As a mom to a child with Down syndome, we are seasonal passholders at Walt Disney World and are fortunate to visit the parks about once a month. There is one thing we have never done at Walt Disney World though – we’ve never used the Guest Assistance Card. (I’m not implying that it’s a good or bad thing – just stating that we’ve never used it.)
The card is meant to assist those with special needs or disabilities that need extra care when going on rides and/or waiting in lines. Over the weekend, Disney officials announced that the Guest Assistance Card would soon be replaced with the new Disability Access Service Card on October 9, 2013.
It truly sounds like Disney is taking a lot of aspects into consideration with this new policy. And most importantly to me, continuining to make every guest feel important no matter the situation.
Here are some Disability Access Service FAQs that I received today from the folks at Walt Disney World.
How will the new Disney program work?
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.
I am interested to see how this new system works. Even though we haven’t used the Guest Assistance Card in the past with Molly, doesn’t mean we won’t be needing the new Disability Access Service card in the future. I’m not sure if this is going to be of assistance or not for families needing extra help in navigating the parks.
I’ll keep you posted as new information is released about this new policy. I look forward to hearing your thoughts too.