Every fact you need to know about the DAS program replacing Disney’s GAC, and how it will work

Disney Disabled Assistance SystemAlright, so by now, we all know that the current Disney Guest Assistance Card (GAC) will be in operation through Oct. 8, 2013. On Oct. 9, 2013, the Disabled Assistance System (DAS) will go into operation. Many have wondered just how this whole thing is going to work, and Doctor Disney is here to tell you.

To hear my opinions on this whole thing, click this link. To read what we already kind of knew about the DAS, click this link.

Moving on now. A Cast Member test and training sessions has been done on the new DAS going into place on Oct. 9, 2013, and now you can find out everything that will need to know about DAS, how to use it, how it will work, and what changes will be there from GAC.

NOTE: Things can change and it is possible that this could be altered before it goes live or even soon after or long after. This is a brand new system. But this is how the WDW Cast Member training went for it.

Facts about Acquiring a DAS:

  • The card will be green
  • The back will have an agreement where a guest will have to sign and date
  • It is non-transferrable
  • A picture of the guest the DAS card is issued for can be put on the card. If a guest chooses against it, they must have a photo ID ,with matching name, with them for every time they use it.
  • The card will also include the guest’s name and the number of people in the party
  • A DAS card is good for a maximum of 7 days
  • Guests staying longer or Annual Passholders will get a DAS card with a QR code on the front. The QR code will allow those guests to have it scanned at guest services the next time they need it so they won’t have to give all the info again.
  • The card will have a grid on the back for name of attraction, current time, current wait time, return time, and Cast Code
  • The Cast Code will be a unique code that will be written so guests don’t forget wait times, attractions, etc..
  • The Cast Code will be announced to Cast Members at the beginning of each day and posted in break rooms. It has not been determined yet if the code will be attraction specific or land specific.

How to use the DAS card:

  • Guests will go up to a standby entrance line for an attraction
  • A Cast Member will take the DAS card and on the back, write the attraction name, current time, current wait time, return time, and cast code
  • The Return Time will be 10 minutes less than the current wait time so that DAS guests can accommodate for any type of FASTPass line wait time
  • Guests come back to the attraction at their Return Time and go into the FASTPass line
  • The FP line Cast Member will check everything on the card and put a line through the current Return Time to show it has been used
  • Guests cannot get another DAS Return Time until their current one has expired

DAS Return Time Example for Attractions with FASTPass – Ex. Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin:

  1. Guest gets to Buzz Lightyear standby line at 11:00 a.m.
  2. Wait time is 45 minutes
  3. Guest gives Cast Member DAS card
  4. CM writes on DAS card: Buzz Lightyear / 11:00 a.m. / 45 minutes / 11:35 a.m. (Attraction / Current Time / Wait Time / Return Time)
  5. Guest returns to FASTPass line for Buzz Lightyear at 11:35 a.m.
  6. Guest shows CM the DAS card with info along with photo ID, if necessary
  7. CM crosses line through current Return Time as guest and party go into FASTPass line

DAS Return Time Example for Attractions without FASTPass – Ex. Astro Orbiter:

  1. Guest gets to Astro Orbiter standby line at 1:00 p.m.
  2. Wait time is 30 minutes
  3. Guest gives Cast Member DAS card
  4. CM writes on DAS card: Astro Orbiter / 1:00 p.m. / 30 minutes / 1:20 p.m. (Attraction / Current Time / Wait Time / Return Time)
  5. Guest returns to standby line
  6. Guest shows CM the DAS card with info along with photo ID, if necessary
  7. CM crosses line through current Return Time as guest and party go through exit line to board attraction

DAS information with guests with a wheelchair or stroller:

  • DAS cards will not be given to these guests
  • A red tag will be put on the stroller or wheelchair
  • Attractions will be stocked with return cards
  • These return cards will have the attraction name, a spot for the name and date and wait time and return time and number in the party and the Cast Member’s initials
  • These can only be used one time and guests can only have one of these at a time as well
  • As the Return Time comes up, the card will expire

DAS information for Give Kids the World:

  • Lanyards with the Genie printed on them will still be mailed out to these guests
  • These guests will still be granted immediate access
  • Lanyards will have the guest’s name, date, length of use, and a Cast Member’s initials


  1. This solution is so poorly thought out, it’s ridiculous. I speak to this as a process improvement expert, and as an uncle to a severely challenged 7 year old. Most members of my family are AP holders, so we visit quite a bit (myself – it’s 2-4 times per year). Trying to enjoy an attraction with my nephew will mean a double visit, and the requisite extra pushing of his wheelchair. In addition, my parents (seniors, one of who has had both knees replaced and refuses a GAC or a scooter) get the extra walking since we all have to be in attendance. Normally, our group splits up a bit in order to keep our numbers under the GAC limit, but since it’s a standby queue, there’d be no expectation for party size.

    This is a lot of extra effort imposed on people who need reduced travel distances and lower stress levels. It’s a knee-jerk reaction to dealing with people that abused the system. Most people never felt the impact of those small-minded enough to abuse the system. However, if my nephew ‘loses’ it while in a queue (since that’s inevitable), a lot of people will quickly feel the absence of the GAC.

