Disney May Have More to Worry About with Disability Discrimination Lawsuit


If you required any kind of assistance at Disney then you may know that the card pictured above was the old Guest Assistance Card, which was used before they switched to the new DAS system. I personally think the old system was way better. I know they had to stop the fraud but why does that always have to penalize the majority of people who are honest?

There has been a lawsuit filed a while ago, well they want to add 69 more plaintiffs to the lawsuit. This would include 36 disabled plaintiffs and 33 plaintiffs that are family members. The lawsuit was filed in April claims that Disney World and Disneyland discriminated against guests with Autism and violated the Americans With Disabilities Act.

The new program works completely different then the old system.  It gives guests with disabilities a return time for attractions based on the attractions’ wait times at that moment. After they experience that attraction they can go to another one etc. The DAS system can be used in addition to Fastpass+.

The new program does not give anyone almost immediate access to an attraction like the old system. The new system makes the guest wait, and there lies the problem. That forces guests with Autism to stand in a line longer then they can handle and this causes a meltdown.

The case will be before a judge in October, but only to see if they will allow the addition of more plaintiffs to the lawsuit.

Wishing you Faith, Trust, and Pixie Dust,


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30 thoughts on “Disney May Have More to Worry About with Disability Discrimination Lawsuit

  1. I cannot believe some of the rude people that commented on here. People have disabilities and they cannot help that they do. I liked the old way Disneyworld handled it with the old guest assistance card. Telling people to come back in 55 minutes or whatever is NOT the way to treat disabled people.

  2. I happened across this article and the comments here made me shudder. The original article does not seem to explain the situation faced by the plaintiffs in this suit. I have two autistic children. The new DAS would work beautifully for my daughter…. she is autistic and also has epilepsy and a condition called POTS (which causes fainting) but she is verbal and completely understands the concept of fastpass. We usually don’t even ask for any kind of assistance for her. But my son is non-verbal and low functioning. He absolutely does not understand the concept of Fastpass….. when we walk away from an attraction that he would like to experience…he becomes confused,aggitated and often aggressive. The concept of “we will ride in 50 minutes” just doesn’t mean anything to him.
    The first time we went to Disney (2002) we had no idea that the GAC existed and when the cast members at Disney saw the difficulties he was having, they took us to Guest Relations and gave us the GAC. We have used the GAC for him for trips ever since. This is all he has ever known and Disney was the one place that we could go and enjoy as a family. He can usually only do about 4 hours…… For those of you that say…. if he can’t handle it just don’t go…..imagine having to tell your child or children that the one thing they love more than anything else in the world…. you can’t do because there are people out there that just are not tolerant of their disability and just think it’s completely unfair that someone is willing to help us enjoy the magic of a Disney Vacation like anyone else. We never cut in line, took advantage, or asked for anything that would inconvenience anyone. The DAS is actually more of an inconvenience to other guests because they have to to stand and wait as we get our card signed and try to maneuver our son’s wheelchair away from the FP entrance as he is starting to get upset. Though many who say they “know how challenging an autistic child can be” because they work with them or know someone who has an autistic child….. Until that child becomes and 24/7 part of your world…. you can not understand!
    If you have an anxiety disorder… you would not enjoy an activity that causes overstimuation and anxiety…. If you had a fear of heights…. you would not WANT to jump out of an airplane. Disney World is one of son’s favorite things in the WHOLE world. His room is filled with Disney stuff…. he has a poster of the castle on his wall….. When a small accomodation will allow him to do what it is he loves so much…. WHY is it too much to ask for understanding from those that have NO IDEA what is like to be him? Let someone take away your ablitity to communicate, move freely or understand your surroundings……. and ask yourself…. would you want to give up something so special to you if it can be so simple to help you?

  3. I may be stating the obvious here… but you say that ‘standing in one place’ triggers his issue… If he was in a scooter, he’d be sitting. BAM problem solved.
    Also the new DAS service should be perfect! Instead of standing in line, you can now go walk around the park and stay moving thus avoiding triggering the issue, then return at the DAS designated time and go on your ride. Perfect!

