Disney World Handicap Access

Disney’s Guest Assistance Card Offers Special Help

Disney World has long been known for exemplary customer service.

Some people have claimed that this legendary service has diminished somewhat over the past few years.  I know that I have experienced some occasional moments of frustration inside Disney World on some recent trips.

Yet when my cousins, Doug and Amy, brought their 17 year old daughter, Brooke, for a visit this week, I saw Disney at its customer service best.

You see, Brooke is a very special lady.  She was born with some kind of un-diagnosable brain condition that makes it difficult for her to communicate.  Her vocabulary is very limited.  What few words she does know she can only express with muted grunts and gestures.  When she walks, she appears slightly lopsided.  It is difficult to gage how much she understands or what her maturity level is.  She tires easily and can get grumpy when she has had a long, physical day.

However, she is a joy to be around.  She gets excited easily.  It is wonderful to watch her squeal with delight and frantically wave her arms in excitement whenever she encounters something special.

Although Doug and Amy have taken Brooke to Disney World twice before, they never thought to seek assistance for Brooke’s handicap.  Part of that is Amy’s natural tendency to never take advantage of anyone.  Indeed, once she discovered that the Special Assistance Card enabled Brooke to jump an hour long line at the Toy Story Mania ride, Amy stated she probably wouldn’t do that again because she felt badly that she had gotten ahead of everyone who had to wait so long in line.  I asked Amy how old Brooke was (knowing full well she was 17) and then suggested that after 17 years of going the extra mile to care for Brooke, the least the rest of us could do was allow her to opportunity to jump the line a few times.  Amy, being Amy, probably still won’t use the card more than once per ride, but I wish she would!  

Amy And Brooke Show Their Assistance Card

To get the card, Doug and Amy went to the Guest Services window at the Theme Park.  They didn’t have any documentation regarding Brooke’s condition, but the Disney Cast Member only asked to meet Brooke.  Once she did, the card was issued without any further ado.  It was valid on all Disney property and for the entire length of Brooke’s visit.  It allows the guest with a disability and up to five members of their party to have access to all alternate entrances for all attractions.

The card goes out of its way to inform guests that it does not guarantee “immediate access.”  It also requests that guests obtain a FASTPASS when going on attractions that utilize the FASTPASS system.  However, Doug and Amy noted that when they went to an attraction, they were never asked for a FASTPASS and they almost always were able to jump the line for a much quicker access.

With Brooke’s physical condition, this was critical as she was able to enjoy so many more attractions for the few hours she could tolerate being in the park before she became tired and irritable.

For an angel like Brooke, who can ride the “It’s a Small World” ride twenty times in a row and find absolute delight in each ride, this gesture of extreme customer service on the part of Disney was very much appreciated. 

Here’s a video of Brooke enjoying the “snowfall” in Celebration with her second cousin–# 1 Daughter!

3 Responses to “Disney World Handicap Access”

  1. Heidi Says:

    Thanks for sharing this, Lance. It just gave me one more reason to love Disney! I posted a link to this from my blog.

  2. Top Ten Posts ’09-’10 « Lance Around Orlando Says:

    […] Disney World Handicap Access – Disney does it right when it comes to helping those less […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: