people with true disabilities. I can not also believe how insensitive and selfish people are towards the people with disabilities that use the pass. Yes, all kids have meltdowns, but kids on the spectrum are completely different. This decision not only will impact the people with disabilities, but the families too. Autism speaks clearly has not done a service to the kids with autism.

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Sharon Riley September 27, 2013 - 5:08 am

I don’t believe the excuse that Disney is using for this change. Its not because of the rich cheating, its because of the rich complaining. I have 2 family members that work at Disney, one at Club 33 and one at the Grand Floridian and both have told me for years that the many of the most wealthiest and oldest members of club 33 and vacation club owners have complained profusely with Disney top executives that they don’t feel that they should have anyone go before them or their kids or grandchildren since they are paying so much in dues already, they should be first. Maybe the Disney Executives have finally bowed down to the Rich and Famous, just not the ones that they are using as their excuse.

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Jessica Clark September 27, 2013 - 5:34 am

I think we should BOYCOTT ALL THINGS DISNEY till this is resolved in the best interest of the people and children who need it the most. My husband is a disable army vet. He got this way protecting your assets and your country Mr. Iger. There is no way we can continue to use our annual passed and spend our money at your parks if this new policy is implemented. He is one of those that will be punished and left out because of your excuse of the rich cheating. Ask to show dr.’s proof. its as simple as that.

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Augostina Reyes September 27, 2013 - 7:01 pm

My wonderful and loving husband came back from Iraq with one leg, 6 fingers and a 3 inch hole in his skull from being to close to an explosion. His nerves are shot, his balance is off, he cannot stand for more than 5 minutes and has a very difficult time wearing his prosthetic leg so he usually goes without it and rides a scooter. He has depression so bad that everyday I go to work I worry about him giving up and taking his own life. So we moved last year to Florida to be close to his parents so they can check on him through out the day. When we arrived, they gave us Annual passes to Disney World for us and our 2 children. I thought in the beginning what good was this going to do, but I decided to go and give it a try. On our first trip there his parents took us to Guest Services and we got the GAC card for him. The noise and the crowds were very stressful on him and there was no way that we could stay for the fireworks as the noise would be impossible for him to handle. But for the first time in 3 years, he sat on a bench at Epcot and smiled from ear to ear when Goofy came by and gave him a big hug. When we got to Magic Kingdom later that day, he was even more excited and so happy to see that he did not have to suffer any lines, fast passes or hoops to jump through, as he says, which he had already, sadly, admitted to us that he could not manage. Each time we go, and we go at least 2 to 3 times per month, he has not been able to ride many rides, but he has so much joy to see his kids having a wonderful time and the beauty of all that is around him there, that I am starting to see a little of his old self come back. This has been possible for us because of the magic at Disney, because of the GAC card. I am begging you Disney, please do not change this for all of us the truly need it and truly benefit from it. You will never have any idea how important this one service is to so many.

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Belinda September 28, 2013 - 5:03 am

I have a 12 year old nephew who has Autism and Spina Bifida. This December will be his first trip to Disneyworld. I understand the struggles everyone is explaining and is concerned about. The problem is, no matter what Dianey does someone is going to complain. I have been in Disney and seen groups of teenagers “taking turns” in a wheel chair. I was furious!! There must be a happy medium somewhere. Maybe documentation requirements from doctors as proof. It sickens me to know that because of some people who are too lazy to go to Disney and stand in line, the TRULY disabled have to suffer. It’s Disneyworld!!! There will be lines!!!

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Chris September 28, 2013 - 9:19 am

I feel for you parents with autistic kids, but I’m calling your bluff! You claim that because of the new rule (which eliminates fraud) you are canceling your child’s trip to Disney World. How will your autistic child take THAT news? I’m sure it won’t be as traumatic as telling them they need to wait 15 minutes for a ride! (Sarcasm)

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Ross Csaszar September 29, 2013 - 9:32 am

There are a multitude of conditions, illnesses and diseases that justify a non-traditional approach to ride entrance … many of them are not readily apparent (e.g. no wheelchair). Autism is but one and Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is but another. With CF, we have to come to the park late, and leave early simply to do medical treatments and ensure proper rest. We have to eat 6+ times a day, can not overheat (standing in the sun), and have digestive issues that lead to rapid response runs to the bathroom. The objective is for the disabled child to be able to experience the same “amount” of park in a day as a normal child. This may mean a much shorter day with each event being experienced at a higher rate. We as parents struggle everyday to provide our child the best chance of living and for Disney to hide behind supposed HIPAA laws is an easy way out. Any family with a REAL disability would be more than happy to show a validated doctor’s note (as many of us have to travel with these notes 24/7/365 anyways. Autism, CF, and the like are not things that we “hide” from — they are real, we live with them, and we are willing to educate others of our children’s conditions (and even voluntarily show proof to Disney via doctor’s letter).
People who want to call our bluff — live with it before communicating your ignorance of the realities of these diseases. We are not asking for more, we are simply asking for our kids to be able to experience the same amount of park, without having more obstacles and schedules hurdled in front of us.