  4. 1) I personally know people that used the old GAC system (mother of 2 autistic children) and she has attested that it was truly a front of the line pass. She even said that her kids were allowed to go on certain rides multiple times in a row. And she too said that she would not go back without the old GAC system.
    2) If the old system wasn’t a ‘cut the line’ system, what exactly have you lost with the new system? Instead of getting a special little room to wait in, you now have the opportunity to enjoy the remainder of the park instead of waiting in line (or in this little room?) When you return at the DAS designated time, you go to the fast pas line and you’re good to go. Now you just have to wait a fair amount of time before you can stroll down the fast pass line.
    3) This whole argument is ridiculous. Disney was extremely generous with their old system. It went well above and beyond what they are required to do. People abusing the system brought the system into the public eye and exposed its inherent flaws and exposed that it gave preferential treatment to certain people. There is no legal requirement for Disney to provide preferential treatment to anybody, they are required to provide accommodations for everybody to enjoy an equal experience. The new DAS system takes a step in that direction.

  5. Lol at all these able-bodied Disney stans defending their honor. “If your autistic kid can’t stand in line for two hours to ride Splash Mountain, just don’t go!!!!!! Trust me!!! I know lots of autistic people, like my grandmother’s friend’s aunt’s cousin’s son!!!!”

  6. I am saying that there NEVER was a “cut the line” system in place, except perhaps in your brain. The GAC made us no different than a person with FP. Did you consider people using FP to be cutting the line? We NEVER cut the line. On some attractions, we waited in area where dh could sit until it was time to enter the attraction. But obviously, you wouldn’t know about this since you apparently have never had to care for someone with a disability while traveling at Disney. There is a difference between walking up to an attraction, showing the GAC, and entering via the FP line or being taken to an alternative waiting area versus going up to an attraction, standing in a line to get a DAS time assigned for that attraction, finding something else to do until it is time to go back to the attraction and then repeating that process all over again and again during the day. For us, we need to do what we can do within the window of opportunity we have while in the parks. As I said above, on our last trip, he was able to be active for about two hours at a time before he hit the wall. And, as I said above, we have no future trips planned. It would not be a wise thing to do. I’m glad we were able to do four between 2007 and 2013 but we spent way too much time in the resort room on our last trip for the amount of money that vacation cost us. I was very grateful on that trip for the GAC for all that it did enable us to accomplish; little did I realize then that its days were numbered.

  7. So if you never ‘cut the line’ using the GAC card, what exactly have you lost with the new system? I’m confused as to the argument you’re trying to make… You’re saying you needed the old ‘cut the line’ GAC system, but then you say you never used it, then your’e whining that they changed it go a more fair system? Please explain.

  8. You can’t possibly understand until you’ve walked in someone else’s shoes. In the past we “never cut the line” — unless you consider those who had fastpasses to be line cutters. The only time we ever went to the front of the line was when a cm randomly pixie dusted us. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate what Disney does for those who are visibly and invisibly disabled. And I realize the system will never be perfect for everyone. But those who sit back and smugly judge those who daily deal with some sort of disability in themselves or a loved one really ought to stay out of these kinds of discussions.

  9. Why would he need a scooter? He has no problem walking. He golfs daily. There is something triggered neurologically when standing in one place. Avoidance of the trigger is the issue. A scooter would not change that.

  10. How is the new system limiting your ability to enjoy the parks? You still get to avoid waiting in line. How was the old system more accommodating of your health issues than the current system? You’re still not being forced to wait in lines. You still get to cut the line. The only real change is that you can’t jump the line at every ride as much as you want, you have to wait like everybody else – but you still get the benefit of not having to physically wait in line. Disney is just instituting the system that they probably should have had from the beginning – one that is more fair for all.

  11. Kevin You are totally ignorant and thank goodness I don’t know you or your sort of person. Intolerant, judgmental and probably too young to know very much. Get a life and learn to be tolerant of others. You might find that you then will become a much nicer person.

  12. My son is autistic, and I dreaded going to Disney World. I thought it would be an unmitigated (and expensive!) disaster. I was beyond thrilled with the treatment my son received. We’ve gone back 4 times. I think it’s the place he’s the most comfortable in the whole world, because everyone there is as excited as he is, and he fits in. However, we haven’t been since they put the new system in place. I’m waiting until they have worked out the kinks, because I don’t want to taint the wonderful memories we have if it is as frustrating for him as it has been for other children.

  13. if he has a problem standing then get him a scooter or wheel chair. Disney has done everything it NEEDS to do to accommodate people young and old. you would actually still be able to get 5 or 6 things done. Your three fastpass’s you get per day and the use of the card with get you the additional three.

