Original post by guest writer Elizabeth Cox. Updates to the original version of this post have been made to improve accuracy.
Disability Access Service (DAS) is a system that is in place to assist Disney World guests that may not be able to comfortably wait in a traditional queue environment. The DAS is not a "front of the line" pass, but rather a tool to be used along with FastPass+ in order to provide the maximum amount of flexibility to guests with disabilities.
Here's how it works...
Guests wishing to inquire about DAS can do so at Guest Relations at any of the 4 main parks. Eligibility for a DAS pass is based upon a guest's need, not their diagnosis. Cast Members will not ask for proof of a disability, but will inquire about the type of accommodations you are requesting because of your disability or condition.
The person with the disability must be present to obtain the pass and will have their picture taken. It will be added to your My Disney Experience account, and you will be able to access it through the same app you use for FastPass+ and dinner reservations. You will only need to do this process once as it's good across parks for 14 days (60 days for Annual Passholders).
It's important to note that you can have family members and others traveling with you on the pass as well (up to 6 people total) but they must be present in person when the pass is obtained. You can add others throughout your stay if they cannot be with you when it's first issued.
Once you have your pass, you can send a family member to the ride you'd like to visit and let them know you need a return time using your DAS pass. Any member of your party can obtain the ride pass; the person with a disability does not have to be present.
The Cast Member will determine the current standby wait time and usually give you a return time for that attraction based on the current wait, minus 10 or 15 minutes (this is at the CM's discretion and the return times can sometimes vary). For instance, if it's noon and you'd like to ride Space Mountain and the current wait is 50 minutes, they will give you a return pass for 12:40. You can get a snack, visit another ride, or use your regular FastPass+ during the wait time to keep busy.
At 12:40, go to Space Mountain and enter through the FastPass+ line. The person with the disability must be with you; you may not use the DAS pass to ride without them. You will need to wait with other riders in the shortened FastPass+ line.
Once you are done riding, you may go to other attractions as many times as you wish throughout the day and repeat the procedure.
Can I still use FastPass+?
Yes! Most families use their DAS pass in between their scheduled FastPass+ times to keep the pace of their trip moving for people that don't wait well. It also helps to combine it with FastPass+ so that you can visit more attractions in less time, for those families that might tire more easily and need a shortened day at the parks.
What happened to the old system of going to the front of the line?
There was quite a bit of press in the last few years about abuse of the system so Disney consulted with many different advocacy groups to come up with a new system to continue to assist guests with disabilities and reduce abuse.
Will I be able to use the DAS pass for character meet & greets or for reserved seating for fireworks?
You can definitely use the pass for character meet & greets if they offer a FastPass+ option. However, the DAS pass can not be used for attractions, entertainment and character meet and greets that do not offer both a standby line AND a FastPass+ option. This includes the FastPass+ fireworks and parade viewing locations (since they only offer FastPass+ and no standby line options) and any character meet and greets that do not offer FastPass+.
There are limited handicap areas to view the parades that are available on a first come, first served basis for those using wheelchairs or scooters. For those needing a slightly less busy area for fireworks and parades, you might consider using a regular FastPass+ to ensure you have a reserved spot.
Who can use the DAS pass?
Anyone who has a disability or condition that necessitates waiting outside a traditional line environment may be eligible to use the DAS pass. This includes disabilities that are both seen and unseen.
If your family member needs a scooter or wheelchair or has needs that can be met by using a mobility device and they do not have any other disability that might hinder them waiting, they are NOT eligible for a DAS pass as the ride lines are handicapped accessible. So if grandma just had knee surgery or Johnny just broke his arm in a baseball game, the DAS pass is not for you.
Tips for using DAS
Try these to get the most of your DAS pass:
- Get a pass as soon as you enter the park for the ride with the longest wait. You can then fill the time with rides with shorter waits or use your regular FastPass+ during that time. Get another one for a ride with a long wait time right before you break for lunch so meal time will fill up the wait.
- Remember that there will be at least a short wait even in the FastPass+ line. Be prepared with snacks, or diversions like an iPad. Waits are typically 5-10 minutes but can be up to 20 minutes.
- Send someone from your party who is on the DAS pass to the ride to get the return time and have someone else remain with the child with the disability. Going up to the ride with the person with a disability to get the return pass and then having to walk away to wait can be really tough, particularly for a child with autism.
The DAS system isn't without its critics, but many find that it works well for them. Have additional thoughts or comments? Feel free to share in the comments.