By doing some of my research ahead of time, I understood that I actually didn't need a DAS card. Instead, presenting myself in my power wheelchair at rides is supposed to be sufficient. For my needs, I found this to be true. I am aware however, that for some in power wheelchairs who have other specific needs, it is not and I hope they get that tweaked.
So, my only experiences involved rides where I previously entered via, or needed access to, an alternate entrance. For example, for the Jungle Cruise (Jingle Cruise!), a ride for which there is no Fastpass, I used to just line up at a specially designated spot near the exit. The Jungle Cruise has only one specially designed ADA boat (called a WAV for Wheelchair Access Vehicle) that features a hydraulic lift where a wheelchair (or ECV) can be driven right onto the boat. So, the disabled patron needed to wait for that boat to come around if they needed it. While they used to simply let GAC holders and those in mobility devices on the next boat available, they now have an extra CM posted at the line entrance who gave me a return time card which was the estimated line wait minus 10 minutes. I had no problem with this because of all the reading I had done previously on what to expect. Again, though I am sympathetic to those who need shorter wait times, I think for people like me, it's fair. I rode the ride twice and the CMs were very pleasant and helpful.
The CMs at Haunted Mansion also immediately recognized my need and offered me a return time based on the current wait (although I ended up not using it as we decided not to go on the ride.) My experiences with the alternate entrances at Small World, Buzz Lightyear (the blue door), the King Arthur Carousell, and the Little Mermaid rides were exactly the same as on previous visits. No return time card was issued.
My contact with the kiosks was simply to ask questions. I usually "play dumb" just to see how they respond. I found one CM to very warm and friendly and full of good info. Another one seemed defensive, only giving short answers and leaving me with the feeling I should stop asking questions. Just an observation.
I also found the term "kiosk" odd as the area set up for this didn't seem immediately recognizable. It was usually just a CM with a podium and an umbrella. It seemed kind of temporary looking -- and not unlike those areas where they are selling Disney timeshares, etc. Unless you knew what you were looking for, you might miss it. Perhaps a term like "station" might be more descriptive. Some clearer markings nearby might help as well. They appeared to me only marked with the words, "Guest Services". How about "DAS System Help".
For all other rides, I found my experience to be almost exactly as it had been previous to the new system.
It seems to me that the system is built on some fairness principles. For many disabled people, waiting in line is no more difficult than for others. I have always said that building a new system where there is no immediate advantage with line position would be fairer for all. But the test of the new system is, and will continue to be, how it responds for the different needs of the many different disabilities that people who attend the parks have. For many, waiting in line is very difficult. For example, those with - or have children with - autism, ADHD, etc. There are also many disabilities that are not visible like knee issues, back problems, and other fatigue issues. For these people, the system is more cumbersome than the previous system. Sadly, some disabled patrons with more extreme disabilities who previously had extra-special consideration have been disenfranchised altogether.
From all reports, Disney seems to be more than willing to listen and make adjustments to the system. The CMs at the kiosks are trained to answer questions. They also seem trained to ask questions to get clarification on your specific needs. All CMs and ride operators are trained to escalate any problems to supervisors (leads). In addition, reports are coming to me of people who are writing Disney ahead of their trips with specific concerns. Disney is setting up personal files for those with "special" needs to create a plan for them to enjoy the parks.
My advice for those disabilities who are planning on visiting soon, is to familiarize yourself with the new DAS system completely before you go.
Disney Parks Disability Access Service Card Fact Sheet
If after reading through the facts regarding the new system, you have concerns some of your needs will not be met, contact Disney ahead of time with your concerns.
Guest Claims Department
P.O. BOx 3430
Anaheim, CA 92803-3430 or call
As always, if you can share your experiences with me, I would appreciate it and will be as helpful as I can! Contact me by making a comment on this blog or on Facebook or email.