By D’land Diva
* Edited to add: The new Guest Assistance Card is called Disability Access Service Card. *
In the D’land Diva family, we are incredibly blessed to have grandparents that LOVE to spend time with our kids at Disney. We all are also incredibly blessed to have Annual Passes to Disneyland.
Yesterday, we spent a late afternoon and evening at Disneyland, and it was the first trip that we have taken together since the changes to the Guest Assistance Card or GAC have taken effect. Both my husband’s step-mother and his father have limited mobility and own their own scooters. On our trips in the past, they have simply gone through the exit or an accessible entrance to rides and transferred to the ride vehicle.
Upon entering the park on this trip, my in-laws went straight to the Main Street City Hall for information on how to now access rides for those in scooters. They were not given a card, but were given information. Guests with other assistance needs, such as those on the Autism Spectrum would have been given a card.
Much of the process for getting on rides is the same for those with limited mobility: The scooters would be allowed through the exit of the ride and they would transfer. There were a number of rides, however, that would require them to visit a podium with a cast member stationed at it to sign up for a time to return the ride. In other words, they went to the podium, asked for a return pass and were given a return time.
Our first stop was the Haunted Mansion Holiday, and we were given a return time for about twenty minutes later. We noticed that it was the exact amount of wait time for the stand-by line for the ride. This trend would continue on Peter Pan. It would seem that they tie the return times to the actual stand-by time. When we returned to Haunted Mansion Holiday and Peter Pan, the process was the same as before: We went through the exit and it was a limited wait before boarding the ride. Guests can obtain a new return time card as soon as soon as they have used the old one. On rides like Winnie the Pooh and Casey Jr. Circus Train, there were no podiums. We went up the exit of the ride as we normally did.
In all, we found that we much preferred having a scheduled time to return! The accessibility line was shorter on these occasions. There was not a long wait on Main Street to obtain this information and there was not a long wait at either podium to get a return pass. By the way, the return pass was like a card that was surrendered upon your return.
Now, to be fair, I have seen long lines at Main Street City Hall for those needing the GAC or information on the program. Both of my nephews are on the Autism Spectrum and will be using the GAC on their next trip, so I hope to write about that for you.
In the meantime, please know that the cast members we have talked to have reported that guests have been very happy with the changes. Our experience was positive. The negative stories that I have read about- the long waits, for example, we did not find to be true. If you do find a long line on Main Street, and you have a park hopper, a good suggestion might be to visit the Guest Relations desk across the way Disney’s California Adventure. This has worked for us in the past when we have needed. The Disney website says that cards may be issued at “Guest Relations Main Entrance Locations.”
For more information on Guest Assistance Cards and policies, please check the Disney website here.