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Guest Assistance
September 24, 2013 9:50 AM   Subscribe

Following a media report (and subsequent investigation) last May that wealthy guests of Disneyland and the Walt Disney World resort were abusing the Guest Assistance Card system, Disney announced this week that it will replace the card with a new Disability Access Service Card, beginning October 9th.

Under the new rules, visitors with disabilities that preclude their use of the traditional lines for attractions will get Fastpass-like return times for those rides, but only for one ride at a time. A guest with a qualifying disability will need to present a DAS pass, which include his or her photo, to get admitted at that return time. If a DAS user doesn't ride, no one in his or her party will be admitted to the attraction. The card will now need to be renewed every day of the visit.

Some families, including those with children with autism and other special needs, are not happy.
posted by roomthreeseventeen (76 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
Once again, the wealthy fuck something else up for others.
posted by Thorzdad at 9:52 AM on September 24, 2013 [16 favorites]


I can imagine that for someone on the spectrum Disneyland must be terribly confusing--it is controlled, safe space, where everything is highly regimented, but it is sensory overload galore. i've always wanted to go.
posted by PinkMoose at 10:02 AM on September 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


For anyone itching to use the word "entitlement" - read this first.
posted by 41swans at 10:06 AM on September 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


I can imagine that for someone on the spectrum Disneyland must be terribly confusing

Not Always
posted by mattbucher at 10:08 AM on September 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


It sounds like Disney is doing what they can to build a system that accommodates everyone and that they are willing to change things as needed.

I'm not sure what else people can expect from a place that hosts 130 some-odd million people a year.
posted by madajb at 10:10 AM on September 24, 2013 [6 favorites]


madajb: "It sounds like Disney is doing what they can to build a system that accommodates everyone and that they are willing to change things as needed.

I'm not sure what else people can expect from a place that hosts 130 some-odd million people a year.
"

I'll throw a thing out -- Take pictures of people who get the (old) pass and if you're seen going repeatedly with people who claim to be your mom and dad (or etc.), start refusing them service.
posted by boo_radley at 10:12 AM on September 24, 2013


As to the people hiring the guides -

Christ. What assholes!

(As an ex-Southern Californian - DisneyLAND 4 Lyfe!)
posted by Samizdata at 10:14 AM on September 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'll throw a thing out -- Take pictures of people who get the (old) pass and if you're seen going repeatedly with people who claim to be your mom and dad (or etc.), start refusing them service.

I'm not at all intimately familiar with the issues, but it is my understanding that law forbids Disney from inquiring too closely about disabilities and the attendant support systems.
Maybe they're afraid of getting sued if they start denying access to people who claim (falsely) to have a disability?
posted by madajb at 10:17 AM on September 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


A relative of mine will be in Disneyworld in a couple of months due to the Make-A-Wish foundation's generosity.

This is infuriating.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 10:21 AM on September 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's a shitty situation... but I think photo ID and registered family members (some kind of really basic limit, like ten or twenty) aren't out of the question. They track what goes on in the park so closely, and they can very rationally (and truthfully) defend closer tracking of disabled visitors because it's a fact that people are gaming the system.

I definitely don't think this is the correct solution, but they're in a bind and this was probably the compromise they had to make between security, PR, and sensitivity. Hopefully they'll adjust it soon - and who knows, maybe it will prove better in practice.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 10:26 AM on September 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


By a weird coincidence, my boss and I each have ulcerative colitis, a condition that, during flares, can make sudden & unexpected bathroom trips a necessity. He was diagnosed earlier this year; I've had it since 09. My boss also has 4 kids, and the day before that NY Post story broke, he and I had a conversation in which he said he was planning to get the GAC in order to not have to stand in long lines with his four children.

I was infuriated and told him so. He said, ugh, you don't know what it's like standing in line with those kids.

Well, if I'm flaring, the last thing I want to do is go to Disneyland, and using a chronic illness as a substitute for disciplining your children so that they can stand in line with their peers is no answer.

He was like, I was just trying to find a bright side to this illness.

I have no sympathy.
posted by janey47 at 10:27 AM on September 24, 2013 [10 favorites]


MisantropicPainforest, I believe that MAW and other organizations are exempt from the new crap policy.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:29 AM on September 24, 2013


there's a lot to read here, so maybe i missed it - but in other places i've seen this reported, there were parts about how disney reached out to different organizations to try to find a system that, while not pleasing everyone, would please a lot of people - specifically autism speaks thinks a good compromise has been reached.
posted by nadawi at 10:29 AM on September 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


I live in Orlando, and my wife walks with a cane, so the number of steps she takes in a day can be limited, and standing and zig zagging through switchbacks for multiple hours a day can take its toll. We have had the old GAC passes. I still am unsure what people are complaining about. They still get to go to the front of the line, they just have to wait to do it. The nice thing about it is that it is like a fastpass. You can go and do something else in the meantime.

We are more than willing to put in the time to wait. Hell, my wife would rather go through the line if it didn't mean she would be laid up in pain the next day. We have no problem with this. Living around here we have seen plenty of abuses.

The vaguely entrataining part is that some rides only have/allow one disabled party at a time in case of emergency evacuation. As a result the line for the disabled can sometimes be longer than the regular line.

As to why Disney doesn't investigate people's claims when they ask for a pass is exposing them to potential discrimination claims.
posted by Badgermann at 10:34 AM on September 24, 2013 [5 favorites]


I know someone with mobility issues who took an autistic child to Disney World a couple of years ago with the card, and it's the only way it would have happened. From what I have read, the new terms remove a lot of what made the whole program workable for them.
posted by wenestvedt at 10:35 AM on September 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Badgermann: " I still am unsure what people are complaining about. They still get to go to the front of the line, they just have to wait to do it. The nice thing about it is that it is like a fastpass. You can go and do something else in the meantime. "

From the articles, some of the people affected have difficulties that limit the total name they can tolerate being in the park at all, not just time spent in a line. For those people, just doing other things in the meantime is not necessarily a solution.
posted by Karmakaze at 10:36 AM on September 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


It doesn't sound particularly crap to me; it's essentially a separate Fastpass system for the disabled. It continues to allow the disabled to avoid standing in lines, which is supposed to be the issue. It just takes away the ability of being able to go to many more rides in a day than a non-disabled person, and the point was to be an equalizer, not an advantage.
posted by tavella at 10:37 AM on September 24, 2013 [6 favorites]


Thanks, I just checked, and they're going before the policy is in effect anyway.

