"Guest Assistance Pass" changes coming?

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VelcroPooh

For someone like me (and I am not at the point where I need the card right now and can work around it), I think this is very fair to everyone. I can spend all day in the park, I just have to pace myself, take some time outs, stay out of the sun for long periods of time and keep hydrated. This is something I have to do every day of my normal life anyway so no different at Disney for me.

But as was pointed out earlier, I think this is going to be very hard on those that can only do a few hours due to a disability. I can see where if someone can only spend 3 hours a day in the park in the morning, go back and rest and maybe come back for a couple of hours in the evening, that they will unfortunately not get to do much as far as rides and shows go if it's busy and wait times are long.

Again, not blaming Disney...they are trying. I blame the abusers.

AnnielovesDisney's picture
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I'm really interested in how the DAS will work. I never used a GAC~I should have many times but I'm stubborn wink
Now I'm glad I didn't use the GAC because I can thoroughly enjoy the benefits of the DAS because I don't have anything to compare it to.

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Here is the announcement from Disney:

http://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2013/10/guest-assistance-card-program-update-for-walt-disney-world-resort-disneyland-resort/

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I found that "announcement" interesting because it really didn't share any more information than we had before and seemed to be to designed to merely to sooth frayed nerves.

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Its all about the money....more non-handicapped people than healthy ones. I am bringing 17 family members in Oct with 2 special needs members. A few complaints from the paying non-special have changed the way it worked for 35 years that I have been going. Disney's motto for employees was always "the answer is yes...now what is the question?" I guess you have abandoned that for special needs people. SHAMEFUL.PEOPLE SHOULD START A NATIONWIDE BOYCOTT TO PROTECT THESE PEOPLE.Thn ...when they are affected by revenue.....okkkkkkkk we see the light.

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I know this has been a highly controversial move. Not being disabled, I really have no comment on the subject other than Disney was never going to be able to fix the abuse without making someone angry.

That being said, has anyone been and experienced the new system? Have there been any statements by the ADA about the new move? I would be curious to know how this is working out in real life rather than speculating about it.

I am hoping to be able to take my mother after she has open heart surgery, she will be wheel chair bound for a while, and obviously not going on space mountain, but if she wanted to go on something like Small World, it would be nice to think she could wait somewhere air conditioned instead of in a hot cue line.

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Thats just it Briar Rose, you wont have to wait in a hot cue line:

Quote from the Disney Blog:

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.

With that said, we have long recognized and accommodated people with different needs. Guests can visit Guest Relations to discuss their individual situation, and we will continue to provide assistance that is responsive to their unique circumstances.

As for bobm's comment, no they are not "abandoning anything for special needs people." Disney is trying to make it harder for the people that abuse the system. I would think people would respect the fact that Disney is trying to make it a better system. You have to give it a chance.

VelcroPooh

I would qualify if I chose to, which I do not feel the need for at this time. I in no way think this is unfair. It would still meet my medical needs by allowing me to wait somewhere comfortable of my choosing.

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So far there really hasn't been any major complaints then someone trying to get it for being in a wheelchair. Being in a wheelchair doesn't mean you will get a card but they have another system that has been in place but same concept. One person that has had a major complaint is a woman with an autistic child that only wanted to ride the Great Movie Ride all day while at Studios and claimed that the new system wouldn't work for them. But they somehow got a bunch of reAd fastpasses (these are park general fastpasses that can be used on any ride in the park that has fastpasses) and they used those all day. The mother seemed angry that her son wanted to just ride that. But I think she's a rare case in the situation no matter how the system worked.

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The community that seems the most vocal about the changes is the parents of autistic children. I think most people really just need to give it some time and learn how to use the new system. Disney has said that it's been designed to be used in conjunction with the regular fastpass system. None of the reports from people who have used it, that I have read so far, seem to be negative. It's just a matter of changing the way you look at it and shuffling the schedule a bit.

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I just returned from a weekend in Disney yay and I got the new DAS card. At each attraction we used it for, they wrote down the current standby time, minus 10 minutes and told us we could return anytime after the allotted time written down and go through the fast pass line. I found this incredibly helpful and very fair. I was waiting the same amount of time, minus 10 minutes, as anyone else. I just got to wait sitting down somewhere in the shade. All the workers were very nice and considerate. It made our visit even better because I was able to experience attractions I would not otherwise have been able to go on because I can't stand for too long of be in the sun for very long. My experience with the new DAS card was an A+.

