You may have seen the recent news story about Snow White comforting a boy with autism during his visit to Walt Disney World. If you missed it, here is a link to it as posted from CBS News that is definitely worth watching.
This is one of the many wonderful examples of the Disney difference I often talk about. This type of caring, concern and kindness is commonplace among the Disney cast members and it is a huge part of what sets Disney apart from other travel destinations in my opinion. This day could have been the worst day of this family’s trip but, instead, it was the best!
What the article didn’t say was whether or not this family had (or was even familiar with) the DAS service at Disney. So today, I want to share information about the service just in case it is something that might help your family or a family you know to have a more magical vacation.
The world is made up of all kinds of people, some without special need and some with. Every one of us is special and should be able to visit a wonderful place without fear, worry or anxiety. Disney tries hard to accommodate each guest so that they can feel that they can come to enjoy this wonderful place without any disability of any kind standing in the way. For this reason, Disney’s DAS service has been a blessing to many.
What is the DAS service?
The Disability Access Service (DAS) is a tool provided at the Walt Disney World® theme parks to enhance the service Disney provide to our Guests with disabilities. DAS is intended for Guests whose disability prevents them from waiting in a conventional queue environment. This service allows Guests to schedule a return time that is comparable to the current queue wait for the given attraction. DAS is basically a virtual line. It provides a way for the guest to do other things until their time to ride. They can go for a restroom break, grab a snack, or ride other rides while they wait their turn.
How do I request DAS?
When you arrive at a Walt Disney World theme park, go to the Guest Relations location to discuss your specific needs. Here are the locations for each park:
Magic Kingdom: If still outside the park, a Guest Services location is located on the extreme right side of the gathering area. If you are already in the park, Guest Services is in City Hall, the first building on the left side of Main Street USA.
Epcot: If still outside the park, Guest Services is located on the far right, near the monorail entrance. If you are already in the park, Guest Relations can be found by Spaceship Earth and near the International Gateway.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios: If you are still outside the park, there is a Guest Services window to the left of the gathering area. If you are already in the park, there is also one inside near the park entrance.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park: The Guest Services area is to your left right by the turnstiles.
Once you are there, the Guest Relations cast members will work with you individually to provide assistance. Based on your specific needs, DAS or other accommodations may be provided. The goal of DAS is to accommodate Guests who aren’t able to wait in a conventional queue environment due to a disability.
If DAS is provided, the Guest or a guardian will participate in a registration process, which requires having a photo taken of the Guest who requires DAS. If preferred, a photo may be taken of a guardian. Valid theme park ticket media will need to be presented for each member of the party to electronically associate them to the DAS party. The Guest Relations cast member will then review the DAS process and ask for a Guest to accept the terms and conditions. DAS is good for up to 14 days, based on ticket entitlement, or 60 days for passholders.
Now it’s time to head into the park and enjoy your day!
How do I use it?
Simply go to the Stand-by line at the attraction you wish to ride. Based on the current wait time for stand-by, you will receive a ride time on your magicband or card for the return time to ride. The time assigned will reflect the current stand-by wait.
Once the return time is issued, you are free to enjoy other theme park activities—such as visiting with a Character, grabbing a bite to eat, enjoying entertainment or even riding another attraction while you wait.
Return to the ride at the time issued and ride the attraction. Return times are valid until redeemed prior to park closing but you can only have one active return time at a time. So, once you finish one attraction, you can receive a return time for the same or a different attraction.
It is important to note that the stand-by lines at certain rides are a bit more difficult to navigate with family members with autism or related sensory disabilities. They may require that the stroller be surrendered long before the entrance to the ride. One example of this is Kilimanjaro Safaris in Animal Kingdom. The added measure Disney has in place of providing oversized red stickers for the strollers of such guests enable the loved ones to stay in the stroller all the way to the loading area of the attraction. The stickers can be attached to any stroller.
Another member of your travel party can obtain a return time. However, the Guest in possession of DAS must board the attraction with his/her party.
You must have a valid theme park ticket for every member of your party wishing to ride an attraction with you to receive a return time. The return time will be electronically associated to each party member’s valid theme park ticket.
You can use DAS in conjunction with Disney FastPass+ Service. It is good to plan for this when making your fast pass reservations (this is why using an agent like me is helpful).
Are you park-hopping? You can easily do this as DAS issued at Walt Disney World Resort is good at Magic Kingdom park, Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park, Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
If questions arise, please return to Guest Relations for assistance. Guest Relations cast members will discuss the personal accommodations you may require and may suggest additional accommodations that can be used in conjunction with DAS. All accommodations will be determined in person at Guest Relations.
Here are a few things to remember:
- You cannot arrange to use DAS before your visit. You can plan on having it if you know you will qualify and plan your trip accordingly but all accommodations will be determined on site at Guest Relations.
- Guests with additional questions should discuss them with Guest Relations. For general questions, call (407) 560-2547. Guests under 18 years of age must have parent or guardian permission to call.
- A Guest whose disability is based on the necessity to use a wheelchair or scooter does not need a DAS. Depending on the attraction, Guests utilizing a wheelchair or scooter will either wait in the standard queue or receive a return time at the attraction comparable to the current wait time. For some attractions at Walt Disney World Resort, these Guests will go directly to an alternate entrance. Guests with additional needs should discuss them with Guest Relations.
- In unique situations, our Guest Relations staff will discuss special accommodations for persons who are concerned DAS doesn’t meet their needs (e.g., those whose disability limits the duration of their visit to the park or limits their choice of attractions). All accommodations will be made in person, on site at Guest Relations.
- Disney Parks offer a variety of services to Guests with disabilities, such as Disney’s Handheld Device that offers assistive listening, captioning and audio description. Additionally, Disney Parks has developed a “Guide for Guests with Cognitive Disabilities” as well as a “Guide for Guests with Disabilities” that can be obtained on the Guest Services page of waltdisneyworld.com.
- As soon as a Guest finishes one attraction, they can receive a return time for the same or another attraction. DAS can be used in conjunction with Disney FastPass+ Service.
- If you have to leave a queue due to your disability then, based on your immediate need, please locate the nearest Cast Member or visit Guest Relations.
- DAS service is not available at every ride but is available at rides with fast pass service.
It’s a given that all guests at Disney have to wait in line for rides. No child or adult is particularly keen on that. But, I am happy that the cognitive needs of guests are met through this service. They can do other things while waiting their turn and I agree with many that it is very helpful. Every person deserves a special vacation full of wonderful, happy experiences. Making memories with our loved ones is the best gift of all. I am so thankful to be able to help families share this time together.
For more information, please click on this link to download a free copy of the full Resource for Guests with Cognitive Disabilities including Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
Can I help you plan your magical vacation? If so, please contact me for a free quote at Brenda@pixievacations.com.