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Guest Claims Disney Made a Disturbing Change to Its Disability Program

Three girls in princess costumes, one in a wheelchair, joyfully playing outdoors at sunset, with lush greenery in the background.
Credit: Disney

Just last month, Disney announced a major change to its Disability Access Service program. For years, guests with certain medical, cognitive, and physical disabilities could get a DAS pass and wait in a shorter line.

However, beginning May 20 at Walt Disney World Resort and June 18 at Disneyland Resort, the DAS Program will only be available for guests who have a developmental disability, like autism. That will severely impact the thousands of guests who rely on the DAS pass.

DAS Defenders challenge Disney disability changes

Credit: Disney

Related: Guests Seethe as Disney Makes Highly Controversial Change to Disability Services

The backlash against Disney has been swift and unrelenting. Petitions have been circulating, hoping to convince Disney to change their new rules. Others have said that they will sue Disney for violating the Americans With Disabilities Act. Disney has said that there will be some sort of system for those who no longer qualify for DAS, but they have not given any details.

However, one guest is claiming that Disney is not just limiting its DAS program to those with disabilities. According to X (formerly Twitter) user @ladysparkleshoe, Disney is also only allowing children under 14 to qualify under the new system.

Disney changes Disability Pass Access System

Credit: Disney

The X user said that they recently visited Disneyland and was told that the new program was already in place and only children 14 and under could use it. She claims that a cast member said adults with autism DO NOT qualify.

Well this is wild. I was told this morning at Disneyland that DAS is for autistic kids under 14 only. Effective today.

Now.

Yes I am an adult and I can buy Genie+. But I don’t ride most of the Genie+ attractions. I know my limits with my situation…

And we did figure out how to navigate the parks today in a way that should be OK.

But being told “you don’t look like you have any problems” is WILD.

No, I get it. I don’t look sick. I wish I wasn’t.

But the reality is? I have some serious issues that can pop up QUICK

Related: Disney Just Told Thousands of People With Disabilities That They Don’t Count

LadySparkleShoe said that the cast member said other things and seemed happy about the changes. She posted to X to make sure that everyone heading to Disneyland knew about the big changes and some unexpected twists.

Also I posted this mainly to bring awareness that the changes are going to be WILD and first time visitors or once every few years visitors until the advance thing starts might run into this.

Other things were also said. This CM was confident and joyful about the whole thing

Commenters were stunned that a Disney cast member would act so callous about someone’s disabilities. They also thought that maybe the cast member was not being truthful, since Disney said the DAS changes will not be enacted at Disneyland Resort until mid-June. She also said that she had reported the cast member for their behavior.

This was with a CM?? Because the DAS changes aren’t supposed to happen at DL for another month, and I don’t think I’ve seen ANYWHERE that it’s only going to apply to those 14 or younger.

My goodness I am sorry you had this happen, because it is so wrong on multiple levels

Many doubted what LadySparkleShoe had to say. She admitted that the information was wrong, but she was merely repeating what she had been told by a cast member at Guest Relations.

I am aware the info is not correct. Or shouldn’t be. But it’s what I was told today, and I heard others told the same thing, and I wanted to share so people aren’t blindsided if/when they take a hard line on this. It’s possible they will.

No one really knows until it goes live

Related: DAS Defenders Challenge Disney’s Controversial Disability Changes

The huge change Disney is making to its Disability Program is not something that many people will easily transition to. Disney still refuses to ask for a note from a guest’s doctor, as Universal Studios does. Many are begging Disney to follow in Universal’s footsteps, since those with a legitimate disability would not have an issue proving it to Disney.

What do you think of the changes Disney has made to its Disability Program? Let us know in the comments!

About Krysten Swensen

A born and bred New England girl living the Disney life in Southern California. I love to read, to watch The Golden Girls, and love everything to do with Disney and Universal. I also love to share daily doses of Disney on my Disney Instagram @BrazzleDazzleDisney!

9 comments

  1. I think the DAS system should limit who can get it and I think that rides should be limited like the LL rides are limited. One use only per day. Why should DAS holders get to ride the same ride as many times as they want using their DAS pass when Genie+ users can only get one LL pass per ride a day?

  2. They can’t just ride “as many times as they want” Linda. DAS ride return times are limited by and dependent on ride wait times. If you ride Peter Pan at 9am and then get off and want to go on again and the wait time is now 120 minutes, guess what? You wait 120 minutes. You just wait elsewhere instead of in the queue. As the day goes on those waits get longer and longer and so your return time would be longer and you just wait someplace else. Maybe you should educate yourself before you pop off on a topic. Also way to be compassionate. As a parent of an autistic child I’d gladly trade places with you and wait in ALL the lines for my child to not have the challenges she does and will for the rest of her life.

    • I totally agree as a Mom of an autistic child. Unless you have experienced this first hand, people have no idea of the challenges these kids face.

    • And yet there are multiple posts with DAS pass holders stating they rode the same rides 4-5 times in one day using their DAD pass. People buying the LL can only buy it for a ride once a day. I’m only goi g by what I read. One person even stated they rode Slinky Dog 17 times in 3 days because that’s their DAD persons favorite ride.

  3. The nee system has started at Disneyland. Cast Members are being trained from different departments. I know a PhotoPass CM training for it now. Many people are already being denied. A cancer patient was turned away. Undergoing chemotherapy doesn’t count. He was told to rent a scooter or wheelchair. The CMs have an attitude about them, like they are superior. Still being done at City Hall and Chamner of Commerce now.

  4. Disgusted Mom and Special Needs Advocate

    Wow sounds like this poster is jealous of someone who has to live life with disabilities over not being able to wait for a ride which for many autistic children AND Adults who fixate on certain things, can be extremely difficult, considering the impulse control issues and lack of understanding that can be encountered. Sorry some of our children and family members were born to inconvenience you.

  5. I’m sad to hear of the changes. We have never used the Disney DAS system. However, I have taken a grown child to Disney w. disabilities more than 1 time.

    To most he would look normal until you spend a moment talking to him. Then you realize he has some mental disabilities.

    Our last trip in 2019 despite afternoon breaks he became agitated and angry suddenly. He flipped wrought iron tables and chairs outside a dining establishment in Hollywood Studios. He was escorted by his father out of the park immediately and missed his favorite show Fantasmic that night.

    I wasn’t even aware there was a DAS program at the time.

    As we are later in the year experiencing another Disney trip I was hoping he could use the DAS program due to all his disabilities that are mental and results w explosive behavior w crowds and waits.

    I sure hope Disney doesn’t limit this to just children because despite he is an adult; he has the mentality of a child.

    We recently went to Universal and despite it was the Christmas season he was able to use their disability program. It was good he was able to get a return time to come back to experience an attraction. He was able to enjoy the parks w it being the first week of their Christmas season and we had zero issues.

  6. I must use a walker & scooter to get places as I am still recovering from a Trimalliar Fx of my ankle & can’t stand very long. It’s not fair to me to be denied the DAS pass. Unless you walk in my shoes you don’t know what I am going through with pain & swelling.
    It’s sad a lot of people abused the program & now those of us who need it must suffer.
    I hope Disney reconsider this program guidelines for those who are truly disabled! Sad Guesr

  7. I have used the das pass 2 times. I DO NOT agree with the new das pass! I have disabilities that are not visible to the eye, and I do need the pass. I’ve been willing to provide a dr note and still am. My Dr’s have given me notes in the past, but Disney did not WANT them. I feel that if we provide proof of our issues we should get the das pass. At any age.

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