Confirmed: Disney Inflicts New Punishment on Thousands, Beginning Next Month

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Magic kingdom crowds on happily ever after finale night

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If you are looking to not get banned from Walt Disney World Resort or Disneyland Resort, be sure to not break this upcoming rule change that Disney will begin enforcing as of next month.

Mickey and Minnie under the Disney DAS logo
Credit: Inside the Magic

Walt Disney World and Disneyland are updating their protocols for visitors with disabilities. Both the Florida and California parks will retain their well-received Disability Access Service (DAS), but will modify eligibility criteria, registration processes, and duration of validity to better cater to guests’ accommodation needs.

“Disney is dedicated to providing a great experience for all guests, including those with disabilities, which is why we are so committed to delivering a wide range of innovative support services aimed at helping our guests with disabilities have a wonderful time when visiting our theme parks,” a Disney spokesperson said in a statement.

Disney World and Disneyland previously characterized their Disability Access Service as a program designed “to aid guests who struggle with enduring prolonged waits in a traditional queue setting due to a disability.”

Lines outside Peter Pan's Flight attraction
Credit: Inside the Magic

Those eligible for and enrolled in DAS wait just as they would in the standby line, often a bit longer, but they are not required to physically wait in line. Instead, they can virtually join the queue, spend the designated wait time elsewhere in the park, and then return to the attraction for a shorter wait. This could be done on the My Disney Experience app, and guests would be able to enroll in DAS via the app before they arrive or at a Guest Service location on property when they arrive.

Previously, mobility issues were not included in the list of reasons a guest would be approved for DAS as they could sit in their wheelchair or ECV, both of which Disney rents out, if standing was an issue. Now, stronger protocols will be put in place to make it more difficult for guests to get approved for DAS.

The new terminology reads, “Guests, who due to a developmental disability like autism or similar, are unable to wait in a conventional queue for an extended period of time.”

Starting May 20 for Disney World, guests can only enroll in DAS through virtual video meetings, not in person at the parks. It’s highly recommended to do so during the trip planning stages, but virtual chats will also be available on the day of visits. In-person registrations at Disney World will no longer be offered.

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At Disneyland, guests can continue to register for DAS via virtual video calls before their trip, which is strongly encouraged, or in person on the day of visit. However, starting June 18, registration will move from guest services inside the parks to the outside esplanade area between Disneyland and Disney California Adventure.

Virtual video calls will resemble past DAS enrollment processes, but Disney is also collaborating with Inspire Health Alliance, whose experts may provide assistance. DAS can be used by the enrollee and up to four companions (or more if there are more than four immediate family members who wish to experience an attraction together).

New enrollees registering between now and May 19 at Disney World or June 17 at Disneyland will have up to 30 days to utilize the service, starting from their registration date. Starting May 20 at Disney World and June 18 at Disneyland, new DAS enrollments will be valid for 120 days, twice the previous duration of 60 days.

Now, both the Walt Disney World and Disneyland website have updated their FAQ page for this service which now states that guests found lying to obtain DAS will be permanently banned from the parks.

The Disney site notes, “If it is determined that any of the statements a Guest made in the process of obtaining DAS are not true, the Guest will be permanently barred from entering Walt Disney World Resort and the Disneyland Resort, and any previously purchased Annual Passes, Magic Key passes, tickets and other park products and services will be forfeited and not refunded.”

rise standby queue sign
Credit: ITM Rebekah B.

This punishment was predicted on social media before Disney even enforced it. 

It was reported that in Disney’s Lightning Lane queue, which is the “fast” lane that DAS guests can use when they return to an attraction, along with paying Disney Genie+ guests, 60% of guests who were scanning in were DAS users. While it is impossible to note if a guest is abusing the DAS system upon first glance, as many disabilities or medical issues are not glaringly obvious or may be hidden, Disney does believe that the system is being overused. 

Now, with this new rule having been put in place, Disney has instilled fear into guests in hopes of keeping them from lying. 

Disney did state that they were going to outline a “return to line” pass for guests who may need to leave the line more often for medical reasons and return without needing to cut the line, or feel as if they are doing so; however, that new process has not been detailed yet in terms of its execution.

So far, while some guests are happy to see Disney crack down on those abusing the system, many guests with medical disabilities are worried as to what will happen to them, as their disability is not developmental. 

avengers campus standby queue
Credit: Inside the Magic

As noted by The Orlando Sentinel, “In 2020, a federal judge in Orlando ruled in favor of Disney after it was sued by an Orlando disability advocate to get immediate access to FastPass lines, a free reservation service now discontinued, for her autistic son. Tampa lawyer Andy Dogali said then he had filed about 60 similar civil lawsuits in Florida and California, but those have been dismissed, he said Tuesday.”

In 2022, Disney also emerged victorious in the FastPass lawsuit appeal. The legal action arose following a policy shift at Disney World in 2013, prompted by incidents of visitors allegedly exploiting the system by utilizing individuals with disabilities or terminally ill children to gain expedited access to attractions. This change led to the implementation of the Disability Access Service (DAS) program.

Do you think that guests who may not have necessarily needed DAS will continue to use the service following this permanent ban announcement? 


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