    You see, my nephew will be in a lot more Standby queues going forward; if the return time is long, no more DAS will be available, so no more access – so his (and whomever is staying with him) only other options are to wait in an A/C’d gift ship or restaurant. For newer attractions, the queue will accommodate his wheelchair – and I’m sure that the Disney CMs will be able to evac the wheelchair fairly quickly from the depths of a long queue. Oh wait – they haven’t been able to yet, so I doubt they covered it in this process.

    From the perspective of a long-time, oft-traveled guest, with experience in these matters, there are better ways to manage this process. I’m a huge Disney fan, but boy, they really dropped the ball on this one. I have many suggestions, still cost-effective, but this change reeks of having Marketing in charge, without including anybody that knows much about living with disability.

    • Intelligent says:

      DAS availability will never run out (you must be thinking of FastPass). So your nephew will NEVER have to go through a stand-by line because it will allow you to ALWAYS use the FastPass queue for EVERY attraction you receive a wait time for. I believe you should be rejoicing this system because now you can keep your party together and all use the FastPass queue no matter how many people your traveling with.

      Oh, and by the way, 100% of guests not using a GAC card felt the impact of it, because they were over issued and used over-and-over on one popular attraction boosting the standby wait time.

      Sorry you no longer receive free reign to hop from ride to ride, cutting in front of guests that most of whom it is their first time visiting Disney; even though you and your family have ridden it a dozen times over.

  2. Well, I think it’s a good change. I know way too many families around here that only have autistic children when they’re spending the weekend at WDW. A couple do this on the suggestion of a former CM we work with! There is a lot more abuse than simply hiring the handicap, which I don’t buy as being the real reason for change anyway…

    If I’m reading this correctly, the disabled member doesn’t need to be present at the ride. Do they need to be present in the park to get one at all? (assuming the DAS has been obtained on an earlier day) I’m thinking of those I’ve read commenting about morning medical needs that prevent getting there early. If so, this could be heaven in a sense? Send one parent for a morning DAS at a “hot” ride and schedule FP+ at three others. Since the DAS doesn’t expire, they can be covered for four (five, if you get that MK bonus FP+) quick rides later in the day when the child is taken of and ready to go.

    There is still tons of potential to use this system for fast touring, with a little planning, for those that want to skip waiting. (Heck, I never wait for more than ten minutes using the regular FP system!)

    • The DAS card will be issued for a particular person and that person will have their pic on the card or must have a photo ID on them with a matching name. They must stay with their party and it can only be used for attractions if that person is present.

      • I think I might have been confusing a rumor I read elsewhere with your article. I remember something about the child not having to be present to get a return time. (Avoiding meltdowns for those that don’t understand not being able to ride right away.) Sorry!

  3. @ Jess, I don’t think you are knowledgable enough about kids ith autism that you would make the comment that families only have autistic children. This new process will be impossible for families with kids with ASD. You should do just a little research on autism before making such a comment. Also just an FYI, the world handicap is no longer used, it’s a person with a disability.

    • I meant no offense to children that actually have autism. I was speaking of passholders in my area that coach their children to “beat the lines” while at Disney. I know these families and I know they have no special needs. Their parents brag about it and suggest others participate. (As I said, some at the suggestion of a former MK CM that does.)

      Also, the phrase “hiring the handicap” was used in many articles about the scams at Disneyland. That’s why I used it, too. (People have a thing for alteration.)

      Don’t search for reasons to be offended. Sometimes you’ll see things that only truly exist in your mind. All the best with the new system.

  4. This is going to be a nightmare for me. So what your saying is I have to walk twice to each attraction? Once to get the come back time and then the return? Do they not understand that people with walking issues are going to have more pain walking double the amount of time? What is wrong with them!! I don’t understand how they can punish us for something some rich **tch did. Def not fair. Well after this trip in Oct. I am done with Disney if something doesn’t change. This is going yo be the vacation from hell !!

    • So you’d rather never go again? I know it is going to be bothersome for many, including myself personally, but it’s something that Disney is TRYING to fix. They couldn’t allow so many to continue abusing the system. Disney is attempting to make it better for as many as possible without it being abused. Have your anger aimed at those that abused it, not those trying to fix it.

      • Doctor Disney,

        I was one who wanted to blame BOTH the rich a-$$es and Disney for this radical change. However, I’ve sat back and chilled a bit to wait and see what happens. I also got a call from Disney yesterday regarding the change and I had a great conversation. The kinks are going to be there and I KNOW that Disney will do what they can to fix it to make it better for those who really need/appreciate the gesture of Disney to provide such a pass. So, while I sit here and plan our next trip I will also keep abreast of all the changes and hope for the best. Meanwhile, I will work with my ASD son on waiting in lines. 🙂

  5. I have a daughter in a wheelchair. I believe that Disney is trying something new and working out the “kinks.” I remember when they first remodeled Journey to Imagination and received so many complaints about losing Figment, they remodeled it again within two years. The only thing that concerns me in the interim is this. Have they considered the battery life of wheelchairs if guest is going back and forth waiting for the assigned time to return?

