Skip to content
Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland in Anaheim, CA, on Wednesday, August 16, 2023. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG)
Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland in Anaheim, CA, on Wednesday, August 16, 2023. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Disneyland and Disney World will attempt to rein in the unwieldy Disability Access Service that has bogged down attraction queues and backed up Genie+ lanes as a result of a tripling in usage of the program ripe with misuse and abuse.

The Disneyland and Walt Disney World resorts updated the Disability Access Service programs on Tuesday, April 9 that offer assistance to theme park visitors with developmental disabilities like autism and other neurodivergent disorders.

The changes go into effect May 20 at the Walt Disney World resort and June 18 at the Disneyland resort with the goal of limiting the Disability Access Service program to only guests who require the services, according to Disneyland officials.

Sign up for our Park Life newsletter and find out what’s new and interesting every week at Southern California’s theme parks. Subscribe here.

ALSO SEE: First look at Avatar themed land proposed for Disneyland

All of Disneyland’s accessibility options will not be available to all guests with disabilities, according to Disneyland officials. Disneyland hopes a wide suite of options will offer solutions for everyone.

The Disability Access Service has become the most widely requested service at the Disneyland and Disney World resorts with the volume of guest usage more than tripling over the last five years, according to Disneyland officials. Disneyland is taking steps to preserve the DAS program now because the trend is only expected to continue.

DAS is intended for Disneyland visitors with a developmental disability like autism who are unable to wait in a conventional queue for an extended period of time. DAS visitors get a return time through the Disneyland mobile app comparable to the current standby wait time for an attraction.

ALSO SEE: See early Disneyland ride concepts that never got built

Disney will continue to operate DAS on both coasts and partner with Inspire Health Alliance on the implementation of the updated programs. During the interview process, Disneyland visitors seeking DAS will be asked about their life experiences but not their disabilities. The program update will require everyone who has an existing DAS pass to reapply.

ALSO SEE: Disneyland closes 4 attractions during busy spring season

The sheer number of DAS users today are overwhelming the limited capacity of Disneyland’s infrastructure and bogging down the whole system, leading to backups in the Genie+ Lightning Lane queues shared by DAS guests, according to Disneyland officials. The increased volume of DAS users means longer wait times for guests with disabilities and those who have paid for Genie+ — defeating the purpose of the shorter lines for both groups.

On June 18, Disneyland will move the DAS processing center from guest relations inside the parks to new disability services windows at the ticket booths on the esplanade between the parks. For now, DAS processing will remain at the guest relations desks at Disneyland City Hall and Disney California Adventure’s Chamber of Commerce through June 17.

Visitors who do not qualify for DAS will be directed to other options like Rider Switch passes, Stroller as a Wheelchair tags, Location Return Time passes for older non-ADA compliant queues, wheelchair transfer options, handheld devices for the visually impaired and sign language interpreters.

DAS validation will be good for the length of the daily ticket type or for 120 days for annual passholders.

DAS use has exploded in recent years in part because more people have become aware of the service. Social media hacks have exploited DAS as a free way to avoid paying for the Genie+ line-cutting service and have led to abuses.

The updated Disneyland disability services website highlights rules that limit the number of people who can use a single DAS pass, requirements that the visitor who registers for DAS must ride the attraction and penalties for making untrue statements when registering for DAS.