Disneyland changing Guest Assistance Card (GAC) to Disabled Assistance System (DAS) – Could WDW follow?

Disney Guest Assistance CardWell, with all the talk going on about possible changes coming to Walt Disney World’s Guest Assistance Card or GAC, it appears as if Disneyland is taking it a step further. Now, the only wonder is if WDW will follow suit.

MiceChat reports that the current GAC program will cease to exist in Disneyland and Disney California Adventure as of Oct. 9, 2013. In hopes of getting away from more abuse of the system, Disney is looking to make it so that those that really need the system are the only ones to use it.

What looks as if it is going to happen is a brand new program called the Disabled Assistance Program or DAS.

As of now at DLR and DCA, guests with a GAC card can get a “Return Pass” and that is essentially how DAS will end up working. In a nutshell, it will be a sort of GAC FASTPass system. With DAS, this would be put in place for a number of high-wait attractions.

Here is how it will work for DAS holders:

  • Go to one of several Guest Relations kiosks set up throughout the park
  • Advise CM which attraction you’d like to go on
  • CM will look up the current wait time on the Disney Mobile Magic app on their iPad
  • CM writes out a “Return Time” on the DAS card, subtracting 10-15 minutes for travel time
  • Guests can do whatever they want while waiting for return time, even get FASTPasses, but can only have one DAS return at a time. Once their DAS written-out time expires, they can get another.
  • Guests show up at designated “Return Time”

The old GAC system allows guests to show up at any attraction, show the card, and then go through the FASTPass lane. That is, unless the attraction was already set up for disabled access.

DAS cards at Disneyland and DCA will be issued only at Guest Relations offices in the parks. DAS cards will only be issued one day at a time, but guests showing a long length of stay could get an extended dated card.

Micechat goes on to say that those people that need the DAS will have a digital photo taken at Guest Relations and it will be printed on the front of the card.

The site also says that a number of changes to queue lines and such have been made at DCA to accommodate wheelchairs and ECVs. With that being said, Micechat reports that those in wheelchairs may not be issued a DAS simply due to the fact that they’ll still be able to use the standby line.

It certainly appears as if this plan is definitely on the way to the Disneyland Resort and will soon after be brought into the Walt Disney World Resort as well.

Thoughts?

Doctor Disney (1188 Posts)

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Comments

  1. While I think that it’s great that they are revamping the whole GAC, I think that having specific times to go to the ride may not work for a lot of kids that are on the spectrum. Many kids on the autism spectrum may have meltdowns at any given time and having only a window to return can just waste the time that is already valuable. There has got to be a better way….(i.e. photos, getting around medical laws, etc) that will not make it harder on parents who already have a to jump through hoops for their children. We just got back from WDW last week and the GAC was a blessing on the rides that had long waits. Granted, most rides he was able to wait for 10 mins, but past that and we would have problems. We didn’t have to use it all that often, maybe 4-5 times out of all 4 parks, but he ranges on what he wants to ride when he wants to ride it. I can’t place him in a time period to ride a certain ride.

    • Getting around medical laws is something that I just don’t think is going to happen. Not to mention the fact that a lot of people don’t wish to share their medical information with the world, and they shouldn’t have to. The GAC system is a great one and DAS could be too, in my opinion. Disney is trying many different avenues right now and it’s great that they are putting forth the effort to make this as useful as possible for those that need it and stopping abuse of any kind.

      • Yeah, I know that medical laws are hard to get around and I can totally understand those who do not want to disclose any type of medical information. This whole situation sucks because of the people that abused the system. We always try to see how long our son can take the waiting and it does get better year after year, but it’s still not where it would allow us to wait long periods of time. I do have faith that Disney will make the system better so that people who do have a legitimate disability or have kids with a disability will be able to still utilize a type of pass system. One thing I can say about Disney is that it truly cares about the kids who are not as fortunate as others. So, we are still planning our next trip with hope that the system will still be in place and our son can fully enjoy Disney. :)