  14. Why can’t Disney have on-line dedicated help similar to the airline disability helpline. Special needs are very much individual.
    . I was looked up and down by a ticket seller and told there was nothing wrong with me. I am in a wheelchair and unable to ride most rides. Those I can ride need to allow my wheelchair to ride with me. So for me 1) I have to return when they say or at fast pass time.2) Wait in line again. 3) Wait for a car that can accommodate my wheelchair. Usually not many of those and have to wait for the other wheelchair users ahead of me. Our companion that day was a member of Disney office staff and he was disgusted and asked how could someone tell what any ones needs are just by looking at them.
    All this because a few selfish people were too lazy to wait in line which was not as bad as it is now. Disney this time you have got it royally wrong. The disabled and older guests need to be careful when they stand or sit in the interactive line. I was at risk of serious injury in the Soarin line. Too bad this company suffers from so much discrimination against its guests. I will not return until they sort this mess out.

  15. If this is such a major concern, perhaps you should re-think taking your child to one of the most over-stimulating places on Earth. The comment was made elsewhere in these comments – it is your choice to put your child in this situation. If you don’t think they can handle it, don’t put them in that situation. The DAS system still keeps your child out of having to wait in lines. Instead of waiting in line you’re afforded the opportunity to go for a walk, go shopping, go get lunch, take a break in the shade… Or even go on other rides while everybody else is waiting in line. I’m sorry that you and your little prince charming can’t cut every line whenever you want anymore. If you don’t like the new DAS system, I hear that Universal is nice this time of year.

  16. “I personally think the old system was way better”… Of course you do. With the old system, you didn’t have to wait in line. Ever. With the new system, you STILL don’t have to actually wait in line, you get to go enjoy the parks for the equivalent time that everybody else is standing in line. How is it fair to expect to cut every line ever time? How is that fair to everybody else that is paying the same price to be there? The DAS solution eliminates the need for people with disabilities to stand in 30, 40, 50+ minute lines while still adding the element of balance/fairness to the other guests who still have to wait in those lines. It has been said many times in these comments – Disney goes above and beyond to accommodate all guests. They’re going above and beyond what is required by law. If you’re not satisfied, write a letter to your congressman and have them change the law to require front of the line access to everything – see how far you get with that.

  17. This is ridiculous – Disney goes above and beyond…I have two special needs children; # 1) 12 year old boy with Cerebral Palsy & Epilepsy – in a wheel chair (obvious to the eye disability), doesn’t tolerate heat well – increased chances of seizure activity # 2) 10 year old boy on Autism Spectrum (not obvious to the eye). We do not go during the peak times (it’s difficult enough to get around Disney with a wheel chair!), we work with our children’s teachers and we go during the slowest times during winter – we usually need a jacket – sometimes we even need a real winter coat! We appreciate everything Disney does to accommodate us, however we do EVERYTHING we can to take care of ourselves and solve as many of our “issues” that we can (off peak season travel during cooler temperatures). It’s Florida, it gets hot and humid during the summer – shall we sue to have the Disney Bubble should be air conditioned??? It’s a shame that people think they need to sue for extra special treatment. Unfortunately, Disney could take the stand of upholding the law to the letter…not going above and beyond… If you can’t go to Disney during low peak times when the weather is more mild perhaps you could sue your employer or your school district for not allowing you to take vacation at this time of year??? Ridiculous, right???

  18. If you dont live with someone that is autistic you never now when the melt down will happen. You could be just walking through the park or getting up in the morning or just by someone saying the wrong thing. You are just person that likes to bitch

  19. I’m not surprised by this at all. When I was there last time I was verbally assaulted by a cast member and my niece was physically pushed by one. Treating people with disabilities or ANY person that way is terrible. What did they expect when they act that way to people?

  20. Tough one. I have a spinal cord injury and am in a wheelchair. However not evening that’s wrong with me is visible. For instance I do not sweat. So obviously Orlando in the summer is not the easiest. But I also can not warm up when I get cold. Essentially I take on the temp around me. On the old system I at least had proof that I had nonvisible medical issues. (Whenever I was going and using the old system you needed a Dr note that you had a disability whatever it may be). Now I always get…”she broke her leg and see gets to go thru line quicker?” My response, “No. I broke my neck. If we could trade places I’d be more than happy to!” I deal with the issues because I love Disney and is one place i can go workout worrying what I can/can’t do.

