What is the Guest Assistance Card, or GAC? It
is changing to the DISABILITY ACCESS SERVICE CARD on October 9, 2013.
As more details become known, this page will be updated.
Guest Assistance Card (GAC) at Walt Disney World is also
called the Special Assistance Pass (SAP) at Disneyland. Both
refer to the basically the same thing. The GAC used to be called the
Special Assistance Pass. The name was changed to Guest
Assistance Card a few years ago because some people thought it was a
“front-of-the-line” pass, which caused some confusion between
guests and cast members. Some people think there is a back door into
most rides that they will get to use if they have a GAC and that's
almost never the case -- many attractions have mainstream access.
Always ask the Cast Members at the attraction how to proceed, and
please do not expect front-of-line access.
we know about the proposed changes: Expect to be given a return time
that corresponds to the wait time in the regular standby line, at the
attraction entrance. This is very similar to the current FastPass
system. Only one ride at a time can have a pending wait time return.
Expect to have a picture taken and be on the card, along with
identifying information. The card will be valid for the length of
your stay up to 14 days. Disney WILL try to accommodate the needs of
individuals with very severe disabilities on a case by case basis;
this would also include individuals with moderate to severe autism...
but nobody should expect front-of-line access.
GAC is not used to jump the lines, it is used to help special
needs travelers get access to attractions that they would otherwise
not be able to see due to health, mobility, or major developmental
and psychological issues. You may be allowed to bypass the regular
lines, but you should still expect to wait. Examples of people
who might benefit from using the GAC include folks of all ages and
backgrounds, whether their need is temporary or permanent:
People with mobility
issues that would keep them from being able to stand in long queues
who are not using wheelchairs, ECVs or canes;
People who are
particularly heat or sun sensitive to the point that it endangers
their health or safety because of health conditions such as Lupus
and Multiple Sclerosis, or people who are on certain medications;
Families traveling with
special needs children or adults who have health, psychological or
hypersensitivity issues that make it difficult to remain in crowded
People who are easily
fatigued or in pain due to serious health problems (heart,
emphysema, arthritis, etc.) who plan to be ambulatory inside
pavilions and attractions but park their wheelchair or ECV outside,
or choose not to use wheelchairs. They get access to the seating
without stairs in shows, for example. Also use of alternate
entrances in places where the queue is not mainstream and there are
stairs or a climb.
How do you get a GAC?
go to Guest Relations at the entrance of any of the Disney parks and
request one. You don't need a doctor's letter or any evidence to show
that you need one, although many people do take a doctor’s letter
for backup. You do need to be able to explain what your problems are
and what assistance you need. The GAC is not a convenience; it
is a tool for access. Guest Services Cast Members are
responsible for determining who will be given the GAC... it helps to
be prepared and know what to ask for, and how, before you go.
How long is it valid?
are given a GAC, it will be good at all the Disney parks for the
length of your vacation. You don't need to get one for each park or
for each day. You do need to get a new card on your next vacation to
WDW; it is only good for one trip.
What does it allow you to do?
cards all look the same, but each card has different instructions
stamped on. We are aware of 5 different messages; there may be more.
Allows a stroller to be
used as a wheelchair in mainstream queues and at alternate
entrances. ECVs and wheelchairs can be taken into any building or
line without having any pass or card. This allows strollers to use
the same alternate entrances.
Allows a waiting spot
shaded from the sun if the line is "in the sun for an excessive
amount of time." Fo most of the lines, the largest part of the
line inside a building or under a roof or shade. Some of the outdoor
lines are even air-conditioned to avoid getting too hot. This
is helpful to people who are sun or heat sensitive.
Allows an alternate
entrance waiting area for people who can't wait in line. This one is
mostly used for children/adults with conditions like autism, ADD or
other health problems that make waiting in line difficult or
dangerous for them or the people with them. This would also
apply to people who suffer from agoraphobia or severe panic attacks
that would make waiting in line in close contact with other people
impossible. Also, this is used for people who are immunosuppressed
and need to avoid infection.
Allows ‘front and
center’ seating at shows, for people with severe visual
Kids at WDW thru the
Make A Wish or similar organizations. This card allows "front
of line" access because these kids are very fragile and have a
life threatening condition. These cards are arranged thru WDW and
Make a Wish or Give Kids the World as part of their visit.
the first 3 categories, you will be asked to use FastPass if
available and you are told that the card will not allow immediate
access to rides/attractions. You will often still need to wait; it
just may be in a different place.
Do you need a GAC if you have a wheelchair or ECV?
maybe not. If you have a wheelchair or ECV, cane or crutches,
you will not need a GAC unless you have a medical reason not
to be in the mainstream lines.
If you have a legitimate
reason for a GAC as outlined above, then you need to advocate for
yourself at Guest Services in order to get the GAC. They may
try to tell you that you do not need the GAC because the wheelchair
or ECV will be enough to let the CMs at the attractions know that you
need to use the accessible entrances. This is true if your
reasons for being in the wheelchair or ECV are only due to mobility
issues. However, if you plan to leave your wheelchair or ECV
at the entrance of an attraction or pavilion and walk inside, having
a GAC will alert the CMs that you need to use the accessible seating
or boarding areas inside the attraction. If you
have medical or major psychological issues that would prevent you
from being able to use the mainstream, wheelchair-accessible lines
along with all other guests to the point that you would have to miss
the attraction or it would endanger your health, then you will need
About using the GAC when you need it...
people feel embarrassed, or like they are cheating if they ask for a
GAC. Please don't think that using the GAC to get to alternate
waiting or boarding areas is just a 'bump in' to the line...
You are paying the same
as everyone else at the park.
It will take you longer
time and more physical energy to move from one attraction to
You will most likely
not stay in the parks as long as average guests.
You will need to spend
more time resting and refreshing in between attractions.
other people arrive at the line ahead of you, but you have every
right to enjoy the attractions at your pace. Disney has this program
in place to help you get the most enjoyment possible from your visit
to the park It isn't something for you to feel
embarrassed or self-conscious about, when you really need it. It is
not the same as a front-of-line pass, and there will be times when
you may wait longer than people in the regular queue.
About using the GAC or wheelchairs when you don’t really need them,
to get into attractions ahead of other guests…
not let any of US catch you trying to pull a stunt like that!
Every time someone does this, they cheat everyone. It causes
resentment among other guests and cast members towards everyone who
uses the special accommodations for legitimate reasons, and makes it
harder for people who really need the accommodations to get them.