Those rich NYers who ruined this deserve so much scorn
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 10:37 AM on September 24, 2013


an advantage

?????????
huh?
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 10:38 AM on September 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


$50 or $200 for a disabled guide isn't exactly for the "wealthy". It's more like, the wealthyunethical screw things up for everyone else.
posted by stbalbach at 10:39 AM on September 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


I wondered when this first broke if this was real. The wealthy simply hire a disney VIP guide and basically walk on. Why this disability cheat?

Well, it turns out that this was *lots* cheaper than the VIP guide service, and it wasn't the wealthy who were hiring them. The VIP tour guide costs $315/hr if you're staying on property, and apparently these guys were costing about $50 an hour or less.

At first, because the lines were too narrow, they would bring wheelchair users in through the wider exit, and rather than have them clog that up, let them ride immediately. People quickly clued into that and started renting wheelchairs. One too many healthy teenagers did that, and that's when they came up with the GAC.

Problem: the ADA came along. In most ways, the ADA is an unmitigated good thing, but like everything, there's always side effects. The side effect here is that if you denied a DAC to someone who was legally considered "disabled" -- even if they were perfectly able to walk in the line -- you were in for quite a bit of legal liability. So the lawyers basically said "Don't fight it, give them the card. HIPAA plays into this too -- Disney doesn't want to be a covered entity under HIPAA, and I can't blame them for that, so they can't even ask for proof*. So, basically, if you wanted a GAC, you walked into guest relations and said "I can't stand in line."

So, they did. And the numbers swelled to thousands. And a few people with them realized they could be "guides" with a bonus line-jump feature.

And so, here we are. Basically, what they want is that you get to ride, but you wait just as long as everyone else. FP and FP+ help too, since they let anyone jump the queue at the reserved time.** But what it does is make it so *everybody* waits. You don't have to wait *in line*, but you do have to wait, just like everyone else.

One fix is on the new rides. Those lines are ADA compliant. Everyone goes through them. But that doesn't help the dozens of rides that aren't yet ADA compliant, and with the amount of abuse, WDW was in a hard place. Normally able people were getting screwed by fake-disabled getting queue jumps, disabled people were getting screwed by fake-disabled getting queue jumps.

I hate that we need this, but we do, because people cheat. I want everyone to experience the parks as best as they possibly can, but we have people abusing that to get a better experience than the rest of us who are following the rules and waiting our turns.


* No, it's not illegal for you to show a cast member a doctors letter -- but it *is* illegal for them to ever talk about it, and if they do, since they saw it working for Disney, Disney could be liable for that. So, the policy is "don't even look at a letter if it's offered."

** They had to change the FP policy because of abuse. It used to be that you could board at any time after the FP window opened, even though the ticket said there was only an hour window. So, everyone would get a FP to a big ride, go have dinner, watch a show, and then all show up when the show let out. The worst of this was Fantasmic, which let 12000 people out at once who all then took their Toy Story and R&R Coaster fast passes, which were for the afternoon, and wanted to get on those rights right then.

So, Disney changed that to an hour window, and if it's past the hour, you missed and can't use the FP. People who used the FP fairly went "thank god". People who were doing this got angry that their trick was up. I see a lot of this in the new access rules. People who were using GACs properly don't have a problem with it. People who were using them to jump queues because they could are angry about it because they now have to wait like everyone.
posted by eriko at 10:39 AM on September 24, 2013 [18 favorites]


tavella: " It just takes away the ability of being able to go to many more rides in a day than a non-disabled person, and the point was to be an equalizer, not an advantage."

Did you not read any of the articles or comments from people here? If you only get two hours of activity before you HAVE to rest/ have a medical incident/ etc, you're not going to spend a whole day there. It's not an advantage to get to ride four things before you have to leave.
posted by boo_radley at 10:41 AM on September 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


n'thing what a number of folks have said above - this is an attempt to equalize. It is to remove abuse. In an ideal world you would not have shitty unethical people abusing the system, but you did, so here's an attempt to repair that abuse.
posted by cavalier at 10:42 AM on September 24, 2013


Gotta love New Yorkers. If there is any kind of scam to be run or loophole to be had we will abuse the shit out of it. This is why we can't have buffets, salad bars, or beverage refills.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:44 AM on September 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Did you not read any of the articles or comments from people here? If you only get two hours of activity before you HAVE to rest/ have a medical incident/ etc, you're not going to spend a whole day there. It's not an advantage to get to ride four things before you have to leave.

There's a thornier issue here, but if Space Mountain's standby line is 65 minutes long, and you only have four hours of time you can visit the park, is it unreasonable to state you should only have the potential to ride Space Mountain 3 times, as opposed to a potential 22 times (2:35 ride adding 5 minutes for ingress/egress)?
posted by cavalier at 10:45 AM on September 24, 2013


So TWO whole tour guides were gaming the system? Why did that require such a reaction?

Putting aside class issues, why not just revoke passes of people abusing the system?
posted by Dr. Twist at 10:45 AM on September 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


If you only get two hours of activity before you HAVE to rest/ have a medical incident/ etc, you're not going to spend a whole day there

You get an attraction pass. You go somewhere to sit and rest. When your time comes, you go ride the ride. You get the next attraction pass, you go and rest, you get on the ride. You can sit, eat a Mickey Bar, go onto a walk-on ride or attraction, whatever.

And if you can only be active two hours, it seems to me that running between rides like mad isn't helping you one bit.

Again. They are not making you stand in line. They are making you wait like everyone else, but they are not making you stand in line.

ADA is not about preferred access. It is about *equal* access.

Indeed, this is one of the drivers behind FP and FP+ -- they'd rather not have you standing in a line.
posted by eriko at 10:46 AM on September 24, 2013 [12 favorites]


> Did you not read any of the articles or comments from people here? If you only get two hours of activity before you HAVE to rest/ have a medical incident/ etc, you're not going to spend a whole day there. It's not an advantage to get to ride four things before you have to leave.

It seems like we need to distinguish between (a) people who are wheelchair-bound or have crutches but are otherwise able to wait for a ride with ease, and (b) people who may or may not be in a wheelchair but have real problems with waiting in lines because of fatigue or anxiety or the possibility of medical incidents.

Group A never needed to skip the line; Disney just found it easier to accommodate them through a separate queue. Group B needs to be able to skip lines in order to have a fair and satisfying experience in the park.

