Entrance sign for Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL

Disney Theme Parks Make Changes to Disability Access Service To Curb Misuse

Disney World and Disneyland’s Disability Access Service (DAS) is undergoing several changes for improvement. Here’s what Disney theme park visitors should know before the changes go into effect.

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DAS has been around for several years and is meant to accommodate guests with disabilities and their families. The service is meant specifically for disabilities that make it difficult for one to wait long periods of time in line. For example, an individual with ASD may qualify for DAS, but someone who has mobility issues but is comfortable in a wheelchair may not be eligible. Someone who has a disability that is exacerbated by heat or by sitting or standing in one place for an extended period may also qualify for DAS. The service allows individuals to hold their place in line without being physically present.

Guests who are registered for the DAS program use the My Disney Experience mobile app to set up a return time for an attraction. Usually, they will sign up to return to the attraction after an hour, during which time they can go elsewhere in the parks. Then, the DAS holder and their families or friends arrive at the designated return time and are permitted to experience the attraction without waiting in line.

Unfortunately, over the years, the DAS has been abused by guests without a disability who don’t want to wait in line. Disneyland and Disney World don’t require visitors to prove their disability, leading to some individuals with no disabilities lying to get DAS perks. On TikTok and Reddit, countless users have expressed frustration and anger upon seeing other guests appear to scam the system. (Although it is important to remember that many disabilities are invisible and that that doesn’t make them any less impactful.) Now, Disney is making some changes in an attempt to limit misuse.

How Disney’s DAS is changing

Guests preparing to visit Disneyland or Disney World will be pleased to know that the function of DAS is not changing. It will still work in the same way through My Disney Experience and serve the same individuals it is intended for. However, the way individuals apply for the DAS is changing. Previously, visitors could apply for the program in person or through a virtual interview.

Starting May 20th in Disney World, guests can only register virtually. It is recommended that they do so before the trip. While virtual interviews are available on the day of the visit, guests should be aware that wait times could be quite long. In Disneyland, guests will continue to be able to apply for DAS both virtually and in person, but the in-person registration location is being moved outside the parks to the area between Disneyland and Disney California Adventure, effective June 18.

Typically, these in-person or virtual meetings simply consist of guests conversing with a cast member to determine if DAS is the right fit. These meetings will largely remain the same, but Disney is now partnering with Inspire Health Alliance, meaning there will be experts on hand rather than just cast members.

The other major changes relate to the number of DAS companions and how long it is effective. Starting on May 20 for Disney World and June 18 for Disneyland, DAS parties will have a limit of four people unless it’s a family. As mentioned above, those accompanying someone who is DAS eligible can also skip the lines. However, unless the parties are all related, only three companions will be permitted to join the DAS holder. Also, before the changes, visitors were only eligible to use DAS benefits up to 60 days after enrolling. On the dates of the changes, visitors can use the benefits up to 120 days after enrollment. Lastly, Disney’s DAS website warns that anyone found to be lying during a DAS interview will be hit with a lifetime ban from the parks.

How will Disney’s DAS changes prevent misuse

It remains to be seen how effective the DAS changes will be but they look quite promising. Extending the DAS program’s length encourages individuals to register ahead of time, hopefully clearing up long wait times and reducing the possibility of rushing the process. It’s very encouraging that experts will be involved, not only because they may recognize scammers but also because they may provide a more sensitive and professional experience for visitors, some of whom have opened up about feeling uncomfortable with non-qualified cast members asking them personal questions or insinuating they had to prove their disability.

(featured image: AaronP / Bauer-Griffin / Getty)


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Rachel Ulatowski
Rachel Ulatowski is a Staff Writer for The Mary Sue, who frequently covers DC, Marvel, Star Wars, literature, and celebrity news. She has over three years of experience in the digital media and entertainment industry, and her works can also be found on Screen Rant, JustWatch, and Tell-Tale TV. She enjoys running, reading, snarking on YouTube personalities, and working on her future novel when she's not writing professionally. You can find more of her writing on Twitter at @RachelUlatowski.