Updated DAS (Disney Access Service) Pass Changes – Our Experience and How You Can Advocate for Yourself or Loved Ones

By: Greg Gately

Updated DAS (Disney Access Service) Pass Changes - Our Experience and How You Can Advocate for Yourself or Loved Ones

Updated DAS (Disney Access Service) Pass Changes – Our Experience and How You Can Advocate for Yourself or Loved Ones. We will always be the first ones to say when we are wrong, and in this case, we may not be fully wrong, but we have learned and adapted our original article. Not much is different, but there are a few changes we would like to correct, to make sure you have the correct information.

We want to give you our personal experience in the new DAS process. How our needs were met, and how the whole thing works now. Plus, we will give you helpful tips in advocating for yourself or a loved one. Please do not ask us to tell you ‘HOW’ to get a DAS or what works and does not.

I also want to say that we have read a lot of comments, both pro and con, from people telling us their personal stories to those who do not agree with people who may be using the new DAS system. We hear you, and we are trying our best to bring you everything correctly when we learn what the new system is like.

Furthermore, we are also an ever-growing and evolving site. We may say something the wrong way, when we did not mean to. Please feel free to direct us in the proper language to use, or proper way of discussing these hard-to-discuss topics. We will always do our best to do and be better. We have learned so much from this community and are grateful for everyone who has left feedback, clicked the articles, or watched the videos.

You, and only you, know what your diagnosis is. We have found that people who legitimately need DAS are being denied because they are having a hard time understanding the new rules in place and are being denied access to the help that is available. We have also seen people who have abused the system in the past scrounging the interwebs looking for ways of bypassing the new system.

You are the only one who can advocate for yourself. You must understand how to explain cognitive disability, how it affects your daily life, and how it is an issue standing in a long line. I can suggest a few things to help. Write down your issues prior to the virtual chat, write down your concerns, and have that list ready when talking to the Disney Cast Member. It is okay to talk like you are a robot and go down a list one at a time. Write all the services you have in place in your daily life, even if it is small, like having a loved one help you turn off lights so you can calm down.

Stay Calm. Your mental health is more important than any Disney trip or vacation. There is hopefully a Cast Member on the other end of the chat who will understand what you are telling them. If not, you need to do your best to explain the situation to them. Remember, they have heard from 2 people at once, times every 10 minutes, which means 20 ish people an hour, and on a 10-hour shift, so 150-200 people each shift. They have heard it all, and they have become a little desensitized to the whole ordeal.

What to expect when calling into the virtual chat: First you may end up waiting for around an hour. You start by answering a few questions in the chat feature before going onto a video chat. Such as, have you agreed to the Terms of Service? If you are using a mobile phone, have Zoom downloaded and installed. They are accepting video chats with people who have a reservation in the next 30 days.

For us, we followed our own advice and had every symptom written down that could happen from standing in a long line. Our original DAS pass expired on May 23rd, but that day was considered a Good To Go day at the parks and we had to explain that we were still going to the park. We are Disney AP holders. We spent 49 minutes waiting in the virtual chat queue. Our chat would glitch once in a while and we would get an error, we would have to reload the webpage, and finally, we ended up using my cellphone and going through the MyDisneyExperience app.

Even with the error messages, it was quick to reload and work. The cast member first started off by asking a few questions in the chat prior to doing the live video chat. Your account, name, party size, names of those who are in your party, and why you are in need of a live video chat. Once we got to the video chat, the Cast Member we spoke to was professional and pleasant. He explained that there is some new rules in place and he would do his best to accommodate us.

He asked us why we needed DAS, and we then had to go through the whole list we made. We did it point by point. One at a time. He did not interrupt us. we stayed on target and only talked about how our cognitive disability affects us in long lines. We were very thorough. We were asked what we do at home and what services are in place in our daily lives. We were approved. Well, I was approved. I made sure they knew I go to the parks solo 3-4 times a week, and I do not always have the person who helps me at home with me.

The new pass lasts for 120 days, up from 60. You are now allowed 3 guests on your pass, down from 6. The Cast Member also explained how the pass works, along with there is now a 10-minute buffer before you can schedule your next DAS return time. On rides with a second touch point, the timer starts after that scanner. There is no limit to the amount of rides you can get a return time during the day, you can only hold one at a time.

