On my trip last weekend, I met up with a friend who uses a Guest Assistance Card, or GAC, in the parks. A GAC is a pass that allows visitors to bypass longer lines for some rides due to a disability. It’s not a “front of the line” pass, but it does allow you to enter most fastpass lines if that attraction has one and provides alternative entrances for those that do not. Any number of disabilities qualify for a GAC. For example, parents often get them for children on the autism spectrum as long lines can be overwhelming. Individuals with crowd phobias or anxiety may also benefit. People with physical disabilities that keep them from standing for long periods of time use them as well. If you or someone in your party has a disability, simply go to Guest Relations as you enter the park and request one.
To get a GAC, you’ll need to briefly explain why you need one. If you’re getting one for a child, that child will need to be present. Disney is not obtrusive and will not pry; they make getting the pass as easy and painless as possible, however, due to the potential for abuse, you’ll be asked a few questions about your needs. You don’t need a doctor’s note to get a GAC, but it can make getting one easier, particularly if you have a hidden disability. Your note does not have to specify what your disability is. It can simply explain your limitations and why you need the CAC.
Most people get GACs for the duration of their trip. My friend is an annual passholder and a local, so she gets her pass for three months at a time. In her case, it covers up to four people in her party (the number of people in her family), but in general a GAC is good for the holder and up to five additional people. This allows groups to enjoy the attractions together.
We used my friend’s GAC twice, once to enter Toy Story Midway Mania in Hollywood Studios and once for Peter Pan in the Magic Kingdom. Both times, we entered the fastpass line and waited around ten minutes. The cast members treated the GAC like a fastpass, taking about the same amount of time to read it as they do a fastpass. I know that some guests feel uncomfortable about using a GAC or worry that those in the standy line will resent them for “bypassing” longer lines; don’t think this way. I didn’t feel uncomfortable or like we stood out in the least. And if someone is petty enough to begrudge an individual with a disability a shorter line, well, I would suggest that that type of person isn’t worth worrying about in the first place.
I’m glad I had an opportunity to try this out with a friend because I find it helps to experience things before I write about it or explain how it works. I often have clients ask about getting a GAC or worse, those who don’t know they can get one at all. If you need help, please don’t hesitate to get a GAC. Disney employees are very sensitive to guest needs and this is one area where they really shine. You deserve to have the same access as everyone else.