Disney Launches New Disability Access Service Policy at Walt Disney World

May 20, 2024 in "Magic Kingdom"

Posted: Monday May 20, 2024 6:04am ET by WDWMAGIC Staff

Walt Disney World's new Disability Access Service (DAS) is now in effect and is only available to guests with a developmental disability such as autism or a similar disorder.

In-person registration for DAS at the parks has been eliminated, and all applications for the service must be done via live video chat available from 7:00 am to 8:00 pm Eastern Time

The new policy is aimed at addressing the misuse of this widely used benefit, which skips conventional queue environments at the parks, and tries 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. 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 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.
  • In-person registration is no longer be available at theme park Guest Relations locations.
  • 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.

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 FAQs

How long is DAS valid?
DAS is valid for the length of the ticket or up to 120 days, whichever is shorter. Once the service has elapsed, Guests need to re-register for the program.

Is DAS issued at the Walt Disney World Resort valid at the Disneyland Resort?
DAS is valid only throughout the Resort at which it was issued. DAS issued at Walt Disney World Resort, for example, is not valid at the Disneyland Resort, and vice versa.

What happens if any of the statements made by a Guest in the process of registering for DAS are found to be not true?
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.

Where do Guests utilizing DAS go to receive return times?
Guests utilizing DAS (and their party members) to make return time selections right from the My Disney Experience app during the day of their park visit. Registered Guests using DAS and members of their party will be able to book, redeem, change or cancel DAS return times using the My Disney Experience app via a smart phone or other smart device. If additional assistance is required, Guests can also obtain return times directly from a Cast Member at any Guest Relations or Guest Experience Team location.

What can Guests do during their DAS virtual wait?
Guests utilizing DAS can enjoy many other experiences throughout Walt Disney World Resort during a DAS virtual wait, such as other rides, shows, concerts, parades and Character Greetings. They can also take a rest in a break area, get something to eat or go shopping.

Does the Guest utilizing DAS have to be present to obtain a return time at a Guest Relations or Guest Experience Team location?
No. Any member of the DAS-eligible Guest’s travel party may obtain a return time, but the Guest registered for DAS must be present and experience the attraction with their party.

Does a Guest utilizing DAS have to ride the attraction at the exact return time listed?
No. DAS return times are not limited to a specific window and are valid until the park closes or an attraction closes for the day.

Can a Guest have more than one active DAS return time at one time?
No. A Guest may only have one DAS return time at a time. The Guest may obtain another return time for the same or different attraction 10 minutes after they redeem a return time.

Can a Guest with an active DAS return time receive a boarding group for one of the virtual queue attractions?
Yes. A Guest can hold one active DAS return time and one virtual queue boarding group at the same time. When a Guest utilizing DAS goes to the attraction with a virtual queue, they, along with their party, will speak to a Cast Member at the attraction about accessing the queue.

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mkt2 minutes ago

The lawsuit is against Six Flags, and their application of the IBCCES credential. https://www.disabilityscoop.com/2024/01/16/six-flags-sued-over-disability-access-policy/30691/

Dranth7 minutes ago

Got it. Sure, but as I understand it, it is still a Universal employee, not a medical professional, that will determine what accommodations, if any, someone gets. I have seen plenty of posts from people who got the IAC card only to be upset once they didn't get the top level Uni accommodations. I'm not saying either system is great, just that I don't see how they are that different from each other. In both cases, someone likely underpaid and unqualified is making a final determination on what kind of accommodations another person needs. Also, isn't there already a class action lawsuit about people having to use IBCCES to qualify for accommodations?

mkt21 minutes ago

Yep. They also drop the call when you ask about their credentials or their background. I've never encountered this before when dealing with actual medical professionals - they'll happily tell me where they went to school, their internship, their residency, etc.

Splash4eva31 minutes ago

Explain to me how a 3rd party is approving someone for theme parks and disney is not… come on.

Touchdown34 minutes ago

You know NPI numbers are public record right? If you have their full name you can easily look it up.

mkt44 minutes ago

It's generous - but at least as per linkedin, more than 10% of their staff are actual medical professionals. As opposed to Disney, where CMs who aren't medical professionals make determinations, and the "medical professionals" you can speak with will hang up a call if you ask for their NPI number of details about their credentials (both highly unethical)

mkt47 minutes ago

This is my renewal, and Uni has given me their equivalent of a DAS every time.

Dranth54 minutes ago

From my understanding, that is a generous description of the group. Also, just to avoid confusion for those that don't know, that does not get you anything at Uni. other than through to the next step where a Uni employee will call and do basically the same thing Disney is doing now, ask WHY you can't wait in lines. At that point they may or may not provide some kind of accommodation. The only difference is Uni requires "proof" through what is ostensibly a marketing agency before they will even talk to you about your needs.

ConfettiCupcake1 hour ago

Disney isn’t saying people who are denied are not disabled though. They are fully recognizing their needs are legitimate, but they are not accommodating them with DAS. How is proof going to change that certain needs no longer qualify for DAS?

Splash4eva1 hour ago

This is why anyone with a legit concern would love showing proof or go through a 3rd party system.

mkt1 hour ago

Rejected by a Disney CM who has no medical experience, yes approved for IBCCES (and renewed) who is run by medical doctors and requires evidence for approval. Absolutely ridiculous. Disney deserves as much bad press as possible over this.

Splash4eva3 hours ago

I was wondering the same thing if i traveled with my daughter would they grant it or not…

NotTheOne4 hours ago

I've seen a few cases where solo guests were granted DAS, but couldn't add anyone to them, i.e., AQR wouldn't work well for them since they're alone, so they a DAS just for them. If someone comes with them, then they can't add them to the DAS, but will use AQR instead. This might be such a case.

Club Cooloholic5 hours ago

I agree with you, that's where I am at with this, let's see what the changes result in. I bring it up because there are folks, that don't understand or refuse to see why Disney would enact the changes. And as much as we want to say they hypothetical, between the forums and youtubers out there, we know there were folks gaming DAS like Billy Mitchell on Donkey Kong.