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Disney Makes HUGE Change To Its Disability Program

Disney changes Disability Pass Access System
Credit: Disney

One of the great things about visiting a place like Walt Disney World or Disneyland Resort is how inclusive the theme parks are. Disney wants everyone to feel welcome regardless of things like age, gender, or any physical limitations a guest might have. Disney’s disability program is there to help guests who have trouble waiting in a traditional ride queue, and was utilized by thousands of guests. They found Disney’s DAS program an absolute lifesaver.

guests, family taking selfie, magic kingdom

Credit: Disney

Related: Disney’s Disability Pass: Everything You Need to Know!

However, a BIG change is coming to that Disability Service, and it will affect thousands of guests.

Beginning May 20, Disney’s Disability Access Service (DAS) will ONLY be available to those guests who need it because they have a developmental disability like autism. Those who needed the service because of certain medical disabilities will no longer have access to the service and will have to wait in the traditional ride queue.

big thunder mountain railroad at magic kingdom

Credit: Disney Parks

Related: Disney vs Universal: Whose Disability Service Ranks Supreme?

Disney’s DAS pass used to be available for anyone with any kind of disability that prevented them from waiting in a traditional line. Walt Disney World and Disneyland’s websites now read:

Disney Parks have an unwavering commitment to providing a welcoming, inclusive environment and accessible experiences for our Guests. DAS is one of the programs offered at Walt Disney World Resort theme parks intended to accommodate only those Guests who, due to a developmental disability like autism or similar, are unable to wait in a conventional queue for an extended period of time.

Hi there I was interested in getting my dog booked for a mini groom. Her name is Peach Chapman and she is a pug.

Credit: Disney

Disney said that the reason for the change is due to the extreme uptick in the use and abuse of its Disability Program in recent years. Disney officials said DAS usage has tripled over the last five years. Many videos on social media have gone viral because they show people how to get a disability pass even if they don’t have a disability.

Disney will still not require guests to show any medical proof of their disability. The non-requirement of confirming a disability was part of the reason Disney’s DAS program was abused by many guests.

pirates of the caribbean disney world

Credit: Disney Parks

Disney’s biggest competitor, Universal Studios, also has a Disability Program for those guests who can’t wait in a traditional queue. However, they work with an outside source and require medical confirmation of a disability. Universal does not limit its service to only those with developmental disabilities.

What do you think about Disney’s change to its Disability Access Service? 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!

66 comments

  1. Antoinette Bianchini

    The Change will definately make me think about renewing my annual pass. I am oxygen dependent and cannot walk or stand for long time I utilize a scooter. I currently apply at the park. I do come at least twice a year

    • Sharon Cruickshank

      They have made everything wheelchair / scooter friendly so you no longer need a DAs

      • LOL. Have you ever been to Fantasyland? I dare you to try and maneuver a motorized scooter in the line for Peter Pan’s Flight. Or Pinocchio, Snow White, Mr. Toad………….. The lines are so narrow that they are uncomfortable for a lot of adults, never mind people in wheelchairs.

    • My daughter has quadriplegic cerebral palsy. It involves uncontrollable movements. She cannot wait in a line because she becomes very upset that her arms or legs will injure someone from her wheelchair. I cannot hold every limb and I don’t want to put her through doing that. She definitely qualifies for the program. What is Disney thinking???

      • Exactly! They need to rethink this huge mistake. There are more than just people with developmental disabilities that need DAS! There will more than likely be lawsuits and discrimination cases filed on this before long. The ADA has clear guidelines for disabilities, rights and recourse when the laws are violated.

        • I would rather they require medical documentation than instituting such drastic limitations!

          • exactly. they just opened it up to every parent that just has to say “my kid has autism” no proof required. disney you just made it worse 😡

          • i totally agree,I’d rather show why than to not be able to the parks as I normanly would. are they gonna keep someone with ptsd that can’t stand in a crowded line from enjoying time with family,making many memories?? I have osteoporosis in my back and anxiety so its hard , they don’t ask for proof I do believe myself and other family members won’t be back when our passes run out. We’ll just find a new place to go.

      • Cerebral palsy is a developmental disorder. Your daughter will continuexto qualify for the DAS program.

  2. Disney needs to add toilets to rides that require you to stand for up to 2 hours… even in my mobility scooter I cannot stand for 2 hours, I have diabetes, must drink water, and an hour in to cars have to leave to go to bathroom. My 2 knee replacements make getting into and out of some rides very difficult. I would not be against providing a note from my doctor to facilitate enjoying being a kid again. Disney is changing for sure…..not always the happiest place…..

