Petition by Disabled People Opposes Disney’s ‘Discriminatory’ Disability Access Service Updates

Shannen Ace

Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland Park

Petition by Disabled People Opposes Disney’s ‘Discriminatory’ Disability Access Service Updates

Disabled people are speaking out against Disney’s announced changes to the Disability Access Service (DAS) via the “DAS Defenders” coalition.

DAS Defenders Reject Disability Access Service Changes

Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom viewed over moat. Walt Disney World will soon update its Disability Access Service.

The coalition, comprised of over 140 individuals from the disabled community and their supporters, wrote in a letter to Disney that they are “deeply concerned about the recent alterations” to DAS.

The updates to the Disability Access Service, scheduled to go into effect at Walt Disney World in May and Disneyland Resort in June, restrict services to guests with developmental disabilities such as autism. The DAS Defenders list individuals that this restriction excludes, including cancer patients, guests with PTSD, narcoleptics, POTS sufferers, multiple sclerosis patients, low-vision individuals, oxygen tank users, and more.

“By excluding a broad range of disabilities that cannot tolerate lines for medical reasons,” the letter states, “Disney is putting individuals in jeopardizing situations.”

They call the updated policy “ableist and belittling.” The DAS Defenders address Disney’s promise to introduce a return-to-queue option for guests who may need to leave a line to use the restroom, calling this “impractical and insensitive.” They say a guest leaving a line and returning could “lead to discriminatory hate, harassment, potentially violent situations, and unnecessary negative attention from fellow park-goers who are not aware of, and shouldn’t have to be aware of, one’s personal condition.”

We believe that Disney, as a global leader in entertainment and hospitality with a value exceeding 200 billion dollars, should uphold its reputation as a beacon of inclusivity and joy for everyone. By excluding many disabled individuals from these cherished experiences, Disney not only perpetuates discrimination but also sends a clear message that the rights and needs of the disabled community can be overlooked.

DAS Defenders petition

DAS Defenders also says that suggesting disabled guests use rider switch ignores those who travel alone or with fellow disabled people while suggesting guests purchase Genie+ is “unjust” as “disabled individuals already face higher living expenses compared to their able-bodied counterparts.”

They state they are “committed to working collaboratively” with Disney and list the following requests:

  • “Disney revises its Disability Access Service (DAS) program to include a diverse range of disabilities, not just developmental disabilities, incorporating the option to provide documentation.”
  • “Devices and programs that are offered as an “accommodation” must be free or low cost, abundantly available, and only given to those who will truly benefit from them.”
  • “Train all cast members in anti-ableism and invisible disabilities.”
  • “Party size should be considered on a case-by-case basis.”
  • “Reduce prices on Genie+ and offer guests a limited number of free passes for certain attractions to reduce pressure for people to cheat the system in the first place.”
  • “Additional disability-friendly accommodations should be added to the park including return times for character meet-and-greets with long lines and increased parade and nighttime spectacular viewing areas for disabled guests who cannot stand.”
  • “Meet with us, a group of actually disabled park guests, to learn about the true needs of disabled guests before new policies are introduced.”

We implore Disney to uphold its values of inclusivity and accessibility – values represented in disabled characters like Dahlia, Nemo, Destiny, Dory, Bo Peep, Mama Coco, Mama Odie, Piglet, and in Roy Disney himself, whose disability benefit payments helped Roy and Walt start the company in the first place. Disney must ensure that all individuals, regardless of their disability, can experience the magic of Disney parks without barriers.

DAS Defenders

DAS Defenders started a petition called “Stop excluding disabled people from Disneyland and Disney World with discriminatory policy,” which has 179 signatures as of publication.

What do you think of the upcoming changes to the Disability Access Service for Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resort? Let us know in the comments.

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3 thoughts on “Petition by Disabled People Opposes Disney’s ‘Discriminatory’ Disability Access Service Updates”

  1. For the DAS system they need to just go third party like Universal with IBCCES. I received mine within 72hrs from asking my Doctor at the VA for a letter, registering with IBCCES, and them approving my application. This will eliminate all the fakers and allow legitimate disabled guests continue with the service that has been in place for years.

  2. We’ll have to see what happens in the next few weeks, but on its face it seems like Disney is punishing certain people with disabilities that have been legitimately using DAS for years, just because the general public started using DAS to game system. I’ve been a DAS user since 2018 due to Cerebral Palsy and my inability to stand in a line for more than 30 minutes without hurting myself and live in pain for the rest of the trip. (I know from experience on a prior trip) I’ve used the DAS responsibly over the years knowing it’s a privilege. Now I’m not sure if Disney will accept me as DAS eligible anymore, even though the CDC considers Cerebral Palsy as a “Developmental Disability.” All this mess because some accountant at Disney decided to eliminate complementary Fast Passes and replace it with Genie+. 🙄

  3. I hope Disney will hear out this group. People with disabilities should not have to pay more to be able to do the things people without disabilities can do. If you physically cannot wait in a line for more than 30 minutes, that will make it impossible for you to be able to enjoy the same experiences as others without having to pay extra. That is not inclusive. That is discriminatory.


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