I haven’t posted in a while about Disney or the new pass. I had conveyed my experience when it first came out but have certainly tried to give it ample time to work out. I’ve emailed the company and called to express my concerns. While I was initially told that my comments and suggestions were being heard , I don’t believe that is the case. We are simply told to use our Fastpass+ and the DAS .
The latest news is that some autistic families are suing Disney. They feel that Disney is not making accommodations according to the ADA or American with Disabilities Act. The act signed by then President Bush in 1990 says that businesses or places are required to make accommodations for people with disabilities so they can have the same opportunities as someone without a disability. This set of parents is alleging that their children with autism can not enjoy Disney because the new DAS makes them do a virtual wait that is clearly unattainable because of their disability. They are asking the court to make Disney change their policy and unspecified damages.
I have a child with high functioning autism. We have worked long and hard on waiting in line and being in crowds. We pay a lot of money every year for his annual pass and do expect that Disney will make accommodations for his disability based on the previous fact. If this pass won’t work for my high functioning teenager then it is clearly not going to work for a young non verbal child with autism. I can not in good conscience tell others with those children to spend their hard earned money at Disney at this time. Disney is too expensive to not be a successful trip for families.
There are clearly ways the system could be improved. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this out. Based on our experiences since October of last year , here’s what Disney could improve. We go at least once a week as a family.
- Let guests have two wait times simultaneously. While we are waiting for Jungle Cruise, we could avert his focus by riding Pirates . This makes the wait seem so much shorter for him so he doesn’t have time to perservate on the fact that he’s waiting. When Pirates is over , half his wait time has been eliminated for Jungle Cruise. You get the idea. It’s easier to make a child wait while doing something else.
- Allow immediate access via the Fastpass+ line for any ride with less than a 10 minute wait. I know what you’re thinking. Just wait 10 minutes already. Children with autism usually have sensory problems as well. Standing in any line is painful for them. People stink. They talk loudly. They push too close to you. All these things are ok for a neurotypical child but absolutely excrutiating for a child with sensory issues.
- Allow unlimited Fastpass+ linked to the child’s DAS. Families could certainly make the day work better with some planning if they could use the Fastpass+ system more. This would actually alleviate the use of the DAS by making the day much more predictable which is an absolute in the autism life.
- Link the DAS to the child’s MagicBand thus alleviating the need for a paper one. Others wouldn’t know that you are using the disability pass to bypass the line. I personally don’t care if others know or not but it would seem beneficial to Disney if those numbers weren’t public knowledge.
- Allow annual passholders to get the DAS for the length of the annual pass. Listen, my kid’s autism isn’t going to go away in 2 weeks. Making me stand in line every 2 weeks for a new pass is a waste of not only my time but Guest Relations as well. Update: Disney has allowed Passholders to get the DAS every 60 days now. Makes my life much easier!
These are but a handful of ways to make this system better for people with autism, especially children. Do I think these families should be compensated monetarily for their trouble? I’m not going to mince words here. I think asking for money is hurting their cause and making them look like they are money hungry. All that needs to happen here is for Disney to take our concerns seriously and help us make it the happiest place on earth once again for our children.