I have no problem with any of this, but I'm glad I'm not the person at Disney in charge of this stuff, because damn if that isn't a hard needle to thread.
posted by savetheclocktower at 10:49 AM on September 24, 2013 [5 favorites]


On preview, eriko answered my question. I had no idea the abuse was that bad. The investigation report doesn't really go into it.
posted by Dr. Twist at 10:51 AM on September 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Maybe I'm just exhausted these days, but reading things like this is mildly triggering. I used to have to deal with VIP people who were like this - who were somehow absolutely convinced that their existence on the planet meant that they got treated "more equally" than others. I'd have chauffeurs screaming down the phone at me "don't you know who I am?", while they tried to demand 16 tickets to an event I was only authorized to give 2 of to their boss. I always wanted to respond "Yeah, asshole, I know who you work for, and you're not him. Get off your high horse", but that wouldn't help - they'd just call and complain to my boss and try to get me fired.

The fact that disabled people, for whom this scheme was legitimately put in place, now have to suffer as a result is just more galling.

On my more surreal days, I think back to old-school Superman comics, and how Superman was depicted catching white collar criminals as much as the gangster bad guys with guns. We need to craft a new character, whether superhero or some other kind of hero, who can catch and bring to justice this sort of thing. The 1% should not be untouchable, and people need to see that it can be done.
posted by LN at 10:52 AM on September 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


I for one am shocked and appalled that the ~~Disney Experience~~ has been tainted by filthy lucre.
posted by threeants at 10:52 AM on September 24, 2013


So TWO whole tour guides were gaming the system? Why did that require such a reaction?

Putting aside class issues, why not just revoke passes of people abusing the system?


I'm pretty sure it was more than just two people. It was discovered that a tour company was surreptitiously offering the "guides" first, and the NBC News investigation (linked in the FPP) targeted two people on Craigslist offering similar "services" as well.

Those passes were for actual disabled people, so they can't really revoke them (or at least not all of them). They could I guess ban them from Disney properties, but that would open up all kinds of cans of worms. What these tours are doing is not illegal, just extremely unethical.

EDIT: On Preview, looks like eriko explained it much better than I could.
posted by tittergrrl at 10:56 AM on September 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


It seems like we need to distinguish between (a) people who are wheelchair-bound or have crutches but are otherwise able to wait for a ride with ease, and (b) people who may or may not be in a wheelchair but have real problems with waiting in lines because of fatigue or anxiety or the possibility of medical incidents.

The issue is a question of who would be the arbiter that separates people in to which group. If someone feels they should be in group B, but are placed in group A, it suddenly becomes about discrimination.
posted by Badgermann at 11:01 AM on September 24, 2013


I'm frankly surprised that Disneyland hasn't figured out a way to do away with lines almost completely. It would be totally plausible for them to create a reservation system where every ride for every guest was booked in advance, either completely custom or in preset itineraries. There'd be issues that would cause people to miss their reservations, so they could use small stand-bye lines to fill those seats, but they'd never need multi-hour long switchback queues.

The problem is, of course, that Disneyland doesn't actually have the ride capacity for the number of guests they let into the park. What would all those people be doing if they weren't standing in line? Possibly spending more money, possibly getting bored and realizing they didn't need to be there.
posted by jacquilynne at 11:02 AM on September 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


I can't begin to tell you all the stuff I've bailed on or not done at all because long lines are an issue if you have IBS.
Disney land is just not doable for me at all physically. I'm doing good if I can spend a day at the fair.
People who abuse things meant to help disabled people piss me off no end.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 11:04 AM on September 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


I guess ban them from Disney properties, but that would open up all kinds of cans of worms. What these tours are doing is not illegal, just extremely unethical.

I've never had a GAC, so I don't know the terms. I know that there are a number of different GACs, depending on disability -- it seems they were stamped. So, someone with poor vision would get escorted to the front rows of shows so they could see better, etc.

I'm frankly surprised that Disneyland hasn't figured out a way to do away with lines almost completely.

They are working on it -- that was the point of FastPass, and is one of the points of FastPass+. Capacity is one thing, but the problem is every guest is different. All those empty seats that go by first thing in the morning on Haunted Mansion don't help at 2PM. And many guests don't ride all the rides by choice -- some don't ride at all.

As you noted, Disney doesn't want you standing in lines. You can be doing other things, and there's a fair chance "other things" would involve giving more money to Disney.
posted by eriko at 11:06 AM on September 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


boo_radley: "Did you not read any of the articles or comments from people here? If you only get two hours of activity before you HAVE to rest/ have a medical incident/ etc, you're not going to spend a whole day there. It's not an advantage to get to ride four things before you have to leave."

It's a valid point, but as Eriko mentions, it's a legal minefield for Disney to create special cases for these people.

I'm pretty sure that Disney are well aware that this is a sub-optimal solution for the reasons that you point out. However, I'm not sure that they really have any better alternatives.

There are a few people who have medically-valid reasons for jumping the entire queue. Unfortunately, it's (basically) illegal for Disney to differentiate those people, or even ask them about it.

To me, it sounds like Disney is trying to handle this situation delicately, and with tact.
posted by schmod at 11:06 AM on September 24, 2013 [4 favorites]


Maybe the answer is for Disney to partner with major national associations for autism, behavioral disorders, and whatnot. If a family visits the park under the auspices of one of these organizations, they can have the skip-the-line experience. If not, they use this new DAS card.

I mean, I doubt that solves the HIPAA issues outright; I don't think an autism organization wants to be in the position of confirming or denying someone's autism any more than Disney does. But I doubt that the nefarious queue-jumpers would go through the trouble of building a relationship with such an organization just for the Disney perks. Maybe I'm not cynical enough.
posted by savetheclocktower at 11:10 AM on September 24, 2013


I can't begin to tell you all the stuff I've bailed on or not done at all because long lines are an issue if you have IBS.

Fastpass and Fastpass+ are your saviors. With FP+, you pick (currently) three attractions, you show up during the window, you might spend a few minutes in line, but usually not, and you ride. The windows are 1 hour long, so if you're...busy...at noon, you have until 1PM to get into line.

Basically, Disney has to have lines because people won't distribute themselves evenly, but they're working to make sure you don't have to stand in one place while waiting in that line. You may not get to ride as much as a person not fighting IBS, but that's better than without FP/FP+, which means you don't ride at all.
posted by eriko at 11:11 AM on September 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


It seems like we need to distinguish between (a) people who are wheelchair-bound or have crutches but are otherwise able to wait for a ride with ease, and (b) people who may or may not be in a wheelchair but have real problems with waiting in lines because of fatigue or anxiety or the possibility of medical incidents.

I have a mild case of Cerebral Palsy. I can walk and all that good stuff. So I am not in Group A. I went to Disney for a week in the Spring of 2012 and discovered by the end of day 2 that I was definitely a member of Group B. I simply could not walk around the park/wait in line for long periods of time.

