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    Special Needs and Disney's Disability Access Service

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Disney World is so helpful with physical challenges that unscrupulous people have been known to fake a disability in order to take unfair advantage. If you have a disability, Disney World is prepared to meet your needs.

Each theme park offers a free online booklet describing disabled services and facilities. Or get it when you enter the parks, at resort front desks, and at wheelchair-rental locations inside the parks. More-limited information is available online at Disney's plain text website.

For specific requests, such as those for special accommodations at hotels or on the Disney transportation system, call ☎ 407-939-7807 (voice) or 407-939-7670 (TTY). When the recorded menu comes up, press 1. Limit your questions and requests to those regarding disabled services and accommodations (address other questions to ☎ 407-824-4321 or 407-827-5141 [TTY]). If you’ll be staying at a Disney resort, let the reservation agent know of any special needs you have when you book your room.

Service animals are welcome in all Disney resorts. Much of the Disney transportation system is disabled-accessible. Monorails can be accessed by ramp or elevator, and all bus routes are served by vehicles with wheelchair lifts, though unusually wide or long wheelchairs (or motorized chairs) may not fit the lift. Watercraft accommodations for wheelchairs are iffier. If you plan to stay at Wilderness Lodge & Villas, Fort Wilderness Campground, or an Epcot resort, call ☎ 407-939-7807 (voice) or 407-939-7670 (TTY) for the latest information on watercraft accessibility.

Food and merchandise locations at theme parks, Downtown Disney, and hotels are generally accessible, but some fast-food queues and shop aisles are too narrow for wheelchairs. At these locations, ask a cast member or member of your party for assistance.

Vistors with Disabilities

Wholly or partially nonambulatory guests may rent wheelchairs. Most rides, shows, attractions, restrooms, and restaurants accommodate the nonambulatory disabled. If you’re in a park and need assistance, go to Guest Relations.

A limited number of electric carts, ECVs (electric convenience vehicles), and ESVs (electric standing vehicles) are available for rent. Easy to drive, they give nonambulatory guests tremendous freedom and mobility.

All Disney lots have close-in parking for disabled visitors. Request directions when you pay your parking fee. All monorails and most rides, shows, restrooms, and restaurants accommodate wheelchairs.

Wheelchairs rent for $12 with no deposit required, $10 per day for multiday rentals; free at your Disney resort ($315 deposit). ECVs and ESVs are $50 per day, plus a $20 refundable deposit (prices do not include tax). Rentals are available at all Disney World theme parks (see Parts Eleven through Fourteen for specific locations) and Downtown Disney; to reserve an ESV, call ☎ 407-824-5217.

Wheelchairs are welcome at Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon water parks but are not available for rent; the rental deposit at Downtown Disney is $100. If you’re looking to save money on an ECV, Buena Vista Scooters rents them for $30 per day with delivery and pick up at your Disney resort. See buenavistascooters.com for details.

Even if an attraction doesn’t accommodate wheelchairs, ECVs, or ESVs, nonambulatory guests may ride if they can transfer from their wheelchair to the ride’s vehicle. Disney staff, however, aren’t trained or permitted to assist with transfers—guests must be able to board the ride unassisted or have a member of their party assist them. Either way, members of the nonambulatory guest’s party will be permitted to ride with him or her.

Contrary to urban legend, being in a wheelchair does not automatically allow you "skip the line" at Walt Disney World. While many attraction queues (especially those for modern rides) are designed to permit wheelchairs to pass through, the waiting areas of some attractions won’t accommodate wheelchairs. Nonambulatory guests and their parties should request boarding instructions as soon as they arrive at an attraction. If there is a wait for the attraction, the nonambulatory guest and their party may be asked to return later (based on the current posted standby wait, minus about 10 minutes), at which point they will board through an alternative entrance after a brief wait. This option does not require registration in the DAS program (see below), nor does it require or interfere with the use of FastPass+.

Dietary Restrictions

Walt Disney World restaurants work very hard to accommodate guests’ special dietary needs. In 2015, Disney began rolling out new "allergy friendly menus" across most of their quick service and table service restaurants, which call out dishes free of ingredients like gluten, dairy, seafood, and nuts. When you make a dining reservation online or by phone, you’ll be asked about food allergies and the like. The host or hostess and your server will also ask about this and send the chef out to discuss the menu; if you’re not asked, just talk to your server when you’re seated. For counter-service restaurants or kiosks, ask at Guest Relations or at the venue itself.

For more information, e-mail special.diets@disney world.com or visit Disney's Special Dietary Requests webpage.

To request kosher meals at table-service restaurants, call ☎ 407-WDW-DINE 24 hours in advance. All Disney menus have vegetarian options; vegans may have to talk to the chef. Vegetarians, vegans, and pescetarians should speak up when making dining reservations.

