Abusing the Guest Assistance Card

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

By Frances

There have been several news stories lately about Disney guests abusing the Guest Assistance Card. Just in case you haven’t heard  ….The today show on NBC did an investigative report on two people that you pay to to get you to the front of the lines using the “GAC”.

Here is the link to the full news storyMagic Kingdom, Cinderella Castle, Tomorrowland Disney

The guest assistance card is given to guests that need additional assistance for medical needs. It’s used to alert cast members that you may need a special entry or accommodations. Some  special needs that you will allow you to receive  a GAC for is: Autism, Cerebral Palsy, 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 the Disney Cast Members.  This card shouldn’t be abused by able bodies.

The two people in the report used their disability to profit from the GAC. One was paid $200 per day and the other $50 per hour to get you to the front of the line with little to no wait.

Jonand buzzHere is Disney’s statement:

“We find it deplorable that people would hire the disabled to abuse accommodations that were designed to permit our guests with disabilities to enjoy their time in the parks. We have initiated a review of this abuse and will take appropriate steps to deter this type of unacceptable activity.”

I have a special needs child and the GAC has allowed us to enjoy our vacation by limiting our time standing in lines. We do stand in lines when they are up to 20 minutes long. Longer than that, my son will go on sensory overload and we will end up exiting the line to save the people around us from his moment.

Some rumored ways Disney will change the policy:

~ Requiring a handicap car plaque to be shown

~ Requiring a note from your doctor stating that you need the GAC without interfering with HIPPA regulations.

~ Limiting the pass to be used by the one that needs assistance + 1 guest (It’s currently for the one that needs assistance + 5 guests)

~ Limiting the pass to be used by the one that needs assistance + 3 guests

fastpass plus sensorsHere are my personal thoughts:

~ I willingly tell them that my son is Autistic and I will show them whatever they require. They don’t have to give the GAC out. They are doing it as a service to their guests and I greatly appreciate it.

~ Keep my license number on file. They will be able to track how often I request it. If I request a new one every 14 days, then I might need to be investigated. We have annual passes so we are there often.

~ Have each member of the party at Guest Relations when the GAC is issued and not just the one that needs it. This will keep guests from requesting it for 6 people when they really only need it for 3.

~ Instead of being able to go through the fast pass line immediately upon arriving. If the wait is 90 minutes for the ride, then have the guest come back in 90 minutes.

~ I don’t mind that my son can’t go to the front of the line for character meetings. I schedule character meals and plan ahead to meet the characters that he will want to meet.

When the Mickey Bands are put into full force, this will help the abuse. I will absolutely use the Mickey Band scheduling vs the GAC.

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Magical Vacations by Me LogoIf you are looking to book a magical vacation, please contact Magical Vacations by Me at 404-414-6198 or mickeyinfo@magicalvacationsbyme.com

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Comments

  1. I couldn’t agree more. I have RA and usually get a GAC. Most of the time, we forget that we have it or if we do remember it, it doesn’t really help or cut down on time spent in line.

  2. Last summer, I went to get my GAC (I’m a claustrophobic epileptic), and was told by the cast member, “we don’t give them out for that.” I had a note from my neurologist, and patiently explained that the panic caused by claustrophobia can potentially cause a seizure. She then said, “Fine, but I’ll only give you a one day GAC.” It was definitely not the usual Disney experience. In fact, she made me feel so bad that I never once used the GAC. I’m wondering now if she thought I was trying to use the GAC “for hire,” since my condition doesn’t have any outwardly observable characteristics (until I start seizing).

  3. It is awful that people with disabilities would encourage such abuse! My son is autistic and would have had a terrible experience at Disney were it not for the GAC. He will deprive himself and walk away if he sees a long line. His only character interactions were at the character meals that I booked because of this. I have no problem with requiring some proof that you actually need the GAC but telling an autistic child that they have to come back in 90 minutes for a ride they really want to go on right now is not at all helpful and would be asking for a melt down. We only have the one child but I also don’t think that it is fair to siblings if only the special needs child gets the privilege of the GAC. I’m sure it is difficult for siblings constantly seeing the special needs child getting extra attention. I hope that Disney comes up with a better way to combat abuse than some of the possibilities suggested in this article.

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