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    Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix
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    Share your personal experience with the new DAS program at the Disneyland Resort

    Now that the new Disability Access Service program has replaced the former Guest Assistance Program at the Disney parks, we are looking for readers who have personally experienced a visit to the Disneyland Resort to share their experience here so other readers who are planning trips have an idea of what to expect.

    Note: this is a very specific request for personal experiences at the Disneyland Resort. There has been too much speculation, rumor and misinformation out there, and 4th-hand reports of what your brother's cousin's co-workers's friend says happened doesn't really provide useful information. We're also specifically looking for information about the new program as it is implemented at the Disneyland Resort, as the Walt Disney World implementation is slightly different due to operational differences between the Resorts.

    If you've experienced the new DAS, please share as much detail as you feel comfortable. What is your situation, what sort of accommodation do you feel you need to experience the theme parks, and did this new program work for you? If you experienced a trip using the old GAC program, do you feel this program works better or worse? Are there specific changes you'd like to see implemented to make the DAS more effective?

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    Quote Originally Posted by AVP View Post
    Now that the new Disability Access Service program has replaced the former Guest Assistance Program at the Disney parks, we are looking for readers who have personally experienced a visit to the Disneyland Resort to share their experience here so other readers who are planning trips have an idea of what to expect.

    Note: this is a very specific request for personal experiences at the Disneyland Resort. There has been too much speculation, rumor and misinformation out there, and 4th-hand reports of what your brother's cousin's co-workers's friend says happened doesn't really provide useful information. We're also specifically looking for information about the new program as it is implemented at the Disneyland Resort, as the Walt Disney World implementation is slightly different due to operational differences between the Resorts.

    If you've experienced the new DAS, please share as much detail as you feel comfortable. What is your situation, what sort of accommodation do you feel you need to experience the theme parks, and did this new program work for you? If you experienced a trip using the old GAC program, do you feel this program works better or worse? Are there specific changes you'd like to see implemented to make the DAS more effective?
    I'm eagerly awaiting an update for Disneyland. My children have autism and the GAC was a lifesaver for us to be able to enjoy a less stressful Disney experience.

  4. #3
    Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix
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    Here's what I experienced personally today. I'm reserving my opinion / editorial for after this weekend, once I've visited again with people with different needs than those of the people I was with today. I want to have a better understanding of the process for a variety of disabilities, and check on some things that occurred to me during this visit. It was raining on-and-off during my visit, and I had other obligations, so I wasn't able to check everything I wanted.

    The DAS card itself is issued at either the Chamber of Commerce (DCA) or City Hall (Disneyland). They had marked extended queues with tape outside both today, so they were clearly prepared for a line.


    City Hall line around 11am


    DCA line around 10:30 am

    The process for getting the card starts out the same - you explain to the CM the accommodation you need, and they offer their suggestion of how Disney can meet that. If you are issued a DAS (which not everyone was, I'll go into more detail below), they take a photo of the cardholder to whom it is being issued, and print out the pass. The cardholder or guardian have to sign the pass (which I know at least one parent did under protest), which has a bunch of terms and conditions on it.

    Once you have the pass, you can go to the Guest Relations kiosk nearest the ride you want to ride and get an assigned return time. I know that in at least two instances, the DAS was issued at City Hall with a ride already "loaded" onto it, saving that initial trip to the kiosk. As previously discussed, the return time is being written for the current wait time less 10 minutes - in the photo below, you can see Dumbo had a 20-minute wait, so the return time was 10 minutes from then.


    The green-bordered card is the DAS; the red card is a new readmisison pass introduced with this change.

    Once you ride, you can return to the kiosk for your next return time. If the ride has a standby line of less than 10 minutes, there's no need to get a return time, which makes using a wait time app (Disney or unofficial) really useful.


    List of Guest Relations kiosks in DCA


    List of Guest Relations kiosks in Disneyland



    There's a second piece to this program I hadn't seen discussed elsewhere - a new red readmission card. Usually readmit cards are issued in the event of ride breakdowns or guest recovery (customer service) situations, and they have a blue header. These have a red header, and verbiage which indicates they must be used with a DAS. Two families I spoke with were issued these from Guest Relations - one got them at City Hall, the other got them in Fantasyland. These seem to be the alternative to "loading" the DAS with multiple rides - the put one ride on the DAS with a return time, but then issue additional readmits without a return time. In both situations, these were issued to families with autistic children who were not able to spend the whole day at the park, so I believe them to be an example of the "alternate accommodations for guests with cognitive disabilities" mentioned in the letter Disney sent to the Autism Society of Los Angeles. (Post 86 of the previous thread)


    The Tomorrowland Kiosk

    As previously discussed, guests who only have a mobility impairment and use a wheelchair do not need or even qualify for a DAS - they simply use the wheelchair-accessible queue for each ride. This caused some complaints from people who have previously received a GAC and use a wheelchair. There was one couple in particular who raised quite a stir because the husband said he was denied a DAS. However, I'm not entirely certain what he asked for, or why he was denied. The husband uses a personal ECV, but said he prefers not to take it into queues because the stop-and-go nature of even the wheelchair-accessible queues is tough on him. He prefers to use the ECV to navigate between attractions, but then park it and walk into the attraction. He said he didn't understand why he couldn't get a return time using a DAS - he didn't want to "skip" the line, he wanted to avoid navigating an ECV through it.