    • Freida Williams

      This sucks due to meds and health problems I have to go pee every 30-45 minutes. I can’t be in line 1-2 hours

      • So people with valid disabilities such as crohns, or claustrophobia that brings on panic attacks are then being forced to purchase lightning lane, or just not ride the better rides. This makes Disney look money hungry!! I spend alot on dvc membership, annual passes etc. This really leaves a bad taste in my mouth!!!

        • It’s all about the money. The advent of the Genie program has made them millions of dollars and this is a way to push that amount even higher!

          • this is true…. they have combined the lightning lane and das together and they clearly want more people paying for that lane.. BAD MOVE DISNEY…. in the world today get ready for a tons of law suits, they are coming for you.

          • Part of the articles addressing this upcoming change mention that after the end of the free FastPass system and the advent of the expensive and inferior Genie+, DAS use increased quite a bit. Well, f*ing duh. With FastPass, guests could get a free pass with a return time and skip long painful lines. When that went away, those of us who now are unable to physically stand for extended periods (and in my case, who also can’t use a motorized scooter) were left with the need to use DAS.
            Genie+ is not only a financial disaster for families, but a logistical mess. It’s not available for many attractions (Fantasyland comes to mind), and two big attractions require an ADDITIONAL purchase; you can only use it once per day per available attraction, and it breaks down ALL THE TIME. But it makes a boatload of cash for Disney.

      • Apparently, Disney will be adding more options for guests that need assistance with lines, including a “return to queue” process for folks who need to exit the standby line and re-enter (like frequent bathroom breaks, for example).

        • Yes…wonder how that will work. For example, you are waiting in line for 7 Drawfs Mining Train, and you are close to the front but have to leave to go to the bathroom. ie. Crohns Do you walk past all those people to get to the bathroom….that could take a while as it is packed tight and some people don’t move out of the way even with a polite “Excuse Me.” With chrohns, you don’t have extra time, you have to go you have to go. Then after you leave the bathroom, how do you rejoin your party in line. If you tell the people, you are rejoining your party, you may encounter problems even if you show them you have a pass to rejoin your party in line. Some people may not be aware of the procedure and refuse to let you back to your party thinking you are trying to hop in front of them. I can see fights happening more as the frustration grows. This is all because of Genie + and Lightining Lane.

    • Disney,big mistake. Now you are discriminating against anyone who has a handicap other than autism? This reeks of pure discrimination and lawsuits out the door. Where is your compassion Mr Iger! WOKE? Please!!!!

    • Heather Massengale

      My daughter has cold and heat urticaria. She can have severe reactions if she gets too cold or hot and using DAS allows us to keep her safe and out of the heat for prolonged periods of time. This is devastating to us. I wish they would let us provide medical documentation rather than just take it away.

    • The good (?) news for those with Crohn’s, diabetes, IBS or any other GI issues is that there is a “queue return” policy that allows guests to leave the line for bathroom breaks and return without losing their place. As this isn’t an issue that directly affects me, I haven’t read up on how it works, or if it still sucks.

      • Yes how will it work? When you have Crohn’s, every minute counts…I just responded to someone in this thread using the 7 Drawfs Mining train as an example. How do you leave that line quickly enough to get the bathroom? How do you then rejoin the line if other guests believe you are jumping the line? I have a family member that has Crohns, and it is not as easy as many may think. They already had an accident on Mainstreet where we had to buy all new clothes. So I would like to know how this will work with them. This is all because they don’t require documentation (which we were surprised when we first got the DAS as we had all the documentation that we thought we would need), and implementing the additional cost of Genine+ and Lighting Lane.

  3. I am sad to hear this. My daughter has severe anxiety and has a registered service dog. When we went to Disney World two years ago the DAS pass was a God send. It allowed her to enjoy the rides without her anxiety spiking because of having to stand in a crowded line. I don’t know what the tiktok videos say but honestly Disney screens everyone so maybe they need to be a little more strict with the screening or make sure the customer care concierge workers aren’t prompting people as to what to say that allows them to approve the pass. When I called in for our pass I felt like just stating that she has a dog for psychiatric needs which is anxiety wasn’t enough and was prompted to give more info, It wasn’t until I shared that when her anxiety spikes it can cause an attack usually involving hyperventilating that they approved the pass. I think a lot of people will be very disappointed if this service goes away for most. We love Disney and want to come back but if the DAS goes away we may have to wait awhile until my daughter gets better at controlling her anxiety so she can stand in line and still enjoy the visit.