Folks with special diets and a sweet tooth should try Erin McKenna's Bakery NYC’s vegan, gluten-free, and kosher treats, available at many Disney hotel food courts and Animal Kingdom’s Garden Kiosk. You can also order custom cakes and baked goods from McKenna's by phone or online (☎ 407-938-9044; erinmckennasbakery.com).

Sight and/or Hearing Impaired Guests

Guest Relations at the parks provides free assistive-technology devices to visually and hearing-impaired guests ($25 refundable deposit, depending on the device). Sight-impaired guests can customize the given information (such architectural details, restroom locations, and descriptions of attractions and restaurants) through an interactive audio menu that is guided by a GPS in the device. Hearing-impaired guests can benefit from amplified audio and closed-captioning for attractions loaded into the same device.

Braille guidebooks are available from Guest Relations at all parks ($25 refundable deposit), and Braille menus are available at some theme park restaurants. Some rides provide closed-captioning; many theater attractions provide reflective captioning.

Disney provides sign-language interpretations of live shows at the theme parks on certain designated days of the week:

  • MAGIC KINGDOM: Mondays and Thursdays
  • EPCOT: Tuesdays and Fridays
  • DISNEY’S ANIMAL KINGDOM: Saturdays
  • DISNEY’S HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS: Sundays and Wednesdays

Get confirmation of the interpreted-performance schedule a minimum of one week in advance by calling Disney World information at ☎ 407-824-4321 (voice) or 407-827-5141 (TTY). You’ll be contacted before your visit with a show schedule that lists the names, dates, and times of the interpreted performances.

Nonapparent Disabilities

We receive many letters from readers whose traveling companion or child requires special assistance but who, unlike a person in a wheelchair, is not visibly disabled. Autism, for example, makes it very difficult or impossible for someone with the disorder to wait in line for more than a few minutes or in queues surrounded by a crowd.

A trip to Disney World can be nonetheless positive and rewarding for guests with autism and similar conditions. And while any Disney vacation requires planning, a little extra effort to accommodate the affected person will pay large dividends.

Disney’s PDF Guide for Guests with Cognitive Disabilities is available for download here.

Disability Access Service (DAS)

Note that Disney announced new Disability Access Services for Late 2021. When this rolls out, guests will be able to pre-register for DAS via a web-based tool. In addition, DAS will let guests book a limited number of time slots to gain quick access to select attractions via Lightning Lane queues. We will provide more details at a later date.

Disney revised its procedures for assisting disabled guests in late 2013, in response to reports from the national media that its then-current Guest Assistance Card (GAC) program was being abused rampantly.

The new program, called Disability Access Service (DAS), is still designed to accommodate guests who can’t wait in regular standby lines, and, as with the old GAC program, you must still register for DAS access at the Guest Relations window of the first theme park you visit. As of April 2015, guests no longer receive a physical DAS card, but instead have their status registered on their admission media or MagicBand.

When you get to Guest Relations, you’ll need to present identification and describe your or your family member’s limitations. You don’t need to disclose a disease or medical condition—what Disney’s looking for is a description of how the condition affects you in the parks. Rather than an attempt to have you “prove” your condition, the goal here is to get you the right level of assistance.

Be as detailed as possible in describing limitations. For instance, if your child is on the autism spectrum, has trouble waiting in long lines, and has sensory issues that make it difficult for him or her to stand or be subjected to loud noises, you need to let the cast member know each of these things. “He doesn’t wait in lines” isn’t enough to go on.

The new DAS requires a photograph. Pictures are taken with an iPad; the cast member will come to you if you can’t make it up to the counter. If the DAS is for a child, you may either use the child’s photo or substitute your own if you’d rather not use the child’s. Finally, you must sign agree to be bound by the program's rules.

DAS can be used at any attraction or meet-and-greet with a Lightning Lane. Present your MagicBand or ticket a cast member at the attraction you want to ride. If the ride’s standby wait time is less than 10 minutes, you’ll usually be escorted through the standby entrance or Lightning Lane entrance. If the standby time is higher, the cast member will scan your admission and give you a return time for you to come back to ride. The return time will be the current wait time minus 10 minutes. So if you get to Splash Mountain at 12:20 p.m. and the standby time is 40 minutes, your return time will be 30 minutes later, at 12:50 p.m.

You may return at the specified time or at any time thereafter. When you return, you’ll be given access to the Lightning Lane. The DAS member need not be present to obtain a return time but must be present with his or her party for anyone to gain admission. DAS is good for parties of up to six people. For parties of more than six, all members of the party must be present when the service is used. DAS cards are good for the duration of your vacation or for 14 days, whichever of these times is shortest.

Finally, note that you can use the other paid Lightning Lane access mechanisms (Genie+, Individaual Attraction Selections) while you’re using the DAS. In fact, cast members will suggest that you do so.

Last updated on September 29, 2021

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