There is a special condition and circumstance for solo guests where a medical professional has to go through your concerns and then can approve only you.

Let’s tackle each mistake we have made individually.

Updated DAS (Disney Access Service) Pass Changes - Our Experience and How You Can Advocate for Yourself or Loved Ones
Updated DAS (Disney Access Service) Pass Changes – Our Experience and How You Can Advocate for Yourself or Loved Ones

1 – Let’s clear up a few things we got wrong initially “For example, if the DAS Cast Member determines you do not qualify, or the guest you are helping receives an answer you do not agree with there is now nothing you can do about it, and you will absolutely not be able to “get the manager”. If you are told no, then no it is forever. “Once you get a NO, there is absolutely ZERO chance to get the decision overturned or updated!”

This is not 100% fact. We have heard from many people who have told us that if you do not agree with the decision made by the cast member then and only then can you suggest talking to a Health Care Professional that is hired to work alongside the Disney Cast Member. This does not mean that the professional will say yes, it just means they will look deeper into the reasons and then make a judgment.

2 – Who qualifies for DAS under the new rules – Those on the Autistic Spectrum (and that is it!). Autism is the ONLY qualifier. Even then, some aspects of Autism and Neurodivergence will be asked how they are accommodated outside of the parks to see if they could qualify. Some may not qualify at all. Those who qualify must fall under a new measuring stick of ‘would that person leave the line and not come back’.

This is a major issue I want to clear up. I was wrong here. This goes along with this other passage we wrote…

Who does not qualify – PTSD, and this is messed up, even those who are combat veterans or have served in the military. ADHD, Social Anxiety, and any other cognitive or mental health disability. Physical Disabilities have not changed, like those needing a mobility scooter, wheelchair, crutches or the sort. Other Physical Disabilities include IBS, Crohn’s Disease, and Diabetes. Also, Cancer is not a qualifier.

Here is the real answer: Autism is a spectrum. Neurodivergent is a spectrum. PTSD is a Spectrum. They all fall under the umbrella of “Cognitive disabilities” a term that refers to a broad range of conditions that include intellectual disability, autism spectrum disorders, severe, persistent mental illness, brain injury, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, and other dementias. These can all be covered under the new Disney DAS system.

There are some things to know about the DAS process, you can be denied if the disability can be covered by any of the other solutions they offer, and they will offer many other options. For those who truly need it, you know how to discuss your limitations and how standing in a long line would affect you. Importantly, how would the other solutions offered be of help or lack of help? How likely are you to return to the queue? How do you deal with any issue that may arise at home or in daily life? What services do you have in place?

These are NOT doctors, they are Cast Members who have been trained to understand what a vast group may need. They may not understand your singular issue, they may not understand how being Neurodivergant can set off various other conditions. They will not understand your cognitive issues if you mention any mobility issues. You must disclose if you visit the parks solo, or with a group. These will all help the Cast Members decide.

I stand behind ‘Would that person leave the line and not come back’? Think of that in terms a Cast Member would understand. If you had something trigger your PTSD, how likely are you to return to the Frozen Ever After line and hang out with Elsa, Anna, and Olaf? If you had a young one with you that went into full-on meltdown mode (I am not talking about a child throwing a tantrum, or just being tired! Parents of kids on the Spectrum know exactly what I mean) how likely are you to get them back into that queue to enjoy the Haunted Mansion?

How likely are they to calm down and be ready to tackle the parks again? When a quiet room won’t work or when stim toys don’t solve anything when only a pair of headphones and some Mario and some darkness will help along with the comfort of a spot that is familiar?

We stand behind Physical Disabilities not being issued for DAS. This does include a broad range of issues like Mobility, Visuals, and this, and I know I am probably saying this wrong or listing it in the wrong category, but IBS, Crohn’s, autoimmune diseases, and internal disabilities are not covered. Please show me the proper way of including these in a way of discussing them. We have not heard one person say they have been approved for mobility.

What Disney is suggesting as of right now for those who do NOT qualifyRider Switch, Return to Queue, Single Rider Line, or buy Genie+. They have a full list of ideas that may help you deal with standing in long lines.

