Disney Launches New Disability Access Service Policy at Walt Disney World

25 days ago 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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Chi841 hour ago

We faced that decision a few years ago. A couple of non-disabled but elderly people with the usual complaints and some very young grandchildren makes standing in long lines not worth it. So it’s Genie+/ILLs or go somewhere else. So far the kids are pushing for WDW but I’m not sure how much longer it will be feasible.

Vegas Disney Fan1 hour ago

We’ll have no choice but to use it when we go also, with that added expense it no longer makes sense to do several trips a year though, which means it no longer makes sense to spend thousands of dollars every year for Magic keys, we’ll likely take one trip to DL every year or 2, just like we currently take one trip every year or 2 to WDW. Not the end of the world, just unfortunate.

Chi841 hour ago

I give quite a bit of credence to Len’s numbers as well as Disney’s actions insofar as the need for changes. I think accommodations would work better if our laws were modified. Expecting businesses to accommodate the disabled without any verification is not reasonable. Look at what is happening with service animals.

Angel Ariel1 hour ago

Summers have been lower wait times for a while though. I'm not sure much of the recent wait times being posted can be attributed to DAS changes alone. But the "is attendance really down" thread talks about that more. And thank you for the earlier acknowledgement. 🙏

TrainsOfDisney1 hour ago

That remains to be seen and is not a fact. The current solution does not seem to be ideal for guests or CM’s so we shall see what ends up happening. Getting publicity like that isn’t what disney needs either.

Chi841 hour ago

You have been exceptionally reasonable and articulate throughout this thread. It is much appreciated.

Chi842 hours ago

I do too. But the solution is not something that will please those who want DAS continued or extended past what Disney is currently doing.

Angel Ariel2 hours ago

As I've said repeatedly - I don't disagree with what Disney is doing. But I can see how someone who is likely not enmeshed in Disney-ness can read Disney's new statements about DAS re: autism and developmental disabilities and come out with the quote she did. The website quote is likely all she was given to comment on. Doesn't mean I think she's right - there's a lot that NBC article doesn't cover well. But that's not unusual outside of Disney-specific sites.

TrainsOfDisney2 hours ago

Yes, indeed. And as an advocate she sees the concern.

Chi842 hours ago

She’s an advocate, and is speaking as such.

Chi842 hours ago

They’re trying to accommodate the type of cognitive disability that cannot be remedied by in-line accommodations. If you want to see a definitive end to all line-skip accommodations, look for a lawsuit that alleges that Disney is violating the ADA by discriminating based on type of disability.

TrainsOfDisney2 hours ago

Well, explain that to the president of American association of people with disabilities because she didn’t seem to see it that way. I’m guessing she is pretty knowledgeable about the ADA.

Angel Ariel2 hours ago

Disney's shootings themselves in the foot with that perception with their wording re: autism and developmental disabilities. What the woman said is understandable given how they've chosen to frame DAS.

Chi842 hours ago

The accommodations are not based on type of disability because the ADA prohibits Disney from asking about the nature and extent of a person’s disability. So the accommodation is based on questions about the need to avoid standing in conventional lines.