• Menu
  • Menu

Walt Disney World Changes Disability Passes Over Potential Misuse

Walt Disney World is changing access to the DAS card system
Walt Disney World is changing access to the DAS card system [Image by stinne24 from Pixabay]
Walt Disney World is currently making adjustments to its program that shortens wait times for theme park visitors with autism or a similar disability. Meanwhile, the popular theme park is concerned over misuse by the public leading to changes having to be made. Adjustments will be made to the disability access service card (DAS), which has gained popularity over recent years, but is reportedly being misused.

Walt Disney World makes changes to DAS cards

After potential misuse by guests, Walt Disney World is making changes relating to the disability access service (DAS). Moreover, from May 20, Walt Disney World guests can request DAS at guest services outlets. After this, guests will be connected to a cast member via virtual chat to confirm their eligibility. In the meantime, Disney is bringing in Inspire Health Alliance, an outside company for training and implementing the new policy.

The new process will guide guests to other Disney services in the theme parks, which are aligned with those with individual needs. Moreover, guests can request DAS cards before heading to Walt Disney World

What is the DAS program about?

Lines for Magic Kingdom
Lines for Magic Kingdom [Image by Michael Gray on Flickr]
Some guests with autism and similar disabilities are unable to endure waiting in line for extended periods. Len Testa runs Touring Plans, a vacation planning website and also studies lines at theme parks. He says inappropriate use of the DAS program has forced Disney to clamp down, saying:

It’s the right thing to do for everyone. No one is saying that people who can’t stand in line should stand it. We all understand accommodation, but it’s being abused so much that it’s affecting everyone else in the park.

The DAS service is one of the most popular at Disney and has tripled in the past five years. The way it works is that guests who are eligible for the service are given a set time to arrive at an attraction or ride. Once there, the party joins people in the Lightning Lane – a paid express access service. They can access one assigned attraction at a time.

According to Testa, he recently overheard two men, talking about DAS at Epcot. One said he skipped the park’s lines by getting DAS, while claiming his child has autism. The man then explained that he had saved $500 in ride reservation fees.

“The other dad was incredulous,” Testa said. “He’s like, ‘How can this be true?’”

This reveal has now inspired Testa and his staff to count the number of guests using Lightning Lane as part of the service. He explained to the Orlando Sentinel:

It would not surprise me if you told me that somewhere between 60 percent and 80 percent of the Lightning Lane usage at popular attractions is DAS usage. There’s no way that 60 percent to 80 percent of the U.S. population has a disability that prevents them from waiting in line.

What makes the matter worse is that a long Lightning Lane queue means longer waits for those people truly in need of a disability pass.

Genie+ at Walt Disney World

Back in 2021, Disney World brought in the Genie+ electronic service for ride reservations and access to Lightning Lanes. Meanwhile, pricing varies, depending on the date and which park, but on Tuesday this week, Genie+ prices ranged from $17 at Animal Kingdom to $27 at Magic Kingdom.

“Putting aside the ethical parts of lying about your kids’ disability to skip lines, you don’t want to be between Disney and money. That’s a bad place to be,” Testa added.

What are the latest changes with DAS?

According to the company’s statement, Disney is dedicated to providing a great experience for all guests, including those with disabilities. The company explained that this is why they are so committed to delivering a wide range of innovative support services to ensure that guests with disabilities have a wonderful time at the theme parks.

Meanwhile, Walt Disney World is adding more cast members with specialized training and more options for the attraction lines. It is also limiting DAS groups to immediate family members, or a total of four guests.

Disney plans to make similar changes at Disneyland in California from June 18, 2024. The parks have this week updated their websites to include downloadable guides, lists of services and pre-arrival resources. Moreover, information relating to disability parking, wheelchairs, service animals, Braille maps and audio descriptions is available on both websites.


Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *