Traveling to Walt Disney World is an exciting experience. However, it can also be overwhelming. If you or a person you are traveling with have a disability that limits the ability to wait in a conventional queue environment, Disney has a system to make things a bit less stressful. The current program is called the Disability Access Service (DAS) pass. We used the pass last spring and would like to share some useful information about it.
Getting the DAS Pass
You will need to go to Guest Services at a park to set up the DAS pass. This can be done inside or outside each park. We went shortly after we got to Disney. We had planned on spending that evening in a park, but we never actually got inside the park, because the line was very long and by the time we actually got the pass, our child was ready to go back to the hotel. I do highly recommend getting it the night before your first full park day if possible. This can help prevent missed park time. There is no medical documentation needed, but you will be asked to explain why exactly the person needs the pass to wait outside the lines.
How it Works
Once you have the pass, you will visit the attraction you want to ride. The person with the DAS does not have to approach the attraction. Anyone who has been put on the pass by guest services can request a return time. The Cast Member at the attraction will give you a return time for that attraction that is typically based on the current wait time minus ten minutes. You can only get one DAS at a time, but you can use an existing fast pass, ride a ride with little wait time, or find somewhere quiet to rest while you wait. For example, if you want to ride Peter Pan’s Flight and it has a 70 minute wait time, they will likely have you come back in an hour. During this time, you can find rides in the area with typically low wait times such as the Prince Charming Regal Carrousel and the Mad Tea Party. After that, you can sit or have a snack until it is your return time. Our daughter discovered she loved popcorn during our trip, so we would refill our popcorn bucket and find an off the path place to sit. Since Disney banned smoking in the parks, the former smoking areas are now wonderful places to take a break!
A Few Other Things You Should Know
The DAS pass is not given out for mobility based disabilities. If you cannot stand in line, they will recommend you use a wheelchair or scooter. As someone with a rare disease that comes with both mobility and non-mobility related issues, I highly recommend either taking your own wheelchair or renting a scooter from an off-site company. Renting a scooter daily from the parks can get expensive and there is a lot of walking involved outside the parks. If you believe that a DAS card alone will not accommodate a specific disability, please talk with guest services about the specific needs. Disney is probably one of the most accommodating places on earth. They may not be able to address every specific need, but they do try to make every guest’s visit enjoyable. Even though they do not require documentation, please only use this program if it is something that your family needs. The former disability pass was widely abused, so the current DAS was designed to help prevent some of that abuse.
We would love to hear from you! What are your tips for surviving a Disney trip? If you or a loved one has a disability, have you used the DAS system? What other disability friendly travel destinations has your family visited?