‘Misplaced Entitlement’ Legal Expert Destroys Arguments Against Disney’s DAS Changes

in Disney, Disney Parks, Disneyland Paris, Theme Parks, Walt Disney World

View of the entrance to Disney World, featuring a railway station in the background, bustling with visitors under a cloudy sky.

Credit: Frank Phillips, Flickr

It’s been just about two weeks since the Walt Disney Company announced a massive overhaul to its Disability Access Service (DAS) program at Walt Disney World and the Disneyland Resort, and the backlash has been severe.

Those who previously qualified for the DAS program but no longer will have taken to X (formerly Twitter) to circulate a petition to get Disney to keep the current program, and some have even threatened to sue over the changes.

An image of a fairytale castle at a theme park at sunset with a bright sunburst in the background and a blue "das" logo with a circular arrow on the right side.
Credit: Becky Burkett/Disney/Canva

Walt Disney World announced that effective May 20, it will be switching to a new system for its Disability Access Service (DAS) program. Before this, the DAS program was open to guests who could not wait for extended periods in a conventional queue due to their disability.

However, these loosely defined qualifications led to rampant DAS abuse. In response to that, Disney World has changed the system to accommodate “only those guests who, due to a developmental disability like autism or similar,” are unable to wait in long lines.

Walt Disney World guests who request Disability Access Service must have a virtual chat with a cast member to verify their disability. Disney will work with Inspire Health Alliance’s health professionals to help Cast Members determine if the guest meets the eligibility requirements for DAS usage.

However, this new system will leave thousands of Walt Disney World guests unable to use the DAS system and force them to wait in long lines despite their disability.

Statue of walt disney holding hands with mickey mouse, known as the "partners" statue, with cinderella castle in the background at a sunny disney theme park.
Credit: Becky Burkett

So, while guests fume over being shut out of the DAS program at Walt Disney World and Disneyland, another guest took to X to call their anger “misplaced entitlement,” and to show just how little legal ground they have to win a lawsuit against Disney.

Those threatening to sue say Disney violates the Americans with Disabilities Act, which requires Disney to make “reasonable accommodations” for guests with disabilities. @QueenDreamers87 writes: 

This wild sense of entitlement naively ignores the fact that Disney is a business operating within a theme park industry that is more competitive than ever. Its accommodations for guests must adhere to legal requirements while also considering operational feasibility, and that is undoubtedly what’s triggered the changes to DAS.

She also notes that the Walt Disney Company has already won several lawsuits over its DAS program. In those victories, courts upheld that Disney World and Disneyland were free to deny anyone a Disability Access Service pass as long as they had other “reasonable accommodations” available to those people, which they do.

For those wishing to sue Disney, it’s important to note that courts have usually given businesses discretion in defining a “reasonable accommodation.” By offering elevators and ramps for guests to access a ride and skip the line, Disney is within the law’s definition.

She writes: 

It’s very important for the “DAS Defenders” to realize that their specific idea of a “need” may well actually legally be a want. Businesses are mandated to provide reasonable accommodations, but those accommodations are not specifically spelled out.

So, while you may not like the changes to the DAS system, and it makes Disney officials look bad when they deny someone an accommodation to access an attraction, it is not necessarily against the law. This new system will stay for every Disney DAS guest; it’s just something everyone must get used to.

What do you think about the changes to the Disney DAS system? 

in Disney, Disney Parks, Disneyland Paris, Theme Parks, Walt Disney World

View Comments (6)