Monday, September 23, 2013

Guest Assistance Card News Directly from the Mouse

Changes are coming. 

It has been highly speculated that the Guest Assistance Card would be going away since it was reported that certain guests were paying those with disabilities to help their kids cut lines. So incredibly sad but unfortunately very true. 

I have been very upset that this would hurt those who actually need the card and that a few bad apples would spoil the bunch. There has been a lot of misinformation and rumors. I received a response directly from Disney because of my participation in the Disney Social Media Mom's on the Road Celebration in June.

Instead of confusing you further, I am posting the entire email I received from Disney. My gut reaction is to see it play out and give them a chance to do a test run. Be candid and honest with guest relations during your trip. Helpful feedback is the only way Disney can make this work. 

Feel free to sound off in the comments below, but please be respectful of others.

Dear Disney Social Media Mom,
In our continued efforts to keep you in the loop of Disney experiences that touch families, we would like to share an upcoming change in the Guest Assistance Card.  Disney has an unwavering commitment to making our experiences accessible to all Guests.  After careful consideration, we will be replacing the Guest Assistance Card with the new Disability Access Service Card on Oct. 9 to create a more consistent experience for all our Guests while providing accommodations for Guests with disabilities. Until Oct. 9, we will continue to use Guest Assistance Cards. We look forward to sharing more information about the Disability Access Service Card as we get closer to implementation.
We know that you often share news from Disney with other moms so we have prepared the following questions and answers.

We appreciate your support and look forward to sending you more details as we get closer
to October 9th.

Leanne Jakubowski

Frequently Asked Questions:
How will the new Disney program work?
The Disability Access Service Card will offer Guests a return time for an attraction based on the current wait time. Guest Assistance Cards will continue to be in effect until Oct. 9. We look forward to sharing more information as we get closer to implementation. 

Did Disney receive assistance in developing the Disability Access Service Card?
Yes, Disney is engaging disability groups, and Autism Speaks was instrumental in providing feedback as we developed this new process.

Why is Disney making these changes?
Given the increasing volume of requests Disney receives for special access to our attractions, we are changing our process beginning Oct. 9 so that it creates a more consistent experience for all our Guests while providing accommodations for Guests with disabilities.

Who will be eligible for a Disability Access Service Card?
Our goal is to accommodate Guests who aren't able to wait in a conventional queue environment due to a disability (including non-apparent disabilities).

Will Guests on wish trips also use Disability Access Service Cards?
No. Guests who are visiting through wish-granting organizations will have access through a separate program. 

What should Guests do if they have concerns? 
Guests should contact Guest Relations to discuss their assistance needs.


Melissa Jones Rosa said...

I have to say that I understand the need to make provision so people who really need the help get it and not the people who just don't want to wait and I appreciate the fact that Disney did go out to organizations to get feedback, however; I hope Disney does realize that this solution is NOT a solution for all in need. I will use myself as the example. I am a single mother with Cancer is 7 areas of my body including 4 locations in my spine. I would be considered the "non-apparent disability" for the most part. When my spine becomes inflamed it presses on the nerve and that's when the major pain starts. I can't sit, stand, walk or lie down for long periods of time. I never now when I could walk or for how long or how much pain I will be in as each day is different for me. On a "normal" day with minimal pain those situations are a little easier. I just took my son to Disney for the first time and the current Guest Assistance Card was perfect for my needs and my sons. The new Guest Assistance Program will not be good for us as all! I can't have a return time to come back as you are now asking me to walk to another attraction and go back and forth. Since I can't sit for long periods of time it is actually better for me to walk as it is less painful. I am in constant pain every day.. I realize the my situation is different from others, but I don't see how this is going to help. In fact, we went on line for a ride thru the "Fast Pass" Line and since several guest had just returned due to their Fast Pass time we had to wait 15 min and that was very hard and painful for me. I have to be very very careful that no one hits me in the back by accident as my spine is so weak. I don't see how the going back and forth helps any of us out. I would like to know what Disney will do for people in my situation and others as well. I would also like to know you could provide me with an e-mail address or mailing address and contact name to contact Disney as I have two issues to discuss with them for people with Disabilities: (1) Can someone please tell me why they have moving floors to get on the rides? If you have a disability that is unsafe, in fact, I got hurt on one of the rides as I didn't get off quick enough and pulled my back and spine by that night I was crying on the bus in pain going back to our resort and we still had 4 days in Disney. (2) Please please tell me how you think it is safe for people to walk in the dark over wires guided by men with small lights during a parade? I understand that you want and need the sidewalk clear, however; why can't guest line up against the buildings as long as they are not block the sidewalk or an enterances? Do you really think it is safe to walk in the dark? No it is not, I saw someone trip right in front of me and because they tripped the person lost their balance and stepped back right onto my right foot which was swollen already due to my Cancer Medication which caused me to turn and pull my back. I do understand that my situation is not the same for most people and I would hope that Disney takes that into consideration when making changes that not everyone has the same disability and that speaking with those group is a plus for Disney but they are not speaking with all the groups. Each case is different. I have to say that I was VERY disappointed with Disney in those two situations and the new Guest Assistance Program. I think Disney needs to stop and think about this more clearly. Disney is a family oriented Magical Place, so why are they taking the Magic away from guest with Disabilities and making it a Nightmare? Thanks, Melissa 09/23/13

Rosanne_Mottola said...

Hi Melissa, Thank you for your feedback. I'm very very sorry to hear about your condition. I live with an "invisible illness" as well, ulcerative colitis, so I understand how flares come and go and how at one minute, you may be fine and another minute you are in agony. I hope that you find good health and happiness in your future.

In terms of your note, I have a feeling that Disney does not want to see any letters from doctors because of HIPPA laws and privacy concerns.

Make your voice heard. Try the new system and give Guest Relations your feedback. The email I received was from - I am not sure if you can send email to that address, but I welcome you to try.

Best of luck and I hope that Disney continues to be a magical place for you and your son.

Melissa Jones Rosa said...

Hello: Thanks so much! I didn't think of the HIPPA laws but you are probably right on that issue, it would make sense. My son is 14 and this was his first trip. My mom saved for 2 years and took out 2 loans to send us for his 8th grade graduation so just being there and seeing how it worked for us and reading above made me unhappy as we both want to go back. I will try that e-mail address later and I appreciate your feedback. Have a good day. Melissa

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