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That's fantastic! I'm so glad to hear that you had an excellent experience with it. Also great to hear that you can return any time after the written down time and that you're not locked into a 10 or 15 minute period.

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Kristen K. wrote:
That's fantastic! I'm so glad to hear that you had an excellent experience with it. Also great to hear that you can return any time after the written down time and that you're not locked into a 10 or 15 minute period.

We were worried about being on time also so we asked at each attraction(to get a good measure of answers) and each one answered exactly the same. Once you have an attraction and time written down on your card, you can come back anytime after the allotted time. Even hours later. The catch is you cannot have another attraction written down until you have used the current one, just like a regular fast pass.

However, if you decide you don't want to use it for that attraction we were told to go to the new attraction we do want and ask them to cross off the first one and add in the new attraction.

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This sounds great, for my illness I only need to us it on queues over 20 mins so that's only a hand full of attractions in each park to be able to get a time go and drink water and return after is perfect for me and my needs. Also hopefully it will put fakers off.

On another note during my last trip I noticed a lot of large families exploiting the old system and because of this I myself got a lot of negative energy from other people, and was made to feel very uncomfortable at times by other guest. One lady at the Hollywood studios was making it very clear how unfair it was that I got to go through the fast pass at TSM when her kids had waited over an hour and she was sure "a grown man could wait in line" you can't see me disability at all, but I almost died 4 weeks after our disney world vacation so I do really need assistance, I hope this will change the view and reactions of fully able guests towards guest with disabilities.

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Scrappy needed a scooter again this trip, but we didn't get a DAS and I didn't hear anyone complaining at all. We took her scooter right on to the one that allowed them and she park it and walked on some rides too. We heard more complaints about the bands & the fastpass+ system then anything else. We never had a problem with the bands, fastpass+ or anything.

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One of my friends shared this on facebook and it just saddens me that families are giving up on Disney just because of the change.

http://www.newsweek.com/disney-crackdown-disabled-kids-are-collateral-damage-10959?%3F%3F

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Gee very sad indeed that this is happening. I certainly hope that things straighten out and get corrected for the better. (for everyone except the people who try to cheat the system)

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VelcroPooh

I didn't see anyone complaining about the new way when we were there. We saw several with the cards come up to get their FP time and didn't hear anyone complaining. Not saying it's not causing issues for some, I just don't honestly think there is going to be a way to please everyone with this one.

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I don't understand the complaint...

I thought the whole idea with the new system was that you don't have to wait in the actual regular line. But instead you show back up to the attraction at a pre-determined time? Seems fair to me unless I'm missing something?

Having front of the line access to all attractions is a bit over the top and I think it just encourages abuse of the system. I mean, where do you draw the line? Who determines the severity of the disability and what would qualify for front of the line? I would imagine even that would be disputed.

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KenJ wrote:
I don't understand the complaint...

I thought the whole idea with the new system was that you don't have to wait in the actual regular line. But instead you show back up to the attraction at a pre-determined time? Seems fair to me unless I'm missing something?

Having front of the line access to all attractions is a bit over the top and I think it just encourages abuse of the system. I mean, where do you draw the line? Who determines the severity of the disability and what would qualify for front of the line? I would imagine even that would be disputed.

I agree with you on this one Smile

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I think the majority of the complaints are coming from families that have family members with cognitive disabilities that are unable to understand the changes. Any change in a routine can trigger an episode, including yelling, frustration and violence from some people that have cognitive disabilities.

For example, people who have family members with severe autism are very upset because the person with autism needs an almost exact routine to function without any incidents. Especially if they have been to a Disney park before with the GAC card, any changes with the new DAS card will almost certainly trigger an episode.

My heart definitely goes out to the small group of people that may no longer be able to enjoy a Disney park because of the changes. But having used the new DAS card myself in October, I have to say that I thought it was wonderful and equally fair to me and to the other people waiting in line. I do believe that Disney has done the absolute best they can do to resolve this situation.

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I'm mostly with KenJ and Robyn on this one. I appreciate that Disney is so accommodating to guests with disabilities and feel fortunate to have never been in need of these services (although we will likely experience working with the Guests with Disabilities services in the spring when we bring our senior citizen parents with us). Even with the parents (whose issues range from chronic heart/lung conditions to arthritis), we will likely only need mobility assistance. We may use the disability pseudo-fastpass system so they can sit down someplace nearby to wait if necessary, but mostly we're planning to just take it slow.

