An Autistic Family’s Experience with the New DAS Card


We are thrilled to have Guru Client Heather T. guest posting for us today. She is sharing her experiences at with Disney’s new DAS card. Thank you Heather for this wonderful information.

For almost a year, I planned out every aspect of our October vacation to Walt Disney World. This would be the first time both of my girls, ages 17 and 11, would be going to WDW.

I have previously been down twice, once as a teen, and once in 2012 with a friend and her children. Because her son also has Sensory issues, and has very similar traits to Autistic children, I have had previous experience with the GAC. I felt very prepared for what I would encounter, until the DAS card was announced in September, just in time for my vacation.

My 11 year old is Autistic. She is high functioning, and was diagnosed 4 years ago. I really did not anticipate many issues over all, but the new card did give me pause.

When you first arrive at the first WDW park you are attending, you will be pointed towards Guest Relations to get your new DAS card. Depending at what park you are at, you are likely going to be pointed towards the outside Guest Relations window or building, located outside of the park’s main gates.

We arrived at nearly 5 pm, and the outside GR building at Epcot had nearly 10 families in line outside of the building. I asked if there was another location, and there was, inside Epcot near Spaceship Earth.

I highly recommend asking if there is a location inside the gates, because there was no wait at that one. We went in, and right up to the counter. A young woman asked us some very brief information- what we needed the card for, who it was needed for, how many people were in our group, etc.

Overall, it took us about 5 minutes until we had a card in hand. They do take a photo of the person needing the card, and list the person’s name, our dates of stay, how many people (up to 6) are in your group, and the location of where the card was issued. This was all printed directly onto our card, not hand written.

One person will be required to sign and date the card stating that they understand the rules of the card, and how its used.

Once you have your card in hand, it’s fairly easy to use. Simply go to the ride or show you wish to attend, and present the card to a ride attendant. In most instances, they will point out the person at the ride in charge of the DAS card. We found that it was usually someone at the FastPass entrance to the ride.

This person will check the current time, plus the current wait time of the ride. From there, they will write down the current time, the wait time, a return time, and their initials. The return time is based on subtracting 10 minutes from the wait time, adding it to the current time.

For example, if Soarin’ has a 70 minute wait, they will have you return in 1 hour, at the 60 minute mark.  You will be unable to use the card for additional rides while you wait, but you are free to ride anything else using standard Fast Pass, Fast Pass +, or a Stand By line.

For the most part, we have no issues using the card. The Cast Members were well versed on how they are used, and they were very accommodating. Unlike FastPass or FP+, you are not limited in your return time. If you are unable to ride at the stated return time, no problem. You can return at any point later in the day to use it. There is not a 1 hour window. This is helpful especially if you need to take a park break, or you have a meal coming up, or just need to sit down.

Once you arrive back at your time, you will have to show your pass first at the entrance, where your return time will be crossed off (this is so that you can now add a new ride to it), then again at the FastPass collection point.  I would say that overall on busy rides, your wait time is likely to exceed the Stand By wait time.

As an example, when we rode Soarin’, there was a 70 minute wait. We waited outside of the ride for 60 minutes (we made use of the time to go over to the Imagination pavilion to ride Imagination). We arrived back promptly at the hour mark, and entered the FP line. From there, it was nearly 20 minutes before we made it on the ride.

This was not always the case, but please note that in during the high crowd level days, you will likely run into this. I highly recommend collecting FastPasses, and FP+ through out the day to allow you to get on rides faster. This is also recommended on the front of your DAS card.

We had no issues with this card. I anticipated longer overall wait time before the card officially came out, and found it to be true about half of the time. In the past, before FP+, many rides did not have a FP entrance, and I saw that now, nearly every ride we went on had a FP+ entrance. In the few that did not, they simply had us wait at the exit, then lead us on the ride.

Given the overall wait time, we also found that my daughter had about a 15 minute limit on how she would act in line. After 15 minutes, she would get antsy, and start climbing the rails, laying on the ground, whining, getting scared of the crowds of people, etc. If the posted wait time was 15 minutes or less, we entered the stand by line without issue. In some instances, the posted wait time would be wrong- we could usually tell by how far back we were in line. In those instances, we usually left the stand by line, and used the card.

I hope this will help many of you planning a vacation with a special needs person- this was a learning experience for us, and I found that Disney was very accommodating with the new card.