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Chris September 29, 2013 - 3:13 pm

It’s not that I don’t feel for your condition. My point is that parents who claim that they are going to tell their autistic kids “ya know that trip to Disney next month? Well, I’m canceling it because we don’t have priority access” are flat out lying. No one in their right mind would do that to their child with that condition. And if you do, you’re a bad parent.

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Chris September 29, 2013 - 3:19 pm

And Disney is not “hiding behind HIPAA laws”. It is ILLEGAL for them to look at medical documentation regardless if you want to bring it and offer it to them. They CANNOT under the law consider that information/note to make determinations on medical needs. Doing so would put those not willing to share their personal handicaps denied the same privileges. And that would be discrimination against the handicapped and a violation of equal rights law. To simplify: a person with crowd anxiety simply claims that Disney denied me access because I wouldn’t share private medical information with a minimum wage employee

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Sherry September 29, 2013 - 3:50 pm

I called Disney today and they actually explained things better to me than any un- official web site. You people need to call and have them explain to you as they did to me. It really isn’t that bad. Your autistic children do not need to know that they have to wait. Please call … It will def help. I was worried because I leave to go on the 5th of Oct, They actually helped me with the pure facts of understanding how everything will work. No worries now !!

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Kristi Rowe September 29, 2013 - 6:44 pm

Chris, most parents of children with autism would not cancel a child’s trip after telling them because the CHANGE, like all change is traumatic to them BUT I would like to point out that MANY parents DO NOT tell their children about upcoming trips for various reasons such as many do not have receptive language abilities and we can’t have ‘conversations’ with them AT ALL and even those who can, wouldn’t tell them because if anything came up to prevent the trip, it would cause obsessive, compulsive trauma. It isn’t a ‘bluff’, some parent deem this making the trip too hard and difficult.

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Kristi Rowe September 29, 2013 - 6:49 pm

I hope Disney realizes that ‘Autism Speaks’ is the Least liked and least supported autism group in the autism community. I see more complaints from the autism community about them than any other. They are just a huge and successful marketing group and therefore get a ton of support from the neurotypical community that wants to help but doesn’t know where, so they give to the highest profile group. The founders own daughter ( who has a child with autism) doesn’t support them! I am sure Disney can’t know how disliked they are or they would know that Autism Speaks doesn’t speak for us!

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Patti MacFarlane September 30, 2013 - 8:16 am

So we’re going to ruin it for the legitimately handicapped because some are dishonest. This sounds fair! My husband is totally blind and the guest assistance helped him not have to go in and out of lines and all around. This new program is a joke!

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Chris September 30, 2013 - 12:13 pm

Kristi, I agree with you on that, but my point was calling the bluff of parents like some of the ones above. If I may quote Candy H: “This has really upset me! My 6 yr old autistic son has been saving his money to go to disney and when we are finally ready to book this comes up! …. Guess we will stick to six flags”

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Chris September 30, 2013 - 12:16 pm

Patti, Non-disabled guest receiving GACs is similar to non-disabled drivers getting blue handicapped placards for their cars and then taking reserved spaces in a parking lot. The non-disabled are taking advantage of an easy-to-cheat system and making a mockery of those who really need the assistance.

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Chris September 30, 2013 - 12:21 pm

This is interesting, from the Orlando Sentinel: The abuse has intensified in recent years, fueled by swelling crowds in Disney’s theme parks, which draw tens of millions of visitors a year. Shortly after the opening of the popular Cars Land in Disney California Adventure last year, Disney found that close to a quarter of all the visitors riding Radiator Springs Racers — 5,000 out of 20,000 on average per day — were using a Guest Assistance Card, according to MiceChat.com, a website devoted to Disney theme-park news. Most were also annual-pass holders.

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Ross Csaszar September 30, 2013 - 8:37 pm

To Chris … you obviously do not have special needs children and your responses clearly indicate that you have no knowledge of the law either. HIPAA does not prevent anyone from seeing anything if voluntarily offered by the patient, it simply states that 3rd party communication is not allowed unless the patient agrees. Ask yourself why we all need these letters … to get through TSA lines. Not mandatory, but if you opt not to show a doctor’s letter, then you simply do not receive special consideration going through airport security.