I had absolutely no idea about the Guest Assistance Card. What I did as a member of Group B was to rent a wheelchair every day, thereby putting myself in Group A. And I then waited in line like everyone else. There may have been a time that the staff told me to bypass the line, but it was never at my request. It was a good solution for me, and I was impressed by how accessible and accommodating Disney was. I think this new system is very fair.
posted by aclevername at 11:12 AM on September 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


I am 100% sure that this change -- like every single other change to anything -- will have unintended consequences. But Disney is very, very much about the guest experience, and I would bet money that solutions that will avoid both the "I really need to be able to not have to wait a few hours" and the "I am cheating the system" problem, or at least reduce both.
posted by jeather at 11:30 AM on September 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


I can imagine that for someone on the spectrum Disneyland must be terribly confusing

No, Aspergers is not that far off the beaten path as far as ability to process environments. We are neuro-atypical, but most of us are perfectly functional.
posted by Phalene at 11:32 AM on September 24, 2013 [5 favorites]


I'm always happy to see corporations go above and beyond for people with disabilities. I think they've tried to do that. What they're doing now is certainly disappointing, but it's just disappointing because it's no longer going above and beyond. This was one area out of the billion other things going in life where maybe things were just a teensy bit nicer for you if you were disabled, and as someone who isn't, I have no problem with that--and I definitely hope that they can see their way to expanding things a bit more at some point. But at the end of the day, I think the current arrangements are reasonable. Nothing to be thrilled about, but reasonable.

Meanwhile, I think the people who were abusing the system should be strung up and flogged or something.
posted by Sequence at 12:09 PM on September 24, 2013


Back in 2009 or 2010 my then in-laws took me and my son to Disney. My son is autistic, ADHD, OCD, and has anxiety disorder on top of it. He cannot stand in line for things the way neurotypical kids can. I wish he could. I wish he could do a lot of things others can. But it's just not possible.

When we were making resevations, Disney themselves told us to bring a letter signed by his doctor on her letterhead to present when we got there. We showed the Animal Kingdom Lodge. it was inspected at Town Hall before they would give us the guest pass, and shown when we did the special safari dinner in the African section of the Animal Kingdom. So don't tell me Disney never, ever asks for proof of disability.

Maybe not in front of the media.
posted by FunkyHelix at 12:10 PM on September 24, 2013


Maybe the answer is for Disney to partner with major national associations for autism, behavioral disorders, and whatnot.

One thing I've found out is that they have involved several organizations of these types in the decision process for the new policy.

So don't tell me Disney never, ever asks for proof of disability.

I'm surprised, because I was told this by a cast member -- and I work for a HIPAA covered entity, I know exactly why Disney wouldn't want to have to deal with PHI. Again, you can, of course, show your PHI to whoever you wish, no problem -- but they can't further divulge it.

Or, maybe I'm wrong. I'll ask when I'm down there next week.

Or it may be that in 2009, they did check for proof, and then someone started something in court and the policy changed. I know the problems with massive use/possible abuse of GACs are fairly recent.
posted by eriko at 12:38 PM on September 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


MisantropicPainforest: "A relative of mine will be in Disneyworld in a couple of months due to the Make-A-Wish foundation's generosity.

This is infuriating.
"

I've got a wish... It involves a certain set of filthy rich jackoffs who deserve a bit of comeuppance.

MAKE IT HAPPEN MAKE A WISH.
posted by symbioid at 1:00 PM on September 24, 2013


Haven't read this whole thread yet, but am an occasional park visitor with medical issues. There is still a lot of information yet to learn about the new program, so a lot of what's out there is still speculation.

A lot of the issues with the old system were due to misinformation, public perception that didn't always line up with reality, wildly uneven implementation of policy due to labor issues (minimum wage frontline staff with no managerial backup dealing with a largely uninformed public, just trying to keep traffic moving as best they could without violence or incident), and corporate leadership with its head in the sand, and a combination of physical plant built in different eras.

(some kind of really basic limit, like ten or twenty)

The limit is the person requiring accommodation plus five, for a total of six. Exceptions are allowed to be made, but they're just that: exceptions, and nobody is guaranteed to get one. Parties larger than six can and often are required to split up and rejoin each other. This is part of the issue - reasonable policies are in place, but exceptions get made for expediency's sake, people get used to them, and then they assume that this is how it's always going to be handled. Personally, I'd probably have spent my time and money in training and better implementation of existing policy, but I think what they're doing is going to tie in with the whole RFID Magic Band/Big Data program.*

I've had my needs handled at the same attraction on the same day in three different ways, depending on crowd levels, staffing, and how equipment was running.

Make-a-Wish kids are another story - they get all kinds of pixie dust and I only wish there was more to give them.

*And I'm not saying that's all bad. I'd love to get to the Hall of Presidents and have the scanner jigger know I need to be seated up front to see what's going on; I didn't mind showing a card to the nice feller in the Ben Franklin outfit, but if it saves him a couple steps I'm jake with it.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 1:19 PM on September 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Meant to add: GAC was never a one-size-fits all program that worked the same way for everyone, or even for almost everyone. It addressed needs, not diagnoses. Nobody was guaranteed FOTL, although it did work out that way for some. Disney's answer to disabilities involving stamina or mobility was to use a wheelchair or other assistive device, even if you didn't use one outside the parks (where, face it, you probably weren't walking 10 miles a day, either).

Autism Speaks consulted with Disney on the new program, so hopefully they gave them some ideas on how the people affected by the change can be accommodated.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 1:44 PM on September 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


We just went there in June with our 7 year old son, who is on the spectrum. He enjoyed it, not so much for the rides (he actually didn't really like the rides that much) but for all of the space to explore. We had the GAC but relied primarily on the FastPass system. Our son is on the really mild end of the spectrum and can tolerate lines pretty well. Still, we got it so that in case he had a meltdown and we had to pull him out of a line, we could get on the ride once he calmed down. Turns out that the only meltdown he has was because we (his dad and I) wanted to do something else besides ride the monorail between the Star Tours gift shop and the LEGO store.

In retrospect, it was the peace of mind that the pass offered that was most important; the idea that assistance was available if and when we needed it. I'd be more than happy to show a doctor's note and a birth certificate to get the pass if they wanted to take that approach to providing the GAC only to families have a family member who genuinely needs it.

Furthermore, the program should be there if for no other reason than for the families who have kids who are more strongly impacted by autism or other disabilities than my child is. I don't mind having to wait longer waiting a little longer so that a child who is more impacted by ASD than my kid can enjoy him or herself. The world is a tough place for the neuro-atypical child and it's difficult for me to begrudge them a little extra pleasure if they can have it.
posted by echolalia67 at 2:05 PM on September 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


Basically, Disney had two options: police the pass harder or reduce the exceptional attraction of cheating on it. And most of the police options come down to harrassing disabled people.