    I see his point, and wonder if a different conversation with a different CM would not have yielded a different result.

    These are my factual observations. I've spoken with a number of families who visited today, and am expecting to hear from even more over the next few days. I am encouraging them to come here and share their factual experiences as well.

    I'll also note that there was a huge managerial presence in the parks today, which I have to assume was at least partly because of this change. I think that helped diffuse some situations, and I continue to ask people to please not take their frustration on this new program out on the front-line CMs.

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    Looking forward to hearing real life experiences, especially from those who only need to skip the stairs in attractions.

    Waiting in lines is not an issue for me (as of now) just can't do stairs.


  6. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by AVP View Post


    There was one couple in particular who raised quite a stir because the husband said he was denied a DAS. However, I'm not entirely certain what he asked for, or why he was denied. The husband uses a personal ECV, but said he prefers not to take it into queues because the stop-and-go nature of even the wheelchair-accessible queues is tough on him. He prefers to use the ECV to navigate between attractions, but then park it and walk into the attraction. He said he didn't understand why he couldn't get a return time using a DAS - he didn't want to "skip" the line, he wanted to avoid navigating an ECV through it.

    I see his point, and wonder if a different conversation with a different CM would not have yielded a different result.

    AVP
    I can see the CM not issuing a card to someone just because they have an EVC, there are still special access areas for rides with lines that can't accommodate them, like in Fantasyland; or that may have lines that are accessible up to a point then veer off when the line isn't navigable, like Matterhorn or Star Tours. His saying he doesn't like the 'start and stop' nature of the lines makes me wonder how he handles just maneuvering the crowds at the parks. I've had to use an ECV myself on two different trips (once because of multiple blisters on my heels and soles, once because of back problems; rest of the times I visit I walk) and it was more hectic trying to avoid children and groups running across my path or stopping suddenly in front of me; the lines were a piece of cake compared to that). The first time I had to use the ECV I stopped at City Hall to get a GAP, was told I really wouldn't need one since Disneyland had special access areas for most rides, and DCA didn't use GAP for access since all lines were accessible. The CM gave me a map with all the access points marked, and the rest of my 10 day trip was a breeze.

  7. #6

    Subscribing to this thread as I use an ECV at DLR and will be there in 13 days! I know I won't need a DAS, but I will report back on my experience using the ECV (if there are any changes in DL). I'm actually really hoping they start to issue the return passes to ECV and wheelchair users on some of the big rides like Pirates and Space Mountain. They do now on Star Tours and RSR and I actually love it! The ECV/WC lines for some rides can be longer than the regular line and I would much rather get a return time!

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    Quote Originally Posted by tlovesdis View Post
    Subscribing to this thread as I use an ECV at DLR and will be there in 13 days! I know I won't need a DAS, but I will report back on my experience using the ECV (if there are any changes in DL). I'm actually really hoping they start to issue the return passes to ECV and wheelchair users on some of the big rides like Pirates and Space Mountain. They do now on Star Tours and RSR and I actually love it! The ECV/WC lines for some rides can be longer than the regular line and I would much rather get a return time!
    The problem with Space Mountain is the rocket. There is one rocket holding 12 people. So, you return for your ride, but there are several other ECV/WC users also returning, it will make the situation worse.

    As for RSR, since the lines are accessible, I don't think you would need a return time, I usually just go through the regular line. The ECV fits just fine.
    Planning 3 trips at once...

  9. #8
    Happiness is that smile MammaSilva's Avatar
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    Well Missy and I are here, tonight was our first experience with the new system. I'm not ready to give a trip report considering we didn't even make it to Guest Services til about 7 and DCA closed at 8pm but I will say this about our experience so far, if they can maintain this level of making it customized to each guest they are totally going to aggravate those who think they deserve FotL passes, we saw one while we were talking to 'our' CM. The CM had a long conversation with Missy with my blessings and then she looked to me for clarification on how we visit the parks to accommodate Missys needs. Based on what we discussed and what we were given I know in my heart that our autistic visitors are going to be able to enjoy the parks even better than before. I can't wait to hear from Lola and see how her sons visit goes next weekend.

