Disney Parks offers a Disability Access Service (DAS) to ensure that guests with disabilities can have a magical and inclusive experience. The DAS is designed to assist individuals who cannot wait in a conventional queue due to their disability.
However, many visiting Disney Parks feel as if the DAS system at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World is lacking, leading to misuse, abuse, and outright lying in an attempt for guests to bypass lines.
How DAS Works at Disney Parks
Truth be told, DAS is very convenient for those who cannot stand in line. Due to personal limitations, I often use DAS, or my park days would be cut extremely short due to a disability.
Although I’ve never utilized the system at Disneyland, I am very familiar with how DAS works at Walt Disney World.
When visiting any Disney Parks, typically, guests in need of DAS services can request access to the program via their My Disney Experience app or at guest services once they enter the park.
However, guests should be prepared to answer intimate questions regarding their reasoning for needing disability access. At Walt Disney World, just stating your disability isn’t good enough. Cast members will ask you to answer and provide an explanation of how your disability prohibits you from standing in line.
This can be an embarrassing topic for some to discuss. Personally, I’ve overheard war veterans discussing their need to utilize DAS so that they are not standing in tight, enclosed spaces surrounded by hundreds of people, and the conversation is never an easy one. For this reason, it’s often better to use the virtual interview when planning to visit a Disney Park.
If you’re planning to establish Disney DAS access while in the park, guests need to visit the Guest Relations location at the park they are visiting. They can request the DAS and discuss their specific needs with a cast member. The cast members at Guest Relations are trained to provide personalized solutions and make accommodations based on the individual’s requirements.
Once a guest has obtained the DAS, it can be used at various attractions throughout the park. Instead of waiting in the regular queue, the DAS allows guests to receive a return time for the attraction. During the designated return time, guests can return to the attraction and enjoy a shorter wait or an alternative entrance specifically designated for the DAS holders.
Skipping Those Lines
Bypassing lines at Walt Disney World sounds like a dream come true. Although DAS offers you entry through the Lightning Lane queues of attractions, it does nothing to shorten your wait times.
It isn’t uncommon for a DAS advance reservation to be slotted for an hour or more out of when you make it. For instance, I last used DAS on Pirates of the Caribbean. The posted wait time was 45 minutes. My timeslot to cash in on my DAS reservation was 50 minutes out. Therefore, I still had to wait, just not in line.
DAS callback times can be checked throughout the day in the My Disney Experience app, much like one would check Lightning Lane availability. However, as DAS advance reservations allow guests (who need them) to venture to other parts of whatever Disney Park they are visiting while waiting for their next ride, they are becoming highly sought after and, in some cases, abused.
The Disney DAS pass can also be used in conjunction with other services and tools available at Disney Parks, such as the Disney Genie app. This app provides real-time information about attractions, wait times, and other helpful features that can enhance the guest’s experience.
Stacking Lightning Lane reservations and DAS selections on top of each other makes for a fun-filled day, assuming you actually need DAS advance reservations.
Disability Access Service Isn’t for Everyone
It’s important to note that the DAS is not designed to provide immediate access to attractions. The assigned return time is equivalent to that specific attraction’s current wait time. This helps to ensure fairness for all guests and maintain the integrity of the overall queue system.
In fact, you may be surprised to learn that specific issues related to disabilities are not acceptable in terms of access to a DAS pass at Walt Disney World Resort. Some may consider being bound to a wheelchair as an appropriate reason for being allowed a DAS pass.
However, I personally have heard cast members tell guests that this isn’t a qualifying factor as they are seated within the queues, and the attractions have wheelchair access.
Still, as more and more learn about the DAS pass, it seems that reports of misuse and abuse are growing. This is probably what forced Universal Studios to incorporate a different approach to their Disability Access Service by outsourcing their verification to a third party who requires paperwork from a medical professional to support your claims.
More Reports of DAS Abuse at Disneyland Resort
One particular Reddit post, shared by user u/julsmb, highlighted their frustration with DAS scammers and abusers, specifically TikTokers, who are using DAS for likes and shares.
“I’m sure this has been discussed before, but I am so tired of content creators abusing the DAS system. I was suggested a live on TikTok of a guy bragging that he doesn’t buy Genie+ because he just uses DAS. When I called him out for abusing the system he got wildly defensive. I use DAS for a panic disorder + IBS + autoimmune disease that causes me to faint if I stand for too long – I’ve used it since 2014 when I DID faint and a kind cast member suggested it to me. But it gets harder and harder to get the pass. They’ve started asking why I don’t just get a wheelchair (because you charge $60 for them?), and I know it’s because of people like that abusing the system. Wish I could just show my doctor’s note and be done with it. It gives me MORE anxiety knowing the cast member thinks I’m lying.”
The point that’s brought up is a clear one and brings along with it reasoning for those who actually need DAS to be concerned. As more and more people abuse the system, it becomes more difficult for those who need to use it to obtain it. One bad apple spoils the bunch, right?
It is surprising that a Disney Parks cast member would respond with, “Why don’t you just get a wheelchair?” However, it doesn’t nullify the point that there are groups of people out there willing to abuse the system, making it more difficult for guests with real issues to have a magical time.
Although it’s never our responsibility to police someone else while on vacation if you suspect inappropriate use of DAS, you can always head to your nearest Guest Relation cast member and discuss the situation with them, which is what many in the comments of this Reddit post suggested.
Quickly, the conversation shifted from inappropriate use of the My Disney Experience app and Disability Access Service to outrage over streamers. Still, the point wasn’t completely missed; many shared their fear of losing the vital offering that makes their vacations to Disneyland or Walt Disney World possible.
Disney Parks is committed to providing guests a welcoming and inclusive environment. The Disability Access Service is just one of the many ways they strive to create magical memories for everyone, regardless of their abilities. As abuse and misuse of the system seem to be reported more often, how would you like to see Disney move forward with DAS?