  21. My 17-year-old son has Asperger’s and has always had a problem with crowds and over-stimulation. I have always tried to avoid putting him in those situations. We went to Disney World this past May for his first visit. Even at 17 he had a difficult time, and he said he never wants to return. I can’t imagine putting him through that torture at 6 or 10 years-old. I am not a parenting expert, and I most certainly don’t want to offend anyone, but maybe some parents need to think before they put their children in the position where a break-down is inevitable.

  22. This article is inaccurate. The DAS card does give a return time based on the current time. When they return, they get to use the Fastpass+ entrance. For instance, if Space Mountain had a 60 minute wait, the DAS group would be asked to come back 50 minutes or more later. Then they would go through Fastpass+, only waiting in line for ~10 minutes or less.

    The article doesn’t include the fact that yes, the DAS guests wait, but they can wait ANYWHERE. They are not stuck in a long line. They can go to shops, shows, go eat, or just sit and enjoy each other’s company. Heck, they can even go home for a couple hours of rest and come back later in the day. Another perk of having a DAS card is if a DAS group *can* happen to wait in line, they could possibly ride the ride twice in the time it would take a regular group to ride it once (get a DAS return time, wait in regular stand-by, and then go through Fastpass+ with their DAS return time). And like the article mentioned, it can be used in conjuncture with regular Fastpass+.

  23. I am a disabled oef & oif veteran my injuries are in both of my legs where I can’t stand for more then 30 minutes at a time but I follow Disney’s policy cause its policy. The née to go back to the old system, but only allow one person with the disabled person if there party is larger then 2 the the rest of the party waits in line like everyone else

  24. GAC would be ideal if we lived in an honest society but unfortunately we don’t. I can’t begin to describe how often that pass was abused. I knew plenty of friends who would come to the parks and get one not because they had a real disability but because they wanted to skip the lines. The new system is basically the same system they use at Universal. The whole point of the assistance card is for people who have trouble standing still in line, not for those to do everything they possibly could. I don’t see anything wrong with the new system and I don’t see the case against it winning because it’s a system used at other parks.

  25. This is ridiculous! If you have a disability that would prevent you from going to Disney parks then don’t go. If you go then don’t do something that would cause a “meltdown”. Simple. I have anxiety with heights. You don’t see me bit**ing because I cannot jump out of a plane. What did people do in this world before Autism became recognized? I have an idea… lets go back to whatever THAT was. I have several friends that have autistic kids, and they do not even put their children through that hell of a theme park. Its about as dumb as a “service animal” for anxiety. Gtf out of here with that. Really?!?!? You have to have fido with you because you can’t handle a crowd? Guess what…. ITS DISNEY WORLD and DISNEYLAND. There will be people around. This is getting out of control. Soon, there will be bland colors throughout all the parks, no music, and a noise ordinance. Oh, AND there will be dog crap all over the walkways and in stores because the anxious people will not clean up after their “service dog”.

  26. They should do like Six Flags does with their Flash Pass. It allows you to make a “reservation” for an attraction this way there’s no meltdowns and you can plan your day accordingly. A win win for everyone!

  27. I agree with Deborah, I dont mind letting someone that is disabled go ahead of me in line, We may all be tthere ourselves some day!

  28. If they win this law suit then I am going to sue because by allowing everyone who feels they need special attention to cut ahead in lines it forces me to stand in line longer. I am older and have diabetes. I travel with my daughter who has MS. Standing in long lines is difficult for us but we would never expect others to wait longer to accommodate us. If the line is too long we skip it and come back later. I understand the difficulty of dealing with a disability everyday and I know how challenging autistic children can be. I have taught special needs children for 32 years. I have seen children accomplish goals and obstacles that are amazing. I hate to hear parents use the word “can’t” when referring to their autistic children. Everyone who visits Disney could come up with some reason that lines just don’t work for them, low tolerance to heat, claustrophobe, anxiety disorder, too young, too old, a plethora of disorders: heart, lung, muscle, mental, the list could go on forever. Disney does more for the disabled that any other place I know. So a thank you instead of a law suit would be more in order.

  29. I know the DAS would not work for us (and hence, no trips planned in the future). My husband is the one who is disabled. On our last trip, he could only manage about two hours in the park at a time. With the GAC, we were able to do five or six things in that two-hour window. With the DAS, it looks like we would be able to do two things at the most. And since part of his health issues are triggered by standing in line, not being able to scoot through the FP line of old also makes the DAS unrealistic for us. It is not just an issue for children with autism; this change affects a broader group of people.

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