Disneyland Guest Assistance Card


September 2013 Update: There have been numerous news reports indicating that Disneyland Resort (and Walt Disney World) will be replacing the Guest Assistance Card with a new system called the Disabled Assistance System (DAS) on October 9th, 2013. As predicted there has been a wide variety of responses including praise and backlash. We’ll update with more information once it’s available.

How do I get to the Front of the Line at Disneyland?

OK, we figured we’d just put the question out there since that’s what you’re most likely thinking. Short or tall, disabled or not, nobody likes standing in line at Disneyland Park, California Adventure, Disney World, Six Flags or whatever amusement park you’re attending. The truth is that it used to be much easier to bypass the line based upon a visible disability, but this honor system became so abused that Disney had to put in a much more rigorous system. We used to be able to just go through the exit at Space Mountain, walk right up to the ride, wait a few minutes, and hop on.

Disneyland and DisneyWorld Guest Assistance Card

Disney has implemented an official program called the Guest Assistance Card. At Disneyland, when you first walk in you want to head to the left and stop at the Town Hall. You will most likely have to wait in a long line and when you get to the front desk, you need to ask for the Guest Assistance Card. The customer service agent will then ask you a generic question such as “What is your concern?” At this point, your line-skipping ability for the rest of your stay is based upon what you say. The customer service agent has a variety of stamps to choose from, depending upon what you say. We’ve seen a stamp depicting stairs, meaning that you can bypass the line on any ride that has stairs. There’s also a stamp with a detour arrow, which means to use an alternate entrance (usually the exit). On our last trip, we learned about another stamp which lets you use your child’s stroller as a wheelchair. Please let us know if there is another stamp that we don’t know about.

Amusement Parks and Older Kids

At some point, your child will be too old to use a stroller. Does your 7 year old really want to be pushed around Disneyland in a stroller? OK, maybe they do! At this point, the best you can request is a stamp to skip the stairs because your child may realistically still have problems with stairs (our average height daughter will frequently fall on the stairs). Whether the park has stairs or not, the park is still very large and you want to encourage your child to slow down. Slowing down isn’t a bad thing. Usually they are so excited upon first arrival and will be running around like crazy, ensuring exhaustion and pain way too fast. Take frequent breaks, enjoy the shows, and visit with Mickey, Minnie and the roving characters.  By helping your child to relax and take it all in, everyone can have a more pleasant vacation experience.

30+ years ago our AH parents taught us to slow down. It helped make the trip more enjoyable.  Even as adult LPs, we take frequent breaks and take our time going through the park.  And if we only make it to half the rides that our AH friends and family make it to, it is alright.  It is less stress on our legs, back, and whole body.

Have we missed a helpful tip for visiting amusement parks with a disability? Let us know!


{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Caitlin July 19, 2012 at 1:35 pm

There is the alternate entrance pass (double arrows), wheelchair pass, stroller equals a wheelchair pass, stair stamp meaning to avoid stairs, and a green light stamp meaning immediate boarding so they would go through an alternate entrance/ exit and get on the attraction right away. I’m not entirely sure what would qualify you for a green light pass. In California Adventure, the wheelchair and stroller stamp has no effect and you stand in the normal line (except on the Silly Symphony Swings and Golden Zypher which have stair access).

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M July 22, 2012 at 6:10 pm

I believe the green stamp which means immediate boarding is only issued through the Make A Wish foundation.

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Sami August 8, 2012 at 12:26 pm

The green light stamp is only for Make A Wish kids. I think they have to get that stamp through make a wish. The stairs stamp is to avoid stairs only, if that ridde doesnt have stairs, you will have to wait in the stand by line no matter how long it is. My daughter is autistic. Its an invisible condition, and sometimes the CM’s are hessitant to give me a pass because i am young, and they think im going to use it just to cut the lines. Well I hardly ever use the pass, its just kind of like a cushion, just in case she does want to go on a ride and she cant handle the line. So it just depends on what cast member you get when you request the card.

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Sandy November 8, 2012 at 5:43 pm

Hi,

Thanks for the info. Keeping our daughter in a stroller that equalled a wheelchair was a wonderful saving for her poor back and legs. It really allowed her to enjoy the visit so much more than she would have. Another stamp that we discovered was Shady Area for Waiting. Because our daughter suffers more from the heat (LPs apparently can’t get rid of the heat as well because of reduced skin surface) she was allowed to wait in a shaded or indoor area instead of in the hot sun. I took a doctor’s note with me talking about her health issues including this. It meant that there was no problem getting these types of stamps. Hope this helps anyone else who suffers from the heat.

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Sandy November 8, 2012 at 5:49 pm

The other option available to parents of little people kids is to rent a scooter for themselves ($45 approx. from Disney or delivered to your hotel) and then let the child ride on their lap. I didn’t test this out so I’m not certain that it’s allowed but I certainly saw a lot of parents/grandparents riding this way. In this way, they can cover a lot more ground and have a place to sit while waiting in line. While we were there in October with our “Stroller = Wheelchair”, we were quite often put through the handicapped entrance or the Fastpass entrance with other people who were in EVC’s.