  4. My daughter has extremely high anxiety when in large crowds and when there are so many people around her. We know how to surround her and make a barrier. The DAS pass helped us with this because we could keep here away from large crowds on certain rides (for example Haunted Mansion and the Star Wars ride were we all come into a large group).

  5. This is crazy. I have had a disability from birth. I can’t walk and have to use a chair. The lines are not set up for chairs to go thru them all the time. So I have to be punished for those that abused the system. I have a trip planned for November. So upset!! I would gladly get doctors paperwork. Bad move Disney. So disappointed

    • Sharon Cruickshank

      All attractions are wheelchair accessible

      • Actually, that’s not true!! Many many ride at the Magic Kingdom are not scooter accessible including the newest, TRON!!

    • I agree wholeheartedly. I have excruciating lower back pain making it impossible for me to stand and unable to walk for any distance.
      My doctor would definitely write a script for the use of a wheelchair/motor scooter otherwise I would not be able to make the trip at all.
      Any other way? Disney I’m very disappointed 😪

    • Most lines are now set up for chairs, or still have an alternate route for a wheelchair that does not require the DAS pass.

  6. This will definitely affect me. I go to the parks 1-2 times a week. I cannot sit in a scooter nor stand any length of time. Having DAS enabled me to do 1-2 rides if I wanted. I can only do a couple hours a day with frequent breaks. A syndrome causing chronic pain in my entire body limits any movement. I’m actually in tears thinking my Disney days are now so limited. Riding attractions will be impossible unless a walk-on. A scooter is not a solution.

    • This will make it impossible for my granddaughter with POTS to enjoy the Parks and we are DVC owners. It will also cause problems for me with outside lines because of my meds. Oh well guess it’s time to sell the DVC and quit disney.

      • I agree and sympathize with you especially your granddaughter. I have Dysautonomia (POTs, Neurocardiogenic Syncope and Orthostatic Intolerance). I cannot stand in lines. My legs can give out, I pass out, I have heat intolerance, etc. This is a ridiculous policy and Disney should be ashamed.

    • It will affect me as well. I had back surgery over a year ago. It fixed the stenosis that threatened the use of my legs, but had some unintended side effects. My lower back muscles are weaker than before and I can’t stand for more than 8-10 minutes without experiencing increasing pain. Having to do without ibuprofen for 6 months allowed my already serious arthritis to have a field day wrecking my already damaged feet (retired mail carrier). They too become extremely painful if I stand too long. I had to have carpal tunnel surgery on both hands, and the left hand (the one that has to hold the cane) is very sensitive. Pressure on the palm hurts a LOT. I have to use an upright cane, as a traditional one causes me intense pain and puts too much strain on my joints.
      Overall, I function just fine as long as I can sit regularly and take the pressure off the various parts that have decided to rebel against getting older and having surgery. I can’t sit for too long, however, as that also aggravates my back. A scooter is out of the question for that reason, as well as the fact that I can’t use my left hand constantly.
      Disney is right to want to crack down (again!) on abuse of the disability access that allows a wide variety of people with a wide variety of conditions to enjoy the parks. The videos of “influencers” (that should be a slur now) bragging about getting a DAS because “waiting in line like the peasants RUINS the vibe of my money-making videos” is infuriating. Those f*ing people should just be banned. It’s not hard to find them; THEY ADVERTISE THEMSELVES ON SOCIAL MEDIA. Are the powers that be just too bloody lazy to track them down? Come on, guys; angry civilians track down bad actors who get filmed doing vile things in public and get them fired. You can track down the duck-lipped twit who posts dumb stuff on TickTock.
      I am very happy that Disney does as much as possible for neurodivergent guests and guests with developmental disabilities. I absolutely don’t want that limited AT ALL. But this heavy-handed knee-jerk change will alienate thousands of guests who have a valid need for a DAS.

  7. Cee & Guy Iarussi

    Bad people make it BAD for the good people…..

  8. It’s a sad day now that the bad people have caused such a change to Disney policy. Have had my family need to use DAS in the past and have seen the abuses even years ago I’m happy Disney is making changes. I’m sad it’s not done for the good of all those who need it but only a select few. Disney get smart and call for an outside company like Universal Studios or make a better plan yourself. This plan makes a statement but is incomplete for all who need DAS.

  9. Well….then bye bye Disney. Yes, I agree it has been abused, but people like myself, cannot stand in two plus hour lines due to medical reasons. They just want more people to pay for LL and Genie. Sorry, not playing your game Disney. It’s been fun, but my last trip was indeed, my last trip.

