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Old 01-16-2013, 11:31 AM   #1
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new blog: Guest Assistance Cards Vs. FastPass+

http://www.disunplugged.com/2013/01/...-battle-begin/
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Old 01-16-2013, 11:56 AM   #2
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I saw it. I really wish people (in this case disunplugged, not you) wouldn't bring up topics when nothings actually been published about how the subject at hand is going to work. They're stirring up controversy just for the sake of doing it. The whole discussion is going to become one huge bash against those of use who need GACs rather than any kind of real discussion on the changes to come or even how they really work today.

There is potential for some great things to happen for GACs using FP+ and there's potential for things to get really frustrating. I'm very anxious to see how it goes.
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Old 01-16-2013, 12:51 PM   #3
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I have been using a GAC for many years and an ECV for the last 10. I have NEVER gone to the front of ANY line with the GAC. (even though I have several stamps.) I am not sure you have your facts straight!! Also, you cannot tell by looking at me that I have problems (Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Neurofibromatosis, type I, degenerative disc disease diabetes, high blood pressure, previous stroke and unfortunately a few others.
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Old 01-16-2013, 12:58 PM   #4
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In an ideal world, any headaches could be avoided by having an extermely consistent policy and making sure every CM followed it to the letter.

Unfortunately, we don't live in an ideal world. Conditions on the ground can vary drastically. Sometimes it's more expeditious to load PWD faster. Sometimes there isn't enough space for a separate waiting area for people who need it. And the elephant in to room is, Disney is too cheap to pay for the level of training that would make following a policy consistent, and too cheap to pay to have enough managerial backup for frontline CM's.
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Old 01-16-2013, 01:56 PM   #5
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It's articles like this that make it hard on those of us who truly need the GAC.

Thinking about it more and more, I would ask that the article be pulled down or at bare minimum reworded to not make people think that the GACs provide faster access, they don't and those of us that need them know that.

Yes, some attractions provide faster access, but many do not.
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Old 01-16-2013, 03:14 PM   #6
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With multiple diabilities including hearing loss it would not be possible to use FP+. Unfortunately WDW doesn't have the schedule for the interpreters up until the week before your trip so you have no way to schedule rides and mesh them with the interpreter schedule. GAC is the only way I can do both rides and shows with interpreters without doing them on separate days.
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Old 01-16-2013, 04:26 PM   #7
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Agreed. This article is definitely written in a way that's telling people "hey there's this big loophole ( for lack of a better term). Come exploit it because everyone else does!!"
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Old 01-16-2013, 05:14 PM   #8
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I admit that thread not only confused me but made my head hurt...and or spin!

I am not really a fan of the FP return for a GAC. Maybe for some cases certain people may agree or accept. I will not speak for a disability I am uneducated about.

I have 2 boys. Youngest with Aspergers, the other is Autistic but more severe with other issues. We just recieved his Service Dog and he will be going with us in March for the first time. To walk up to a ride that they will actually do and be told to come back hours later will for sure ensure a meltdown. We learned with Splash Mountain the hard way when it broke down.

It is hard to predict how we will be one hour, 2, 5 hours later. Good, great, headed to the room after a bad meltdown. I would rather wait and use the GAC like we have then to walk up to a ride only to tell the boys we can not wait in line for it like we have for 10 years and we have to come back later.

Color me nervous with this one.
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Old 01-16-2013, 07:03 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emagine View Post
I admit that thread not only confused me but made my head hurt...and or spin!

I am not really a fan of the FP return for a GAC. Maybe for some cases certain people may agree or accept. I will not speak for a disability I am uneducated about.

I have 2 boys. Youngest with Aspergers, the other is Autistic but more severe with other issues. We just recieved his Service Dog and he will be going with us in March for the first time. To walk up to a ride that they will actually do and be told to come back hours later will for sure ensure a meltdown. We learned with Splash Mountain the hard way when it broke down.

It is hard to predict how we will be one hour, 2, 5 hours later. Good, great, headed to the room after a bad meltdown. I would rather wait and use the GAC like we have then to walk up to a ride only to tell the boys we can not wait in line for it like we have for 10 years and we have to come back later.

Color me nervous with this one.
Well...it's all speculation, not even necessarily based on any solid rumor. And the original Blog is clearly incorrect in much of what is stated.

Emagine: while I don't know how you have experienced GAC but receiving a handwritten FP has definitely been a possibility over the years, albeit not one that we've encountered frequently. Usually it's because there was a large back-up of people waiting for the accessible cars and we would have ended up in line behind that. A GAC is not intended to shorten lines, whether entering through the FP queue or other alternate entrance. Many seem to be of the impression that a GAC definitely shortens wait time, and while I'll agree that has happened sometimes, we definitely have experienced the opposite as well with longer waits. So dependent on what your GAC indicates, needing to return at a later time may be your best option unless you wish to wait in the standby, which is sometimes shorter but not always acceptable depending on needs.

