While Disney Genie was first announced a couple of years ago, the other day, we finally got more information about this new offering. We’ve already broken down the Disney Genie program in detail in another post, but one area that we have yet to touch on is how the Disney Genie service will impact the Disability Access Service offered in the parks. Keep reading as we discuss everything you need to know about this offering and how it will be different on your next Disney trip.
What is the Disability Access Service?
Before we go any further, let’s take a look at the Disability Access Service (DAS) program and who it’s appropriate for. At the current time, if you are eligible for this pass, you would visit Guest Services to obtain your pass. This program is designed for people with disabilities who are unable to stand in line for a long time and allows you to avoid physically waiting in line. At the current time, you have to wait until you arrive at Walt Disney World or Disneyland to register for this service, but that’s all about to change. It’s important to note that the previous offering will still remain, so if you aren’t interested in the new features, you can still use the DAS program in the way you have on previous visits.
Early Registration for the Disability Access Service
One of the biggest changes to the DAS is the ability to now register as early as 30 days prior to your visit to Walt Disney World. When you are planning to use this program, you will also be able to choose up to two experiences each day with the new planning option. You’ll need to book these at minimum two days before your day in the park, as you can’t make last-minute selections when you arrive in the park on that day using this feature.
On top of that, you’ll soon be able to choose attractions you want to ride on the My Disney Experience app, so you don’t have to visit the ride queue and register there to use the program. These are two major updates to the program that we believe will make touring the parks much more enjoyable for anyone who has used it in the past and still found themselves crossing back and forth to visit attractions on either side of the park.
Live Video Chat Feature
Another new feature that we can expect to see in the near future is the addition of a live video chat with a Disney cast member. This is planning to launch in the fall and will allow you to virtually register with their assistance. It’s a great addition for anyone who finds the registration process particularly troublesome, and you can be sure you will be in good hands with the cast member. At the time of the launch, this service will only be available in English, so this is important to keep in mind if English isn’t your native language. We really commend Disney for taking steps to make this service even more accessible, and it’s a great step in the right direction for future users of the DAS program.
Who Can Use the Disability Access Service?
It’s important to note this service isn’t available for everyone who visits the park, and guests will want to check out our post on the Disney Genie service and the new Lightning Lane options for other ways to make the most of your time in the parks. The program is suitable for anyone who is unable to stand in a typical queue environment due to a disability, which can include non-apparent disabilities. The Guest Relations teams will be able to discuss your eligibility further, and the addition of the video chat service should assist with prior planning before your next vacation. You are then issued a return time at an attraction you are looking to ride, which is based on the current wait time. It’s important to note that you won’t always jump straight to the front of the line with this pass, and you’ll have to wait until you’ve been to one attraction before you can enjoy another one with this service.
Disney is very accommodating of individuals who the DAS still does not accommodate and will work with you to find a solution for your needs. Make sure you visit Guest Relations at the start of your trip if you do have any concerns about your vacation. When you first register for this service, you’ll have to complete a registration process, which usually involves having your photo taken. This program replaced the old Guest Assistance Card program a few years back, as unfortunately, many people were starting to take advantage of this program and removed the benefits it offered to those who truly needed it.
When using this program, a family member will be able to go ahead and obtain the return time for you. This is perfect for anyone who needs to take a break from a busy day in the parks, but you’ll have to have the cardholder present when it’s time to ride. You don’t have to return at the exact time if you aren’t quite ready, so you’ll just be able to wait until your travel party is ready to ride and then enjoy the attraction you selected a pass for.
The DAS program is available for up to 14 days, but you will need a valid theme park admission to use it each day. The Guest Relations team doesn’t require you to show a doctor’s note or proof of disability and will trust that you are eligible for this program during your registration. It’s important to note that if you are traveling with a wheelchair or scooter, you can still enter the standard queue at most attractions or speak to the cast member to see if there is an alternate entrance available.
Other Services Offered By Disney
Disney is incredibly accommodating for individuals with disabilities, which is why people return over and over again to the parks for vacations. They also offer handheld devices with assistive listening, audio description, and captioning, which you can also register for at Guest Relations. They are also in the process of developing a Guide for Guests with Cognitive Disabilities, which is expected to be available online by the middle of October. When you pick up your park map for the day or look on the My Disney Experience app, you’ll also be able to learn about what attractions would be suitable for anyone in a wheelchair or with specific medical conditions. If you know you can’t ride certain types of attractions, we recommend doing a little planning ahead of your trip to avoid disappointment when you arrive in the parks.
Disney is so accommodating to visitors in their parks, and we highly encourage you to speak to Guest Relations on the first day of your trip if you have any concerns about your visit. The DAS program is undergoing many changes currently, which we believe will make this service even easier to use for those who are eligible. We highly encourage you to take advantage of the early registration when it’s available this fall, as it will make your first day in the parks much less stressful. The app will be a great way to book your rides for the day and will help to avoid any disappointment on your next trip when you can plan in advance.
You can check out Disney’s Fact Sheet here.