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Wednesday 16 August 2017
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Is the New Disability Access Card Really a Good Solution?

Recently my family and I went to Disney World. Having one daughter with cerebral palsy and another daughter with type 1 diabetes, we were anxious to check out the new Disability Access Card (DAC) that recently replaced the guest assistance card (GAC). The new DAC was implemented on October 9, 2013 in an effort to curb the increasing abuse that had recently made national news.

With the old system, you were given a pass that allowed the person with a disability and up to 5 guests access to the “alternate entrance” in most cases this was the fast pass line. News broke in May of 2013 that some families were hiring disabled “tour guides” so that they could access the alternate entrance, bypassing long wait times. 
Disney immediately leaped into action to find a way to stop the abuse. They came up with a new system that in theory sounded like it may be a good solution, but in reality is open to the same kind of abuse.

The process of getting a pass is easy enough (too easy perhaps?), go to guest relations, state your disability and why you need special consideration, get your picture taken and get your card with the photo on it.

The basic idea of this card is that you take the card to a cast member at the entrance of the ride that you want to go on and they will give you a time to come back to the ride based on the current wait time. For example, if the current wait time for Space Mountain is 60 minutes, you can come back any time after the 60 minutes is up and be able to go through the fast pass line. The concept makes complete sense, you have to wait just as long as everyone else, you just don’t have to wait in a line for the 60 minutes. 

You can only have a wait time for one ride at a time. As soon as you are done with the ride on the list, you are free to get a new wait time from another ride. I’m cool with that, it seems fair enough. The problem that I have is that it won’t curb the abuse that was the focus of the change in the first place. 
The inherent flaw with the new system is that anybody can walk up to guest relations, make up a disability and get a pass. They don’t ask for proof, it’s solely done on the honor system, which clearly didn’t work before. The other issue that I see is that the wait times on the card are all handwritten so there is nothing stopping someone from writing their own wait times down and just sailing through all the lines. Perhaps Disney should come up with a stamp or something a little more secure than just a handwritten note.

I applaud Disney for their effort to curb the abuse of disability access, but this is a miss. They need to go back to the drawing board to find a system that meets the needs of their disabled guests and prevents the abuse of that system. Keep trying Disney, you’re on the right track.

~Jordyn




  • Pat

    When we got one, we were part of a large family group. For everyone to ride together we would all have to have been at guest services when the card was issued….and of course they were looking thru shops, etc while we got the pass, so it was only me and my son listed. So be aware that the entire group has to be there at issuance.
    Most rides he could handle were not lined up enough to use it. The only exception was Tough to be a Bug, where the attendant passed us into the wc area and then allowed both his dad and I to be there when he became upset. We have tried for 4 or 5 trips to see the show, so kudos to the staff, more so than the disability card.

  • Thanks for the tip regarding everyone being present when the card is being issued! Glad the Cast Members are great at being understanding and accommodating. Thanks for commenting. 🙂

  • Jordyn

    I think it varies from cast member to cast member unfortunately. We didn’t have to have our entire party present, just had to tell them the number of people in our party (8) …. There are definitely issues that need to be worked out

  • Trey Rulon

    Dolphin Escape sounded great – sea travel, wildlife,
    Ashcombe Maze, Sunny Ridge Strawberry Farm (yumm!), Hot Springs, Tyabb Packing
    House, Melbourne Museum…… How did they fit it all in??? Next office meeting
    at the Hot Springs it is then!

    For more info visit: wheelchair

  • Witherspoon Bergan

    It’s
    good to see Accessibility and articles related on accessibility come to the
    attention of otherscheck out here: NDIS