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Chris October 1, 2013 - 8:26 am

Correct, Ross. I do not have a special needs child. I do have a grandmother that cannot walk, so I’m very familiar with the GAC system. We are annual passholders and enjoy taking grandma to see the parade and castle shows. While another family member sits with her, we make our rounds, do the mountain range, hit up Peter Pan, Haunted Mansion, Pirates and Buzz Lightyear using her GAC. So yes, this change effects me as well. According to the new system, if she doesn’t ride with us, we cannot use the GAC.

On a side note, your view on the law is correct, but doesn’t tell the entire story. If Disney gave special privileges to people willing to show their condition on paper, they would be denying the same privileges to those who wish to keep their condition private. And that is a serious violation of the ADA!

If I had a bladder problem, I may not feel comfortable showing that information to a college aged, minimum wage theme park worker who may turn to the cast member next to him once I leave and say “that’s a v-i-P guest” and giggle. Thus, I would be denied a special treatment because I did not want to share my condition. You’re saying I would be forced to expose medical information in order to benefit – – and THAT is illegal.

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Kristi Rowe October 1, 2013 - 10:50 am

Hi Chris, I promise I am not trying to be a smarty panty or be combative but I have to ask, why are you using the GAC pass if your grandmother isn’t on the rides?

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helen October 9, 2013 - 10:00 am

I don’t see the benefit of using the GAC like a fast pass. I used the card last year at Disney World. I had a doctor’s note for nerve damage due to back and foot issues which prevent me from standing on lines. I mapped out my day going from whichever ride i wanted to go on, in order of where they were in the park that day. Now it seems I will have to WALK to a kiosk, get a time to come back, wait for that ride, WALK to another kiosk, get a time to come back. Double efforts for someone who has a medical issue that is disabling. I hope they monitor this issue and revamp it accordingly after they see all the flaws it has.

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Meelow October 9, 2013 - 11:08 am

And Chris, you seriously volunteer that you park grandma on a bench and turn around and utilize her GAC to ride whatever you want. You are the reason this program changed. Grandma is not a free pass. You are perfectly capable of waiting like everyone else and you should. Shame on you and everyone else you used the pass with. The purpose of allowing the party of the guest needing assistance is for for the party to experience the attraction WITH the assisted, not for them. So no one feels bad you are “affected” by these changes. You are the reason for the changes. Quit crying and move on.

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Chris October 10, 2013 - 11:24 am

I think I made my point. I have never used a GAC in my many visits to disney. My point is that the situation I presented is not only feasible but also easy to implement. The new system will actually benefit true physically and mentally handicapped people. By eliminating “free riders”

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Cara Bostock October 16, 2013 - 12:51 am

We are on holiday in Florida at the moment and are using the new system. I have an autistic child and we were in Hollywood studios today. The way the pass works is that if the wait time is longer than 10 mins you have to go back. All the times are longer than 10 mins. We didn’t et around and by the end of the day we had a massive meltdown. We queued up to see buzz light year and woody he was going crazy in the wait almost hurting another child in the way. When we were leaving the park we had to endure an hour of meltdown he was crying well actually sobbing as the day had been too long. I understand that the old system was being abused by no genuine e people, but all they needed to do was to put the correct checks in place like a letter of diagnosis for the individual. All the other parks like u oversaw and seaworld do the same thing but it is 30 mins plus in a queue before you have to obtain a ride time otherwise you can go straight In. I would say that this new system is goi g to spoil our holiday as this is the first day god knows how we will cope in magic kingdom. As patents with an autistic child these things really matter, it’s the difference between a great holiday or a holiday from hell.

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Barbara October 24, 2013 - 3:08 pm

So, let me get this straight. The Rich use disabled to not wait in line. Disney responds by discarding their policy and implementing a new one so all disabled children and adults get to travel around the park twice for each ride!! hmmm So, how does this correct the problem of the Rich abusing the system? Because, I’m sure they won’t find anyone else to pay off….right?
I am a disabled adult who can not stand in long lines all day long. I visit as most handicap people due, ride a few attractions, and go home. To have a Disney change the system has been sad to say the least. But what is worse is the number of people that are attacking disabled children and their families for trying to give their children a memorable experience. The amount of negative attitude toward the disabled is truly a reflection of our society and Disney who promote themselves as the happiest place on earth. I as a Disabled Adult would give up my place and wait in line. But please show some kindness and let the children with disabilities go in front of the line.

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Shari McConahay November 16, 2013 - 2:04 pm

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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