On a recent trip to Walt Disney World, I discovered some changes to the Disability Access System (DAS). See my previous article for detailed guidance about signing up and using DAS.
While the online registration system worked the same, the rules had changed for pre-booking the two allowable advance DAS passes per day. We were only allowed to book advanced DAS for the first seven days of the trip. This threw a bit of a kink in our plans, which I will explain in more detail.
Advanced Planning Helps with Accessibility
Due to my disability, I am a planner. I research every detail when it comes to travel to ensure accessibility or be aware of possible challenges that we may need to navigate. It also means I plan our theme park visits with attractions at certain times to allow for rest breaks and the time it takes for us to navigate. This is why I also completed the online DAS registration on the first day allowed so that I could maximize our options for selections and begin populating our daily plans with times and attractions that work for us.
I was a bit alarmed when I could only book DAS for seven days (out of a nine park day visit), but since that was the new rule and I couldn’t change it, I decided not to worry about it. I was told that when I reached the first day of our park visits I could book the rest. Either I was told the wrong information or I misunderstood, because it turned out we had to use the DAS for one complete day before we could book one of the additional days and that we could only ever hold seven days of DAS bookings.
Attempting Pre-Bookings While on Vacation
Completing the advanced DAS pass bookings turned out to be stressful and probably a waste of time. The DAS online chat for booking opens at 7 am, so I found myself in line at the park we were visiting for the day, trying to book the advance DAS selections for the rest of our stay on my phone.
The process was frustrating because I had to toggle between my notes on our plans and back to the chat. They required the information in a specific format, and the process was very clunky. It also didn’t help that one time, I got dropped from the chat and had to start over. Plus, because of the seven-day rule, I could only book for one day, so I had to go through this whole process again the next day.
Additionally, because we were so close to those dates (instead of the 30 days out when I first registered and started advance DAS booking), I wasn’t able to make the selections we had wanted, so I had to book different choices on the fly. It really disrupted our mornings for a couple days at the park in order for me to do the advanced bookings only to get selections that were different (and some of which we didn’t end up using).
Who Benefits from This Change?
I keep puzzling about why Disney would create this new rule. It feels like it punishes disabled planners rather than helps them. Perhaps they feel that people who book later don’t get DAS selections they want and this is a way to prevent that? But this doesn’t seem right as everyone gets to pre-book 30 days before arrival.
Next time, I don’t think I’ll bother to attempt pre-booking the remaining advanced DAS reservations and instead will just use the app on the remaining days. It doesn’t seem worth the stress and time while in the parks on vacation to try to pre-book DAS that doesn’t include full attraction options.