Monday, October 28, 2013

Demonstration at Disneyland

Demonstration at Disneyland

Sunday a friend of mine, who happened to be at DLR posted a picture on Facebook of a small group of people picketing at the entrance. These were people picketing against the changes in the assistance Disney gives disabled visitors to the park. While I agree with this groups concerns and understand that the new, “one size fits nobody” DAS system has problems I disagree with picketing the park . . . YET.

I have not talked to this group but I can guess from what I saw in the picture and what my friend said she saw on their posters what their concerns are. They are the same concerns I have. Here are my concerns.

·        The new system’s name is offensive.

·        Those with problems with lines have to wait in 2 lines not 1 per ride.

·        Those that can only spend a few hours in the park at a time due to disabilities now have to spend that time in lines instead of finding the respite from their disabilities.

·        People with legitimate needs for assistance are being turned down because they do not “look” disabled. From reports I’ve heard this is happening more at WDW hat at DLR.

The name was changed from GUEST Assistance Card (GAC) to Disability Assistance System (DAS). What?!?! Are people with disabilities no longer guests? Instead of being simply accommodated disabled guests are being put into a “system”.

The new system requires those with the new DAS card to go to a kiosk (stand in line) and show their card to get a return time for an attraction. (At WDW they go to the attraction to get a return time.) Then they will go to the attraction and enter either the Fastpass line if there is one or an alternate entrance if there is no Fastpass line. If you have a child within the Autism Spectrum or with ADHD this is really hard for them. Those with PTSD or Anxiety Disorders may also find this difficult.

There are people that, due to physical or emotional limitations can only spend a few precious hours in the park. They can’t spend an entire day playing in the park like most of us. They spend the same amount of money to get in the gate as someone who spends the entire day there but they know they will only be there a few hours. With the old system this people were able to go up the Fastpass line or use an alternative entrance so they might get on 2-3 rides in the 3-4 hours there. Now they will be lucky to get only 1. They will spend their time in lines instead of finding their happy place that can help them deal with their disability outside the parks.

Cast Members are looking harder at who they give the cards too, as they should. This is because of the abuse of the system that was going on. Because of this some people will fall through the cracks for now. I believe this will be a temporary problem that will be worked out as people speak up.

Here is another problem that I have been seeing for a long time but the new system is making it worse. I did not list it above. Those in wheelchairs, on crutches and using walkers and canes are now put in the regular line. While in line for a “regular attraction” that is not as much of a problem but when it is for a show I feel this is wrong. When the doors open people run to the seats in places like the Hyperion Theater. Those using mobility assistance devices are not able to move as fast as the flow of people headed in. They can be knocked over or accidently trip someone. I’ve seen it happen more than once. In my opinion this is a hazard for both the person with mobility issues and those around them! The simple solution to the possible danger of being tipped over or being tripped by those with mobility assistance devices is to let them enter the seating area first!

I do understand the issues the protesters are trying to bring attention to. I understand and share their concerns. BUT! I do not think picketing at this time is necessary. The system needed to be changed to stop the abuse that was happening at both WDW and DLR. It was getting out of hand and people were using it to earn money.

Instead of picketing I suggest if you experience problems with the new DAS program go to Guest Relations and make your voice heard. Politely and calmly state your need/concern and why you think the new program did not your need. Do not get rude or aggressive with the Cast Member, the policy is not their doing. They are just doing their job! If the front line CM can’t make a difference for you ask for the Lead CM.

If talking to the Cast Members in Guest relations does not make the difference or you feel they are not taking your concern seriously then by all means write a letter to Disney! You can ask the CMs for the address and name of the correct person to contact or you can go to the Disneyland or Disney World website and click on the “contact us”  at the bottom of the page and send them an email! They are required to respond to every email or letter so this is the best way to make sure your concern is read and responded to.

Give Disney time to work out the problems in the system. Disney knew changes would be needed. It is impossible to make such sweeping changes in a program that touches so many people with so many different kinds of needs and expect it to work right off the gate. If Disney does not respond to concerns and make changes to make the system work THEN by all means picket, protest and boycott! I honestly don’t think it will need to go to that with Disney. Give them feedback so they know what to fix! They can’t fix what they don’t know is broken!

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