Disney’s Guest Assistance Card for People with Special Needs

Disney Guest Assistance Card, how to get a Disney Guest Assistance Card, what is a Disney Guest Assistance card

By Frances.

Traveling with anyone that has special needs can be a challenge. I have found that Disney does it’s best to help eliminate as much stress as possible. One way they do this is with a Guest Accomadation Pass.

Some  special needs that you will allow you to receive  a GAC for is: Autism, Cerebral Palsy, ADD/ADHA, foot, knee or back problems, heat and sun problems, claustrophobia and crowd phobias. There could also be others but you would need to contact someone at Guest Relations to find out specifics. This card is also given at the sole discretion of Disney Cast Members.  Please be considerate. If you can stand in line, please do so. This card shouldn’t be abused by able bodies.

How Do I get a Guest Assistance Card? Getting a GAC is simple if you or your child has special needs:

  • Visit Guest Relations in one of the four theme parks with the child or person that needs the GAC.

Guest Relations Locations: ~ Magic Kingdom: Inside Town Hall on Main Street  ~ EPCOT: To the left of Spaceship Earth after the restrooms & gift shop ~ Animal Kingdom: After you enter the park, it’s immediately to your left near locker rentals ~ Hollywood Studios: After you enter the park, it’s immediately to the left

  • Explain to the cast member that you or your child has special needs and you would like to know about the Guest Assistance Card. The cast member can’t ask you for documentation but can ask kind of condition
  • If the medical condition is visible, medical documentation can help make aquiring the GAC easier.
  • The cast member will ask for the your or your child’s name, dates of your vacation and the number in your party (up to six guests in total). The pass is good for the lenghth of your star at the Disney Resorts.
  • Be sure to take the person who needs the GAC with you to Guest Relations. This way cast Members know this person is actual in the park, as people have taken advantge of the system.

How Do I use a Guest Assistance Card?

  • If there is a Fast Pass entrance, you would show your pass to the cast member.
  • If there isn’t a Fast Pass for a specific ride, you would go the exit of the ride.
  • The person who’s name is on GAC and their guests (up to 5 guests + themselves) can enter together and ride the ride.
  • Guest Relations can also give you a map of hanicap accessible entrances.

During the busier seasons, you may be given a time to come back and ride the ride. The GAC  doesn’t give you immediate access to the ride.

What happens if I lose my card?

  • All of you have to do is repeat the process of it being issued.

Other important things to know

The GAC is the only way you will be allowed to use a stroller as a wheelchair. Without a GAC that specifies this accomodation, the stroller will not be permitted in queues, rides, etc.

GACs are issued in various formats according to your need. If you are disabled in any way, whether or not you are in a wheelchair, you need to acurately describe your disability and needs to the Guest Relations Cast Member. He or she will issue the most appropriate GAC for your condition. Although they are not medical professionals, Guest Relations Cast Members are highly trained in deciding the most appropriate GAC for each situation.

Make sure that you fully understand exactly what specific accommodations your GAC provides.

On a personal note: Please be considerate. If you can stand in line, please do so. This card shouldn’t be abused by able bodies. My son has autism and this card has allowed us to enjoy our vacation and has actually been a type of therapy for him. I one day hope that I won’t have to use this card for him. If the wait is short, we stand in line with everyone else. It may seem very trivial for most people but it’s a huge accomplishment for him. I would hate for this service to disappear from abuse.

Frances

Frances Hedrick is a Disney Vacation Planner for Disney Vacations by Distinctive Journeys. She has stayed more than 150 days at the Walt Disney World Resort and at 14 of the resorts with her own family and friends. She loves sharing Disney magic 365 days a year.

You can contact her at frances@distinctive-journeys.com or on her cell: 404-414-6198. You can follow her magical vacations on her Facebook page: Disney Vacations by Distinctive Journeys.

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Comments

  1. Excellent post, Frances. It seems that WDW is already “cracking down” on GAC use. On the first day of my recent trip, I went to guest services to request a GAC. I’m epileptic and claustrophobic, and had a note from my neurologist stating such. I gave the note to the cast member, who asked rather coldy, “what kind of assistance are you expecting?” I patiently explained that some of the queue areas can make me feel claustrophobic, and that a claustrophobia-induced panic attack could potentially lead to a seizure. This is something I’d rather avoid. I was told, “we don’t normally give GACs for that, but I’ll give you a card for today only. You should use Fastpasses.” All I wanted was the ability to use an alternate entrance, where necessary, to avoid a panic attack and possible seizure. She made me feel so bad that I didn’t use the GAC once. It definitely wasn’t the warm and fuzzy type of Disney experience that I’ve come to expect.

