DAS at Disney Parks: What you need to know about the Disability Access Service at Disneyland and Disney World

A comprehensive guide to navigating Disney Parks with the Disability Access Service (DAS)

Mickey Mouse at a Disney Park

Disney theme parks are magical destinations, but long wait times can put a damper on the experience for guests with disabilities. Fortunately, the Disability Access Service (DAS) program exists to help! This guide dives deep into DAS at Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort, explaining who qualifies, how to register, and how to use the service to navigate wait times and maximize your park experience. Whether you’re a seasoned Disney visitor or planning your first trip, this comprehensive introduction will equip you with the knowledge to make the most of DAS and create unforgettable memories.

What is Disability Access Service at Disney Parks?

DAS at Disney Parks is one of thoughtful and inclusive guest services designed to ensure that individuals with disabilities have equal access to the enchanting experiences offered at Disneyland and Disney World. Recognizing the diverse needs of their guests, Disney introduced the DAS to facilitate a seamless and enjoyable visit for everyone, regardless of their unique abilities.

The DAS is not a front-of-the-line pass, but rather a system that aims to accommodate guests with disabilities by providing them with a virtual queue for certain attractions. This allows individuals to enjoy the magic of Disney without having to wait in the standard standby lines, which can be challenging for those with mobility issues, sensory sensitivities, or other disabilities.

Here’s the gist of it:

  • Skip the lines: Instead of waiting in line, DAS allows you to schedule a return time for rides and attractions.
  • Enjoy the park freely: While you wait for your DAS return time, you can explore other activities at the park like parades and fireworks displays, and meet your favorite Disney characters like Olaf and Nemo.
  • Inclusive experience: DAS is intended for guests with a wide range of disabilities, visible or non-visible, that make waiting in lines challenging.

It’s important to note that DAS is not similar to Disney Genie+ lightning lane, which eliminates wait times entirely. With DAS, you’ll receive a return window based on the current standby wait time for the attraction you choose – be it Peter Pan’s Flight, Jungle Cruise, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, The Haunted Mansion, Mad Tea Party, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, It’s a Small World, and Magic Kingdom’s Dumbo the Flying Elephant at Disneyland, or The Barnstormer roller coaster ride,  Toy Story Mania, Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, The Magic Carpets of Aladdin, Epcot’s Spaceship Earth, and Animal Kingdom’s It’s Tough to Be a Bug attraction at Disney World.

A young female guest with Mickey Mouse at Disneyland
A young female guest with Mickey Mouse at Disneyland

Who is eligible for Disability Access Service at Disney Parks?

Determining eligibility for Disney’s DAS can involve some nuance, but here’s a breakdown of who might qualify:

  • Guests with difficulty waiting in lines due to a disability: This is the core purpose of DAS. It applies to individuals with various disabilities, both visible and non-apparent, that make standing in lines challenging.
  • Examples of qualifying disabilities: This can include physical limitations, sensory sensitivities, cognitive difficulties, or any condition that makes extended queuing unsafe or significantly hinders park enjoyment.
  • Not just for mobility issues: While DAS can definitely benefit guests with mobility limitations who can’t stand for long periods, it’s not exclusive to them.

Here are some things to consider:

  • Severity of the disability: The key factor is whether your disability makes waiting in lines a significant barrier to enjoying the park. For instance, not everyone with ADHD or anxiety will automatically qualify for using DAS. It depends on how severely their symptoms manifest and how significantly they impact their ability to wait in lines.
  • Focus on the impact, not the diagnosis: You don’t necessarily need a formal diagnosis to qualify. The emphasis is on how your disability affects your ability to wait in line.

It’s important to remember that Disney cast members have the final say on DAS eligibility. They will assess your situation during the registration process to determine if Disney DAS Pass is the right fit for you.

It’s also worth noting that a guest whose disability is based on the necessity to use a wheelchair or scooter does not necessarily need a DAS Pass. Depending on the experience, guests utilizing a wheelchair or scooter will either wait in the standard queue or receive a return time at the attraction that is comparable to the current standby wait time. For some parks and attractions at Disneyland and Disney World, these guests will need to go directly to an alternate park entrance.

If you’re a guest who has mobility concerns and needs additional assistance, you can go to Guest Relations or you can check out Disney Parks’ services for guests with mobility disabilities to better enjoy and maximize your park visits.

Adult guests at Disney World
Adult guests at Disney World

How to register for Disability Access Service at Disney Parks

There are two ways to register for the Disability Access Service at Disney Parks:

Pre-Arrival Registration (Recommended):

  • Convenience: This pre-registration method allows you to register from home 2-30 days before your visit. Once registered, DAS reservations are valid for the length of the theme park tickets or up to 60 days, whichever is shorter.
  • Process: You’ll participate in a live video chat or live video call with a Cast Member who will assess your eligibility for DAS.
  • Benefits: If approved, you can schedule return times for up to two attractions (DAS Advance Selections) for each day of your visit (subject to availability). This saves time in the park.
  • Requirements:
    • A Disney account.
    • Availability to participate in a live chat with a Cast Member during operational hours (7 AM – 10 PM EST).
    • The guest requiring DAS must be present for the video call. The Guest using DAS, however, doesn’t need to be present when a return time is requested at an attraction or any Guest Relations location.

In-Person Registration:

  • Flexibility: This option allows you to register on the day of your visit onsite at the Guest Relations Location at Walt Disney World and at City Hall, Chamber of Commerce, or a Guest Information location at Disneyland.
  • Process: Explain to a Cast Member why waiting in lines is difficult for you due to your disability.
  • Waiting: Be prepared for wait times depending on park crowds.
  • No DAS Advance Selections: You won’t be able to schedule return times in advance, so you’ll need to return to Guest Relations for each ride you want to experience.

Guests who are eligible for DAS can also receive DAS return times conveniently through the My Disney Experience app at Disney World, and through the Disneyland mobile app at Disneyland.

A guest can hold one active DAS return time and join one virtual queue at the same time. Once their boarding group is called, the Guest utilizing DAS, along with their party, will be able to access that attraction through a shorter line as they did previously with virtual queue attractions.

Review of DAS at Disney Parks

The true measure of any service lies in its impact on the guest experience, and the DAS at Disney Parks goes beyond being a mere accommodation; it becomes a lifeline for those who would otherwise struggle with the traditional queuing system. Families and individuals with disabilities consistently report positive experiences, emphasizing that the DAS enhances their enjoyment of the parks. By offering a more flexible approach to ride access, Disney ensures that every guest can partake in the magic of the attractions.

Disney’s commitment to inclusivity is an ongoing journey, and the DAS reflects this commitment. The parks regularly review and update their policies to better meet the needs of their diverse audience. Guests are encouraged to stay informed about any changes through official channels, ensuring that their visit aligns with the latest policies and procedures.

In conclusion, the DAS at Disneyland and Disney World stands as a vital initiative, aiming to ensure that every guest, regardless of their abilities, can enjoy the magic of Disney Parks. Understanding the process of registering for the DAS and its purpose in assisting individuals with disabilities is key to enhancing the overall experience for guests and their families. By fostering a supportive environment and offering tailored accommodations, Disney Parks aim to create lasting memories for all guests, ensuring that the enchantment of the Mickey Mouse house remains accessible to everyone.

Sources: DisneylandDisney World
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