Disney Parks are currently in the testing phase of their new MagicBands. A MagicBand is issued to guests that are staying at the Disney Resorts or if you are an Annual Passholder. (Guests staying off-site are now able to purchase Magic Bands as well.) They are armbands that have your entire Disney vacation programmed into them including your park tickets, your room keys, your FastPass+ times, dining reservations, your credit card (if you choose to pay this way), and many more new features. On a recent trip to Walt Disney World, my family had the opportunity to test the Magic Band along with the Disability Access Service Card.
About a month before our Disney vacation we received our MagicBands in the mail. With the MagicBands we could go onto a Disney website to set up our FastPass+ schedule. It gives you the opportunity to choose what day and which park you will be visiting and according to your schedule, you can pick the attractions you want to visit the most and set up a time for you to ride them. There is a limit to how many you can choose, but they do offer a good selection. FastPass+ services can be used in addition to the Disability Access Service Card.
My family recently visited Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, and EPCOT over spring break. It definitely was a great time to test the FastPass+ service with the MagicBands and the Disability Access Service Card because it was very crowded. On our first day we went to Animal Kingdom. Before our trip we set up FastPass+ times for the attraction Dinosaur, Finding Nemo: The Musical, and Kilimanjaro Safaris. All the attractions had a pretty lengthy wait time because of the spring break crowds, but setting up the FastPass+ times reduced our waiting times significantly. The longest we waited was about thirty minutes. So it is worth the time to set up FastPass+ times.
My brother has autism, so we did get a Disability Access Service Card**. We used the DAS card to get return times for Primeval Whirl and then later for the Kali River Rapids. The DAS card is very effective and we found it to be just as useful as the Guest Assistance Card program that was in place before. The only downfall is waiting for the return times. My brother would want to go on an attraction right when we walked up to it and we had to explain that we had a return time and he would have to wait a little bit. Sometimes that didn’t go over well and a couple of times throughout the day he did get a little overwhelmed by the large crowds and waiting (which can be overwhelming to anyone). To pass the time we would go into the shops and find snacks to eat.
Our last day was spent at Magic Kingdom and my brother was in the routine of getting a return time using the DAS card and also using the FastPass+, so he was much more relaxed than he was on our first day. To our amazement he actually wanted to go on Space Mountain!
Overall, our experience with the FastPass+ service and the DAS card was successful. It did have some downfalls, but the pros outweighed the cons. They both cut down the wait times and that was definitely helpful when visiting the parks with someone with special needs, such as autism.
Hopefully, these tips will come in handy during your planning process! See ya real soon!
** Here is a brief informational overview of the Disability Access Service Card. The Disability Access Service Card is available at any of the Guest Relation desks located within the Disney Parks. The DAS card is valid for your entire vacation stay, so you do not have to get a new one for each park. The Guest Relations cast member takes a picture of who ever the card is being issued for and the photo is printed onto the card. The DAS card works similar to the FastPass program Disney offers as you receive a return time for the attractions. You just approach the cast member standing outside the attraction of your choice and give them the DAS card and based off the current wait time, they give you a return time for the attraction. When you return back to the attraction they make a dash through the return time. This is important because you can return back to the attraction at anytime after the written return time, but you can only have one return time for an attraction at a time. When you return to the attraction and they mark off your return time, you then wait in the FastPass line. Also, the person who requires the DAS card must be present to ride the attraction to use the card. More information can be found on the official Disney website here: http://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/disney-parks-disability-access-service-card-fact-sheet/
Paige was born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida. Her frequent family trips to Walt Disney World started her Disney obsession and sparked her dream to be a cast member. Paige’s dream came true when she participated in the Disney College Program in 2012. She worked at Casey’s Corner, The Plaza Ice Cream Parlor and the Main Street Bakery. Paige shares, “I love to live by Walt’s words, ‘All your dreams can come true if you have the courage to pursue them.'”