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As I’m sure you have heard by now, there are changes coming to Disney’s Guest Assistance Card program. There has been a lot of speculation and unfortunately misinformation being spread. Disney has decided to release the following information ahead of the changes which will occur on October 9, 2013.
In our continued efforts to keep you in the loop of Disney experiences that touch families, we would like to share an upcoming change in the Guest Assistance Card. Disney has an unwavering commitment to making our experiences accessible to all Guests. After careful consideration, we will be replacing the Guest Assistance Card with the new Disability Access Service Card on Oct. 9 to create a more consistent experience for all our Guests while providing accommodations for Guests with disabilities. Until Oct. 9, we will continue to use Guest Assistance Cards. We look forward to sharing more information about the Disability Access Service Card as we get closer to implementation.
Frequently Asked Questions:
How will the new Disney program work?
The Disability Access Service Card will offer Guests a return time for an attraction based on the current wait time. Guest Assistance Cards will continue to be in effect until Oct. 9. We look forward to sharing more information as we get closer to implementation.
Did Disney receive assistance in developing the Disability Access Service Card?
Yes, Disney is engaging disability groups, and Autism Speaks was instrumental in providing feedback as we developed this new process.
Why is Disney making these changes?
Given the increasing volume of requests Disney receives for special access to our attractions, we are changing our process beginning Oct. 9 so that it creates a more consistent experience for all our Guests while providing accommodations for Guests with disabilities.
Who will be eligible for a Disability Access Service Card?
Our goal is to accommodate Guests who aren’t able to wait in a conventional queue environment due to a disability (including non-apparent disabilities).
Will Guests on wish trips also use Disability Access Service Cards?
No. Guests who are visiting through wish-granting organizations will have access through a separate program.
What should Guests do if they have concerns?
Guests should contact Guest Relations to discuss their assistance needs.
Personally, I am confident that Disney will do their best to accommodate everyone. For wheelchair users (which is the only group I can speak about from personal experience) it seems to me that the changes will only affect attractions that use an alternate entrance. Disney has been working for many years to stream line their queues so that wheelchair users can get through them easily so for a lot of attractions the process won’t change. You will still either enter through the standard queue or get a FASTPASS (or soon schedule a FASTPASS+ return time.) As far as having to wait for accessible ride vehicles, I am not sure how that is going to play out yet. I’m hoping more information will be available soon for both Disneyland and Walt Disney World.
I also recommend checking out this post at Babble.com written by a mom who’s son has Asperger’s Syndrome.