      • I have a son who has cerebral palsy and Autism, he is 20 years old now. He has gone through Hell most of his life. Disneyland is his favorite place to go for a weekend or week long stay. We have been coming to Disneyland for over 30 years. We come at least 4 times a year. He can forget about the seizures he has, or the way he walks. Being able to go through the disabled lines has made it so much easier for him. he has to sit down often and can not stand in long lines like most people. I feel your new system is NOT going to work well because when he wants to go on a certain ride and can’t get on, and we have to walk to another one then come back. I don’t think he’s going to enjoy Disneyland as much, My heart will break when he tells me I don’t want to go anymore. I also have two Autistic grandchildren 6 and 8 that we have been bring since they were babies, the disabled passes has helped us so much with having 3 disabled children. We could not do it any other way with them. I, as well as my daughter would have no problem with bringing a Doctors note, if it meant making it better for these Autistic children not to have a terrible meltdown. Also if I may say something about the wheelchairs or scooters. Having them go through the lines won’t work either, because they will be bumping into the person in front or behind them and then you will have angry people, and many of these people will say rude things to the wheelchair or scooter people. It’s a fact that people can be very rude. Our kids talk about Disneyland all year long. Please don’t take that away from them.

    • Agree. Sometimes we have to wait half an hour even with the pass. Going back and forth to get passes for everything is going to create more meltdowns than waiting in line.

    • Since Disney has been cracking down on abuses of passes, the employees have become very rude to us when requesting and uses such passes. They make it more difficult to get the accommodations we need for my children to enjoy their day at the park like “non-disabled” children can. Now, considering that we could have to walk all the way back to City Hall after each ride, stand in the Guest Service line again for half an hour, get a new pass, and then walk back to that ride, it is clear that Disney is trying to discourage patrons from asking for the accommodations by making them go out of their way to obtain them. I think that contradicts the definition of accommodations in and of itself.

  2. Adrienne Fortunato says:

    I have used this card at both Disney World and Disneyland. The workers at Disneyland didn’t seem to know much about it. I did receive a return pass there however keep in mind that Disneyland is a lot smaller and not as crowed as
    the world so it is more feasible to get back in a timely manner. They also only seem to regard wheelchairs and ecv as handicap situations. I know of people who frequent disney a lot. They have autistic children. They can walk fine but do not have the mental ability to wait on lines for hours without having a meltdown. There are several kinds of disabilities. They aren’t always visible. I think they should require people to show a handicap car registration and if they have that they should be entitled to a GAC.

    • Adrienne, I agree that there are still going to be some issues, but it is rather hard for all issues to be addressed. I do think that all CMs need to know as much about the program/system as possible so they are all knowledgeable should a guest need information.

      As for showing a handicap car registration, that doesn’t always work either because not everyone owns a vehicle and not everyone that has a disability needs a handicap tag. It’s just hard, but I like that Disney is attempting to make changes and avoid abuse.

    • Um, my son does not require a handicap placard as: 1. He does not drive, and 2. His disability is not visible (autism), so requiring that of any person who does not have a physical handicap would not be right. I’m sure that the great and powerful Disney will come up with a system that will enable children and adults alike to enjoy the parks like everyone else. So, while we just got back I will still plan our next trip.

  3. I very much agree with Disney working on this system to stop the abuse. However, the way things are sounding makes me worry that I will have a difficult time as compared to keeping this system in place come time for my trip in February. I have scoliosis and herniated discs. Between those two factors and it have a terrible impact on my hips. I am getting surgery before then to have discs removed. I have a difficult time sitting and standing in a certain spot for more than 10 minutes the way it is. I just hope they don’t make it super difficult for those who don’t have super visible problems but still need it.

  4. I’m sure hoping they have this in a more realistic format at WDW. The prospect of criss-crossing AK to get a followup return time isn’t very feasible to some of us with Autistic kids. My son will not be able to function while walking away from an attraction after being informed we have to return all the way back to Guest Services, and then all the way back to EE, or Dino, or whatever. Surely they have thought out something better, and yet still be able to “verify” that indeed, a guest DOES have an impairment making two hour waits, or a complete walk across andthen back across the park between every ride impossible.
    We love Disney, we spend an incredible amount of money-(to us at least)-on these trips. We are not FLA residents, but bring our Love of Disney, and our money to Florida every year, Sometimes multiple times per year. Ah well, we’ll see what happens.

    • OK, I do see that it is rumored they will have multiple kiosks “throughout” the park. If true, that would make a big difference on traveling at least.

