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Fact Check: Is Disney Ending Its Disability Program?

is Disney's disability program ending
Credit: Disney

One of the great things about Disney parks is how inclusive they are. Disney wants everyone to be able to enjoy their theme parks, no matter their physical or intellectual abilities. Because of this, Disney theme parks have a comprehensive Disability Access Service. The DAS system, as it is called, allows guests with certain disabilities to skip the line.

disney disability services logo and a cast member with a disabled guest

The DAS system has helped thousands of guests who visit the parks every year. However, as with most things, it is not without its problems.

In 2013, Disney’s disability system made headlines when it was reported that wealthy guests were hiring people with disabilities to visit the parks with them. Because the people they hired had disabilities, the wealthy guests would be able to skip the line. What was especially disturbing was the fact that Disney had a free FastPass system in place, but that wasn’t good enough for the wealthy guests.

Entering FastPass Queue

Credit: Disney

Related: What to Know About Vacationing in Disney World With a Disability

Disney said that it was taking the allegations of wealthy guests abusing its system very seriously. In the end, they made some significant changes. Guests with a DAS pass would no longer be able to immediately get into the FastPass line, which is what had been happening. Instead, they would be given a return time. They would then come back at the assigned time and be able to join the FastPass queue.

FastPass

Credit: partyhare, Flickr

Of course, that hasn’t stopped people from continuing to abuse Disney’s DAS program.

Disney is not legally allowed to ask people for proof of their medical condition — it would be a violation of HIPAA, which guarantees a patient’s right to medical privacy. Because of this, people can lie to Disney about why they need a DAS pass, especially if they want to bypass lines on the most popular attractions.

Space Mountain Queue

Credit: Peter Lee, Flickr

Rumors are swirling that Disney is getting tired of people abusing its DAS program. Because of this, the report stated that Disney has decided to end its Disability Access Service.

The abuse of the Disability Access Service is causing Disney to shut it down permanently. In fact, there was a 900% increase in people using DAS passes after the pandemic. This makes both the Lightning Lane and Stand-By lines longer for everyone else. They are seeing the system being abused and are putting a stop to it. It’s the old, this is why we can’t have nice things issue.

Tokyo Disney Queue

Credit: Loren Javier, Flickr

Are The Rumors True?

Thankfully, we can say with confidence that the rumors are NOT TRUE.

It needs to be noted that the site that was reporting the ending of the DAS program was Mouse Trap News. The site is a satirical Disney news site. It reports outrageous stories that are meant to garner attention. It is not a site that guests and fans should visit if they want factual Disney news.

Pirates of the Caribbean Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom

Credit: Disney

While MouseTrap may have thought an article like that would be funny, there were many who were not impressed. A lot of people rely on the DAS Program, and some feel that the site shouldn’t make people with disabilities the butt of a joke.

I’m all for theme park shit posting, it’s part of my DNA, but making a popular shit post saying Disney is cancelling one of their major disability programs is really not the move.

It’s heartless to a lot of families who actually need to use it and shows a huge lack of empathy.

Don’t call yourself the Onion of Disney Parks when you completely miss the part where the Onion is ALWAYS punching up and this is 1000% punching down on people who already have been punched enough. Like Jesus Christ.

Who Can Use Disney’s Disability Access Service?

According to the Walt Disney World Resort website, its DAS program is “intended for Guests who have difficulty tolerating extended waits in a conventional queue environment due to a disability.”

It is important to note that guests whose disability is based on their need for a wheelchair or mobility scooter are not eligible for the DAS program. Many of Disney’s attractions are handicap accessible, so the guests can wait in the standard queue. Should the ride not be wheelchair or EVC-friendly, the guests will receive a return time for the attraction and then be given a different way to access the attraction.

Disney Wheelchair disability

Credit: Disney

Related: Guest Passes Out in Line After Being Denied Disney’s Disability Service

Every Disney attraction that has Lightning Lane access is a part of the DAS program. Guests can either pre-register for the DAS program or visit Guest Relations at the Disney Park they are at to see if they can use the service.

You can read more about Disney’s disability access service by clicking here.

Do you think fake news was a step too far? Let us know in the comments.

About Krysten Swensen

A born and bred New England girl living the Disney life in Southern California. I love to read, to watch The Golden Girls, and love everything to do with Disney and Universal. I also love to share daily doses of Disney on my Disney Instagram @BrazzleDazzleDisney!

5 comments

  1. I use the disability pass I have a disability that keeps me from standing for long periods This has been a blessing as I can still enjoy the parks with my family I don’t mind waiting and hope that people would not abuse the service!

  2. Disney asking for this information would not violate HIPPA. This is commonly said but is not true. It may violate the ADA, but HIPPA doesn’t apply to Disney bc they are not a healthcare provider. HIPPA is about protecting health care information used in healthcare. Disney may be limited by the ADA, but not by HIPPA. In reality Disney probably can ask and in the interest of preventing abuses should probably consider doing so. As the parent of a child with a qualifying not visible disability I would have no problem offering proof of disability.

  3. We as a family actually brought doctors notes(signed & stamped) due to the fact both my son and I have disabilities which are not visible. I’m fibromyalgia, chronic pain, arthritis, PTSD, and anxiety attacks. My son is autistic, PTSD, and has panic attacks. So Disney was great we only used DAS for my son, until our trip last year. It was horrible how people abused it. Especially for those of us out here that need it. I understand that it might violate HIPPA ,alot of “invisible disorders” are considered a disability.

  4. My husband and I have non visible disabilities in which we would have no problem presenting proof. I don’t think anyone that has a true disability would object. I think the fakers would have the problem because they could not provide proof. It would cut down on a lot of people trying to beat the rules. Same goes for renting an ECV or wheelchair. Provide proof or don’t get one. You have to provide proof when getting a parking tag at the DMV, so what’s the difference. As far as hiring disabled people to go with you to access lines, that is just the lowest of the low.

  5. Barbara Bookwalter

    Due to the distances necessary to move around the park, I have rented a scooter the last couple times, even before I qualified for a DMV placard. If required now, I would be happy to provide. My only unpleasant experience has been trying to get to the rental site, as they are 1st come 1st served. The rental is not far from where the busses let off but cabs are not allowed in. I had to walk in from Harbor Blvd(? ) multiple bus lengths vs maybe 20 yards.

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