    • That is the thing and I’m sure battery life is something Disney has taken into consideration or will once the system rolls out and they learn what works, what doesn’t, what stays, what needs to be changed, etc…

  6. Lisa Kaylie says:

    Autistic kids have trouble with transitions. Theoretically coming back in half an hour would work for many disabilities, but seeing a ride, then leaving the area to go somewhere else to wait, then returning to the ride to wait makes for meltdown drama. So many transitions and still waiting in line. We can’t even last a full day anyway. We went when the park opened and were out of there by 11:30. We did not get a half day discount.
    How can Disney let complaining about abuse destroy so many families only place to vacation together? I’m glad we went last year. We were planning to go this year, but not with this new pass. So sad for so many. For anyone without a child with a disability – I would wait in line an eternity at Disney or anywhere else to have my son be happy and healthy. Parents of special needs kids are used to waiting – in therapy rooms, in doctors offices, on the phone with the insurance company, during hours long meetings with schools. We are pretty good at it.

    • Intelligent says:

      The guest with the disability (such as an autistic child) does NOT need to be present to receive a return time, only when returning to enter the FastPass queue.

  7. Thanks for this update. Of course I understand the disabled guest (in my case, my son) must be present at the point of return entry to ride the ride at the given time, but do you know if it’s possible for the parent to go with the DAS to get the time without the disabled child. That would work great for us because my husband could stay with my son to have a snack and watch the fountain or something, for example, while I go get the return time for Soarin’ and then we would bring my son with his DAS photocard when it’s our turn to ride.

  8. this will not work with children on the autism spectrum there will be ada lawsuits i will pretty much say this is certain hope disney has as much money as the ada government, the majority should not be punished for a few morons

    • Isn’t the ADA about EQUAL access though? This sounds very fair and in line with the law. I’m sure Disney isn’t going to make such a huge change without considering this aspect! Perhaps, some of the outrage might be better directed towards changing the law to better suit this apparent need to never wait for anything.

  9. I am curious on how it works for the ones that just need the moving belts slowed when loading the rides. I am traveling with 3 elderly people in November and not sure how to go about the situation. I am able to park tour with fastpasses and rope dope to make it more leisurely and we always go when the attendance level is low. So I do my share of planning to make it a great trip.

  10. So far, I don’t think the changes are that bad or different. I have 2 special needs kiddos, a 12 yo with brain injury, developmental delays, heart/lung defects, anxiety, and uses a wheelchair and a 4yo with aspbergers, anxiety, ADD, OCD and language learning disability. We have been to Disneyland many times and Disney World a couple of times over the past few years. I didn’t expect the help that Disney offered us in the first place. It was pretty awesome. We have also experienced the many different changes that Disneyland has tried to implement over the years with their GAC. This isn’t the first time they have made changes or at least tried to make changes, it is just the first time it has been made so public and drastic, but honestly it isn’t that drastic. The past couple of years at Disneyland, we have been getting the return pass for many of the popular rides already. This isn’t a new concept. It always worked well for us. We also made good use of the fast pass system as well, as their were many rides my kids can’t ride, but other members of our party could. I have been very savvy with the combination of the GAC, return passes, and fast pass that our day always ended up being pretty fulfilling, even if we couldn’t do that much. At least until my husband and step daughter’s social anxiety kicks in. (yeah, I’m crazy for taking 2 kids with special needs and 2 adults with social anxiety to Disneyland in the first place, but we always made it work for us. Even my husband doesn’t seem to distressed over the changes, which surprised me since his anxiety at places like Disneyland can really overwhelm him if we don’t take breaks often.) I think that implementing the return pass idea parkwide has probably been in the works for a while, they were just doing it gradually with the more popular rides, but the stories that broke out back in May just made them speed up the process. My only concern with the whole change is the rides that have really long wait times. (an hour to 2 hours) It doesn’t seem fair to have only 1 return time when the wait for that one ride is so long. Now, I am looking forward to not sitting in a 2 hour long wheelchair line for Pirates of the Caribbean or Splash Mountain. The past couple times we went to Disneyland, many of the alternate entrances/lines had just as long of a wait as the regular lines. We always tried to go during off peak times to avoid this issue, but I think many families who have a loved one with a disability had the same idea because the wait time in the alternate entrance line became longer and longer at many of the well known rides.

  11. Have you heard if they will require any additional documentation for the card or just a photo ID?

  12. Ah so they do have a magic list after all! If Disney just admitted it instead of lying to the people who tried to sue over the DAS they could’ve saved everyone a lot of trouble.

    I’ve accepted the DAS and am planning to use it this year. However Disney must understand half the reason we need such a pass is normal park goers being unable to behave themselves, I don’t want to hear about how “That Autistic kid’s meltdown disturbs everyone in line!” when normal kids and adults scream, shove, and are unable to understand personal space. They have a choice to behave, people with Autism don’t have that choice. It’s still sick that people regard this as fair, instead of catering to non-disabled adults with the same concept of fairness as a smug 2 year old child.

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