On Wednesday Oct 9th, the Disneyland Resort started a new service for guests with disabilities called the Disability Access Service (DAS). I care for a little guy who has down syndrome. We go to Disneyland every Wednesday, so we went and also had a go with the new system. I would like to reiterate that it was a Wednesday and it was raining, so crowds and wait times are not what you would find on a weekend.
I decided to head into Disneyland’s City Hall. When walking up, they had a huge queue area all marked up with green tape to keep a nice orderly queue. I was presently surprised that there were only a handful of people inside. We made our way inside, and waited a little longer than usual, because they were being very thorough in explaining the new system. (fine with me, as they spent an equal amount of time with me explaining the new system.)
Basically, guests with disabilities get a card. On the front, is the card holders picture, name, and dates valid. It is valid for up to 6 people. On the back is the new explanation with details and such and your signature. Now, for the middle section, and this is what is new. The middle is where you go to specific kiosks (4 inside Disneyland and 3 inside DCA) to get a return time for attractions. For instance, we went to one on Main Street (where you find out wait times and such). We told the cast member what attraction we would like. He looked up the current wait on his iPad, which was 20 minutes. He then wrote the attraction name, the current time, and then what time we could arrive to board at the attraction. They also appear to give about 5 minutes grace period before the current wait time (so, the wait time was 20 minutes, but he gave us a return time in 15min).
When we got to the attraction, we showed our DAS, and the cast member crossed out the top. And we were on our way to board!
Some things to note with the new system. You are not held in stone to going on the ride right when your time says. You can go later. But here is the biggest thing,You cannot get a new time until either you ride the attraction, or you cancel it on your DAS card.you cannot get a new time until either you ride the attraction, or you cancel it on your DAS card. As of now, if you are an Disneyland Annual Passholder (DAPs), the DAS is valid for 2weeks. If you are visiting with just a ticket, the DAS card is valid for as many days as your ticket is. Also, you are encouraged to utilize the fast pass system in addition to the DAS. If the regular return time is under 10min, you will be allowed to board immediately. You can also get a return time at any kiosk for any attraction in either of the 2 parks. So, say you are in Disneyland, and you want to go on Radiator Springs Racers. You just tell them, and you will have a return time.
Another thing they have added, which besides the picture is my favorite thing, they now have a sticker for if you use a stroller as a wheelchair. You go to City Hall in Disneyland or the Chamber of Commerce in Disney California Adventure for this. It is a big red sticker, kind of like a luggage tag, that you attach to the stroller. So now, your stroller has a visible marker for cast members to see if you need to keep a child in it. This is also valid for up to 2 weeks.
As for people with assistive devices (wheelchairs, crutches, etc.), from my understanding they can go straight to the attraction. Some attractions will have guests go through the normal queue if possible. Other attractions will give a return time to come back, just like the DAS card, except times will be given at the attraction. There is no more immediate boarding, unless the regular queue is under 10 minutes.
This was the first day, and one cast member did say they would be reevaluating the new system in 2 weeks. It is going to take some getting used to, but please be patient. I am personally thankful they still have something for these kinds of needs. It could be worse! Remember, the cast members you most likely come in contact with, did not make this new system up. So please be patient and kind with them. They want everyone to have a fun day! I hope this information helps!
Here are a few more resources for those with questions about the DAS:
- DAPs Tips for Disneyland Resort Guests with Disabilities
- Disability Access Service Card Fact Sheet
- Guest Assistance Card Program Update for Walt Disney World Resort, Disneyland Resort
- Disney Parks and Resorts Guests with Disabilities Page
**Tracy is a contributor to DAPs Magic who often helps with video and organization of special events/teams like CHOC Walk. She is a nanny and regularly brings children with special needs to the Disneyland Resort.**