But I refuse to get riled up about rumor over mere speculation that is all based off a poorly written and inaccurate blog post. Is there a problem, most likely yes; is it as rampant as some believe, I don't think so; will WDW (or DLR) make changes at some point - again, likely yes as they see fit and obviously they have not felt it was necessary yet.
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Old 01-16-2013, 09:44 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emagine View Post
I admit that thread not only confused me but made my head hurt...and or spin!

I am not really a fan of the FP return for a GAC. Maybe for some cases certain people may agree or accept. I will not speak for a disability I am uneducated about.

I have 2 boys. Youngest with Aspergers, the other is Autistic but more severe with other issues. We just recieved his Service Dog and he will be going with us in March for the first time. To walk up to a ride that they will actually do and be told to come back hours later will for sure ensure a meltdown. We learned with Splash Mountain the hard way when it broke down.

It is hard to predict how we will be one hour, 2, 5 hours later. Good, great, headed to the room after a bad meltdown. I would rather wait and use the GAC like we have then to walk up to a ride only to tell the boys we can not wait in line for it like we have for 10 years and we have to come back later.

Color me nervous with this one.
I think you have every right to be nervous about the possibility of change that might impact your enjoyment of the park.

It make me nervous that George Kalogridis is coming to WDW. I know that Disneyland was build before ADA and is not as accessable because of that, but it is my opinion that DL has a less positive attitude towards GAC users in general. ( Like no special viewing areas for fireworks at DL.) I do not view George coming as a good thing for GAC users.

I don't think all GAC users have the same needs, for many returning at a set time is fine, while for others this could cause them issues.

Since it is speculation right now, I will speculate. It would not suprise me to see Disney eliminate ALL GAC users from the old fast pass lines ( or do away with the old fast pass lines altogether soon) and allow GAC entry only with the normal amount of fastpast + passes. I expect the only exception would be those on "Wish" trips. ( Which would put the responsibility of certification of need in someone elses court.)

One other thing that has not been mentioned is that sometimes a child/ person has just enough energy to ride 3-4 rides in a day. They might want to ride one ride 3 times and not ride anything else. With fastpass this could be possible to pull. With fastpass + it is not.
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Old 01-16-2013, 09:34 PM   #11
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I thank God every time we go that we do not need a GAC. However, our very close friends do need one for their ds that struggles daily with autism. My son & he are close friends: I *know* they wouldn't be able to visit WDW without the GAC accomadations. I do not know how they are accomadated & it is not my business to know. I know how quickly his disease makes circumstances change & a hand written return in 2 hours would NOT work. He needs a more concrete response than that, not that he can't wait, but he needs to "see" that he is waiting for, say, space mountain, not we can come back later. I don't think there is a whole lot of "time" understanding. I really hope this doesn't change so much that it becomes useless. It makes WDW available to so many people. I thought the article was crass in making it sound like FOL access & here is a primer in exploiting this angle. I would like to think people aren't abusing the system, but I'm sure some do. I just don't know why we have to post an infomercial on "here's how to do it." I read all the comments & was incredulous that the author would not alter or take down his article. I really found it in poor taste. I hope FP+ won't leave people out, but from what I've read I don't like what the plans seem to be. JMO
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Old 01-16-2013, 10:03 PM   #12
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I see the GAC card argument from 2 angles. One from being a former CM who worked at an attraction that utilized FP and as a girl with a younger brother who has Down Syndrome. We have never been to the parks without a GAC card and have always been accommodated. I have no complaints as a guest. I'm not sure how a handwritten FP would work for him, it would depend on his "mood" at the time. I understand how it would seem to "level the playing field" but each special needs child is different and definitely different from a "normal" child. What is easy to explain to a child half his age, he cannot wrap his head around. So telling him we can't ride yet could be no issue at all or it could turn into a meltdown that ruins the day. We would prefer not to risk our vacation!

Coming from a CM's perspective, GAC cards are the bane of our existence. We had more problems with GAC cards than almost anything. (Besides people missing their fastpass times!) Our attraction's stand-by line was all handicapped accessible so if your teenager was in a wheel chair with a cast, you waited in stand-by. Families hated that. They thought they could beat the system so they take it out on us when they can't. And no, just because another attraction let you through does not mean it's the same everywhere. Different stamps mean different things and we are trained on the procedures for each. We KNOW the system is being abused and know it's ruining it for the ones that need the card. Because GAC card situations were more personal to me than other CMs I worked with, I tended to be more sympathetic and accommodating. I know that disabilities come in all forms and many are not visible. So I never questioned. However, every time I heard it called a fastpass I wanted to scream. And believe me, it's a lot.

I almost wouldn't mind if you had to have some form of proof to obtain a GAC card. If you or your child is anything like my brother, it wouldn't be hard to get a Dr.s note or something related. Look at handicapped parking signs! It's sad we have to come to that but for those that need the GAC card, it would be worth it.
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Old 01-16-2013, 10:23 PM   #13
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I also cringe when people think they are FPs, it causes people to think they are and want to get them, then causes problems for those of us that do need them.

To be honest, if GACs were eliminated, I wouldn't really be able to go to the parks, unless there were a new system in place.

