New Disability Access Service (DAS) Rules Raise Concerns

New Disability Access Service (DAS) Rules Raise Concerns

Starting today, fewer Walt Disney World guests are eligible for the company’s DAS program. Only those guests with a “developmental disability such as autism or a similar disorder” may use the service. Before, guests suffering from cancer, digestive disorders, and other afflictions were eligible. As you can imagine, these new DAS rules have raised concerns among guests. The previous rules were too lax. The system was rife with abuse. Facebook groups and online forums had numerous posts teaching people how to cheat the system. You can read about the updated DAS rules here.

But has Disney gone too far with this update? Should more people be eligible for DAS?

DAS Defenders thinks so. The group was formed to petition Disney to rethink this new policy.

“Excluding individuals with disabilities beyond developmental ones, such as cancer patients (including childhood cancers), veterans and survivors with PTSD, narcoleptics, POTS sufferers, multiple sclerosis patients, individuals with Parkinson’s, ALS, immune disorders, Lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, low-vision individuals, panic disorders, oxygen tank users, and those with brain, heart, or lung conditions, and rare diseases, among others, is not only exclusionary but discriminatory. By excluding a broad range of disabilities that cannot tolerate lines for medical reasons, Disney is putting individuals in jeopardizing situations.”

This is a compelling argument. Disney has said that it will work to accommodate guests with disorders not covered by the new rules. But how? Should guests with disabilities have to purchase Genie+? Mobility scooters and allowing queue re-entry only go so far.

In particular, the rules for queue re-entry have a glaring problem. From Disney World’s Guest Relations website:

There may be times when a Guest must briefly step out of the standby line and then rejoin their party in the line. Every location has a defined process to support this option based on a person’s disability while the rest of the party remains in line.

How to Use Queue Re-entry

Speak to a Cast member at the location for directions on how to re-enter the queue.

  • A Cast Member will provide details about how to exit the queue and how to navigate back to your party.
  • While the Guest who must leave the line is briefly away, the rest of the party will remain in line.
  • The Guest reunites with their party to ride the attraction.

Okay, that seems logical, but only if you visit the park with a group. What is the process if the guest is riding solo? Should they make friends with those around them? Having awkward conversations with Cast Members and other guests should not be a part of the Disney experience.

Disney working with health professionals

Disney is now employing medical professionals to help determine DAS eligibility. Perhaps this could’ve been the next logical step to combat abuse. It wouldn’t prevent it entirely, but the casual park guest might think twice before lying to a medical professional.

And if that’s not enough, Disney made it obvious that they were no longer willing to allow the abuse to go unchecked. Starting today, the company will permanently bar abusers from entering Disney World or Disneyland. All tickets, Annual Passes, and Magic Keys will not be refunded.

DAS is a vital resource for many Disney guests. I hope the company is open to hearing the concerns from those affected by these rule changes.

Guests must register for Disney’s Disability Access Service in advance. It’s no longer possible to request DAS in the parks. Our reservation calculator will let you know when you can do that.