  • Encourage other members of your party to help create space around you in line to make it more comfortable.
  • In a theme park environment that requires additional walking or standing, bring a mobility device such as a wheelchair, ECV, a walker with a seat, or a cane chair.
  • Bring a sensory toy or a calming item—such as a stress ball, favorite device or activity like a tablet, video game, comic book or another item that may be calming or distracting while waiting in a queue.
  • Grab a snack or drink to enjoy while waiting in a queue. Just be sure to finish it before boarding the attraction.
  • Break up your day with other offerings at the Resort that don’t require waiting in a queue, such as entertainment.
  • Don’t forget other items to keep yourself comfortable. Some items to consider bringing include a sweater or jacket, sun protection, or hat.

You must now call in to the Disney Virtual Chat through the MyDisney Experience App or on the computer. Be logged into your account. Have a reservation, unless you are a Disney Annual Passholder and the next time you are going falls on a Good To Go Day. You MUST accept the terms of service, and we have written about those rules already here.

Updated DAS (Disney Access Service) Pass Changes - Our Experience and How You Can Advocate for Yourself or Loved Ones
Updated DAS (Disney Access Service) Pass Changes – Our Experience and How You Can Advocate for Yourself or Loved Ones

Rider Switch

Rider switch is a program available to all Guests. With Rider Switch, Guests can wait with member(s) of their party who aren’t riding due to any of the reasons listed below. Once the first Guest returns the waiting Guest can board the attraction without having to wait in the regular line again!

Rider Switch is available for Guests who meet one of the following:

  • Does not meet the boarding requirements
  • Has a service animal that cannot board the attraction or does not want to use a provided kennel
  • Meets boarding requirement and does not want to ride but cannot wait outside queue on their own

Rider Switch is available at most attractions throughout Walt Disney World Resort.

How to Use Rider Switch

  1. Upon arriving at the selected attraction, approach the greeting Cast Member with your entire group and inform them you are interested in the Rider Switch option. Members will be divided into 2 parties: “Party 1” will board the attraction first, while “Party 2”(a maximum of 2 people from the rest of your party) waits. 
  2. A Cast Member will scan the admission media or tickets of Guests in Party 2. 
  3. After Party 1 completes the experience, any Guests from Party 2 who have waited to ride should return to the appropriate attraction entrance as directed by the issuing Cast Member to have their admission media/tickets re-scanned by a Cast Member for the Rider Switch entitlement. At this point, the riding Guests of Party 2 may enter the appropriate attraction return line and board without waiting in the regular queue. Meanwhile, Party 1 waits with the non-riding Guests.

Single Rider

Single Rider is a program available to all Guests. Single Rider queues are often shorter than the standby queue and contain fewer sensory elements than the standby queue. Single Rider is a service that allows groups to split up and experience select attractions individually. Keep in mind, you will likely not ride the attraction with a member of your party, but enjoy the attraction with other Guests with a shorter wait.

Single Rider is available for a Guest who meets any of the following:

  • Prioritizing shorter wait times rather than riding with their party
  • Meets the minimum age requirement

How to Use Single Rider

A Cast Member can direct you to the designated queue, where your party will be separated to fill remaining seats that aren’t occupied by Guests utilizing stand by lines. Please note:

  • Immediate boarding or choice of seat is not guaranteed
  • Single Riders must meet all boarding requirements
  • Special seating requests may not be accommodated
  • Participating attractions and wait times may vary
  • This service is subject to availability, and not available at every attraction

Attraction Queue Re-Entry

There may be times when a Guest must briefly step out of the standby line and then rejoin their party in the line. Every location has a defined process to support this option based on a person’s disability while the rest of the party remains in line.

How to Use Queue Re-entry

Speak to a Cast member at the location for directions on how to re-enter the queue.

  1. A Cast Member will provide details about how to exit the queue and how to navigate back to your party.
  2. While the Guest who must leave the line is briefly away, the rest of the party will remain in line.
  3. The Guest reunites with their party to ride the attraction.

Note: Guests must meet boarding requirements to ride.

Updated DAS (Disney Access Service) Pass Changes – Our Experience and How You Can Advocate for Yourself or Loved Ones

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