Some of you may have heard of something known as the Disney Access Pass, which was available for guests with disabilities to assist in creating a safe and positive experience for everyone visiting the parks. Unfortunately, abuse of this program was rampant, and, instead of doing away with it, Disney decided to revamp it to make it more streamlined and effective for guests with a genuine need. This new program is called the Disability Access Service. You can get the service set up on your ticket or MagicBand at Guest Services at any of the parks. If you have an issue later in the day, the Guest Experience Team cast members located throughout the parks can help you.
The Disability Access Service (DAS) is NOT a FastPass. There is no guarantee of priority access for anyone using the DAS. People utilizing the DAS receive a return time for attractions that reflects the stand-by line wait. It works similarly to a virtual queue; you cannot ride until your time, but you don’t have to stand in a conventional line. In the case that the ride queue is inaccessible to you for whatever reason, i.e. not wheelchair accessible, the cast member giving you your return time will also let you know where to go when you return to access the ride. However, most ride queues are wheelchair accessible, and, in those cases, you will return to ride and go through the FastPass line. You will scan your ticket or MagicBand, and it will alert the cast member that you have the DAS, and they will manually enter you as if you were using a FastPass. This seems to be where the confusion comes from that the DAS is a special “Disability FastPass”. Using the FastPass line makes it easier for the cast members to keep track of who has used their DAS return times and who hasn’t, as there is already an established touchpoint for bands or cards. Guests utilizing the DAS have to wait just like anyone else would; they just enter the ride in a different way than most stand-by riders would.
The DAS lasts up to 14 days on a guests’ associated My Disney Experience (MDE) account. After 14 days, the guest will need to go back to Guest Services and have the DAS reactivated on their account. Generally, Guest Services cast members are able to see if someone has had the DAS before, which makes it a bit easier to reactivate. All guests in the party need to be present when the DAS is activated (or reactivated), otherwise they will not show up when the DAS recipient scans their band or card. For example, if there are 5 people in the party, including the guest with the DAS, all guests need to be present at Guest Services (or be associated in the MDE) in order to be added to that specific party. This is helpful because, even if all guests won’t be riding every attraction, it means there won’t be a situation where someone cannot assist or accompany the DAS holder. It is important to note that when receiving the DAS for the first time, the recipient will have their photo taken, so keep that in mind and alert the cast member in Guest Services if that will be an issue.
Ultimately, the DAS is an amazing resource that Disney is offering to increase accessibility and ease of access for its disabled guests. If you think you or a loved one may qualify, I definitely recommend looking more into it and talking with Guest Services about it on your next trip. Walt Disney World wants you to have the most magical time at the parks possible, so make sure you’re utilizing all of your resources to make that dream a reality!