Learn about the Disabilities Assistance Service card at Disney World
This card will help your wait times with the lines. You cannot get it ahead of time – you can only get it at the parks at the Guest Relations offices. When you go to Guest Relations at the entrance to the park, you need to focus on discussing with them how the card will benefit your child by means of safety and health, not by diagnosis. You can present a doctor’s note but use your judgment. Since some disabilities have been removed from the approval list – a note may be more hurtful than helpful. Not every cast member is willing to read a doctor’s note since they were told not to for so long. Disney changed the “no note” policy in Oct 2013 when they changed to the new DAS (Disabilities Assistance Service card) system.
When requesting the DAS, focus on your loved one’s symptoms and discuss why the card will keep them safe and healthy. A diagnosis is not needed in order to qualify for the DAS. In fact, sometimes, it is best not to mention the diagnosis.
Focusing on ways that the DAS will help your child to enjoy the parks in a safe manner is what you should discuss. For example, some children need alternative access to a ride due to needing an easy exit out of the ride or to protect them or others around them during the course of meltdowns or if a child is extremely touchy with others. Another reason could be that a child is incapable of waiting – shorter wait times would be necessary. Some children have medical reasons for needing a shorter wait time (i.e. endurance, blood sugar control, low muscle tone, lack of perspiration, easily over heat, asthma, etc)
The DAS covers everyone in your travel party (up to 6 people), for the 4 main parks in Florida and 2 main parks in California, for the entire length of your stay. If your group is larger than 6, the cast member may write the card for more. At Walt Disney World, they don’t need to see everyone in your group. At Disneyland, they like to see everyone in your group.
The DAS is not a “front of the line” card. You will still have to wait in a line. The DAS works this way – you will approach the line (at WDW) and show the cast member the DAS card. If the wait time for the ride exceeds 10 minutes, the cast members will give you a return time to come back – this will be written on the back of the DAS card. Typically the return time is the stand-by line wait time minus 10 minutes. When you return at your designated time, if you need special accommodations (i.e. access to a immediate exit), you need to mention these needs at this time to the cast member. This way they can direct you to the best entrance for you. If you are directed to the Fastpass line or handicap access line, you will still have a line it is just a much shorter line that the standby line. These return times do not expire. If you cannot make it to the ride by the return time, don’t worry. Just get there when you can and enjoy the ride at that time.
Now you can only receive one return time at a time. Until the current return time you have is signed off by a cast member, you cannot get another return time for another ride. You can use the DAS in conjunction with the new Fastpass+ system. The original Fastpass system has been removed from the parks at Walt Disney World – it is still the same system at Disneyland.
At Disneyland, it is now electronic. The DAS card is now on the card holder’s park ticket. You will go to the kiosk to get the return times. The return times are being scanned onto the park tickets. Everyone in your group must present their ticket to be included in the use of the DAS. You can send 1 person with all of the park tickets but all of the park tickets must be scanned.
If you receive a DAS, hold on to it for your next trip. It is easier to renew the card rather than ask for a new card. I always keep ours in my makeup travel bag since that is the one bag that is always packed for every trip. Now Disney is starting to keep your DAS information in the computer for 1 year. This will make it easier for you to renew if you come back within the year.