US

Disney cracks down on rules misused to skip queues

Disney has announced it is making changes to its policy that helps guests with disabilities avoid queuing after people who do not meet the criteria have been exploiting current rules.

The company’s Disability Access Service programme (DAS) was launched in 2013 to assist guests who are unable to wait in ride queues for an extended period of time, according to Disney‘s website.

It allows guests with a “developmental disability such as autism or similar” to return to an attraction at a certain time without having to wait in line – similar to a fast-track pass.

Under the current policy six people from the same group are allowed to use the pass at one time, but from next month, in certain parks this is being cut down to four.

It is unclear from guidance on the company’s website if families of six or more people will be exempt from the changes or not.

Guests will also have to wait 120 days before they can reapply for the DAS programme, double the current 60 days.

A Disney spokesperson said on Friday that DAS is the most popular requested service at Disney World in Florida and Disneyland in California and applications have trebled in the past five years, Sky News’ US partner network, NBC, reported.

The spokesperson said the surge in numbers includes those who try to use the service when it is not intended for them.

Len Testa, president of itinerary planning website Touring Plans and co-author of the Unofficial Guides to Walt Disney World and Disneyland, said in an email to The Washington Post: “The system has always had some level of questionable use, if not abuse.”

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Guests are currently required to meet with a Disney staff member – known as cast members – before their visit to determine their eligibility for the DAS programme.

Disney said when necessary, staff will work with healthcare professionals to help them “determine eligibility for appropriate accommodations and ensure that these accommodations are provided only for the guests for whom they are intended”.

A spokesperson reiterated that the parks do not require proof or documentation of disabilities from guests and do not plan to do so in the future, according to NBC.

Those who are found to have lied about a disability can be permanently banned from entering the parks, with any remaining tickets or passes not refunded, the company website states.

The new rules are expected to come into force on 20 May at Florida‘s Disney World and on 18 June in Disneyland, California.

A Disney official told NBC: “Disney is dedicated to providing a great experience for all guests, including those with disabilities, which is why we are so committed to delivering a wide range of innovative support services aimed at helping our guests with disabilities have a wonderful time when visiting our theme parks.”

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