I recently took my three children on a dream trip to Disney World. This was a fantastic bonding experience and journey for us. I had never been to Disney, and we had a wonderful time.
I do not write about it on my website, but one of my children has Autism and ADHD. On a previous theme park trip, she had trouble waiting in line and had a lot of anxiety dealing with the crowd and tight feeling of the line of people.
While researching Disney, I came across the Disability Access Service known as DAS.
I had never heard of this before reading about it on another website. I was trying to educate myself on Genie+ and lightning lanes when I came across it. It can be confusing and overwhelming, and I was worried we might have a stressful experience navigating this.
DAS ended up being an excellent service that made our trip incredible.
What is DAS at Disney?
DAS is a registration system for guests with disabilities that prevent them from standing in line. It lets you wait in line virtually and return at your assigned time rather than standing in line to wait. Once you return at your time or anytime after, you can use the lightning lane entrance to enter the ride.
The registered DAS guest must enter first and punch in before the party goes in. But everyone in the party may join with the registered DAS guest.
From the Disney World website:
Rather than waiting in a standard line, those registered for DAS can remain in a virtual queue and return at a predetermined time.
- DAS is intended for Guests who have difficulty tolerating extended waits in a conventional queue environment due to a disability.
- DAS doesn't provide immediate access to experiences but instead allows Guests to request a return time for a specific experience that is comparable to the current standby wait. This allows the guest using DAS to enjoy other experiences in the park instead of physically waiting in the standby line.
- The guest who is requesting to use DAS must be present during registration (in person or live video call) and when redeeming a DAS return time at Walt Disney World theme parks. The guest using DAS doesn't need to be present when a return time is requested at an attraction or any Guest Relations location.
- Once registered, DAS is valid for up to 60 days.
- Two exciting new features have been added to the DAS program: (1) the opportunity to pre-register via live video call and use DAS Advance pre-arrival planning and (2) a convenient way to receive DAS return times through the My Disney Experience app.
Who is eligible for DAS?
Guests with any physical or mental condition that affects their ability to wait in a standard queue for an extended wait may qualify for a DAS.
There is a broad range of disabilities that may be eligible for DAS. Autism is one that I have seen typically almost always allowed.
How do I register for DAS?
Previously you had to go to guest services in the park to register on the day of your visit, but you can now pre-register for DAS online up to 30 days in advance using live video chat.
You will first meet with a cast member to determine eligibility.
The guest using DAS must be present for the live chat. This concerned me a bit as my daughter did not want to wait around to chat with somebody, but I was able to pull her in quickly, and it went fine.
While you can pre-register 30 days before a park visit, it must also be at least 2 days before arrival.
During the registration chat, you can also work with a cast member to book up to 2 one-hour return windows for select experiences using the DAS Advance planning option.
This allows you to book two experiences (rides or attractions) beforehand. Then when you get to the park, you may also make additional DAS selections on the day of your visit.
My experience with DAS pre-registration
I had no idea how this live chat would go, so I was nervous. Especially since my daughter doesn't like talking to strangers, especially over a video chat.
I also had yet to learn how picking the attractions to book ahead of time would go.
My children and I watched many videos ahead of time to understand what rides my daughter would like.
I also read that the chat wait times, such as 9 hours or more, can be insanely long.
So I told her I would log on, see what was happening, and call her when I had someone available. The initial chat was just the chat box on the website.
Here are a few things to have done before you start from Disney:
- Add your travel party to your Family & Friends list, so they can be included in DAS plans
- Link valid theme park admission for each member of your party
- Ensure that the guest who is requesting to use DAS is present at the time of registration, either via live video chat or at one of the Guest Relations Main Entrance locations
Luckily for me, the wait time was only about 15 minutes. The first cast member on the chat asked when our park visit was and if we qualified for DAS.
We were transferred to another cast member for the live video part. This was brief. The cast member talked to my daughter and verified her disability.
We then transferred back to a chat to make pre-registration selections. They had me fill out a form for each park with our requests and what times we preferred.
And then we got it back with the registered selections. We did not get everything I chose or the times I picked, but it still was close enough.
Altogether it was an easy process and worth doing if you have a family member with a disability.
How to use DAS once you are at Disney
Once you get to Disney, you can use the My Disney Experience app to make selections once in the park. You must be in the park to use it, though. It will not show up before you are in the park.
Instead of going to an experience or a kiosk to obtain a return time from a cast member, guests registered in the DAS program and their party can now make return time selections right from the My Disney Experience app during the day while in the park.
Any member of a DAS party can obtain a return time for the whole party, but the registered guest using DAS must be present when the return time is redeemed.
You can only make one selection at a time, and they do not expire. So, we would make a selection, go to the ride, check in, and then I would get on the app and make the following selection.
It worked out great for us. And no stress if we did not get to the next ride at the return time since the time did not expire.
If you do not have a mobile device, you can still go to guest relations or the ride to request a return time.
How to Access the DAS Return Time Self-Selection Tool
Once in the park, open the My Disney Experience app and sign in to your Disney account.
Tap the "More" option at the bottom right of the welcome screen. Then, tap on the Disability Access Service (DAS) button to enter the self-selection area.
The tool can be accessed from the attraction detail screen too. I would scroll through my day tips, look at rides or attractions we wanted to go on, and then click DAS to book.
Do I need Disney Genie + with DAS?
I was very unsure of this since this was the first time I had been to Disney World. Our first park was Magic Kingdom, and I was so worried we would miss out I bought Genie+ the first day and booked a couple of rides at 7AM.
Genie+ is a whole other blog post; plenty are out there if you want to know how it works. Between Genie+, lightning lanes, and DAS, it can get confusing.
I also bought an individual lightning lane for another ride I knew we wanted to do.
You only need Genie+ if you have limited time to visit and want to maximize your time. I did not feel we needed it at all.
After the two rides I booked, we did not use it again, and I did not purchase it again for the rest of our trip. And we visited every park and Magic Kingdom twice.
Does using a wheelchair or scooter qualify for DAS?
A scooter or wheelchair does not qualify for DAS. According to Disney, depending on the experience, the guest will either wait in the standard queue or receive a return time to the attraction.
The DAS Disney pass was terrific for us and helped maximize the trip and ensure my daughter and the entire family could enjoy it.
I have heard some people choose to abuse it, and that really is a shame. Disney is trying to go above and beyond to accommodate all guests.
I was intimidated by the registration process, but it was pretty easy and 100% worth it.
Please let me know if you have any questions about how to get a DAS pass at Disney World or anything else Disney related. After this trip, I feel like a Disney expert and get the hype now. My children want to go back every year if only we could.