    • It’s all about the money. I have uncontrolled diabetes and my sugars can tank. Also osteoporosis They will lose people to Universal

      • This makes me very sad. My daughter has autism and when we first started coming when she was just 4 years old I even brought her medical diagnosis with me and they were not allowed to look at it due to HIPPA. As a parent of a autistic child I wish they would mandate a diagnosis so that those who truly need it could have it. I have not one issue showing my daughters paperwork. This should be for other disabilities such as listed above. Anyone with a medical diagnosis and that can prove it with medical back up should not be turned away. So sad that folks had to ruin it for those who truly have a need.

      • Same here with the medical issues – the people that I have seen making stupid comments about diabetics should just make sure they have snack, insulin and drinks with us, and just suck it up and stand in line, have apparently never had to deal with diabetes in any way….i will never go to Disney again….i won’t be able to stand in 2 plus hour lines…and I refuse to use the already ridiculous genie and LL system. Disney just wants more money. Period.

    • Sharon Cruickshank

      Anyone who can’t stand that long is advise to get a wheelchair

  10. Teddy Gingerich

    Post back surgery, I can no longer stand for more than about 8-10 minutes. And I can’t sit for long periods either. I usually visit solo. What am I supposed to do? I agree; the abuse was not only clear, but blatant. I mean, posting videos about using the DAS as an “influencer” because standing in line is just NOT gonna make your money-making videos pop. And bragging online about how to get a pass to skip the line. But eliminating the pass for everyone except those with developmental issues is a step too far. And Disney, just so you know: lines are absolutely NOT wheelchair friendly. Have any of you people BEEN to Fantasyland?

  11. Crap! We just rewnewed our families annual passes. I hope Disney will refund part of these passes so we can use the proceedes to buy at Universal! I have doctors PRFOOF needing a DAS pass so hope Disney will allow us DAS until February 2025.

  12. This is crazy. There are people with physical problems that will no longer be able to enjoy Disney. This is very exclusive, where Disney used to be inclusive. Shame on you!

  13. I hope Disney reconsiders this new policy. My husband, in his 80s, can only stand/sit for a few hours due to a medical issue. Having the DAS allowed him to enjoy the parks and to access two rides before needing to exit a park. We have annual passes. This new policy may be the final straw in deciding to renew or not. So many Disney policies are changing to gain more revenue rather than think to of the needs of the guests!

  14. My husband is a brittle diabetic who needs to use the restroom very frequently. We just returned from Disney this week and while there he used the restroom before the ride and after. He had the DAS pass thank goodness.
    My granddaughter has cardiac abnormalities which make it hard to be in long line and the heat per her cardiologist and cardiac surgeon. If these changes affect them, it will be a huge problem for our family.

    • Instead of punishing people like myself and others who require a DAS pass and who love to go to the parks why not use a service such as the one Universal Studios does and have them verify a legitimate disability. This would eliminate the fraudulent claims of disability and allow those that need the DAS pass to still enjoy the parks.

  15. As a person who travels with a handicapped person, I’m here to say all queues are not mobility scooter friendly. Most are dark and hard to maneuver through the queue. My partner cannot stand or walk more than 25 feet without having to sit down. And of course, there are few places to rest in the line. These rules that are changed due to others abuse make it hard for those who need help and are not abusing their system. Definitely time to consider renewing my annual passes.

  16. I can not sit or stand for a long time. I have a disability card that I can show them. Disney is making it hard for people because of some bad people. If you have acard saying you are disable that should help. Disney that is a bad move for people like me

  17. Absolutely horrendous! My daughter has Ulcerative Colitis which causes frequent immediate bathroom issues (and anxiety makes it even worse). She will never be able to stand in a line that is longer than 30-45 minutes for fear she will not get to a bathroom in time. And at times, that time limit is pushing it. I would gladly provide medical documentation if they gave that option.

    • I understand that there are a few bad apples out there that spoil the bunch, but limiting the program just to one type of disability is unfair and not right. I have osteoarthritis of the knees and osteoporosis. I also have Lupus. I can’t stand for long periods of time. I would gladly show my handicap card plus have a note from my doctor. If this is the way you are going to do things Disney, I don’t know if I want to visit you again.

