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Heading to Disneyland with a disability, or a child with a disability can be overwhelming. But Disney is great at helping to accommodate those who need it. And now, Disneyland is making use of the Disability Access Service (DAS) even more guest-friendly for those who need it. Here is everything you need to know about Disneyland’s updated Disability Access Service.
Disneyland has worked hard to be accommodating to all guests. They are the most plus-size-friendly theme park I have ever visited, newer rides are made with wheelchairs and ECVs in mind, and they offer a variety of services to help guests who need them.
As a mom to kids with cognitive disorders, but that look normal, it was a conflicting emotional journey to realize that the Disability Access Service (DAS) was made for families like mine. My old DAS guide talks a lot about this journey, which you can read about if you are interested.
But now, we feel comfortable getting the help that we need in order for my kids to be able to enjoy a day at Disneyland, close to the same as neurotypical children.
This is your guide to everything about the new, updated DAS and how to utilize it at Disneyland.
NOTE: Please only utilize the DAS if you actually need it. When the system gets abused, that is when Disney has to make changes that make it harder on everyone.
Answers to Questions About The New DAS System
You may have questions about the DAS system, and if it is available to you. While I do my best to give accurate information, just a reminder that everyone has different needs, and some decisions are at the discretion of Cast Members.
Who Can Utilize The Disability Access Service (DAS) at Disneyland?
The DAS is available to guests that have physical or cognitive needs during their park visits, specifically those that need an alternate place to wait in queue for rides.
I have a wheelchair, ECV, cane, etc… Do I need the DAS
This is one where your mileage may vary based on the Cast Member, but typically – NO. A wheelchair, ECV, cane, etc are a visual queue to Cast Members of your needs. the one that may vary with Cast Members is those using a cane. Because that does not allow you a place to sit in lines that can accommodate a wheelchair or ECV.
How Wheelchair and ECVs Work in The Parks
Most queues at California Adventure Park were built to accommodate wheelchairs and ECVs, and some rides at Disneyland can accommodate them. In those queues, you would simply take the mobility device in the line, and then transfer if needed.
On attractions where the mobility device will not fit in the queue, the Cast Member at the queue entrance will direct you further. Some rides simply have you immediately go to the wheelchair entrance, others require you to be assigned a return time, so be sure to check with the Cast Member.
I have _____ – Do I Qualify For The DAS?
The Disability Access Service is not diagnosis-based. The Cast Members cannot/will not ask what the diagnosis is that stops you from waiting in a queue. Instead, they will ask you what accommodations you (or your child) need in the parks, and may ask what happens if those accommodations are not met.
It is important you be able to articulate what the guest utilizing the service needs. For example – A friend has a medical condition that she cannot wait in the sun/heat for more than 15 minutes otherwise she risks having a seizure. Or my kids have a certain time limit they are able to wait before they have episodes from their cognitive disorders.
Being able to explain why you need the accommodations is key. Also be able to explain what may occur if you do not have the accommodation, and what you feel the solution will be.
THE DAS IS NOT A SKIP THE LINE PASS – It is a way to be accommodated by allowing you to wait in line somewhere else.
How Do I Sign Up For the Disability Access Service (DAS) at Disneyland?
There are now two ways to sign up for the DAS system at Disneyland. One can be done from home, the other is done in the park. Let’s talk about the different options, and then we will talk about how to do each one.
DAS ADVANCE – Pre-Register For the Disability Access Service From Home
Disneyland has added the option to register for the Disability Access System from home, which I think is great for many guests. It allows you to already have accommodations set up before you arrive at the park.
This option also allows you to pre-select two one-hour DAS return times per day of your visit. Which rides are available will be limited, so just have a long list of rides, broken down by park, ready to go.
To register for the Disability Access Service Online you will need to:
- Have purchased all tickets and made park reservations for your vacation
- Have ALL tickets that are going on your vacation linked in YOUR Disneyland Account/App
- Be within 2-30 days of your visit. I suggest making sure all park days are within this time frame before doing the online registration
- Have the person(s) who need the DAS Service available for a video chat
- Have a list of rides you would like return times for.
- And honesty moment – have several hours or more where you and the person needing the DAS (if it is a different person) are available and together.
Once you have done all the items on the checklist, you can go online HERE to begin the chat to set up your DAS registration online.
Advance DAS Chat Hours are 9:00 am – 8:00 pm Pacific Time. At this time DAS Advance is only offered in English.
I am going to be honest, I have attempted this MULTIPLE TIMES, but due to the time difference, and our schedule, I always have to leave after waiting for a minimum of 2 hours. Either because my kids have somewhere to be, I have other obligations, or my kids needed to get to bed.
Register For DAS With Guest Services In The Parks
This is the traditional DAS registration, which involves the guest with the need, and a parent, etc if needed, heading to a Guest Service kiosk to sign-up for the Disability Access Service. You can also sign up at City Hall (Disneyland) or Chamber of Commerce (California Adventure) but these lines are usually quite long.
