Courtesy of Disney
Disney is always finding ways to improve the guest experience at its theme parks — and that includes using technology to streamline vacations. Walt Disney World and Disneyland’s new Disney Genie service has proven to be a game changer for individuals with disabilities. The Disability Access Service (DAS) had previously only been offered in person and required guests to visit an attendant at each attraction they wanted to visit.
The new DAS system, available within the Disneyland and Disney World mobile apps, makes the service much easier to use by allowing the entire process to be handled virtually. This is part of the company’s commitment to providing parks with experiences that are accessible and inclusive to all guests. Here’s what you need to know about using DAS on your next Disney vacation.
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What is DAS?
According to the Disney World website, the Disability Access Service (DAS) is a program offered at the theme parks “to assist guests who have difficulty tolerating extended waits in a conventional queue environment due to a disability.” The DAS system is for qualifying guests (including those with cognitive and physical disabilities), along with up to five additional members in their party, so they can schedule return times for expedited line access to various experiences.
How does DAS work?
Eligible guests can register for DAS online before they arrive or on-site at guest relations. They can then book their return times, either in advance using the DAS Advance planning option or via the app when they’re visiting the parks. Guests can still use the old method of getting return times from cast members in person, too. Note that visitors can only hold one active DAS return window at a time (not including those made with DAS Advance), but the next selection can be made once the current one is redeemed. The respective park’s app can be used to modify or cancel any reservations. When bookings are made in the app, the guest with DAS must be present with the party at the return time.
If the attraction uses a Lightning Lane, this is where guests can scan in for their return time, but it may be best to check in with a cast member. Unlike the Disney Genie+ paid service, which provides a short period of time to redeem your experience, the window to return lasts until the park closes.
Once you’ve registered for a DAS pass, it will stay in the system for 60 days. After that point, you will have to renew to continue using DAS.
Who can use DAS?
The DAS system is intended to assist guests who have difficulty with extended attraction wait times in a conventional queue. The service is not for guests with some mobility issues, including those requiring a wheelchair, and it’s only valid at the resort at which the guest is registered. For example, if a guest with a DAS pass at Walt Disney World visits Disneyland, they must register separately.
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Preregistration is now available to be completed virtually with a cast member over a live video conference. Guests can take advantage of DAS Advance up to 30 days ahead of their visit and up to two days before arrival. Guests using DAS Advance can also make select reservations prior to their trip. Be sure to allow for ample time if taking advantage of the DAS Advance registration, as the virtual process can take several hours.
Guests can also use app’s self-selection tool to choose other experiences. All guests using DAS Advance must have valid theme park tickets and reservations.
Make sure everyone in your party is linked as friends in the Disney mobile app.The DAS pass is valid for the guest who received it and up to five people in their party.Return times are comparable to the attractions’ current wait times, so guests using the service don’t get immediate access to experiences.If you don’t have a mobile device or are without access to yours, you can use the previous system by visiting guest services in person.Guests using DAS can also take advantage of Disney Genie+ paid a la carte attractions or virtual queues.If you’re park hopping, you must be currently scanned into the location you’d like to make reservations at.
How is DAS in real-world practice?
“The convenience of being able to get your return times directly from the app versus previously having to get it from the cast members at the attraction cannot be overlooked,” shares Andres Gonzalez, who visits the parks several times a year. “It makes routing your day around a park much more straightforward. For those with mobility issues, it’s a huge blessing as you save time on making trips to the attraction. Attractions don’t always have the best immediate surroundings to wait for your return time, so it’s nice to have that additional flexibility.”
“Before the DAS system was moved to the app, we might have to send one adult to run halfway across the park to get a return time, leaving the other parent to entertain three children, all on the spectrum,” shares Disneyland regular Becca Robbins. “Now that we can do the return time selections ourselves, via the app, we actually get to enjoy time with our children in between rides — whether that be all of us sitting down for a snack, watching a parade, or even finding another ride to go on while we wait. The DAS system makes it so our family can enjoy a Disney day together, with fewer meltdowns, and having the ability to take time to de-stimulate as needed.”
For more details about this service, and other services for guests with disabilities, visit the Disney World or Disneyland website.