Three Days at Disneyland, Two Children on the Autism Spectrum, and One Disability Access Service Card

I recently traveled to Disneyland. There were eight of us total and two children, one boy age 10 and one girl age 5, have been diagnosed on the autism spectrum. In order to lessen the potential for overstimulation and meltdowns, we got a Disability Access Service Card. Because there has been a lot of controversy over this card, which is what Disney Parks switched to in October, 2013, I thought it might be beneficial for others to hear how ours worked out, especially since we had two travelers on the spectrum.

We went to Guest Relations at California Adventure the first morning of our first day. I explained the situation to the Cast Member. Because I had always traveled in smaller groups before, I was surprised to learn that there was no longer a 6-person limit to the pass and that all 8 of us could be accommodated on one pass as long as all 8 were present at the time we were getting the pass. We were also given the option of two 4-person passes since we had two children on the spectrum along, but we opted for only one. In addition, the Cast Member gave us our first attraction time. We opted for Radiator Springs Racers. At this point since we had gotten a late start for the day, we went to lunch and by the time we were done, it was time for Radiator Springs Racers.

After Radiator Springs Racers, we went to the Guest Relations kiosk near Cars Land to get a time for Toy Story Midway Mania!, but we never used it. The rest of our day was filled with attractions with much shorter lines (all under 10 minutes) including Luigi’s Flying Tires and all of A Bug’s Land.

The next day went pretty much the same as the first. We got times for rides that had lines over 10 minutes and killed the time waiting for those rides by either going to an attraction that had a short wait or by eating a meal.

On our third day, the 10-year-old decided he wanted to ride Star Tours numerous times. This made it a little trickier, but we were able to do it. We got a ride time as soon as we entered Disneyland. One in our party then went to Star Tours and got a Fastpass as well. After we had both of those set, we rode some other, shorter wait rides, and headed over to Star Tours using the DAS card. We got another time for Star Tours as soon as we got off and then rode it again using the Fastpass. We repeated this system several times.

The only time we really had an issue with the DAS card not working out was on Autopia. We were in another area of the park that showed Autopia having a 30-minute wait so we got a time for it on the DAS card. When we arrived, however, it was only showing a 10-minute wait so, because of the way the Fastpass line on that ride is set up, we ended up in the regular standby line. Unfortunately, our wait ended up being much longer than 10-minutes, although the line appeared to be short. I thought I was going to have a meltdown on my hands, but fortunately, the 10-year-old was having fun watching the cars and the 5-year-old wasn’t with us so it worked out OK, but I think Disneyland needs to rework the line for that ride.

Overall, we really had no issues with the pass. We did have one point where the 5-year-old was getting upset and starting to meltdown in a line, but the pass wouldn’t have helped. There was almost no wait for King Arthur Carrousel and the 5-year-old really, really wanted to ride it. We were able to walk right into the “corral” so we were going to be next on the ride, but even that was too long. Unfortunately, that is just the nature of a trip to Disneyland, not only with kids on the spectrum, but, in my experience, with any young children.

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