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    Well, looks like they will also be getting some grief from non-DAS issues thanks to the program. They took the space in Tomorrowland that was where the pin traders would congregate and made it one of the issue stations. I already feel sorry for the Guest Relations CM who will have some unhappy pin traders come Sunday.

    From the initial reports of people, it looks like this system will be effective in weeding out unnecessary issue of passes. How long that lasts remains to be seen. But I'm sure the odd situations like that gentleman with the ECV will be smoothed out in the coming weeks. Even as one who doesn't have a need to use this system, I look forward to hearing more about it. But I know my friends who used to cheat the old system will not be happy.


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    Quote Originally Posted by AVP View Post
    The cardholder or guardian have to sign the pass (which I know at least one parent did under protest)
    Do you know what the objection was to signing the pass?


    Quote Originally Posted by MammaSilva View Post
    Based on what we discussed and what we were given I know in my heart that our autistic visitors are going to be able to enjoy the parks even better than before.
    I'm glad it's worked out for you so far and that it sounds like a workable system for others who might need it.


    Quote Originally Posted by Autopia Guy View Post
    Well, looks like they will also be getting some grief from non-DAS issues thanks to the program. They took the space in Tomorrowland that was where the pin traders would congregate and made it one of the issue stations. I already feel sorry for the Guest Relations CM who will have some unhappy pin traders come Sunday.
    I'll try to swing by on Sunday so I can point and laugh at the potentially put-out pin traders.
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    Quote Originally Posted by cstephens View Post

    I'll try to swing by on Sunday so I can point and laugh at the potentially put-out pin traders.
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    Last edited by dsnyredhead; 10-11-2013 at 12:32 PM.

  13. #12
    Happiness is that smile MammaSilva's Avatar
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    Ok another post to discuss the new system. I liked it yesterday, today I can officially state I love it. I love the fact there are kiosks basically in each land and that any kiosk can accomodate a return time in both parks. I am not going to discuss my daughters situation but I will say that in her case the program couldn't be more tailored to fit her needs if I'd been in the room designing it for her. No one ever asked for FotL, just a working system. I don't know how this will work out long term but I did accidentally get the opportunity to share with Michael Colglazier just how much I appreciated the efforts made by the company to not just meet but exceed any expectations I may have had. I honestly thought I was simply talking to a lead, he was very interested in my feedback and asked me specific questions that I was more than happy to share. After he walked away the CMs at the kiosk explained that I'd been heaping praise on them to their big big boss! I'm glad I didn't know who he was because it made my comments as genuine as they honestly were intended to be. He said to the CM's at the kiosk, you are making these magical moments happen, keep up the good work and he thanked ME for being patient with the CM's as we all learn the new system and work on any kinks.

    Todays visit went exceptionally well, we never rushed and the only difference is that we have to make a firm decision on what attraction we want to experience 'next'. With the options of returning later than the return time it relaxes the time frame to allow for the unexpected like the seizure Missy had after riding on the Matterhorn. As we left to come back to the hotel to get ready for the party tonight I checked in and got a return time to ride the Haunted Mansion, the guest relations CMs said that the cards will be in use during the party. I'll report back on how that went in my next post.

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  14. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by MammaSilva View Post
    I am not going to discuss my daughters situation but I will say that in her case the program couldn't be more tailored to fit her needs if I'd been in the room designing it for her.

    I don't know how this will work out long term but I did accidentally get the opportunity to share with Michael Colglazier just how much I appreciated the efforts made by the company to not just meet but exceed any expectations I may have had. I honestly thought I was simply talking to a lead, he was very interested in my feedback and asked me specific questions that I was more than happy to share. After he walked away the CMs at the kiosk explained that I'd been heaping praise on them to their big big boss! I'm glad I didn't know who he was because it made my comments as genuine as they honestly were intended to be. He said to the CM's at the kiosk, you are making these magical moments happen, keep up the good work and he thanked ME for being patient with the CM's as we all learn the new system and work on any kinks. .
    That is so awesome. I'm really glad that the new system is working for your daughter AND that you got to submit praise to someone who is in a position to make tweaks as needed (and that someone in such a position cared enough to be on the grounds soliciting feedback).

  15. #14

    Your post makes my heart smile for you and Missy. I'm so glad it is really addressing her needs and exceeding your expectations.


  16. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by MammaSilva View Post
    today I can officially state I love it.
    Glad to hear your visit went well!

  17. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3Princesses1Prince View Post
    Your post makes my heart smile for you and Missy. I'm so glad it is really addressing her needs and exceeding your expectations.
    Shannon hit my thoughts right on the nose.

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    This seems like a real, thoughtful improvement. However, it seems so labor-intensive that I wonder if Disney will be able to sustain it in the long run. I hope so!

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    I am so glad things are working out for MammaSilva and Missy! Tears came to my eyes when I read your post!

