Special Needs and DIsney
Part 2 GAC/DAS
On our last installment we talked a bit about how Disney helps with "runners". Today we are going to touch on a few points about the old GAC/new DAS card.
On our first trip after the accident we found out about the GAC. Unfortunately, it was our very last day of the trip. It was a Game Changer!
It has been through a lot of changes over the years, including a name change. It remains a wonderful way for Special Needs families to tour Disney. Back when we first started using it the Guest Assistance Card was an actual paper card that allowed our family to go to the Fast Pass entrance and ride. Since one of Mr. D’s problems was the inability to understand personal space as well as waiting in lines, this was perfect for us. We only used it for things that had a longer than 15-minute wait time. Fifteen minutes was pushing Mr. D to the limit of his ability to wait. After that, he would start a meltdown. Even if he was semi quiet, it was not pretty for us or anyone around him. The GAC was a preprinted card, where they wrote the child's name on it, the dates and how many in his party. Then, they had a series of stamps they would put on it.
We purchased a special lanyard for Mr. D to keep his GAC around his neck. He liked being in charge of showing it to the Cast Member. Of course, this was one of the problems with this system that allowed so much abuse. It was very obvious to others that we were getting preferential treatment. It didn’t take long for people to figure out how to ‘use’ the system, and those bad apples spoiled the process. There were even people that were making money from it! (I cannot tell you how much that sickened me!)
During the change from the GAC to the DAS I admit I was not a fan of it! You still had a paper pass that you showed to the Cast Member at the Fast Pass line and they would write on it your return time. The card also included a picture of the ‘owner’ of it and we still had to show it at the Fast Pass Line when it was our turn to ride. Our wait time was equal to the current wait time (more or less). It didn’t take long for there to be some abuse of it as well. And the whole showing the paper to the CM was still showing people that we weren’t waiting in line as they were.
The first edition of the DAS was hard to keep up with and did not fit into the holder. It had to be taken out of the holder each time we requested a DAS, and then had to be taken out again when we rode. After a couple of days it was very ragged and hard to see. Then there was the problem that after so many rides, you would have to have it exchanged for another.
Now, let me say this. I could not believe some of the comments you would hear as people saw us get into the Fast Pass line. Sometimes it was so bad Mr. D would refuse to ride. So, we would trek back out and calm him down, of course all of us missing our time to ride. Occasionally the CM would allow the rest of the family to ride while I took him out for a snack. That has always been the quietest way to calm him down. However, most of the time no one rode.
The current way the DAS works, while not perfect, is a lot closer to that perfection. They now have the picture of Mr. D on the band, as well as the DAS info. So, when we enter, as long as Mr. D enters first, the remaining family members are allowed to go through the Fast Pass line.
Our next issue will have some detailed info on the DAS. How to get it, how to use it, and a little about how we use it in our touring strategy.
Most of the content is written by people at JMorris Travel. Every once in a while we will have a guest blogger, usually it is part of our 'family'.Always with a nod to Family Travel!