Group Petitions Disney World & Disneyland Over Changes in DAS Program

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Group Petitions Disney World & Disneyland Over Changes in DAS Program

A group called “DAS Defenders” is raising concerns about recent changes to Disney World’s and Disneyland’s program for guests with disabilities.

Related – New Disney Disability Access Service Launching at Disney World and Disneyland

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A coalition of over 140 disabled individuals and allies, calling themselves the DAS Defenders, sent a letter to Disney expressing deep concern about recent changes to the Disability Access Service (DAS).

The DAS update, set to begin in May at Walt Disney World and June at Disneyland, limits the program to guests with developmental disabilities like autism. The DAS Defenders argue these restrictions exclude many who need the service, including those with:


  • Cancer
  • PTSD
  • Narcolepsy
  • POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome)
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Low vision
  • Dependence on oxygen tanks

They believe this policy is unfair and could endanger some guests by forcing them to wait in lines they can’t tolerate for medical reasons.

“By excluding a broad range of disabilities that cannot tolerate lines for medical reasons,” the letter states, “Disney is putting individuals in jeopardizing situations.”

The DAS Defenders condemn the revised policy as “blatantly discriminatory and dismissive”. They scoff at Disney’s proposed solution of a “return-to-queue” option, calling it “unrealistic and insensitive.” The group argues that returning to a line after a restroom break could expose guests with disabilities to “discrimination, harassment, and even potential violence” from other park-goers unaware of, or who shouldn’t be burdened with the knowledge of, a person’s medical situation.

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The DAS Defenders further criticize the proposed solutions. They point out that suggesting disabled guests use the rider switch option fails to consider those who travel alone or with other disabled companions. Similarly, recommending Genie+ purchase is seen as “unfair” since “disabled individuals often have higher living expenses” compared to non-disabled guests.

The DAS Defenders list the following requests of Disney:

  • “Disney revises its Disability Access Service (DAS) program to include a diverse range of disabilities, not just developmental disabilities, incorporating the option to provide documentation.”
  • “Devices and programs that are offered as an “accommodation” must be free or low cost, abundantly available, and only given to those who will truly benefit from them.”
  • “Train all cast members in anti-ableism and invisible disabilities.”
  • “Party size should be considered on a case-by-case basis.”
  • “Reduce prices on Genie+ and offer guests a limited number of free passes for certain attractions to reduce pressure for people to cheat the system in the first place.”
  • “Additional disability-friendly accommodations should be added to the park including return times for character meet-and-greets with long lines and increased parade and nighttime spectacular viewing areas for disabled guests who cannot stand.”
  • “Meet with us, a group of actually disabled park guests, to learn about the true needs of disabled guests before new policies are introduced.”

A Change.org petition has been started by the group as well. It’s called “Stop excluding disabled people from Disneyland and Disney World with discriminatory policy” and has over 6,000 signatures.

How do you feel about Disney’s changes to the DAS program?


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Sara is a travel agent with Destinations to Travel, a Disney Earmarked agency. She lives in Alaska with her husband and 3 kids. Due to her extreme dislike of winter, she travels often to warmer destinations during the colder months. She visits the Disney parks and resorts frequently with her family and loves helping other families plan magical vacations. Contact her here for help with your vacation!
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