Disneyland and all the Disney Parks are loved and visited by millions of people every year. Most of the people who visit are your average human and can walk and talk and understand everything. There are some people in the world however who have challenges to these basic human attributes most people take for granted.
I was approached by a young lady who took her two children to Disneyland Paris for a vacation. Her son has Autism. Autism is a developmental disorder that affects many things such as ability to communicate, understand and cause certain behaviors. It has a wide variation of severity and symptoms and that why in the U.S. it has been reclassified as Autism Spectrum Disorder.
This lady’s daughter wrote a very sad letter upon leaving Disneyland Paris because of the judgement and treatment her brother received by other patrons of the Park. People were staring and telling them they were in the wrong line even though they had the DAS pass. She felt because he wasn’t in a wheelchair he was being judged.
This is such a “hot button” topic for me because of the judgement I see from people. It makes me very sad that people would judge and treat a little boy like this.
Not all disabilities have outward visibility. So please when you see someone using the DAS system and you think “they look normal” or “they look fine” please remember that they have a reason for utilizing the service. We don’t know what everyone is going through.
Another thing I hear a lot is “people are faking it” when needing to use these services. So I’m going to say this loud!! MOST PEOPLE UTILIZING MOBILITY AIDS OR DISABILITY SERVICES ARE NOT FAKING IT!!!! There are of course bad people in the world and Disney does do their best to lessen the impact of that stuff. Please when you see someone you think doesn’t need it please don’t judge them!
In a case like me…I hardly ever leave my house because of my disabilities. When I am in Disneyland it is freedom for me! I can walk a little and you might see me walking a little or using my wheelchair and even possibly using an ECV because my hubby does get tired of pushing me in my wheelchair (can you blame him).
The world is set up to cater to the mainstream and “average” people. I am so thankful as a person who needs more help that Disney has this in place and there is a vacation destination I can go to without having to worry if they have wheelchair ramps or stairs!
Disney Parks have a system for helping guests with disabilities called the Disability Access Service or DAS. This is for non-mobility disabilities. If you have a mobility disability and are using a wheel chair or mobility scooter (Disney calls these ECV) you will not use DAS.
With DAS you go to Guest Services either at City Hall in Disneyland or Chamber of Commerce in Disney California Adventure at the Disneyland Resort in California. In Disney World you go to City Hall at Magic Kingdom, The Guest Relations Lobby at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, The Guest Relations Lobby at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and The Guest Relations Lobby near Spaceship Earth in EPCOT.
Just tell the cast member what you or your child needs in order to experience all the Disney Magic. Just so you have an idea besides the DAS pass they have Assistive Listening System for hearing impaired, Sign Language Interpretation, Handheld Captioning System, and Video Captioning Services.
For the devices like the Handheld Captioning Device there is no charge. But they do require a $25 fully refundable deposit.
If you have a child who needs to use their stroller as a wheelchair you can go to Guest Services and get a red tag for your stroller then you can take the stroller places normally strollers aren’t allowed.
If you have a mobility disability you can get a map of the attractions and how you access them with a wheelchair or mobility scooter. If you have another need that I have not covered you can go to Guest Services and speak with a cast member and tell them your needs and they will tell you how Disney can accommodate you.
Please remember that everyone is there to have a good time! Be courteous to others and be thankful you don’t need to utilize the services if you don’t have to! Please join me in sharing a photo of on social media with the hashtag #disneyisforeveryone if you agree!!!
Here are some resources for planning your trip!