While most guests who visit the Disney theme parks find using the regular queues and FastPass just fine, there are others out there who require reasonable accommodations due to various reasons including but not limited to physical and mental disabilities. For these guests Disney has created a Disability pass or system called DAS which helps accommodate them during their day or days at the parks.
In this guide we’re going to cover exactly what this program is, who qualifies and how to get started with and use it at the parks. We realise that this subject can be sensitive for some guests and not everyone agrees with who should use this service. With that in mind we’re going to discuss the details of DAS and simply state that anyone who thinks they may need reasonable accommodations while at the parks, including the use of this service, should discuss it with a Guest Relations Cast Member who can further discuss your situation.
Before the DAS system came along, parks like Disneyland offered guest accommodations to attractions and show by letting them go through the exit of ride inside of through the main queue. This was mostly done at Disneyland Park where lines to attractions hadn’t been built to accommodate wheelchair guests specially. For most attractions at California Adventure Park it was the same. Even the Walt Disney World Resort at Animal Kingdom, Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and Epcot were the same.
This initial program was in place for many many years until Disney decided to replace it with a new program. We’re not going to discuss why the program was replaced as there is a lot of controversy surrounding that topic but at the time Disney felt that it needed a change and thus the DAS system was born.
DISABILITY ACCESS SERVICE AT DISNEY PARKS
Disney came up with DAS or Disability Access Service to replace their old system of accommodations at their theme parks. When it was released, it went to all theme parks in the U.S. and continues to be used by them to this day. The Disability Access Service is a way for Disney to accomodate guests who have certain disabilities that would prevent them from getting is and waiting in an attractions queue or line.
While this list is not specific nor does it cover every reason that someone would use this service, guests who have used this service for accommodations have included those in wheelchairs or scooters, guests who cannot stand or walk for long periods of time, guests with autism, aspergers or epilepsy. Guests that suffer from PTSD or anxiety. Again, this list is not definitive and anyone with questions about whether the service should be utilized or not should speak with a Cast Member.
The overall idea of the Disability Access Service is to help guests get onto attractions or into shows while taking into account any disability, whatever that may be. Disney’s DAS system does follow current guidelines from the ADA.
HOW DOES THE DISABILITY ACCESS SERVICE WORK?
Guests who have obtained the Disability Access Service from Disney can start to use service at the parks once it’s been applied to their ticket (more on this below). However, the service works differently depending on the resort that you’re at. Disneyland’s functions a bit differently than the one at Walt Disney World Resort. We’ll explain the difference and how each one works below.
For now, the service in general provides guests with access to the FastPass lines at each attraction that participates in the service (which is most if not all at this point). Once guests return time has arrived they simply head to the attractions FastPass line or DAS entrance if the attractions doesn’t have FastPass (typically found at the exit). You’ll notify the Cast Member there that you have a return time. From here you’ll scan or tap your ticket first (the guest who has DAS). The Cast Member will verify the return time and then everyone else in your party may scan or tap their tickets as well.
Both resorts only allow DAS guests to have one DAS return time. This means if you schedule a return time for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, you have to use that first before getting another one. If you “miss” your return time, it’s fine. They are actually valid for as long as you need them. Just keep in mind you can’t get another one until you’ve used the first one or have the CM replace it with a new one.
USING THE DISNEYLAND DISABILITY ACCESS SERVICE
Disneyland’s Disability Pass is put onto the guests ticket who needs the accommodations. Once done, the guest and their group members may start to use it by visiting Guest Relation kiosks throughout the parks including Disneyland and California Adventure Park. The guest and anyone else who was added to the service may approach Guest Relation Cast Member’s and ask for what’s called a “return time” or a time to ride an attraction or see a show. The Cast Member will then ask for the guests admission ticket which will be scanned.
The Cast Member will them verify your party and who’s going on the attraction. They will then ask which attraction you would like the return time for. They will then schedule your return time and let you know when you can return to the attraction and ride.
From here it’s a matter of waiting until your return time and then heading to the attraction when it’s time. At Disneyland Cast Member will scan your ticket using a reader or if there are permanent scanners, you’ll scan it there. You must always scan the DAS guest ticket first, let the Cast Member confirm your return time, and then continue scanning the rest of your party. At Disneyland your group can include the DAS guest and 5 others.
Since Disneyland has older queues that can’t accommodate FastPass in certain circumstances there are attractions that has DAS entrances not located at the main entrance to the attraction. For instance, Peter Pan’s Flight in Fantasyland has any guest using DAS to enter through the exit. At Pirate’s of the Caribbean, the DAS entrance is located near the staircase on the west side of the attraction queue that comes down from the Dream Suite. If you ever can’t find it, just ask a Cast Member who’s working the attraction.
USING THE WALT DISNEY WORLD DISABILITY ACCESS SERVICE
Disney World’s Disability Pass works very similar to Disneyland’s except one big change: to receive a return time, guests must visit the actual attraction they want the return time for instead of getting it from Guest Relation kiosks. So if you want a return time for Flight of Passage you need to head to Flight of Passage in Pandora and get one at the entrance of the attraction. Most attractions have set locations where you can always get one. They’re not necessarily right at the entrance but a CM can direct you if not.
However, any Disney World park where there are blue guest experience teams can help you get a return time. These teams only come out on busy days so don’t bank on finding them all the time. Most of the time plan to go directly to the attraction.
Once your return time has come head to the FastPass+ line of the attraction and scan the ticket or MagicBand of the DAS guest first. The light will flash blue. Once the CM has confirmed the time it will flash green and you can scan your other party members tickets. You may be required to do this twice depending on the attraction.
SETTING UP DISABILITY ACCESS SERVICE
The process for setting up DAS for someone is the same whether you’re a ticket holder or Passholder and whether you’re visiting Disneyland or Walt Disney World. Your first step is to head to Guest Relations at whatever park you’re visiting. Once in line, let the Cast Member there know that you’re interested in setting up Disability Access Service for yourself or a guest in your party.
From here the Cast Member will instruct you on how the service works and how it can best accommodate your needs. If they find that DAS is an option for you or someone in your group they will have you read and accept the terms of the service. They will then add the service to your park ticket or whomever is needing it. They will become the primary guest and main point for using the DAS. Everyone else in the group may then be added, up to 6 total including the primary guest.
If you’re ticket is valid for 5 days, the service will be made valid for all 5 days. If you’re a passholder, the service will become valid for 60 days. Once added you do not have to repeat this process unless it has expired. Once the Cast Member has finished you’ll be set for the rest of your visit and you can simply follow the instructions above to use it each day.
Disney theme parks have provided the Disability Access Service for guests who require accommodations to attractions. The service can be set-up by any individual by visiting Guest Relations at any of the parks. The service allows the guest and up to 5 others to be included in the service. Once set-up the service will be valid for the length of their stay. To use the service you’ll need to visit the attraction you want to use it for (Walt Disney World) or find a Guest Relations kiosk (Disneyland).
You can schedule one return time at a time. They don’t “expire” like FastPass does and can be valid all day if needs be. Once used you may schedule another one. The primary guest must always scan their ticket first and let a Cast Member verify their return time. Once done, everyone else in the party may scan theirs.
For anyone who is wanting to know if they can or should use the Disability Access Service we highly recommend you talk with a Guest Relations Cast Member on your first day and see if the service is needed or recommended.
Dean has been writing and blogging for over 10 years. He specializes in Disney theme park news including updates, openings, special events and general advice for travelers. He doesn’t shy away from the good, the bad and the ugly. His previous work includes being a Cast Member at Disneyland and working as a travel agent.