Thursday, December 20, 2012

To Get a GAP Card or to Not Get a GAP Card, That is the Question!

To Get a GAP Card or to Not Get a GAP Card,
That is the Question!

          First off let me explain what a GAP Card (Guest Assistance Pass) is. A GAP Card allows guests with limitations (I call them Handi-capable guests) to be accommodated throughout the park. They can enter rides by an alternate route to avoid stairs, limit line wait and avoid crowds. What type of accommodations given is decided by the needs of the Handi-capable guest.
          The GAP is given to the handi-capable guest and is marked with the number of guests in their party. The limit is 6 people total in the group with a possible allowance for groups of 8 per card.
For people with disabilities there is always the question if they need a GAP (Guest Assistance Pass) to help them out at Disney Parks. This is not a simple question as many of the cues for the rides can now accommodate wheelchairs. Those rides that cannot accommodate wheelchairs have an alternate entrance that does not require guests in wheelchairs enter. So if you have a wheelchair you do not need a GAP as your wheelchair allows you the access you need.
So when should you get a GAP Card?
If you have problems with long lines I highly suggest getting it! If you or your child has ADHD or Autism I recommend it. If you can’t be in the sun for long periods of time again the GAP is a good idea. Some people have problems in confined or crowded spaces. The GAP can make a big difference. The GAP we get allows us to use all the Fastpass lines as well as Handicap entrances.
How do you get a GAP?
Go into Guest Relations at any Disney Park and ask them for a GAP. They will ask you to explain the limitations. If this is for your child have them with you. The person needing the GAP must go into Guest Relations to get the pass. You do not need paperwork from your doctor and even if you have it the Guest Relations CMs are not allowed to look at it.
How long is a GAP good for?
A GAP can be given for the length of your stay. If you are an Annual Passholder you can your GAP for 2 months at a time.
How do I use my GAP?
If your GAP allows for special access to the rides show your card to the first CM you see at the ride. They will tell you where to enter the ride.
1.    If you have had a GAP Card in the past and still have it bring it with you and show it at Guest Relations when you get your new one. It helps them move the line quicker by showing them what you need.
2.    Be ready to clearly state your needs. Be clear as to what you need. Do you have trouble with stairs? Then make sure they know this so you can avoid them. Are confined spaces an issue? Don’t be ashamed to speak out!
3.    If the ride you are trying to get on has a slightly different GAP policy than the other rides don’t complain just follow the rules for that ride.
4.    Follow the rules!
a.    GAP does not necessarily guarantee quicker entry. Be patient.
b.    GAP does not allow you to keep riding the same ride over and over. Wait at least ½ hour after getting off a ride before going back to ride it again.
c.    Do not abuse it. Don’t get it for your teenager just because they don’t want to wait in line. (This makes it harder for those with true needs to get them.)
d.    Don’t try to take more people on a ride with you than your card allows. The maximum number is 6 with a possible exception of 8.
e.    The Handi-capable member of your group must be going on the ride to use the GAP.
As a wife of a wonderful man with ADHD and minor brain damage that leaves him nervous and the mother of a daughter with ADHD I’ve learned that the GAP makes a HUGE difference in the enjoyment of the park. This makes a difference not only for us but and any friends/family with us it also makes a difference for the guests around us.
When we are at the park and stuck in a long line my husband and daughter start getting fidgety. If this goes on too long I quietly reminding them to relax and stop swinging the ropes etc. . . If it continues the guests around us start to get nervous because of the constant motion and fussiness. I’ve learned the limits and have stretched them as far as is reasonable. If the line is over 30 minutes in general we use the GAP. If it is under 30 minutes we go the regular line. For some rides a 1 hour wait is tolerable with extra distractions from me. In general 1 hour does not work well.

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