-- policing who they consider disabled and allowed to have the pass. Both likely to cause misery for people with invisible disabilities as they find themselves humiliated by a Disney employee demanding proof, and likely to open Disney up to lawsuits under ADA.

-- a fixed list of ten or twenty family members? I know people who live near Disney in Florida, and end up going to the parks with all sorts of different visiting friends. This would keep disabled people from doing the same.

-- tracking people using the pass and denying people who show up with different people. Again, likely to cause false positives and humiliation, especially as minimum wage employees trying to enforce what they think is policy. Don't discount the small but real percentage of people who really enjoy using petty power like that to harass people.

-- trying to monitor craigslist and the like and attach names to those ads and travel agencies and cancel the passes. Do we *really* want the Disney Police on that? Not to mention, again, possibly opening them up to lawsuits if they can't back it up.

Given that, the only rational way to handle it was to make the pass not significantly more attractive than a Fastpass. And this seems like a quite reasonable way to do it. As eriko pointed out, people who have limited energy or other time-sensitive issue can go and rest in between their ticket times, which would make it more likely they could use more rides rather than less.

There's also still the Make A Wish option for children so medically fragile that they may have to be evacuated from the park entirely. There isn't a similar option for medically fragile adults, but it's not terribly clear to me that the original pass would make much difference in that case -- someone that ill isn't necessarily going to make it very far going from ride to ride either.
posted by tavella at 2:17 PM on September 24, 2013 [6 favorites]


erico: And if you can only be active two hours, it seems to me that running between rides like mad isn't helping you one bit.

Again. They are not making you stand in line. They are making you wait like everyone else, but they are not making you stand in line.


How does that help the non-verbal kid with ASD who becomes overtly fixated on one particular attraction and is strongly driven to get on the ride repeatedly. What about the parent who has to deal with the consequences when this doesn't happen, which often includes trying to keep themselves, their child and the public safe while the meltdown runs it's course?

And considering that this is something that many people with ASD and their families have to deal with several times a week or even several times a day; or that very frequently they have to miss out on going places (like the movies) that other families go to without a second thought, is it really too much to ask that they have a place where their child gets to enjoy themselves and the pressure is taken off for just a couple of hours?
posted by echolalia67 at 2:25 PM on September 24, 2013


MisantropicPainforest, it doesn't sound like your relative's visit will be affected:
"The one exception to the DAS program is made for Make-A-Wish children. A new Genie lanyard has been created for Make-A-Wish children that will act like an unlimited Fastpass and instant backdoor access card (basically the same thing as the current GAC with the “green light” stamp on it), and it will be sent to the families just before their visit directly from the Make-A-Wish headquarters in Phoenix."
[source]
posted by jamaro at 2:34 PM on September 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


And can we please stop mentioning Autism Speaks as if they were the only advocacy group out there? For one, they don't actually have a person with autism in the upper echelon of their group; kinda not-cool considering that they are supposed to be working on behalf of people on the spectrum. They spend way too much time and resources on looking into "cures" for autism, something that many people with autism and their families find offensive.
posted by echolalia67 at 3:43 PM on September 24, 2013 [5 favorites]


the reason i brought up autism speaks initially way up thread is because they went on record talking about their involvement with changing the policy. i don't think anyone is holding them up as the end all be all, just as evidence that disney reached out. i hope (and expect) they reached out to other organizations and hope we hear from them soon.
posted by nadawi at 4:58 PM on September 24, 2013


I recall about 10 years ago when I publicly castigated a certain Disneyland-obsessed author for bragging about how he used a disabled friend to help him and his party of 20 other friends cut in line at the park. I suggested he was exploiting this disabled person, and that the rules were not intended to help dozens of people cut in line. He defended his actions, saying the rules were intended to help disabled people enjoy the rides with their friends. I suggested that this rule wasn't really intended to extend beyond friends that could enjoy the ride while seated together in a single car. Maybe 4 or 5 people cutting line at once might push the limits, but 20 people were definitely taking advantage.

I notice that Mister Doctorow has recently become a crusader for justice against evil people exploiting the disabled to cut in line at Disneyland. And he "unpublished" his previous bragging about how he personally exploited the disabled so he could cut in line at Disneyland.
posted by charlie don't surf at 5:04 PM on September 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


I don't think going with your friend is exploiting a disabled person (assuming you're actually friends). I don't even think paying someone $50/hour or more to go on vacation at Disney World or Disneyland is necessarily exploiting a disabled person. I think that these are exploiting the rules, and asshole moves, and why they're making everything stricter, but not taking advantage of disabled adults who can make these choices.
posted by jeather at 5:42 PM on September 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


it really too much to ask that they have a place where their child gets to enjoy themselves and the pressure is taken off for just a couple of hours?

A place? Of course not. Disneyland? Perhaps.
posted by jacalata at 7:40 PM on September 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


From the Theme Park Insider link:

"If a DAS user doesn't ride, no one in his or her party will be admitted to the attraction."

I assume they mean that no other members of the party will be admitted through the accessible entrance, right? They can't keep someone in the party from deciding he wants to split off from the group and get in the regular standby line, can they?

And a GAC holder's party wasn't allowed to go through the accessible entrance without the GAC holder with them before, anyway, so this is no different.

Since DAS users... won't be able to transfer that benefit to anyone...

Again, exactly like the old system.

While many park employees continued to admit guests in wheelchairs through "back-door" entrances, many also stonewalled others they suspected of trying to cheat the system, asking to see their GAC before letting them ride.

The GAC is for invisible disabilities. People using wheelchairs or other visible signifiers don't need them. The only exception is for small children whose strollers are being used as wheelchairs and need a special tag and card to alert staff.

Building more ADA-compliant queues will address this challenge for guests using wheelchairs, by eliminating the need for them to bypass the queue.

This has been going on for decades; few queues aren't wheelchair-accessible anymore.

Ultimately, the solution that will stop this abuse is to create a system of accommodation that doesn't allow persons with disabilities to get access to more attractions than another guest without a disability would on the same day.

Honestly? I think the worst problem they have is largely bad PR from a few bad apples and very vocal sour grapers. Nobody has numbers on abuse to show; aside from the most egregious cases like the couple of people who admitted selling their services it's all a matter of perception and anecdata.

I think the main point of this new program is that it's going to be called something else (like legally changing your name from Rasputin Hitler to Adonis Trueheart) and have a couple of details changed to fit with the new Big Brother tech, but since people's needs are basically the same and so is the ADA, I think it's pretty mugh got to be fundamentally the same once all the bugs are shaken out.