Honestly, with the issues with Advance DAS, I have found this to still be the best, least stressful option.
For Both Registration Options
Be prepared to explain what happens if the guest utilizing the service must wait in long lines, or basically, why you need another location to wait. Also be prepared to answer questions such as “what is the longest you can wait in line?”
They will also need to take a picture of the guest(s) utilizing the service. This is separate from the picture taken when you enter the park for the first time with the ticket.
How To Request a DAS Return Time
My favorite thing about the updated DAS system is that you no longer have to go to a kiosk to request a return time for a ride.
If you are using the Disneyland App (which I highly suggest) you will be able to make Disability Access Service Return Time Selections right in the app.
Requesting a DAS Return Time via the Disneyland App
Once your DAS is set up, you will need to close out and restart your Disneyland App. Once you do this, reopen the app. Click the 3 lines on the bottom right of the app home screen.
Scroll down the results page, and you will find a DAS category.
You will be able to use this area to select return times for rides.
Step by Step – How to choose your DAS return time
- Go into the Disneyland App
- Click the 3 lines in the bottom right hand corner
- Scroll down to the Disability Access Service (DAS) option
- Click on DAS, which brings up DAS eligible rides
- Click the ride you would like to select a return time for
- Preview the return time
- To schedule click the “Request DAS Return Time”
- Select your DAS User
- Select the party to go with the DAS User
- Click Confirm
Managing Your DAS Selections
Once you have selected a return time, you can go to the same 3 lines, and under “My Genie Day” you can see your DAS return times along with any other reservations, Genie+ selections, etc.
You can also cancel DAS selections here.
Requesting a DAS return Time without the Disneyland app
If you do not wish to use the app to request a return time, you will need to visit a guest services kiosk and ask for a return time. This will take a lot more time, and require running from place to place in the park.
The guest utilizing the service DOES NOT have to be at the kiosk, just someone with access to their ticket.
Can More Than One Person in Our Party Sign Up for the dAS?
This is a positive change to the DAS system. Previously, you could only have one DAS per party, or if you had more than one, each family member had to basically chose whose DAS they would be linked to…for the entire vacation.
This meant if DAS USER A had dad, and sibling 1 linked, and DAS USER B had mom, and a grandparent linked, and they didn’t get return times for the same ride, you couldn’t chose who to go with. Mom always had to go with DAS USER B.
With the new DAS System that is tied to the App, you can select a party for each time you request a return time. The only thing to know is you can’t double dip… each ticket can only have one DAS return time on it (as the primary or as someone going with that person).
This is amazing for families where one DAS holder may be tall or into thrill rides, and another DAS holder is too short or doesn’t enjoy thrill rides. Now you can decide for each return time who will ride what.
Here is a video demonstrating how to utilize the DAS for 2 different users on 2 different rides. Props to my child for being the cameraman. (In other words- sorry if the phone goes out of frame.) Video has no audio.
How To Check In For Your DAS Return Time
One of the most confusing parts of utilizing the Disability Access Service at Disneyland is the multiple ways you check in for your return time.
Once your return time hits, there are multiple ways you may need to check in to your ride.
If you are confused where to go, ASK A CAST MEMBER. Since this is always changing as Disney explores ways to streamline the process, this is my number one tip if you are not sure where to go.
Even with asking Cast Members, I have had one instruct me to go a certain place, and then be told something different by the next Cast Member I encounter, so please be kind. They are all trying their best to accommodate everyone.
Number 1 Thing to know about scanning in for your DAS return time
The biggest thing to know about scanning in for your DAS return time is that no matter how you scan in, the registered guest must be the first ticket/bar code they scan.
If you have multiple people in your party utilizing the service, don’t worry, when you click redeem, the person who signed up for the return time will have (Registered Guest) under their name. (I will try and snap a screen shot or picture next time I am in the park with one of my kids.)
If the attraction utilizes lightning lane
In most cases (with the exception of Indiana Jones), if the ride utilizes Lightning Lane, you can simply scan into the Lightning Lane utilizing the bar code readers. Just be sure to scan the registered guest first.
Once you scan the registered guest, the circle will turn blue. This lets the Cast Member know it is a DAS return, and they will check their iPhone to make sure the registered guest is there with your group. After they okay it (and the light turns green), you may scan the rest of your group in.
UPDATE October 2022: With the arrival of MagicBands at Disneyland, you may now use those to scan into the Lightning Lane! The registered DAS holder must scan in first.
Indiana Jones and Jungle Cruise
While Indiana Jones has a Lightning Lane, that line can get very long. So I am assuming that is why it utilizes a system similar to Jungle Cruise.
For these two rides, when it is your return time, you will head to the covered area to the right of Jungle Cruise. This is where the old Indiana Jones Fastpass machines were.