As to George Kalagridi coming, it will most likely actually be a good thing for GAC holders. Disneyland has never had special viewing areas for the fireworks for them, mostly due to a lack of space.

And the only real changes he made here was one retraining the CMs to ask more questions, they were getting a little lax about it, but to also use common sense. If its clear someone has had a pass for a while, don't ask any questions, just renew it for example. To check IDs when renewing the pass, with annual passes counting as an ID in this case. To check park tickets and issue the passes for length of stay or two months in the case of Passholders. And to do more to make sure the person named on the pass is experiencing the attraction.

In other words enforcing the rules that already exist. So, I don't see how that will be a bad thing.

As for the return time for Racers, that was actually a suggestion I made because the FP lines were over two hours long and there would have been no way for me to experience that attraction with that. This way they can space out the wheelchairs and no, it isn't always the length of the stand-by line, sometimes it's longer, sometimes it's shorter, it depends on how many GACs are ahead of you.

So I am not completely opposed to return time passes on a few attractions, but to do it for all of them would not work for many people, myself included.
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Old 01-16-2013, 10:49 PM   #14
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I think that the title of this blog is causing much of the discussion/concern as well as some of the content - I mean "let the battle begin"?
I found out abou the blog when I saw a link posted here and agree with the other posters on this thread that there are many problems with it.

First, Disneyland is a much different place than DisneyWorld.
Many of the attractions at Disneyland are NOT accessible thru the regular line.
At WDW, most attractions are.

Second, there is not one ‘thing’ that Guest Assistance Cards do – there are different stamps put on the card to meet the needs of the person. In some cases, it is to wait in a different area. In some cases, it is to use the ‘wheelchair entrance’.
At WDW, that usually means the regular line. There is sometimes a different boarding area, but the bypass that goes there is usually very close to the regular boarding area.
For example, at Buzz Lightyear, the whole line is accessible, but at the boarding area, walking guests make a 180 degree turn to get into their ride car. When guests who can’t board in the regular boarding area get there, they are directed straight ahead down a hallway to the exit to board.

A lot of people report what they experience without understanding it.
First example: my family includes a child using a wheelchair who has multiple disabilities and can’t walk. We were in the regular line at Mission Space, and after getting deeper into the building, we were right behind a person who was using an ECV. She started talking to us, then showed us her GAC and said we should get one for our DD because she had used it and “I got right into this line without waiting at all.”
Well, so did we. The standby line we were in had a 10 minute posted wait and we basically walked right in.
We saw the same woman multiple times at Epcot that day and at other parks during our trip. She made multiple comments to us about how glad she was to see we had gotten a GAC and how it was saving do much time. ONLY THING is – we had not used a GAC on any of those times. The standby waits were short and what she took as a short wait because of the GAC was just a short wait. PERIOD.

Second example: I’ve seen threads where people posted they used a special door or line to get into a show (like Mickey’s Philharmagic , Tiki Birds, Monsters, Inc). They reported they went past other guests who were waiting and went to the front of the line. The parts they did not understand was that they were getting into the same show as those other guests and WHY they were waiting there (because there are limited numbers of wheelchair spots or limited numbers of guests with special needs allowed in at one time).
So, again, they thought they had an advantage they really did not have and almost all of their posts about how the GAC gave them ‘Front of the Line’ access were things like that where their perception was not fact.

Third example: I have seen people reports that they got into the ‘special line’ at Small World and because the line is shorter, they felt they did not wait as long as they would have otherwise. Well, that line may be less people, but our experience is that the wait is usually longer. In fact, on one of our last trips, my husband got in that line with DD while I was doing something else. I know when they got in line because he texted me. I was going to join them later, but that area was crowded and I could not get thru, so I got in the regular line. They ended up being loaded a few boats ahead of me (if I remember right, 3 boats). I had waited 20 minutes before boarding. They had already been in line 25 minutes before I got into line, so they waited a bit less than 25 minutes longer than me.

Someone posted either that they were asking at Jungle Cruise where to park the wheelchair and were directed to go into a wheelchair entrance, which bypassed part of the lines. How this ride works is that there is a parking area for wheelchairs and ECVs to the left of the regular line and boarding area. Guests who are able to walk in the line are usually ‘inserted’ back into the regular line at that point. They might think they got ahead, but there were guests who were moving ahead in line while they were waiting for the CM to instruct them, moving the wheelchair/ECV, etc, so by the time they actually get into the line, they will usually be close to where they would have been otherwise ( we know because we have watched). People like my DD, who can’t walk, don’t get on right away. We have to wait for the special wheelchair boat. Some wait in their wheelchair in the same area where we do, but don’t board right away on the next boat that comes.

We usually are aware of what the wait in the standby line is and when there is a separate boarding area for users with disabilities, we often se people who were in line just ahead of us getting off while we are still waiting at the exit to board.
People who have really been watching how their wait relates to the wait in the regular line often find their wait might be less about 25 % of the time, longer 25% of the time and the same 50%.
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Old 01-16-2013, 10:58 PM   #15
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Thank you for posting that, I wish that the author of the blog would at least edit it, perhaps you can encourage this?
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