If they really do stick to renewing every day, that could turn out to be a logistical nightmare. That'll probably be done with the RFID technology, but that's certainly not foolproof yet. They're relying a lot on people's smartphones for that, as well as scattered kiosks in the parks, which tend to accumulate lines. Another haves/have nots divide.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:08 PM on September 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Since I can't fucking sleep dammit, and I'm tired of reading about WWII USN fire control systems*, I did some more digging, and it turns out the problem isn't the guides -- though that is a problem.

Turns out the problem is mostly at Disneyland, and it's mostly AP holders with GAC as well. This is a good sumup, but it's buried at the bottom of this page, so I'll pull quotes. It's the section titled (yay lame disney puns) The Line King. So, with lots of AP holders, lots of them with GAC, and a new attraction (Radiator Springs Racers), we had this...
The result this summer was that on days with high Annual Passholder visitation rates the line of people wanting to use their GAC at Racers would completely overwhelm the attraction and create a line of 30 to 45 minutes long, clogging the Fastpass lane and demanding that the ride operators at Racers dramatically dial down the number of Fastpasses distributed each day.
Which left all the fastpasses gone early in the morning, and 2-3 hour standby queues.

DCA execs wanted to know why there were so few fast passes. They were told. They said "I'm not sure I believe that. Get me some numbers." So, they did.
Some quick studies were commissioned by the Guest Relations team this summer, and it was determined that upwards of 5,000 people per day, almost all of whom were tracked as Annual Passholders, were going through the Fastpass line at Radiator Springs Racers with a GAC. At an attraction like Racers that was carrying an average of 20,000 riders per day, 5,000 of them boarding the ride with a GAC is a huge impact.
Now, remember, a GAC is good for the cardholder and up to five more in their party, so that really probably represents 1500-2000 GAC holders, and 3000-3500 in the party with them. Still, out of 20,000, that's a staggering number. Fastpass doesn't work when 25% of the ridership is already, in effect, using one. So, that's why there were so few fastpasses -- the FP system throttles if the wait in the FP line climbs, and the GACs were ensuring that the wait *always climbed*.

So, TDA (Team Disney Anaheim, who run Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure) said fix the GAC problem. This is try one at that. Meanwhile, looking at WDW numbers, they were getting worried at the sharp increase in GAC issuance at the Florida parks, esp. the Magic Kingdom, where daily GAC issuance has gone from 40 in 2008 to 450 today.

And WDW is on the verge of rolling out FastPass+ to everyone, and having 1/4 of the ridership being, in effect, untracked fastpass bearers, would be a disaster to the system. So WDW is following TDA's lead on this.

Now, TDA has always had a much higher percentage of AP holders, simply because there are vastly more people living near Anaheim, which is part of the second largest urban area in the US, than there are in Bay Lake, FL, which is well, a very large swamp with hotels and theme parks. This may be why the problem is magnified -- they clearly tracked that the vast majority of GAC holders on this ride were also AP holders. But WDW is clearly worried about it as well, which is why the policy is going into effect at both sites.

I suspect that the way it'll really work is this. At first, they're going to be be really tight on the new policy, but anybody who obviously needs help will get a little pixie dust and it'll be fine. People who are abusing this will get mad and either go away or behave. In about six months, they'll loosen up a bit.

One big change. GACs were good for the whole party. So, if Dad, who can't walk very well, decided he didn't want to ride ToT, his family could use the GAC and walk on. DAS requires the person with the card to ride to receive assistance. If the family wants to go but that person doesn't, the family goes into the standby/FP/FP+ systems queue like other guests.

Finally, they've been working directly with Make-A-Wish on this. Those kids will get their greenlight passes. Nobody at Disney wants to stop that. However, rather than keeping them on property (and thus, abusable -- even if only by castmembers honestly trying to do the right thing), they've asked Make-A-Wish to send the new passes directly to the families. Those passes are true greenlights -- they get next boarding, they get backstage passes, etc.

Alas, almost every comment thread except this one is the same. Someone posts the word of the new policy, poster #2 is "thank god!", poster #3 is "what about my autistic kid who's bad in lines", poster #4 is...well, it just goes straight to hell after that.

Dear Moderators: Thank you, there but for the grace of you goes MeFi.

I think this is a step in the right direction -- when you combine it with FP+, basically it gives you more FP+ rides in a day. At least in Anaheim, GAC abuse is clearly out of hand. I'm staggered at 5K GAC on a 20K ride in one day.


* Closed loop systems, using analog computers and synchros. It's *amazing* how good those things were given the tech. Yeah, they literally weighed tons, but they were very, very clever.
posted by eriko at 11:29 PM on September 24, 2013 [8 favorites]


I can't really add to that except to say that I got to Disneyland all the time (20+ visits per year as a Silver Pass holder) and since it's opened, I have NEVER been able to get a Fastpass for the Radiator Springs Racers, including an attempt made at 10:30am. (In other words, all the passes for the entire day were gone by then)

NOBODY likes waiting in line. Disney is simply trying to add another level of distinction between "can't" and "don't want to."
posted by ShutterBun at 11:35 PM on September 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Considering the horror stories I've heard from Guest Relations of people literally throwing full-sized coolers at their heads when told that they can't bring them in, I'm wary of the abuse coming their way when thousands of APs with open GACs are turned away. There's a subsection of APs who believe that since they've paid so much money for their pass, they're entitled to lie to get a GAC and use it to skip lines. Some girl told Guest Relations that she needed one because she's allergic to cat hair and she might come in contact with someone with cat hair on their clothes if she had to wait in line. That's the kind of bullshit people come up with. And honestly, cast members are just as bad when they come in as guests. So this new system is probably for the best.
posted by book 'em dano at 11:54 PM on September 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


We've been using the GAC for a few years now and I'm familiar with the varying levels and the ADA design differences between the parks in Anaheim. I'm also friends with some current and past Disney employees. The impression I get from them is that among the problems there is a significant group of locals who are regulars at the park and users of the GAC who have a very vocal sense of entitlement. I've personally seen some people so some pretty dumb things. The new system won't be anywhere near as convenient, but doesn't seem unreasonable. Honestly, if it allowed you to queue to rides at a time instead of just the one, I think that would make a big difference.
posted by ericales at 12:56 AM on September 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


As a disabled person, I want to time travel, get some rich douche to pay me a bunch of money so they can cut in line, and then pull out a fucking big gun and rob them blind.
posted by angrycat at 4:52 AM on September 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't even think paying someone $50/hour or more to go on vacation at Disney World or Disneyland is necessarily exploiting a disabled person.