    • I’m sorry that happened to you. I have seen a crack down as well. I’m happy to see that but at the same, they don’t need to be rude.

    • Daniele says:

      I’m sorry that happened to you. I wasn’t aware of the GAC until last year. We visit Disney every year for work in July and bring our little girl along with us to enjoy a couple of days at the park. That’s our only vacation every year….My daughter has a rare disease and cannot tolerate heat/cold for very long. The two previous years I watched her try to have a good time while getting REALLY sick at the end of the day (the severity of reactions vary from vomiting to anaphylactic shock). Last year, I had a mini nervous breakdown and started crying when I noticed her starting to get sick after standing in line for an hour in the sun. I asked a cast member if there was anything anyone could do to help us and he suggested visiting the “city hall” at magic kingdom. They were super nice and accommodating and for the first time, she didn’t get really sick as in previous years. The pass allowed us to wait in shaded areas or inside on air conditioned areas. I’ll never forget how understanding and kind they were.

  2. Joelle Daddino says:

    I know 2 trips ago that my daughter REALLY needed a GAC but we didnt have a diagnosis and My husband felt like that wouldnt be fair to a child who did have a medical issue. Now as of 3 months ago we have a diagnosis of ADHD and our next trip coming in Jan. we will definitely need this card. I will wait no problem on rides earlier in the day when the lines are shorter and the abilities are more able but as the day goes I will need to rely on this card for my child to enjoy her vacation which believe me leads to whoever is in line next to us enjoying theirs too!

  3. I walk with a cane, have to take long breaks, and cannot stand still without my legs hurting. ECVs cost money, I hope they are cracking down so hard that I wont be able to use the pass anymore. HF I am sorry they were rude to you. To me that is a disability and they should have given you a pass without making you feel guilty. Maybe they need to have a definite definition of all the disabilities they will give a pass for online, this way it would save us all some embarrassment of feeling guilty for asking in the first place.

  4. My daughter had *just* been diagnosed with ADHD when we went to Disney last month. I asked for a GAC card for her and, after talking to a cast member, they gave me one for her *and* my 2 year old son who has Down syndrome. They did so after making sure we knew it would not be a “get out of lines free card”. I’m just glad we had it. It TRULY enabled all of us, but especially my daughter, to have a magical vacation … and I am so, so thankful that the GAC was available to us.

    We also waited in short lines and didn’t go on rides repeatedly (unless we did a child swap) because, as I told her, we need to make sure everyone has a turn. 🙂

  5. Janine Solley says:

    Thanks so much for this info. We are going in Sept and while I have been there many it’s been over 10 years and this time I’m going in a wheelchair/scooter bc of MS. Also one of my daughter’s is autistic so we will be stopping by Guest Relations so they can assist us in deciding best ways to enjoy the parks. Thanks for all the info in this article.

  6. Kristina says:

    When we took my son to Disney for the first time about 4 years ago, we utilized the GAC. It was a godsend! He has autism and ADHD and it allowed us, him, and the people around us to enjoy their vacation a lot more. Like another poster said, we waited in the short lines, but when we felt that he was unable to take them, we used it..this was especially helpful when we were wanting him to meet the characters. The people at Guest Services were wonderful, but we also took a note from his developmental peds doctor. We are going again this September and we now have 3 yr old twins, with one who has a developmental delay. The GAC will be very useful again. I hope that Disney keeps this up, but I think that that they need to tighten the criteria to get one (i.e. notes from doctors or licensed therapists) so that they are not taken advantage of. It would be a shame to see this taken away from those who truly need it to make their or their child’s vacation enjoyable! And if a cast member tried to pull a guilt trip on me I would just report them. I also suffer from panic disorder and it’s not fun!

    • Hi Kristina,
      Thank you for your feedback. Disney can’t ask for a doctors note due to HIPPA laws (so I’ve been told). I would like to see some of the abuse stopped. I don’t mind showing info to help crack down the abuse.

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  7. […] special needs that you will allow you to receive  a GAC for is: Autism, Cerebral Palsy, ADD/ADHA, foot, knee or back problems, heat and sun problems, claustrophobia and crowd phobias. […]

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