Back when LJ was three, we started thinking it might be time for a family vacation. We weren’t sure where we wanted to go, but it needed to be somewhere where we would all have a good time. Of course we asked around and heard from a number of people that Disney was the place to go – that it would be a good experience for all of us.
Jay’s dentist in particular was adamant that we HAD to go to Disney World. When we questioned him on why he was so sure that was the place to go with a young child, he told us all about his experience there as the parent of a child with special needs. He has twin girls, one of whom has some severe physical special needs that can make travel a challenge. He told us about how well his entire family was treated at Disney. He explained that it wasn’t just that they were allowed to bypass the long lines, but more about how his daughter was treated by the staff – how they did not treat her as a child with a disability and showed such sincere care and concern for her and the entire family.
We did wind up going to Disney World and had such a fabulous time that we returned the two following years! We loved how everyone is treated with care and concern at Disney, no matter what their ability or disability. (I even got the chance to test drive the on site first aid station when I fainted outside the Indiana Jones Experience – ugh!)
So it’s no surprise to me that Disney is once again re-evaluating and improving the way they service their guests with special needs in their quest to make sure everyone at Disney has the best experience possible. There’s a lot of rumor and misinformation flying around right now. Our personal experiences reinforce that Disney is always trying to meet the needs of their customers in the best way possible and I don’t think these changes will vary from that mission at all. Here is some more information from Disney themselves:
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.
Frequently Asked Questions:
How will the new 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 you ask for feedback in developing the Disability Access Service Card?
We are engaging disability groups, and Autism Speaks was instrumental in providing feedback as we developed this new process.
Why are you doing this?
Given the increasing volume of requests we receive 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.