If you are like me, the thought of bringing your special needs NDK to Disney makes you cringe. But, for my family, the thought of not going to Disney is an even bigger deal. I had no choice but to find a way to adapt. My son is now 5 years old and has been going to Disney regularly since he was 2 days old (we were barely released from the hospital on his first visit). Like many of you, we had the Guest Assistant Card. Anybody who has planned a recent trip to Disney has heard the controversy over the “Disability Access Service Card”, the new cards. I, like a lot of you, do not agree with the new cards. For me personally, it is a controversy. We have to explain to our son why we get in line to get a time and then have to come back. He was so used to just getting in line. After explaining the new procedure to him, he then questions why we waited somewhere else and then had to come back in line again. This usually happens at the 3 mountains. For our family, it is about changing routine. Since we cannot change the rules, we must adapt and overcome. So with my first post, I wanted to get down to the “nitty gritty” and discuss how to adapt to the changes.
In order to get a card, you must have situation that is not accommodated under regular circumstances. If your situation can be corrected by using a wheelchair with no other problems, you will have to follow the standard handicap guidelines which include waiting in line or getting a special pass to come back at a certain time if you ride something like Big Thunder Mountain that has no wheelchair accessibility under normal circumstances. If you have a situation that needs more accommodations, then you can get the new Disability Access Service card. The individual needing the assistance must be present to get the card. That person’s photo will be taken and printed directly on the card. The length of your visit will also be printed on the card, unless you are annual passholders (valid for up to 60 days from date of issuance). The standard no more than 6 guests still applies.
Once you have the card, any person in your party can go get a time written on it, but the guest needing assistance must be there to get on the ride. The time that you are given to return is equivalent to the current wait time minus 10 minutes. (if a a ride has a 60 min wait, you would come back in 50 minutes). This time difference is supposed to make up for time you will wait in the fastpass+ line upon return. The cast member will write the current time, the attraction name, the return time and initial it. Upon return, they will cross it off. You may only get one valid time at once. If you decide you do not want to wait for that time you can proceed to another ride and they will cross it off and give you a different time but you cannot go back and try to use the unused one later. If the ride has technical difficulties, you can keep your return time and get a second time until the ride reopens. There is a bonus. You do not have an expiration on your time, you can use it anytime in the same calendar day, unlike the fastpass+ that have a one hour window.
These are just the basics on how to use the new DAS card. My next post will feature using your fastpass + and your DAS card to maximize ride time and decrease wait times.
Have you used the new cards yet? What were your experiences?