  5. return times wont work well for spectrum kids/people- their window is very small as to how much of the overall parks they can tolerate in the first place, having to go thru an extra process & then get tossed into the fastpass line wont fit everyone-this last trip we ran into a situation where tsm f/p line was out in pixar place & nearly back to the far end of the stroller park…no WAY would mine have been able to be around that crowd for any length of time without issue (melting down for one, kicking screaming lashing out throwing things should he be touched unexpectedly is a HUGE problem for those around us especially in personal space situations) this will be a royal mess & most likely keep us home if implemented accross the board

  6. Firstly, let me say that I’m not complaining…this is just a question because I don’t really understand. It sounds like, if there are 2 autistic children with similar difficulties waiting in lines, and one of them also has additional medical issues requiring the use of a wheelchair, only the ambulatory child would be able to receive the DAS passes, but not the child in a wheelchair?
    Is that correct?
    Thank you.

    • No no, if a family is in need of a DAS card and receives one for one person (adult, child) then the entire family will have it.

      • I’m sorry – I guess I didn’t ask my question clearly. If one family has a child who has a disability (such as autism) resulting in difficulties with queues, but is able to walk, that chlld can obtain a DAS pass (and probably some # of family member(s) can ride with him/her). But if another family has a child who has a similar disability, but also has additional medical problems requiring the use of a wheelchair, would that child (and his/her family) be excluded from participation in DAS due to his/her wheelchair? And thank you so much for your prompt response earlier!
        :)

  7. Doesn’t Disney think that having screaming disabled children in the regular wait lines, will not only take away from the experience of those families, but also of the families without disabled children? Have the execs ever had to be in those lines with a Downs Child, a Child with Autism or Mental Impairment when they lose it? I can’t see how this will helps things.

  8. This sounds like more of a meltdown-prone situation for children and adults who have difficulties with standing on 60-90min lines. Now adults have to request for each time for a single ride? Frankly for my child with a hidden disability (will not disclose), this will just not work – we will have a harder time.

    While I agree that GAC have been abused by many (much like the abuses shown of real service dogs), the old GACs are a necessity for many.

    As a parent, I wouldn’t mind disclosing to a CM at the Guest Services Kiosk showing proof of my child’s disability – because its the truth, there is nothing to hide. Now that doesn’t mean I want it broadcoasted to the world, but I think in many cases that disclourse and proof of the disability (ie. note from a doctor, therapist) in this case, maybe even a letter with an expiration date when needed, would allow Disney to trust the visitors more who need the GAC?

  9. This is attricious! I won’t be back until its fixed

  10. Really disappointing… We have gone to Disneyland twice with my 4 year old that is autistic & never would have been able to if it wasn’t for that pass. My son can not stand in those lines, so without a pass we wouldn’t be able to go. It’s sad that people have misused the program, but those that truly need this program are getting punished & it just isn’t right. We have many restrictions in our daily life & to go to this length when we’re trying to enjoy our families just isn’t right!

  11. Ok, this is going to make me pretty pissed off, well for one thing I’m a double amputee who can’t stand in a one hour two hour line, the first time i came to the park thinking i wouldn’t have to wait that long, i waited 2 and a half hours! But also as i was standing there my leg started to collapse on me and i had to get my whole freaking prosthetic leg repaired from just waiting on that 1 ride, I swear if this this new Disability change gets worse There will be someone like me throwing my leg at them, Lol, I just hope they get this problem solved, and that when you go to the front desk at-least show them you have some kind of REAL disability, because last year i saw this chick in a wheelchair, and for a second i thought, ok shes handicapped and then all of a sudden she gets up stretches gets some water and gets right back in before the employee comes to open the rope to let us in. Please fix this fucking issue before there’s a giant lawsuit between Disney and medical companies,
    Thank you

  12. We need not to cancel these cards

  13. This makes me sad. The GAC is/was such a convenience. We had our routed always mapped out because our son loves Disney/CA Adventure so much. We get Annual passes because we go a lot. But now it just seems like what’s the point? It wud b that much harder. I don’t see the problem of requiring medical papers for a GAC if ur going to get the convenience. If u don’t want to share, don’t. And no convenience is on you. It’s required for Fmla and for placards. Disney can do whatever it sees fit and it’s choosing to make life more difficult for some of its most loyal fans.