Yeah, but it's still gross, no? Like those bros who filmed the servers getting their generous tips and put the video on YouTube to make money.

I would say the thing that would make me slap the shit outta somebody who suggested it to me is the idea that, *Hi disabled person you have this great thing that I want let me pay you for it* it's like, ho, okay, do you wanna also pay for each moment in my life when I've been unable to access restaurants, shops, friends apartments? Pay for all that, bitches, and then we'll talk.
posted by angrycat at 4:57 AM on September 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


"One big change. GACs were good for the whole party. So, if Dad, who can't walk very well, decided he didn't want to ride ToT, his family could use the GAC and walk on. DAS requires the person with the card to ride to receive assistance. If the family wants to go but that person doesn't, the family goes into the standby/FP/FP+ systems queue like other guests."

Not quite true. The GAC was good for the GAC holder and up to five accompanying guests. The GAC holder was required to be present, and it wasn't a "walk on" for people who couldn't "walk very well."

Now, I'm not saying it never, ever worked out that way for anyone de facto. There are people who will game every system (even if only through ignorance), and there are underpaid, frustrated frontline workers who will give in to anybody's demands just to get them out of their faces. But that's not how the GAC system is written to work de jure.

If Dad can't walk well enough to walk through the queue, the policy is that he should be offered the use of one of the park's wheelchairs or encouraged to rent one from an outside company. After all, he was to walk between the attractions, doesn't he? The exception is if he can't walk up and down steps and there are steps in the queue, but there are only a few like that.

Dad has always been required to be there. Cast members are required to look at the GAC, look at the name, and ask which member of the party is the person named on the card. Sure, the family could lie to the CM about it, and the new photo card will stop some of that. But that's simply a security enhancement, not a new policy. And trust someone who's eaten entire meals in the alternate lines for Spaceship Earth, the Jungle Cruise, and it's a small world - "walk ons" CAN happen at certain times of the day under certain conditions, but they're certainly not guaranteed, except for VIP tours and Make-a-Wish families. IME it averages out.

They could have fixed whatever is wrong with the GAC program by investing in:

But all that would have meant investing cash in human capital, which modern business isn't fond of doing. They'd rather rebrand, and let the disgruntled among the able-bodied think somebody's getting nice and punished so we can all feel better. In the end, people who believe there's a benefit to be had from gaming a system - whether there actually is or not - will find a way to do so.

"I would say the thing that would make me slap the shit outta somebody who suggested it to me is the idea that, *Hi disabled person you have this great thing that I want let me pay you for it* it's like, ho, okay, do you wanna also pay for each moment in my life when I've been unable to access restaurants, shops, friends apartments? Pay for all that, bitches, and then we'll talk."

A couple of years ago I ended up with an extra medical issue at WDW in the form of a broken foot I acquired at the hotel shortly after checking in. An evening at the ER later, I spent the rest pf the trip in a rented ECV. On one side, you could see the brace going up to my knee and the crutches strapped to the scooter, but on the other side, I looked reasonably young and healthy (except maybe a certain eye glaze when the painkillers kicked in). OH, the butthurt looks and mutters I got anytime I got loaded on the inter-park buses or boats first. Like, do you REALLY want me running over your feet just so you can get to your seats a couple of minutes earlier? And don't forget I get to get off dead last when we get there and you scamper off on your merry way.

An adorable preschooler boy saw the scooter one day, and like any shiny-eyed, wheel-obsessed kid, pointed and said, "I want one of those!" His mother or grandmother gave me the stinkeye, looked up and down at my unbroken side, and drawled, "Yeah, it sure must be nice." I pivoted a little so they could see the other side, and said, "Yeah! It's wonderful! This broken foot is GREAT! You wanna trade feet with me so you can have this and I can run around?" The little boy giggled because he was truly an innocent little moppet, and he probably WOULD have switched feet for an hour and thought it was the coolest part of his vacation. He was such a cute kid. But the mother was suitably ashamed and bustled away. I guess she can't have been all bad because she had the decency to realize how bigoted she'd sounded, and because nice kids don't come from nowhere.


*The toughest thing for many to get, and I totally understand why, is that due to so many circumstances beyond any particular CM's control, your experience may not be exactly the same as last time. That's got to be hardest of all on some people with certain forms of autism.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 6:40 AM on September 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


But all that would have meant investing cash in human capital, which modern business isn't fond of doing

The thing you're missing is that TDA and TDO are in fact making a *massive* investment in people -- with both training and a large hire of CMs specifically to run the new system, plus the hardware to handle the new passes and issue/update cards.

The fact that they're spending all this money after the GR study at DCA indicates that they think they're losing a great deal because of this problem -- so much so that they're jumping on it this hard.

Part of this, I think, is the interaction with FP+ in WDW. The system won't work if the FP lines are flooded with GCAs. One of the big selling points with FP+ is that you'll just walk onto the ride, and if there's a large base of, in effect, hidden fastpasses walking around, you can't control how many there are, when they ride, or how often they ride. And if they show up, there's more people in the FP line that you were aiming for, it slows down, so now FP+ isn't paying off to the guests as promised, and the standby line is backing up as well.

Indeed, looking at the problem in DCA/DSL, which I had no idea about, part of me honestly wonders if Disney didn't leak this story to NBC. After all, it's not about Disney abusing the disabled, it's about abled persons abusing disabled accommodations. By leaking it, they get to point at that and say "Hey, we're sorry, but..."
posted by eriko at 7:11 AM on September 25, 2013


Yeah, but it's still gross, no? Like those bros who filmed the servers getting their generous tips and put the video on YouTube to make money.

Yeah, which is why I said "exploiting the rules" and "asshole moves".
posted by jeather at 7:36 AM on September 25, 2013


but anybody who obviously needs help will get a little pixie dust and it'll be fine

That was the US system for centuries before the ADA. Fine if you were autonomous. Sucked if you were interdependent. Relying on charity for access is ineffective and humiliating. We've passed the ADA twice now, not going back.
posted by Jesse the K at 9:01 AM on September 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


My friend Shannon explains it very well. She is the last person who would ever ask for special treatment unless she really needed it, and she does need it for her son Leo.
posted by w0mbat at 9:15 AM on September 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


That was the US system for centuries before the ADA. Fine if you were autonomous. Sucked if you were interdependent. Relying on charity for access is ineffective and humiliating. We've passed the ADA twice now, not going back.

