Disney World announces new measures to address abuse of Disability Access Service

Apr 09, 2024 in "Magic Kingdom"

Posted: Tuesday April 9, 2024 12:00pm ET by WDWMAGIC Staff

Disney is making changes to Walt Disney World's Disability Access Service (DAS) to address the misuse of this widely used benefit, which skips conventional queue environments at the parks. The new system aims to ensure that DAS is used fairly and only by those who truly need it, improving the park experience for all guests.

DAS is intended for guests with difficulty tolerating extended waits in a conventional queue environment due to a disability. DAS offers return times for attractions, similar to standby waits, allowing guests and their party to enjoy other park experiences instead of waiting in line. Notably, Disney has dramatically narrowed the scope of eligibility and now says that DAS is for guests with a "developmental disability like autism or similar." The new DAS also extends the enrollment period from 60 days to 120 days, and reduces the DAS party size to four guests.

Disney is facing increasing abuse of the system, which, according to sources who spoke with WDWMAGIC, is the primary cause for extended wait times in the Genie+ Lightning Lanes and occupies a significant quantity of available Lightning Lane inventory.

Disney plans to introduce the new DAS system on May 20, 2024 at Walt Disney World, and June 18, 2024 at Disneyland Resort in California. Disney is teaming up with Inspire Health Alliance to help Cast Members determine eligibility. 

How to Register for DAS at Walt Disney World

  • Registration is available via live video chat.
  • Speak with a Cast Member via live video chat to determine eligibility as soon as 30 days in advance of a park visit.
  • At this time, live chat is offered in English only.
  • Guests visiting now through May 19 may visit a theme park Guest Relation location to speak with a Cast Member. In-person registration will no longer be available at theme park Guest Relations locations starting May 20, 2024.
  • If DAS is provided after a conversation with a Cast Member to determine eligibility, the Guest with a disability (or a parent/guardian) will participate in the registration process. This requires having a photo taken of the DAS-registered Guest.
  • DAS registration maximum party size is the registered DAS Guest and up to 3 additional party members, for a total of 4 people.
  • DAS is valid for up to 120 days. Once the service has elapsed, Guests will need to re-register.
  • Guests visiting now through May 19, 2024, DAS is valid for up to 30 days.

Disney says that, "If it is determined that any of the statements a Guest made in the process of obtaining DAS are not true, the Guest will be permanently barred from entering Walt Disney World Resort and the Disneyland Resort, and any previously purchased Annual Passes, Magic Key passes, tickets and other park products and services will be forfeited and not refunded."

DAS Information for Guests visiting from April 9 through May 19, 2024

  • Pre-arrival conversations to determine eligibility for DAS are available 2-30 days prior to your park visit.
  • In-person conversations to determine eligibility for DAS will continue to be at Guest Relations locations.
  • You can book up to 2 one-hour return windows for select experiences using our DAS Advance planning option.
  • DAS is valid for up to 30 days from the start of the registration. Once the service has elapsed, Guests will need to re-register.
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natatomic20 minutes ago

What about universal’s assistance service? Does your daughter qualify for that one?

RamblinWreck31 minutes ago

The thread is also full of people saying they registered before May 20th so I’m not sure how scientific it is since nobody actually reads what they’re responding to.

ditzee1 hour ago

I walk some, sit some, and stand some. Luckily for me yesterday was amazing. I had decided to get Genie+ and to only use that to see if it worked. Never had to use it because from the 1st ride, CMs insisted on giving us DAS accommodations. Don't know if it was my rollator, the fact that my husband and I are older with 2 young grandsons or a combination but in 2 parks yesterday CMs asked if I had DAS, I told them yes but that we were only using Genie+. They said this or the equivalent of, "Oh but DAS will work better for you.". They offered us the choice of immediate LL or return times. I chose return times. It was shocking and amazing and wonderful!

Purduevian1 hour ago

I can't state for every attraction, but there were free wheelchairs to use while in line at ROTR back in 2021 (my FIL hurt his knee and couldn't stand or walk for long periods of time). He of course refused to use a wheelchair so he went to baseline while we all waited in line.

Jumping Fountains1 hour ago

Do they provide complimentary wheelchairs at beginning of queues (doubt they have room for it unless they cut down on strollers somehow lol)? That to me would really be great. From what I’ve read so far, it sounds like there are a bunch of people for whom that would work - and be better than putting it on the guest to pay for a wheelchair for a day and take it around the park, when they may only need it for some queues…

Jumping Fountains1 hour ago

You should see the arbitration clauses in, say, nursing homes. It’s maddening.

Club Cooloholic2 hours ago

I do want to say this, while I can never say there won't be jerks in lines, I think it is getting better, and the younger generations are growing up with autistic kids of all levels right in their classrooms. It was amazing how considerate and protective kids were of some of these special needs kids whenever I was at my kids schools. I have seen it translate in my kids, never batting an eye when seeing kids exhibiting the behavior like your son does with his singing. All I am saying is, I totally get what you are saying about being frustrated, but the world is learning to better understand these kids,.

Fido Chuckwagon3 hours ago

It sounds like on Memorial Day Touringplans predicted a crowd level 5 for MK and in actuality it came in as a crowd level 1. (The crowd levels are based on wait times, not actual people in the parks). Still early days, but that is an interesting data point.

DrummerAlly3 hours ago

I’m really sorry. Sounds similar to my level 1 daughter. She is okay with short waits but if anything goes “wrong” (in her eyes, like for example the line stops moving briefly), she begins panicking and asking a million questions very loudly and definitely annoys the guests around us. RTQ will be far more stressful on her and cause more problems. I’m preparing for a denial - sounds like most kids with level 1 aren’t getting it anymore. I’m going to do exactly what Disney wants me to, which is put on a good face, adjust my touring plans, and buy genie+, but this will be our last trip for a little while. We love universal just as much and the express passes will work much better for my daughter.

Fido Chuckwagon3 hours ago

Over on disboards there is a poll of existing DAS users who have applied for the new DAS and whether they got it. Over half of those applying are still getting the new DAS.

maemae743 hours ago

So what do u do in the meantime while you wait if both standing and sitting cause you pain?

jaklgreen9 hours ago

I really hate that they are making people do that. Who wants to have to explain to a cast member, in full ear shot of everyone around them, at every ride what their medical issues are?

jaklgreen9 hours ago

My main concern is being 20-30 minutes into a queue and having to leave. People keep focusing on how you will go back through the LL, but the actual act of trying to leave the standby queue is not going to be as easy as people are making it out to be. And I think that some are seeing it through their own situation, where they don't have urgent bathroom needs. It is one thing to be a healthy individual and leaving because you have to go pee, but it is completely a different ball game when you have medical bathroom issues. You really don't have that extra time to "excuse me, excuse me" through a 30 minute queue, then try to find and talk to a cast member about coming back, etc. People with these medical conditions time things with the DAS so they are not put in this situation. There are rides that even with DAS, I can not do, like Soarin, because the wait after the merge is just too long. I truly don't think that Disney did their due diligence on these medical issues and just think like how some that are posting think, that it is just a normal bathroom situation.

Chi8410 hours ago

I think they are going to be used very sparingly. It looks like Disney is planning on putting everyone but a very small number of people in the standby line with the AQR as the accommodation. I expect that the attraction CMs have definite criteria for RTQ - not just who looks the worst - and they’re going to be held to it. From what I’ve been reading, they’re likely prepared for people who insist nothing will work for them except RTQ. If they relent too easily the changes won’t work. A lot of former DAS users will probably decide to buy Genie+ rather than deal with the inconvenience or insufficiency (whether perceived or real) of the offered accommodation.