Monday, February 6, 2017

RMH Travel Comparing Disneyland to Walt Disney World...Disable Access Service Pass and wheel chair access

Hi Blogging World for those that follow my Facebook or visit my website often know that I am a Disneyland fanatic with a great Disneyland Crowd Calendar on her web site and we go to Disneyland a lot. I have gone to Walt Disney World a few times, but it been a while until just recently. We just got back form 9 day trip to Walt Disney World and can't wait to give a great review of the rides/attractions and shows we did.

We did 8 days at the parks and we also did Pirate and Pal Cruise, the Illumination Dessert Party, and the Hollywood Studio's Star Wars Firework Desert Party.  We had the dining plan which I am going to discuss in this blog series.

But this first post is going to address going to both parks with an autistic child (my son) and using the Disability Access Service Pass at both parks and also going to the park with someone who needs to use a wheel chair, as my mother accompanied us on this trip and unfortunately for her health of lately she can no longer walk a great distances so we had to rent a EVC (motorize scooter). So I will be talking about the differences and the similarities in using those services at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland.

Disability Access Pass (DAS)
What is Disability Access Service Pass?  This is a service Disney provides for people with a disability that makes it difficult for them to wait in a crowded line. (Autism is one disability)This system isn’t intended for guests who want to avoid waiting in lines, but to assist those who truly need extra assistance.  This system may also be used in conjunction with the current Fastpass system

At both Disneyland and Walt Disney World, it starts out the same to get this service. You must go to Guest Relations and sign up for the Disability Access Service Pass (it is most commonly known by its acronym DAS pass, and it is how I will refer to it from here on out). They take a photo of the person that will be using the DAS pass and at Disneyland they tie it to your ticket/annual pass and at Walt Disney World they tie it to the person's Magic Band/ticket. They also ask how many people in your party, and note that when you sign up with the pass. At Disneyland they need everyone's ticket when you make a ride choice, whereas when you are making a ride selection at Walt Disney World you just need the MagicBand/ticket that has the DAS on it, but it MUST be that MagicBand/ticket, and the rest of the party ticket/MagicBand is automatically added to the pass.

Disneyland's DAS Pass 

The plus of Disneyland, at that moment they ask what RIDE would you like to ride next. You may choose ANY ride ANY where in ANY park, they look up the wait time of the ride, subtract 10 minutes off the wait time and put you in the que right then. They scan all the cards and tell you the return time. Then comes the plus or minus of the DAS pass, after you enjoyed the ride, to get another return time you must go to a DAS Disneyland Kiosk which sometimes is difficult based on their location or lack there of. Here is the list of the Guest Relations locations:

Again, though once you get to any one of those Kiosk you can choose ANY ride again in either park, so you can walk to Main Street and choose Radiator Racers because you are about to leave Disneyland and go to Disney California Adventures. The request must be made at the kiosk and remember everyone's ticket must be presented at each Kiosk that wishes to ride, and make sure that the person with the DAS pass when you enter the rides is at the top (I usually just carry everyone's pass, always having my son's on top and get the FASTPASS and DAS pass for everyone in the party and present them to the Cast Members (Cast Member is what Disney calls their employees) when needed..  Another draw back is that they just tell you the return time, and you either have to write it down of REMEMBER it. Which brings me to an embarrassing story of me forgetting when my son's return time was and telling him it was time, then the Cast Member saying it was not time (by 10 minutes!) and of course my son having a full melt down and then the Cast Member giving me dirty looks when I just commented that I really thought it was for this time and he rudely said well it isn't get your child out of the way. Any person who has an autistic child that they love tries to avoid this situation....yet that Cast Member made me feel like purposely did this. So, as a warning to any parent, please write down the return time.

Walt Disney World DAS Pass

For Walt Disney World to use the pass you must present the MagicBand/ticket at the ride you wish to go on, again make sure it is the person with the passes MagicBand/ticket, when I signed up they said anyone may get the pass but the DAS member must be the first to go thru the FASTPASS line. But, that is not the case, yes they have to be the first thru the FASTPASS line but you also NEED their band to get the reservations. Because of this I ended up having two bands on my wrist the whole trip, but I had already made my son's child size so I had to come up with a unique way to wear the band. And only once did a Cast Member get snippy about my son not wearing his band.
They again do the 10 minutes off the wait time and ask that you return when your time is ready. You must always go to the ride to get a return time. The plus that I wish Disneyland would adopt and you can guess why...if you go to their app, which list all your FASTPASS in that section is also your DAS selection with the RETURN time!!! Perhaps when the MAXPASS comes to Disneyland, this will be adopted this method and we will be able to see our return times electronically. 

Some of the ques at Walt Disney World do need changes for those with autism though. There are many ride ques where they stuff people into a room, saying move closer and closer, also then once they stuff you in this small space they then expect you to all que up again, and for those that know the rides que push themselves to basically cut to be the first thru the doors. (and this situation causes my son MAJOR MELT DOWNS) Again, when seeking help from the cast members they were not helpful. My son really loved Test Track, his favorite part creating the car....his melt down point after that point because of the pushy people that rush out of the car making room to the que line, also at Animal Kingdom Lion King Show they constantly made announcement that we needed to be packed in as tight as possible, making no consideration for those that NEED personal space. 

Disneyland with wheel chair

Disneyland park itself being so old, the que lines are very small, too small for wheel chair. For those rides, they treat them like DAS return, except instead of going to a kiosk you will go to the ride, and find a Cast Member that will scan the person who is confine to the wheel chair and everyone else in their party ticket and give them a return time, though some times they will just direct you into a que. At Disney California Adventures, the que lines are big enough and you just get in the lines and the cast members will direct you when it gets time to for the help with transfer on to the ride. There are a few rides at Disneyland where this is possible too, Buzz Light Year is one that comes to mind. 

Walt Disney World with wheel chair

Walt Disney World lines seem more adapted to using a wheel chair, there were very few that required a return time, and we usually had a Fastpass for that ride anyways. Their Big Thunder Mountain ride is one that comes to mind. The biggest issue we had here was actually getting the wheel chairs on the bus and monorails, most of the Cast Member were really great about this but a few where not so nice. We also had a problem when we did the Star Wars Desert Party, they had tables assigned for those with wheel chairs but not enough so they shoved us into a corner and left us there, promising to have someone come and help but they NEVER did. See I am not here to sugar coat things, 90% of the time Disney is on the ball but as you see from my post I am honest about even where they fall short. And even though they fell short at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World with my family, I still love Disney and their parks. My son and mother are both asking when I can manage to plan our next Walt Disney World Vacation...and with your help I just might be able to make that happen. Remember I am always honest with my clients and readers.
Next in the blog series: RMH Travel Comparing Disneyland to Walt Disney World....the planning (I will be talking about booking a trip to Disneyland compared to Walt Disney World and how the planning is so different)

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