Jesse I think you misconstrued that comment -- Disney very excessively caters to delivering "extra magic" or "exceptional service" or "extra pixie dust", that is what was being referred to. It's not charity for access he was referring to, there already is a fully compliant ADA process in effect. It's going for "extra" that was the pixie dust reference...
posted by cavalier at 9:31 AM on September 25, 2013


Leo could get right back on any ride he liked, as many times as he wanted.

I'm so sorry, but this is excessive. I am not a licensed therapist or counselor, and I am a parent who would do anything for my children -- yet I do not think infinite rides increasing the wait of every other guest was ever the intent of GAC. It was a side effect.
posted by cavalier at 9:33 AM on September 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


The thing you're missing is that TDA and TDO are in fact making a *massive* investment in people -- with both training and a large hire of CMs specifically to run the new system, plus the hardware to handle the new passes and issue/update cards.

The fact that they're spending all this money after the GR study at DCA indicates that they think they're losing a great deal because of this problem -- so much so that they're jumping on it this hard.

Part of this, I think, is the interaction with FP+ in WDW. The system won't work if the FP lines are flooded with GCAs. One of the big selling points with FP+ is that you'll just walk onto the ride, and if there's a large base of, in effect, hidden fastpasses walking around, you can't control how many there are, when they ride, or how often they ride. And if they show up, there's more people in the FP line that you were aiming for, it slows down, so now FP+ isn't paying off to the guests as promised, and the standby line is backing up as well.

Indeed, looking at the problem in DCA/DSL, which I had no idea about, part of me honestly wonders if Disney didn't leak this story to NBC. After all, it's not about Disney abusing the disabled, it's about abled persons abusing disabled accommodations. By leaking it, they get to point at that and say "Hey, we're sorry, but..."


-----------------------

The thing that I think you may be missing is that they were in fact already making a *massive* investment in the RFIP/FP+ system to begin with. The conversion to the new technology has been a fait accompli for years now, long before that study in DCA. This is just a part of that that's becoming public now.

A lot of people have been suspicious of the whole program, too. A lot of people have been saying, "Why are they investing billions in this RFID thing instead of building new attractions or fixing ones that have been broken for years?" People have been worried about data mining and a loss of spontaneity on vacation. I wouldn't be surprised if Disney leaked the "tour guide" story to NBC, either. I wouldn't be surprised if they even embellished it a little. Because now, all of a sudden, if anyone has any complaints about the RFID system, they can just blame it all on the average parkgoer's favorite scapegoat, Lucky Ducky the Greedy Disabled person! Why, she probably even uses the wheelchair-accessible stall in the ladies' room right when you wanted to use it to adjust your kids' princess costumes, too! I even saw her standing up for a few minutes once - obvious faker!

They've dropped a lot of money into this program, a program that some were excited about, some just plain didn't understand, some thought was kind of superfluous, and some found downright Orwellian. They needed to sell it hard to everybody, even the diehard Doubting Thomases. This is an opportunity for them to get the whole public to buy into the tech program they've been committed to for years. The investments they're making now are temporary. I've seen it happen all over. Once the technology is in place, you'll have even fewer workers. They'll have far better and quicker access to information, but it'll still be them who has to do something with it when they get it.

Some of the main reasons the FP line at RSR are so full are: posted by The Underpants Monster at 10:25 AM on September 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't feel that the enormity of the new My Disney Experience program (their web site name for all of the RFID/etc) is that affected by GAC or the GAC change. I think the GAC change was prompted more by the Attractions team and WDI in terms of how the queues/standby lines were working.

I'm not seeing where bringing up the reportedly $1+ billion My Disney Experience is being used (outside of our analytical thinking here and there on message boards) as a reason for the GAC changes?
posted by cavalier at 10:33 AM on September 25, 2013


I don't feel that the enormity of the new My Disney Experience program (their web site name for all of the RFID/etc) is that affected by GAC or the GAC change.

I don't think so, either. They could have been handled as completely separate issues, but synergy's a big thing over there, so they can bundle the issue that's recently been in the news into the one that's been silently in the works for years.

I think the GAC change was prompted more by the Attractions team and WDI in terms of how the queues/standby lines were working.

And I maintain that any real problems in the lines (and I never witnessed that many myself) were caused by improper application of perfectly good existing policy. You can replace an old parking meter with a shiny new one, but you can't blame the old parking meter if the city never let anyone write tickets for parking at it illegally, or if only half of the parking attendants ever got trained on how to use it, or if the ticket appeals line stretched out the door and down the street with only one clerk at the window.

I'm not seeing where bringing up the reportedly $1+ billion My Disney Experience is being used (outside of our analytical thinking here and there on message boards) as a reason for the GAC changes?

I don't think it IS the reason. I think it was just a convenient opportunity.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 11:29 AM on September 25, 2013


Hm -- let me restate, where is it being stated, outside of our conjecture here, that the two are being lumped together? That is what I was attempting to respond to -- I do not feel from an operational standpoint they are linked. To eriko's point, there's certainly merit to the idea that killing a FP queue with GAC abusers warrants removing the abusers so that the FP queue can function normally -- but I don't feel that is lumping the GAC changes with anything to do with My Disney Exp or FP+. Am I misunderstanding you?
posted by cavalier at 11:47 AM on September 25, 2013


I do not think infinite rides increasing the wait of every other guest was ever the intent of GAC. It was a side effect.

Indeed. The ADA is predicated on equal access; that is, you should have the ability to get to and on the ride or attraction just like everyone else, without your disability getting in the way, and that accommodations should be made so that you have as close to equal experience of your ride or show as possible. It is not predicated on the idea that you shouldn't have to wait, nor that you should be able to ride or attend as many times as you like while other people are waiting.

Similarly, from echolalia67's comment above:

How does that help the non-verbal kid with ASD who becomes overtly fixated on one particular attraction and is strongly driven to get on the ride repeatedly. What about the parent who has to deal with the consequences when this doesn't happen, which often includes trying to keep themselves, their child and the public safe while the meltdown runs it's course?

If the only way your child can safely experience an amusement park is if they can instantly and as many times as they want board a ride, you will have to strategize and only let them on rides that do not have lines. It is certainly not an experience that was ever promised by the GAC, nor one that was delivered, as for popular rides they would frequently have their own, if considerably shorter, lines. Nor is it an experience promised by the ADA.

In fact, if properly run, the DAS will increase access for disabled people, as it should reduce the number of people abusing it and thus competing with genuinely disabled people, and by giving return times it will mean there will be little to no lines at all and thus those people who were as barred from rides by 45 minute waits as they were by 2 and half hour waits will now be able to ride as well.
posted by tavella at 12:00 PM on September 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


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