On a recent trip to Disneyland, we discovered that they have made changes to the Disability Access Service yet again. It appears that they have done away with the Disability Access Service Card and have instead, tied the program to the guest’s admission ticket.
In the past, guests who needed accommodations could go to Guest Services in either Disneyland or California Adventure and get a DAS Card. The cast member would ask what accommodations were needed, take a photo of the guest, put some info on the card including an expiration date and the number of people in the guest’s party, and then give the guest a return time for a chosen attraction. Now, the guest needing accommodations still registers with Guest Services but instead of a card, Guest Services scans the guest’s admission ticket. Since a photo is already tied to the admission ticket, that photo will be used. In addition, any guests who wish to enter an attraction queue with the guest needing accommodations will also need to have their admission tickets scanned in order to be given the same attraction time. Once it is time to go to the attraction, a cast member will again scan all the tickets looking at the photos that appear on the scanner to verify that the correct guests are entering the queue. Whether all the tickets are scanned right at the entrance or just one is scanned at the entrance and the remainder are scanned later in the queue depends on the ride.
It is important to note that a few things have not changed. First, the guest requiring the accommodation does not need to be present when reserving an attraction time. They only must be present when entering the attraction queue. Second, there are still kiosks located throughout the park to reserve an attraction time, which I find is a great advantage over having to actually go to the attraction like is required for the Disneyland Fastpass System or the Walt Disney World DAS system. Third, you can still only have one attraction reserved at a time, but it can be used in conjunction with the regular Fastpass service allowing “double” ride reservations. Unlike the regular Fastpass service, however, the times on the DAS system do not expire until park close so there is no need to worry about missing an hour window.
Because this sounds more confusing than it actually is, let me share a couple of examples of how the new system worked when we were there.
While the rest of my family did something else, I went to the kiosk near the Information Board near Main Street in Disneyland to reserve a time for Star Tours. I took the admission tickets for all six in our party with me, just like I would if I were going to get Fastpasses for everyone (to those Walt Disney World fans, Disneyland still uses the old paper Fastpass system). I gave the cast member all six tickets and told her we’d like a time for Star Tours. She looked up the current wait time, told me a return time that was 30 minutes from that time, and scanned all six tickets before returning them to me. The cast member does not write down the time but I was given a card where I could write the time if I wanted. I chose just to remember the time. I rejoined my family and at the appropriate time, we went to Star Tours. At the Star Tours Fastpass Return entrance, the cast member scanned all six of our tickets and handed us a blue card. We then gave the blue card to the second cast member later on in the Fastpass line and we rode Star Tours.
At California Adventure, we wanted to ride Radiator Springs Racers, which always has a really long line. This time, all six of us went to the kiosk just outside Cars Land since we were walking by anyway and we again gave the cast member all six admission tickets to be scanned. Because the line was long, our attraction time was an hour and fifteen minutes away. It was lunch time, though, so we went to a nearby Quick Service restaurant for lunch. We then rode some other attractions with shorter lines. For example, Voyage of the Little Mermaid only had a ten-minute wait. We also got Fastpasses for Goofy’s Sky School and rode it. We were nowhere near Cars Land when our time came and we were happy visiting the other areas of the park so we simply continued with our day. A couple of hours later, we headed to the Fastpass Return queue of Radiator Springs Racers. The cast member at the entrance scanned only one of our tickets and sent us down the line. Near the area where guests are loaded into the attraction vehicles, another cast member asked for our tickets and scanned all six as well as asked if we were able to go up and down stairs. Since stairs were OK for us, we were sent into the regular line at that point, waited about ten minutes, and rode Radiator Springs Racers.
One thing I did notice was that this seems to better accommodate large parties. I know that Disneyland was no longer limiting this to the guest needing accommodations plus a maximum of five accompanying him or her, but now I saw this in action. I saw a party of 12 at Toy Story Midway Mania using the DAS. The cast member simply scanned all 12 of their admission tickets for entry. It was great for that party, but did make for a longer wait for others trying to use the DAS for that attraction.
I will admit it was a little annoying having to have everyone’s tickets every time we wanted to reserve a time, but since I’ve done it for years for paper Fastpasses and it worked very similarly, I’m not sure why I found it annoying. It would be nice if the cast members gave out something with the ride time on it, but we had no problem simply remembering the time. I’m sure given time, we’ll all get used to it.
There may be more changes to the system on the horizon, however. Last week, the Florida Commission on Human Relations found that the change from the old Guest Assistance Card to the Disability Access Service “did not take into account the nuances between various disabilities” and discriminated against those with autism. While this finding in and of itself is unlikely to change anything, it does add credence to the lawsuit filed in federal court by the families of dozens of children on the autism spectrum. Only time will tell how the system will evolve.