Here a Cast Member will scan in your party, and then hand you a paper and instruct you where to go with it. Often it is through the exit, but once I was told to go through the Indie exit, and then the next Cast Member directed us to the Lightning Lane… so your mileage may vary.
Attractions with no lightning lane
For most attractions with no Lightning Lane, you will head to the exit. But when in doubt, just ask the Cast Member at the beginning of the standby queue where you should go. The one ride I have sometimes had it be different is Pirates of the Caribbean.
For Pirates of the Caribbean, they have recently had Cast Members at the entrance scan us in, and send us different ways to the ride.
For guests who can walk, but cannot do stairs
Cast Members are good at checking for ECVs and Wheelchairs to help them avoid stairs, but sometimes a guest can walk and still not do stairs.
Guests who cannot do stairs may or may not qualify for the DAS. No matter what, if you cannot do stairs, make sure to talk to the Cast Member where you join the queue. For some attractions, you will go in the standby or Lightning Lane Queue, to a certain point, but others have a separate entrance (Big Thunder Mountain for one) for those who cannot do stairs.
In Radiator Springs Racers, Toy Story Midway Mania, and Indiana Jones, mention to EVERY CAST MEMBER you come to that you cannot do stairs. I say this because it is easier to do this than to try and figure out where you need to mention it for each ride.
When Can I Request Another DAS Return Time
You can only hold one DAS return time at a time. As soon as you have scanned in for your return time, however, you can request a new return time. Even if you are still in line for the ride.
I suggest doing this to help minimize your waits, and the need to entertain or distract a child who may have a hard time understanding why they can’t just go on the next ride.
(To be clear, I know all kids have a hard time waiting, but as some of us parents of kids with cognitive disorders understand, there is a difference between the typical hard time waiting, and what kids with these disorders experience.)
Disney Genie+, Parkhopping, What To Do While Waiting, And Other DAS Questions
Now that you know the basics of utilizing the DAS, there are a lot more questions that you will have, or things you will encounter that I want to prepare you for.
I am parkhopping – Can I request a return time for the other park
No. You must currently be scanned into the park you wish to request a return time for. This includes if you parkhop. We went from Disneyland to DCA, and tried to make a return time for Disneyland as we planned to hop back, but got an error that you must be scanned into the park you are making a return time for.
Originally, I had a Cast Member at Guest Services say that they could do one for you as you hop parks, but when I tried to have one do it later that day they told me they couldn’t.
You CAN, however, leave the park, go back to your hotel, and make a return time for the park you were last in. It goes off where you last scanned in, not geo location.
Should I buy Disney Genie+ if my group utilizes dAS
This is something that will be different for everyone. With my kids, we do not. One-hour return times do not work for my children. If they need a chance to go somewhere to de-stim, calm down, rest, or escape the chaos of the park, if they know we are chancing not going to an attraction that we have a return time for, it will cause a bigger meltdown.
In fact, this is why even when there was free FastPass, we rarely utilized it. The one-hour return window did not work for us. And when we travel with our kids, we rarely go on a ride without them.
However, if your kids are not as likely to have this issue, Genie+ is a great way to be able to cut even more wait times.
My friend Leslie has a great guide to Genie+ – I have not written one yet, so I suggest checking hers out.
Also, if your party may split up, you may want Genie+ for those in the group who do not utilize the DAS. Since DAS only works if the registered guest rides the attraction.
Finally, if you plan on utilizing Photopass services and want your ride photos, I suggest at least one person purchase Genie+ just for that.
Remember, you can pre-purchase discount tickets with Genie+ included.
Ooh… Another reason you may still want Genie+ is it DOES allow you to make selections for the other park! I just thought of that.
What Can I Do While Waiting For My Return Time
There is plenty to do while you wait for your return time, and what you choose will depend on your particular needs (or your child’s needs).
Some things we tend to do are:
- Hop on rides with shorter wait times
- Find a quiet area to destress
- Bathroom and snack breaks
- Take our kids somewhere to get out some energy
- Go meet and greet with some characters
How long is my DAS good for?
Your DAS is good for the duration of your tickets, or if the registered guest has a Magic Key Pass, it is usually good for 60 days. The Cast Member who sets up your DAS will tell you the exact timeline.
Do I need to scan in before making my first return time selection?
Yes, you will need to have scanned in (as will any party members joining that return time) before you make your first selection.
In addition, selections are not available until after the official park opening. This is another reason Genie+ may still be worth a purchase as you can begin making those selections once scanned in, even if the park has not officially opened.
Can I add people on to my DAS?
If you are a Magic Keyholder, or maybe a friend is like “oh, let’s meet up on your last day” so you want to add someone to your DAS service after the initial set up.
Yes, you can do this, however, they will not be added to any current return times.
Did I miss anything?
Did I miss something you are wondering about the DAS? If you still have questions, please feel free to leave a comment and I will answer them and may even add them to the post.