The Battle For DAS Supremacy: Disney World vs. Universal

Disney vs Universal DAS pass
Credit: Disney/Universal

Each year, millions of people visit Walt Disney World Resort, and many of them head down the road and also visit the Universal Orlando Resort. Not everyone who visits the theme parks is able to wait in the lines, which can get incredibly busy during peak seasons. Because of this, both Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando offer disability services.

Disability services are for guests who visit, but for whatever reason, can’t wait in a traditional ride queue. This can be due to certain medical conditions or cognitive disabilities.

guests riding dumbo

Credit: Disney

As we said, both Disney and Universal offer this service, but they are markedly different. So, who comes out on top in the battle for DAS supremacy?

Ease of Getting a DAS Pass

When it comes to getting a DAS pass, Disney tries to make it as painless as possible. Guests can either pre-register for the DAS pass or visit guest services when they are in the parks. Disney World cast members cannot ask you what your disability is, but they will ask you why you — or someone in your party — is unable to wait in a regular queue.

avatar flight of passage queue

Credit: Theme Park Tourist, Flickr

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

Unfortunately, because of the relative ease of getting a Disney DAS pass, there are some people who lie about having a disability. This has caused some cast members to be more skeptical. But overall, getting a Disney DAS pass is relatively quick and painless.

The Universal Orlando Resort is not as easy when it comes to obtaining a DAS pass. Universal works with a third party, and guests must request a disability pass through them. Guests must visit the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards website. There, you can request an IBCCES Access Card.


Credit: Kenny Sabugo, Unsplash

The website will require guests to fill out information about themselves. They will also have to upload a letter from their doctor, confirming that they are unable to wait to wait in a traditional queue. Then, once you are approved through IBCCES, a Universal team member will reach out to you to talk about your disability. They will then make the final call on if you actually qualify for the disability card.

This system really cuts down on people lying to get the DAS pass. So, even though it’s more complicated, most people with an actual disability won’t mind taking the extra steps.

Ease of Using the DAS Pass

This is where Walt Disney World comes out on top. They have made it incredibly easy to use the DAS pass.

Once you are approved for a DAS pass, your My Disney Experience app will be updated to include the Disability Access Services option. There, you can see all the attractions that are DAS eligible. They will also tell you the return times, so you can pick which ride and time works best for you and the people in your party.

Spaceship earth

Credit: Disney

Universal Orlando, on the other hand, is a royal pain in the butt. Guests are given a physical card. They then walk to the attraction they want to ride. There, a Universal team member will tell them when they can return and write it on the card.

This can lead to a lot of unnecessary walking and some frayed nerves. It’s very frustrating to walk across the park, only to be told to come back in two hours. And all of the rides around also have long waits, so you’re stuck trying to figure out how to kill time.

Harry Potter Forbidden Journey Universal Hollywood

Credit: Universal

Related: Fan-Favorite Attraction at Universal Orlando Causing Severe Reactions in Guests

This is where Universal could learn from Disney. There is a Universal Orlando Resort app, so why not just update the app to allow guests to book without having to walk to each attraction?

BIG Universal Bonus

One of the best parts about Universal’s attraction assistance pass is that, if a ride has a wait time of less than 25 minutes, guests can go right into the Express Line without having to get a return time.

top roller coaster orlando hagrids-magical-creatures-motorbike-adventure

Credit: Universal

It also doesn’t matter if you have a return time for another ride. This is a particularly great perk when the theme parks are less crowded. For example, you can get a return time for Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure and then head over to Hogwarts and ride Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.

How Long the DAS Pass is Good For

Here is another way in which Universal comes out on top in the battle for DAS supremacy. And it is definitely something Disney might want to consider.

Greenhouse on Living with the Land

Credit: Disney

The IBCCES pass, once approved is good for one year. So, once a guest gets their disability pass from Universal, they won’t have to renew it for one year.

Disney, however, requires guests to renew their DAS pass every 60 days. This can get a little frustrating for Annual Passholders or Disneyland Magic Key Holders. It would be nice if Disney changed their renewal requirements to once a year, or even every six months.

Guardians of the galaxy cosmic rewind Epcot Animal kingdom theme park Walt disney world tree of life discovery island DinoLand USA retheme zootopia bug encanto Indiana Jones dinosaur disney park

Credit: Disney

So, Who Is the Winner

In this writer’s humble opinion, Disney is the winner. And not just because of how easy it is to get the DAS pass. I would have no problem at all submitting paperwork from my doctor like Universal requires.

Disney just makes their DAS pass so easy to use! Universal needs to jump onto the mobile train when it comes to booking attractions. If they change that one thing, they will be the king of the disability pass!

But, for now, Disney ranks supreme.

Who do you think does the best when it comes to guests with disabilities? Let us know in the comments!

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s and may not reflect the sentiments of Disney Dining as a whole.

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!

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