Ok first of all have you seen the new Disney commercials? Showing your #DisneySide? I have to admit…this is so totally my family at Disney. I mean seriously do you normally see my husband in pink ears making a dorky face?
Don’t answer that.
I can’t explain it, it’s just how we roll. It’s where we forget the real world exists and get Goofy.
Speaking of roll…I got a sort of sneak peak at how the new procedures for the disabled will go today, as we were at Disneyland for Family Media Day* over the weekend.
I had thought I planned well bringing my big hat and hoping to get some scooter action, but instead the wind was messing with my big hat and the scooters were all taken. So it was husband or wonderful friends pushing me in my own wheelchair in sun and heat that a Lupus patient just can’t do.
For those who aren’t familiar with Lupus and a lot of other chronic illnesses and diseases, the sun can be your biggest enemy. Not only does it bring out my butterfly rash but it acts like an energy suck, makes me feel sick as a dog, and basically keeps me from being out in the heat for any length of time. This is true of a lot of medications as well for various illnesses – check your labels as they may say ‘avoid sun.’ If you don’t plan well, this can completely ruin your Disney day. So despite having had a plan, the heat and wind where just a bit too much.
We decided to head over to Guest Relations and ask for a Guest Assistance Card just in case we landed in one of those lines that was in the sun and I couldn’t hang. As it turned out, the very nice cast member said she would give me the card and help me navigate using it basically like their ‘new’ system.
She explained that while the kiosks weren’t ready yet, I could talk to each attraction’s cast members and make a reservation to save our spot in line. So we just needed to head to the attraction we wanted, talk to the cast member, get our time and go back when told.
Seemed reasonable enough, but I told her there may be times where we can’t wait for our appointed time due to my son’s OCD as well…but that I understood this maybe too much to ask.
She said if he was having a hard time at that point, simply talk to the cast member at that ride and they would make arrangements. But since it was possible we wouldn’t need it at that point she would let cast members know (via what she was writing on our card) that instant access wasn’t always necessary.
She showed me which lines might be difficult for me and where I could find shade nearby after we ‘secured’ our place in line with a cast member at the attraction.
She showed told me how to ask the cast member for exactly what our party needed at each attraction, in case they were unaware of my condition or questioned our needs, so that we were well taken care of at each stop.
She recommended several indoor attractions for our party and attractions with awnings in the que.
She basically did what you can expect today, with a smile and with our family’s needs in mind.
In other words, she did exactly what Disney PR said would happen come today at the parks (emphasis mine):
Disney Parks have an unwavering commitment to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment and accessible experiences for guests.
On October 9, the process that provides access to attractions for guests with disabilities, known as the Guest Assistance Card, will be replaced with the new Disability Access Service (DAS) Card. Guests will request the new card at Guest Relations and DAS Cardholders will receive a return time for attractions based on the current wait time. The DAS Card is designed to provide the special experience guests have come to expect from Disney. It will also help control abuse that was, unfortunately, growing at an alarming rate.
For more information on this new card, please visit:
We believe that the DAS card, with its virtual wait, will accommodate many of our guests with disabilities.
However, we also recognize that our guests with disabilities have varying needs, and we will continue to work individually with them to provide assistance that is responsive to their unique circumstances.
While each situation will be handled individually at Guest Relations, following are two examples of accommodations that could be offered based on a guest’s needs:
For a Guest whose disability enables them to be in the park for only a limited time, the Guest might be offered an accommodation that enables them to use the DAS Card in conjunction with access to a number of attractions without having to obtain a return time.
Another potential accommodation, based on a Guest’s unique needs, might include providing access to a favorite attraction multiple times in a row without having to obtain a return time.
If you need more information or have specific questions about an upcoming trip, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are planning a vacation in the next few months, please include a contact phone number and the best time for us to reach you.
I think that sums it up, along with word from Disney they will continue to tweak the system based on guest feedback, so you need not be afraid. I realize change is hard, but it’s for the best. We need to weed out these abusers and we need to make sure those who truly need instant access or access are accommodated as they have been.
…and if all else fails and you find yourself waiting in a line today when you had hoped to be entering through an exit, just remember to show your #DisneySide. I recommend the #DisneySide we always tend to find while there…a whole lotta love:
*Disney provided us 4 park hopper tickets to experience Family Media Day.