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Lauren February 28, 2013 at 11:19 am

coming from someone who works at Disneyland it’s forums like these that allow people to research and practice what they are gonna say as they come in to City Hall. People abuse the GACs because people post “what to say” on the Internet and if we want to keep our jobs we cannot question it. From someone who sees the abuse every day, I think the GACs need a whole new system

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Steve March 24, 2013 at 9:37 am

I agree with Lauren. People are abusing this system that is meant to help people with actual disabilities. I hear people in line at City Hall coming up with crap and then I hear it in the lines, all because some people are too lazy to wait or get an actual fast pass. I think you should have to show your disabled placard to prove handicap status. Sorry. I broke my back in the army and have PTSD along with some other issues and I actually need a pass. But, if I don’t need to use it I don’t. And, it doesn’t work in DCA. I have to get another pass which I won’t disclose to the public (sorry) but it helps a lot. Disney needs to look at this and revamp the system.

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cindybeckett April 7, 2013 at 3:24 am

I went to Disneyland recently and told Guest Relations that I need an alternate entrance GAC because I have severe panic attacks around crowds and issues standing for long periods of time. They issued me a wheelchair accessible GAC and told me that alternate entrance GAC would not suit me.

I went to Star Tours and found out that the wheelchair accessible GAC is required to use the normal que. I found out that several other Disneyland rides are the same way as well as the entire California Adventure park. This causes the wheelchair GAC to be useless in many Disneyland rides and completely useless in the entire California Adventure park.

I went back to City Hall and requested my GAC be changed to a alternate entrance GAC and told them that the wheelchair GAC was not helpful and explained to them the issues that I had such as not being able to stand for long periods of time. The worker recommended a wheelchair and would not issue me a alternate entrance GAC. I told them that I did not want to be in a wheelchair and that I did not have someone that would push me in it. The CM still refused, and I left.

I believe their issuing a wheelchair GAC and refusing to issue me an alternate entrance GAC is their way of responding to GAC abuse to avoid long lines.

Has anyone been issued an alternate entrance GAC? If so, what was the reason you were issued the alternate entrance GAC and not the wheelchair accessible GAC?

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Karen April 10, 2013 at 5:21 pm

Cindy – I agree and applaud Disney in your case . You state you get panic attacks in crowds
Disney parks are crowed everywhere you go not just the on the ride lines . Sounds like you along with Many others are trying to ruin something that was designed for those who really need it.

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Lyndi June 24, 2013 at 5:20 pm

Karen-You obviously have never had a panic attack have you?! I too suffer from them and walking in a crowded park versus standing in a line for 2hrs with someone breathing on your neck is totally different and terrifying! Think before you judge :)

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Sylvia March 24, 2014 at 9:35 am

Lyndi im with you on that! I suffer fom panic attacks, and it is very very terrifying

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maddy November 18, 2014 at 7:03 pm

Well knowing ahead of time how Crowded Disney is, ya’ll should avoid it.

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Steve June 22, 2013 at 5:23 pm

I’m glad that in this day of wanting equality that there are still those that will try to take full advantage of any opportunity they can. If someone offered you help in a situation because of your “disability” you’d be offended. If you can use it to bypass the rules, well, that’s different, right? Shameful is what it is.

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Andy October 29, 2013 at 4:18 pm

I think a good solution for this would be for Disney to limit the number of guests that can enter the park in a day. The long lines are the result of overfilling the parks past their capacity! Seriously, there are days when they’re so crowded you can barely walk around! On days like these, wait times for some of the most popular attractions can top 2 hours! No one wants to waste 2 hours waiting in line, especially when people have to pay nearly $100 for a single day ticket and hundreds more for annual passes. That’s what causes people to try to figure out ways to bypass the lines, which include abusing guest assistance programs. I have heard perfectly healthy people boasting about renting wheelchairs and even taking turns riding them just to enter the attractions through the alternate entrance/exit. Though I certainly don’t approve of this, I can understand why it happens. I too hate to have to wait in long lines after paying good money to get into the park. However, I try to go on off-peak days (they can sometimes still be crowded), and I either use Fastpass, Single Rider Lines, or wait until I see that the wait time has been reduced and go to other attractions in the meantime. This system has never failed me and I hardly ever wait for more than 30-45 min. at the most. However I do understand that that there are different situations for different people for whom that may not work, and waiting in a line – however short – is not an option. The bottom line is that people want to get the most entertainment and attraction ride time for their money. In the best case scenario, the number of guests allowed in should be limited so attractions should not have more than a 30 min. wait time. If that had been the case, people wouldn’t have minded the lines so much to abuse the guest assistance services, and so they would not have been altered. However, we know that Disney would never limit the crowds because more people means more $$$. A theme park is a multi-million dollar business and Disney will not lose any money to please people who don’t want to wait in line, even if they are disabled. Same reason why they keep raising the prices. So now, there is no choice but to go along with the new program. Guests with disabilities will just have to figure it out and get used to it.

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