  14. 3 of my 4 kids have a disability which makes it difficult to be in line with others, and wait for a long time. They love Disney and we have been passholders for many years. We learned about the disability pass about 4 years ago and it has allowed them to enjoy Disney. In the past year, the employees have become extremely rude and at times humiliating to my children (16-21) and we have had to repeatedly talk to supervisors. My oldest, 21, has a dual pass to both WDW and Disneyland. We paid almost $900 for it and she has been too ill to use if for the past 5 months. She finally went one day with a friend, with her old disability pass to get it updated, and they completely embarrassed her and gave her a very tough time, like she was trying to get away with something. If this is how Disney is going to treat loyal customers who are also disabled, this will be the last pass our family of 6 purchases. With a disability pass, my kids might do 3-4 rides in a visit. Without it, it isn’t worth going at all. I am saddened by their inability to find a positive way to make it easier for families like ours to enjoy the park in a dignified way, and keep people who abuse the system from getting any advantage. We would be happy to provide a Dr. note if it meant avoiding the scrutiny and humiliation we have experienced repeatedly from Disney employees. With this new change we will not be visiting any longer.

  15. This is nothing but discrimination against handicap! I worked in Disney Epcot and they disciminate handicap employees even worse! Why they doing it? Disney spend a ton of money to place thousand of articals stating how handicap being rented for easy access and to cut time in lines. This whole idea is just absurd. You can rent manual wheelchair for fraction of the price! Just wait couple years, when Disney will come up with “Super Passes” you can buy to cut lines, as disables and handicap used to have. It is nothing but pure discremination. Shame on you Disney!
    Jack

  16. Tamara Polley says:

    This is a huge bummer for those of us who depend upon these passes for our “Happiest place on earth” experience! The primary reason I come to Disneyland every year is because they make the trip so pleasant for me and my son. I think it is so sad that benefits get taken away from those of us who really need them because people who don’t need them abuse the system. Why can’t they just have us bring a doctor’s note on a prescription pad verifying that our child needs the pass?

  17. Shame on you Disney! This has always been a favorite vacation spot because unlike WDW, Disneyland has been accomadating to those with special needs, and not just children. My mother and I both have a debilitating genetic disease that makes it impossible to stand for any length of time, my mother requires a wheelchair, in the past it has made Disneyland the best option for vacation. I think Disney would find that anyone with a true disability need would not have any issues with providing proof of the disability, such as a doctors note, to avoid the new chaos Disney will cause to a trip that already has chaotic elements due to whatever the disability may be. Trust me Disney, none of us that are truly disabled want to be and your new plan just make it harder for us and frankly make it more apparent that we are not wanted in your parks. Instead of punishing those that truly need, look to ‘weeding’ out the abusers. Again, shame on you Disney, you broke my heart and I’m sure Walt would not approve.

  18. I can’t believe any of this!!My 8yr old son is physically disabled,he is paralyzed on his left side and is epleptic and he loves and looks forward to going to Disney at least once every year.I am upset about this whole new rule about the GAC,I pay my money just like everyone else and everyone knows Disney is not cheap you definately pay for the “magic” and now my son can’t enjoy it.This is discrimination,I would have no problem showing proof of disability to be able to continue the ease and comfort of the GAC.People who were not disabled abused the system and now we people/families who need an appreciated the assistance no longer will have the option?!!Very upsetting,I believe there has to be some kind of organization out there to stand up for all the disabled people who deserve to enjoy Disney.HELP US PLEASE!!!!!

    • Disney is TRYING to help. That is why they are trying to come up with a new system that will help everyone and stop the abuse as well. They are not attempting to discriminate against anyone. It could change, who knows, but Disney is working on a solution.

  19. I have to agree with the majority of people on here. I understand fully that Disney are TRYING to help this situation of abuse of the cards… But the only ones that will suffer are the ones who truely need them. I have taken my son (who’s 5 with cerebal palsy and autism) 2-3 times a year since his first birthday and since reading this I am genuinely not looking forward to our next trip wich was booked before this was announced.
    This isnt going to be enjoyable or a break nor a holiday. I know full well we are going to have major meltdowns and end up sitting in the hotel I really do hope with our feedback Disney will find another fair solution to this problem.
    It truely is a shame that some people take advantage of something that most people would rather not have to do. Queuing isn’t fun of course not but the challenges disabled children and adults face throughout their lives isn’t fun either and for most Disney is a break from all that wich is why it is such a popular destination for how well they’ve catered for disabled people. I think the only thing they will see is less bookings and profits from there most regular visitors that choose Disney as their top and in our case ONLY holiday destination.
    This system will create havoc and confusion for many children and adults who not only have autism but limited understanding also.
    Good luck Disney I can only hope you find a better solution and keep your valued customers.

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