Years ago when Disney first opened, anyone could go in and rent an ECV (Electric Convenience Vehicle ) in doing so, these individuals and those bringing in outside scooters or wheelchairs would be given quicker access to rides. Disney Cast Members (CM) would basically put these handicap individuals and their entire party to the front of the line..
This of course was ripe for abuse. AB’s (able bodies) would rent ECV’s just to get front of the line access.
Disney quickly became wise to this and implemented GAC (Guest Access Card) you and your party would go to guest services, tell them of your need and a CM would issue a GAC. This worked great for disabled guest and their parties, it basically offered a no wait access to the theme park rides and attractions. But again, people found a way to abuse this. This time, disabled guest would charge an enormous amount to vacationers to give them access to the non-existent wait time that a GAC provided. Wealthy but morally bankrupt families cheated the system , this way, and in doing so bragged about how they cheated the system. Disney quickly caught on, and once again made a change.
The DAS (Disability Access Service) came into effect, Oct of 2013 and this is what we still use today. Essentially, what this does is “save” your place in the regular stand by line. If Peter Pans flight has a wait time of 100 mins, then you would approach the CM with your DAS and ask for a return time. The CM then proceeds to issues a return time based on the current wait time of 100 mins.
How do you get the DAS?
When you enter the park, you go to guest service and ask them for a DAS. They WILL NOT ask for a doctors note nor will they ask what is your illness. You must tell them what your “need” is and how a DAS will assist.
EXAMPLE 1 : Your 8 year old has autism and is unable to stand in line without having a melt down, panic attack etc. This is all you tell the CM, that your child is unable to stay in line without having a panic attack or melt down.
EXAMPLE 2: You as an adult, cannot stand in line due to temperature intolerance, (such as many many MS patients) You tell the CM this that you cannot stand in the heat.
For both these examples, chances are the CM will think a DAS will assist, then it will be issued to the CHILD and/or DISABLED ADULT, his/her picture will be taken, and the DAS will be on the their magic band. Any other members of disabled individuals party (mom, dad, sister, brother, husband, wife etc) will also have their magic band scanned and they will be attached to the disabled persons DAS.
You can now enjoy the park. The DAS is good for the entire time of your stay and/or 14 days, AND can be used at any of the parks. So you do NOT need one for Animal Kingdom, and another one for Magic kingdom, etc. One DAS, time varies but usually valid for the entire length of your stay, all the parks. The DAS can also be use with/at the same time as the fast pass.
To use the DAS, go to the ride you wish to be on, approach the CM and ask them for a DAS. They will scan the disabled persons band and ask how many. At this point a return time will be issued. Go enjoy shopping or rest, etc and when you approach your return time, go back to the ride. Here you enter the Fast Pass Queue, be sure the disabled person is FIRST in line, and scan the magic bands like you normally would.
Is the DAS for everyone?
Disney has realized that not all handicap people are alike. For example, I have a friend that has lost a lower limb and now uses a wheelchair. She is disabled, but she is not sick. Her issues is just a mobility issue and can be remedy by the use of a wheelchair. Therefore there is no reason why she cannot wait in the stand by line, like everyone else.
Here is a quote direct from the Disney website concerning this.
Does a Guest whose disability is based on the necessity to use a wheelchair or scooter need DAS?
No, a Guest whose disability is based on the necessity to use a wheelchair or scooter does not need DAS. Depending on the attraction, the Guest will either wait in the standard queue or receive a return time at the attraction based on the current wait time. For some attractions at Disneyland Resort, these guests will go directly to an alternate entrance. Guests with additional needs should discuss them with Guest Relations.
Disney tries to provide a welcoming environment for all its guest and the DAS is a step in that direction. However, there will still be morally corrupt individuals that will lie in order to obtain the DAS with the sole intent of riding more rides. It is unfortunate that abled bodied, healthy adults, feel that disabled people get special attention. In my case, I have not, nor will I ever be able to do an entire day/evening at Disney. Most disabled people are the same way, autistic children can only handle so much of Disney before they become over loaded, those that are sick can normally do half a day before they tire and wear out. Every single one of us, adult or child, would gladly give up the few “perks” that people think we get, in order to be healthy.