    As an ECV user, I think it is ironic that after all the hoopla over the past few weeks from the cognitive disabilities community there seems to be a bit of a glitch still for ECV users---namely that they can't get a return time on certain rides (in Disneyland--not needed in DCA where lines are accessible) because they don't qualify for the DAS. Am I understanding this correctly? I used to be like that gentleman that was mentioned up above--and would ride the ECV from land to land and stand in a line if it was short but am not currently physically able to do that--so will need to to use the alternative line if I want to ride Pirates for an example. Seems to be a bit of a disparity if the able-bodied line is say 10 minutes, and those with other types of disabilities can get a return time, but I may be in a line for 20-30-40 minutes (based on past experience)? Doesn't seem like parity to me. Will be interested to see how this pans out over the next few weeks.

    I am also interested to know why the one parent signed the DAS "under protest"--I have seen the terms and conditions (at least the ones printed on the card) and didn't see anything that would be objectionable to me.

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    Happiness is that smile MammaSilva's Avatar
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    Toocherie, I would really be surprised if they don't come up with another option/level of the program to meet your needs. It may not happen immediately but from the conversations I had with guest relations in the last two days (remember I'm on an EVC while dealing with Missys issues) it sounded like they are still working on a solution to that situation.

    As for not wanting to sign the form, I'm clueless. It states the normal terms and conditions with a slight change in the wordage to include that you acknowledge that the person actually qualifies for the program and that you know the information is being recorded into a data base unlike the old program where they really only kept track of the total number of passes, theses passes have codes on them that the CM's scan and can see what accommodations are being offered to that guest. I also love that the re admit passes actually say not for resale. Both the DAS and the passes clearly state you can't use them for commercial use which I am sure is a direct result of the problem of pass holders offering their services on craigslist or other media.

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  21. #20

    I don't know anything about the person who signed under protest, but I could see not wanting to sign something that is tracking them/their child. I know of people who refuse the grocery store club cards for that reason and while I don't personally care (and am actually grateful that certain stores I shop both track me and send me notices of recall) I could see that being an issue.


  22. #21
    Happiness is that smile MammaSilva's Avatar
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    Sorry about the rapid posts but I totally forgot to share the Trick or Treat experience with the new system. As I mentioned we got a return time for Haunted Mansion earlier in the day but circumstances prevented us from using it. I was assured that the return times were flexible on the DAS (not the regular fast passes, those are still being enforced even if you have the new pass) so last night after we got thru the first wave of massive crowds on Main Street we decided to start at that side of the park, we did a couple trick or treat trails then went to the gate of the Haunted Mansion. The standby line was well over an hour long, I had Missys pass in hand and the CM asked if we had a return time, he took the pass and said well you most certainly do, put the line thru it and ushered us up the side path to the HCA gate/hearse area. There the CM asked us to park as it would be a bit of a wait since another group was ahead of us and waiting to go down stairs. We waited about 3 cycles of HCA loading/unloading before it was our turn so once again people need to realize that even the new program is NOT a FotL pass, but it was much safer for Missy to not be in the crowded queue with so many people surrounding her. As we were leaving there was a group with a new DAS pass who must not have listened because I overheard the CM explaining that they didn't in fact have a return time and needed to go to the guest services kiosk and ask for one. I didn't see the kiosk in NoS last night but I did check with the Main Street area and they were issuing return times all thru the party.

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  23. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by Janis and Aaron View Post
    This seems like a real, thoughtful improvement. However, it seems so labor-intensive that I wonder if Disney will be able to sustain it in the long run. I hope so!
    This was my thought as well. It seems as though they are bending over backwards to avoid criticism or negative reactions while they are implementing the change. It almost seems that they are being overly accomodating. It does cause you to question whether they will be able to sustain such a high level of individuation.

  24. #23
    Happiness is that smile MammaSilva's Avatar
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    Learning more about the program as the day progresses.

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  25. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by MammaSilva View Post
    ...and that you know the information is being recorded into a data base unlike the old program where they really only kept track of the total number of passes, theses passes have codes on them that the CM's scan and can see what accommodations are being offered to that guest.
    Quote Originally Posted by currence View Post
    I don't know anything about the person who signed under protest, but I could see not wanting to sign something that is tracking them/their child. I know of people who refuse the grocery store club cards for that reason and while I don't personally care (and am actually grateful that certain stores I shop both track me and send me notices of recall) I could see that being an issue.
    Ah-ha! I hadn't heard of the "you know they're tracking it all" part. I agree, I could see someone being upset by that tidbit.

    I don't have a problem with it necessarily because that would be helpful for them for positive reasons, too.
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    Ok, thinking about this more - I could see myself having a problem with it. As in, I could see myself bothered by it on some levels. I'd sign it and agree to the terms if it were required, though. I wouldn't be bothered enough to refuse to sign.

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