There is one instance where I can see that this new system might not be sufficient to help guests with disabilities to enjoy the park and that would be for guest with autism or other disorders that cause a person to become fixated on one thing and can't understand the rationale that they will get to come back to the attraction soon, which could lead to very unattractive behavior that can quickly spiral completely out of control. I recently read the book "3500: An Autistic Boy's Ten-Year Romance with Snow White" and I try to imagine Ben's, the boy from the book, parents trying to explain to him that they could come back in 20 minutes and I can't see it going particularly well. I used to teach a special needs gymnastics class and there were kids in that class that would have been able to see the attraction in front of them, have mom or dad get a return time, leave for 20 minutes and come back later. And there were kids that could not have handled that situation in a million years and would have become fixated on completing the experience and would have become very frustrated and uncontrollable at not being able to accomplish this immediately.

Unfortunately, I think that Disney made the only decision that was reasonable by scaling back the accommodations for disabled guests in order to curb the abuse of the system by healthy people. The internet is big and there are A LOT of people who go to WDW, Disneyland, and global Disney parks every year. We ALL want to find a way to get a better vacation and find out how to get it while doling out fewer of our hard-earned dollars (or euros or pesos or yen or whatever). That's part of why we hang out on these message boards Smile Do you remember the photos advising guests to yell "Andy's coming" near the Toy Story characters? They used to drop to the ground, but so many people saw the idea online and started doing it that they had to stop for the safety of guests and characters. Another instance is pin trading. Now that word has spread that you can buy pins on ebay and trade them in the parks (even if they are scrappers), the demand for low cost pin lots has increased and more sellers are providing the fake pins, which are overwhelming the real pins in the parks. I heard a few months ago that Disney has finally started to prosecute people who are importing the fake pins and defrauding guests by selling them at such a low cost. With major news outlets reporting on the Disneyland disability scam, Disney had no choice but to do something to change the existing policies. Sadly, there are many people who will exploit such a loophole and when it is done on a mass scale, it detracts from the experience of all guests.

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VelcroPooh

I sympathize and understand all of that and can see where some autistic children would have a hard time waiting even a little while to do something.

I also watched several small children have major meltdowns, screaming, tantrums and pitch fits on their parents because they had to wait in the standby line and they didn't comprehend that they could see Mickey Mouse but couldn't go up there yet. Those parents were having little success as well trying to calm them and having to explain they had to wait their turn. We all know that trying to have a small child wait patiently for 45 minutes to an hour is boring and hard on many of them.

That's why I think this was a no win for Disney no matter what they did, someone wasn't going to be happy. I will say that (I forget the official name), in the area where Tinkerbelle and the Fairies are, having that large TV playing the Fairy cartoons seemed to remedy much of the stress on the little ones. They were all happily piled up in the floor watching it while the parents stood in line. I wonder if incorporating more areas similar to that to wait would help.

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Let the lawsuits begin....

http://news.yahoo.com/families-autistic-kids-sue-disney-parks-over-policy-234404231--sector.html

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Utterly ridiculous.

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I agree

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All I can do is shake my head.

Do they really think that Disney's legal team didn't look at every single angle of the ADA law to make sure they were compliant?

What a waste of time for everyone involved.

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I read the article this morning...it's just plain stupid. I hope those people spend thousands on legal fees and lose.

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I've been told that Disney only has to have handicap restrooms, companion restrooms and handicap accessible entries to the different attractions. They don't have to offer any type of program like the GAC or DAS card. The parents are only mad with the new program because they can't flash the card to get on the ride immediately.

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You know what if I was the parent of a disabled child I would be mad too, I know if I had to raise a disabled kid and go though the battles they do on a day to day basis, to see the joy a few hours in the park brings them the old system was great.

I know the battle for a lot of parents with autistic children is that the child may want to ride one ride over and over, I'm sure in their home life they face this battle all the time and on vacation in disney world I think they deserve a break, I don't mind waiting in line the extra few minutes if disabled people can have a magical time in their hard life's.

Now i am disabled myself I only use the card if needed and extreme reasons. But my view simply is after the hell some people go through in life and in most cases will forever... Let them jump line, who is it hurting?