Family Vacations

Everything You Need to Know About Disney’s Disability Access Service

Did you know that that average person spends about 5 years standing in line?  If you don’t believe me, check out the Fact Site.  Except, I am pretty sure that they did not include theme parks into this calculation.  Standing in line for your favorite ride, especially with antsy kids in tow, feels a whole lot longer.  Disney has done something amazing for the special needs community though.  They have created the Disability Access Service Card (DAS) which allows guests the chance to schedule return times for all rides and attractions to avoid standing in long lines.

This is not to be confused with the old system that Disney had in place, where the guest could skip any line just by presenting the card when they first accessed the ride or attraction.  Unfortunately Disney discontinued this service due to the amount of abuse it was getting.  In my opinion, the new system is just as convenient.

Disability Access Service Disney

Who is the DAS for…

The Disability Access Service is for anyone with a disability that would make standing in a long line difficult.  For example, if your child has sensory issues and standing in a queue bunched up close to lots of other people would be unmanageable, get the card.  We have a daughter with Cerebral Palsy who has limited mobility, so this worked really nicely for us.

Many people with special needs do not appear as if they have a disability. My son falls into this category. He has Cystic Fibrosis, and had a hospital admission literally the Saturday before our trip! We were really worried that we would have to cancel and reschedule our entire trip which is why I fully recommend travel insurance. But that is a different conversation for a different day.

Needless to say, my son had some serious restrictions, and one of them was making sure he didn’t over do it. So, upon entering our first park, we signed him up for the disability card. Thinking that they would need some sort of proof, I had brought along something from his doctor. The cast member assured me that this was not necessary and never even questioned us!  If you aren’t sure if your disability would qualify, the best advice I can give is to ask.  Disney’s least favorite word is “No.”

The hulk at legoland orlando

A word of caution…

With that being said, please don’t abuse this system.  I know standing in line can be a real fun killer, but if Disney is forced to end this program, it will be an even bigger fun killer for special needs families.  The reason behind this service, is that it makes up for the longer boarding times for those  who really need it.  It also allows special needs families to enjoy other parts of the park instead of standing in line.  Trust me, we don’t get on more rides.  It just allows us to get on the same amount of rides as everyone else.

Where can I get one…

Guest relations is where guests will need to go to obtain the Disability Access Service.  If you are unfamiliar with where to find guest relations, they are located at the entrance of parks.  Plan to arrive at your first park a little early so that you have time to set up the card.  It is fairly straight forward process though.   Make sure to include anyone who will be travelling with the card holder, as they too share in the benefits.  The DAS can accommodate the guest and up to five others.

magic kingdom guest relations

How does it work…

As I mentioned, Guest Relations will help you get set up.  Unlike the old system where you had to carry a card around with you, the new system is linked to the guest’s magicband.  This is nice, because if your house is like mine, that card would be lost within the first hour.

When you want to access your first ride or attractions, simply go up to the Cast Member manning the queue.  They will scan the DAS holder’s band, ask which members of the party will be joining in, and then provide a return time.  Your party may return at that time or any time after until park closing time. When you are ready for your ride or attraction, the guest with the DAS scans their band first.  Then everyone in the party scans their bands, and you can enjoy the experience.  Unlike the FassPass+ system, you can’t miss your reserved time, which allows for a lot more freedom.


How can I maximize the Disability Access System…

We have been known to get a return time and then leave the park to go swimming at our hotel.  It’s very nice having a ride or attraction scheduled for whenever you decide to return to the park.  The best advice I can give for how to really use this system to your advantage is to schedule things with long wait times and then use the stand-by line for things that have 10-15 minute waits.

The important thing to remember is that you can only hold one ride return time at a time, so some planning is necessary to ensure you can see everything you want to see.  It is good to note that the return times for the DAS seem to be significantly less than the stand-by times listed for the rides.  For example, when we visited Animal Kingdom this past September, the stand-by line was always several hours long.  We never waited more than an hour.

Can I combine it with the FassPass+ system…

Yes, yes, and yes!  This is probably my favorite part! Disney absolutely could have said, “No double dipping.”  But, instead they currently let guests utilize both systems.  We maximized our time in the parks by going to a queue with a fairly long wait time just prior to using our FastPass+ reservation.  That way by the time we were done with the FastPass+ ride, it was close to the time for our next DAS ride.  By using both systems, we were able to see and enjoy all that the parks had to offer without adding the delay of standing in line.

If you will be travelling to Disney with a disability, get the Disability Access Service.  It will definitely make your vacation so much more enjoyable.   And remember to share this post with your friends so that they too can enjoy the perks of the DAS.

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  1. Thank you so much for sharing this information! I have a 13 yr. old son with Duchenne MD and we will for sure use the DAS if we get the chance to go back. I had no idea Disney even had such a system. Our last visit was his Make-a-Wish trip 9 years ago and it was an amazing experience, but I was somewhat concerned about taking another trip without the perks of MAW. I feel much better knowing about DAS!

    1. Disney does a great job making sure everyone can find some magic, and Make a Wish is a wonderful program. I hope you and your son get the chance to return. If there is anything we can do to help, please let us know.

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