Anyone who knows me, knows how much I love all things Disney. From the first time we ever watched The Many Adventures of Winnie-the-Pooh nearly 17 years ago with Cody, to taking several family vacations to the Happiest Place on Earth, Disney brings my entire family joy on many levels. On each of our five family trips to Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando Disney’s Guest Assistance Card has been an invaluable tool to ease the stress and challenges faced by all of us due to Cody’s autism and his difficulty with waiting in long lines. While many would view his disability as invisible, I’ve always been extremely grateful to Disney for this accommodation and the ease at which we have been provided with the Guest Assistance Card to make our visit that much more magical. It saddened me when recent news surfaced regarding those who are abusing this service that has made such a huge difference in the lives of so many families and their loved ones with special needs. At the same time I was feeling saddened, and even a little angry, I was also pleased to hear that Disney was addressing the matter and taking steps to prevent abuse in the future. They recently released some important information regarding the future of the Guest Assistance Card.
Disney has an unwavering commitment to making our experiences accessible to all Guests. After careful consideration, we will be replacing the Guest Assistance Card with the new Disability Access Service Card on Oct. 9 to create a more consistent experience for all our Guests while providing accommodations for Guests with disabilities. Until Oct. 9, we will continue to use Guest Assistance Cards. We look forward to sharing more information about the Disability Access Service Card as we get closer to implementation.
My family is planning an upcoming trip to Walt Disney World in November, so I am very grateful to Disney for providing this information as it will help my family to have an idea what to expect as we visit each of the parks during our stay. If you have questions, like I do regarding the changes, here are some of the answers Disney has provided:
The Disability Access Service Card will offer Guests a return time for an attraction based on the current wait time. Guest Assistance Cards will continue to be in effect until Oct. 9. We look forward to sharing more information as we get closer to implementation.
Did Disney receive assistance in developing the Disability Access Service Card?
Yes, Disney is engaging disability groups, and Autism Speaks was instrumental in providing feedback as we developed this new process.
Why is Disney making these changes?Given the increasing volume of requests Disney receives for special access to our attractions, we are changing our process beginning Oct. 9 so that it creates a more consistent experience for all our Guests while providing accommodations for Guests with disabilities.
Who will be eligible for a Disability Access Service Card?Our goal is to accommodate Guests who aren’t able to wait in a conventional queue environment due to a disability (including non-apparent disabilities).
Will Guests on wish trips also use Disability Access Service Cards?No. Guests who are visiting through wish-granting organizations will have access through a separate program.
What should Guests do if they have concerns? Guests should contact Guest Relations to discuss their assistance needs.