We have been reporting about the changes coming on Oct. 9 to the Disability Assistance program. Many of us are not happy with this, but here are a few more details about the new program.
They are modifying the current Guest Assistance Card program, which gives access to attractions for guests with disabilities. The new program is designed to provide the special experience guests have come to expect from Disney. They are hoping it will help control abuse with the current program that was, unfortunately, widespread and growing at an alarming rate.
The new Disability Access Service (DAS) Card will replace the Guest Assistance Card. Guests will be able to request a Disability Access Service Card at Guest Relations, and they will receive a return time for attractions based on the current wait time. So essentially this will be a Fastpass.
Guests can visit Guest Relations to discuss their individual situation, and they will continue to provide assistance to your unique circumstances.
Meg Crofton, president Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Operations, United States and France, recently shared a letter of reassurance and continuing commitment to organizations representing the autism and disabled communities. Here is her letter.
Click here for additional information about the new program.
I do use the the GAC and I am not to happy about this change. I try to look at things from both sides and I do see where they needed to change the program but perhaps not this drastically. I will be in the parks in a few days so I will get to experience the new system. I will give it a chance and see how it goes, I don’t really have much of a choice anyway!
Have you used the new system yet? If so how did it go?
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8 thoughts on “Guest Assistance Card Program Update”
I liked the old system. I was told to bring a doctors letter for my autistic son, years ago, have always done that. Because it is accommodation for disabled, I see no reason why Disney can not require Disability proof : doctor letter, disable permit, etc. It is there accommodation to disabled and not state accommodation so they should be able to ask for proof.
I am disappointed with the new system.
Having parents to have to do this every day is just more worry and stress for them, and scheduling a time is not the best either.
We never know where we are going to be, or what we are going to do, as we have to accommodate his needs. Schedule a time, then end up having to go back to the room, be in the bathroom or be required to stay close to accommodate for travel time to the ride and the time is lost.
What my child wants may change, and may want to be on the other side of the park when time is scheduled, then what do I do?
They should go back to some form of the old system, or consider to require proof for those with lifetime long term like disable kids and put disability on the ticket or magic band which will stays with that person, and then let the disabled go to fast pass lane for access whenever they are at a particular ride. If you do not want to bring proof then you do not get the option.
I wish Disney had actually asked some of the actual disabled or parents of disabled who utilized the old system for suggestions on how to accomodate the real need
i understand alex. The only reason i posted the ADA info really is because there are so many comments out there on a multitude of boards and blogs regarding “if only they would ask for proof.” Just as there are a lot of folks that still insist on the GAC being “a front of the line pass” or that the GAC meant that there was “no standing in line”. It was never a front of the line pass, and folks did indeed still stand in lines.
My HIPAA comment was specifically responding to this part of Kristy’s comment: “I know they say it’s a HPPA violation but it’s me providing the information and if I want to use a disability diagnosis then I shouldn’t mind sharing the information.”
It is not HIPPA, it is the Americans with Disabilities Act: “(a) General.
A public accommodation shall not impose or apply eligibility criteria
that screen out or tend to screen out an individual with a disability or
any class of individuals with disabilities from fully and equally enjoying any goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations.”
It was not only the rent a disabled person that caused abuse; it was those who rented wheel chairs who did not need them; It was folks claiming their children were on the autism spectrum who were not. It was many things.
Unfortunately there are still many many folks who do not understand much about autism – especially regarding waiting/and waiting in lines. Its not that autistic people do not WANT to wait; it is because some folks on the spectrum are physically, emotionally and cognitively unable to wait due to sensory processing and other issues, and the lack of social skills for coping.
So why, if those issues are present, would folks with autism and their families still be huge disney fans? Because we want to believe and participate in the magic too. And with a little faith, accommodation and pixie dust, we still can.
Oh, I see your point now. Well, I personally think that these changes will fix the major abuses and that was disabled people (so they would have the proof anyway) were renting themselves out for $800+ dollars a day to those who wanted to skip the lines. There will always be those who lie to get things they do not deserve, but I don’t think that has been the big problem that the “renting” a disabled person was.
Also, from your first post, there is no HIPAA violation when you choose to divulge your own PHI (Protected Health Information). HIPAA protects against medical workers from sharing your PHI without medical necessity or your consent.
I don’t have a problem at all with the changes. I think most of us use it because the kids/person can’t stand in line and this fixes that still. They can wait somewhere else or do something else. I still think people will abuse it if they don’t require some sort of proof. I am sure there will be a big uproar over this.
The abuse was those with disabilities renting themselves out so that those without disabilities could bypass the lines and go into the disabled line. I think it is not only good to curb abuses, but also is completely fair and should have been this way from the beginning. Just because you are not able to wait in the normal line should not mean that you get onto the ride before all of the guests who had been waiting before you took your place in line.
It is not requiring that you wait in line, you just can’t get on that ride until you have waited the same amount as everyone else.
I don’t think that letter gives much information at all. I will be interested to see how this works. We used the GAC for our family when we went in June because I have a child with anxiety, adhd and aspergers. This worked great for our family and I did not feel we abused it. We only used it when we had to, in fact the first day there, we didn’t use it at all. I still feel like they could require a doctor’s note. I know they say it’s a HPPA violation but it’s me providing the information and if I want to use a disability diagnosis then I shouldn’t mind sharing the information. How is it different than if I apply for disability and have to share that information?
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