    • Exactly!!!!! I have a family member that has Crohn’s…Does Disney even understand these disabilities? They said they will make bathroom accommodations to return to the lines but how much time do they think a person has to leave the line and get to the bathroom? Do you have maneuver you way through guests to get to the bathroom which will take up more time that people think because some people don’t move quickly even with a polite, “excuse me”. And how do you know when you reach the bathroom that there won’t be a line there? If you make it to the bathroom in time but takes longer than your party who is waiting for you to return to the line, do they just stand in that same spot until you return? And how do you make it back to your party without people thinking you are line jumping? Even if Disney gives you a pass to show you are returning to your party, how many people will be aware of the program to let you return to your party, and how many guests will give you problems to get back to your party because they don’t understand? This is a mess. After my family member was just recently diagnosed, we went to us the DAS, and we had all of our medical documentation ready. We were shocked when they required no proof. We still carry the paperwork when we come just in case it is needed. Maybe Disney should set up a system to provide medical proof. We have been ready to show it. So I like to see what they mean by bathroom breaks but as far as I can see…this is a mess that could have been avoided.

  18. Terrible move on your part Disney. Guess my disabled body won’t be going anymore..

  19. I’ve used this DSA for years. It is so sad that they decide to take it away from people that need it. All they care about is the money annual passholders and DVC member’s. I need a little extra help and you can’t even give us that now. what else are you gonna take away from us all you care about is more money nothing else give us a break. All we ask is a little bit, sad

  20. How about with people with a broken fractured foot and wearing a boot. How is that going to work for them. I go to Disneyland alot I’m an annual pass holder.

  21. My son does have a true intellectual disability and I have seen many people try to abuse this program, so I am glad they are getting more restrictions. Now the people that really need it will be able to use it.

    • I totally understand what you are saying, however, I have MS. From that I have a complete intolerance to heat that has developed over time. I have had MS for 25 years, in the last 3 or 4 is when I started using DAS. Even in December, I am dripping in sweat, my heart racing and I cannot cool down for hours. The DAS pass made it where I could “wait in line” in a cafe, or on a bench with ice packs. I cannot do a scooter bc my legs have involuntary spasms often, so in general, it has become a necessity for me. We have DVC and APs and the amount I am spending trip over trip is a hard pill to swallow when they are going to make the parameters so narrow and exclusive. I too have seen people abuse it, but report them, get them banned, don’t take away the ability for others that need accommodations to be eliminated.

  22. As a diabetic, this was a game changer for me not having to worry about the restroom or if my glucose levels would drop from all the walking. This will suck going forward and really make me consider returning if they don’t allow me or my son to not have to worry about having issues while in line.

  23. This is confusing and concerning.. My adult daughter has POTS.. and we just discovered the DAS.. and were looking to plan a Jan 2025 Trip with knowing this would be available. My Grandson has a Trach and Vent… also were considering this to be a plus.

    We are willing to show medical verification. If this is set in stone.. then bring back FAST pass.. it may be your answer… Take if from a 26 year Disney patron.. and visitor.. sometime changing things is a VERY BIG MISTAKE!

  24. I think you are missing the point of this change. It is hard for me to see people with casts, in wheel chairs and with other disabilities being forced to go into the long line. Even they are given DAS pass, they have to wait outside somewhere the same length of time they did not stand in line before they enter the Genie line. But it is increasing the length of the Genie line is the key. I think you need to dig a little deeper.

    Genie + revenues are up. And if you force people with artificial prothesis, artificial legs, circulation issues, to stand in line because they can sit in a wheel chair, that is just cruel. For years my family and I waited in lines and I was happy to see Disney consider persons with mobility issues not stand in the long lines. They still have to wait even with a DAS. You just don’t stand in regular line. This will only increase the ability for Disney to allow more Genie Passes and also force person’s with disabilities to buy Genie if they can not wait. Follow the money trail. You don’t take a shot gun out and punish everyone because others found a way to abuse the system. You fix the abuse directly. So sad.

  25. This is ridiculous but shows how people take advantage of a service provided for those who actually need it. I have used it and appreciated it. However, I did witness a young lady who stated she couldn’t “walk or stand” for long periods of time RUNNING through the park. Total abuse of something helpful to others.

  26. You can see from this thread exactly what the problem is. Everyone thinks that they are special and their ailment should prevent them from waiting with everyone else. You don’t want to wait in a line don’t come to an amusement park.

  27. Sounds like it is time for an attorney like Morgan and Morgan to step up and file a suit against Disney! This is absurd!

  28. My husband loves Disney. We moved to Florida last year to be closer to Disney. He is a disabled veteran. The das is a lifesaver for him. This is a bad move on Disney. We would gladly show proof of his disability. They need to crack down on the abusers.

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