Readers who are living with disability or have a loved one who is may have visited a Disney theme park on vacation. For many years, Disney Land and Disney World had a system that allowed disabled adults and children to avoid having to wait in long lines for popular rides, which may be impossible due to their conditions.
However, that system has undergone changes that may affect the ability of some disabled people to enjoy the Disney parks. As of Oct. 9, the old system of Guest Assistance Cards is gone. In its place are Disability Access Service Cards. This change is an attempt by Disney to combat what it says is widespread abuse of the system by non-disabled people.
The old cards gave users the right to skip long lines and get into rides using a separate entrance. They proved to be very convenient for visitors with disabilities, but Disney says that non-disabled people were getting access to the cards through various means just to avoid lines.
Under the new system, disabled visitors will be issued a card with their picture on it. The visitor will not have to prove they are disabled, due to privacy laws. The new card will allow visitors to make an appointment at a ride when there is a line. However, they may only schedule one ride at a time, and must go up to the ride itself to make an appointment in some cases.
Many disabled people and parents of disabled children have expressed concern about the new system. An online petition asking Disney not to get rid of the Guest Assistance Cards collected more than 34,000 signatures. However, it appears that Disney was going to go ahead with its plan.
Source: Disability Scoop, “Despite Pushback, Disney Firms Up New Disability Access Policy,” Michelle Diament, Oct. 7, 2013